Netflix beats rivals to sign Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington for Leave the World Behind

The movie is based on an unpublished novel that sparked a bidding war in Hollywood.

Denzel Washington Julia Roberts Leave the World Behind

Netflix has beaten elite competition to secure one of Hollywood’s hottest properties, a movie project, Leave The World Behind, based on book that hasn’t yet been published but will star Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington.

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Deadline reported that Apple, MGM and other major rivals were competing for the rights to the upcoming book by Rumaan Alam which, in a Hollywoodesque coincidence, not only focuses on simmering racial issues but is set amid a strange global event.

Press notes for the Leave The World Behind book, the rights to which were bought for a seven-figure sum, said Alam’s third novel is a “magnetic story about two families, strangers to each other, who are forced together on a long weekend gone terribly wrong”.

The novel explores the complexities of parenthood, race, and class, as well as “how our closest bonds are reshaped — and unexpected new ones are forged — in moments of crisis”.

Roberts plays Amanda, who rents a holiday house in the country with her husband and teenage children. But their idyllic break is compromised when the homeowner (Washington) suddenly turns up with his wife seeking refuge because of a blackout in the city. What follows is increasing weirdness involving sonic booms, animals behaving erratically and domestic conflict as the tension mounts and their mental health fractures.

Roberts and Washington, whose companies will produce the film, famously teamed up in 1993’s hit legal thriller The Pelican Brief, while the director Sam Esmail worked with Roberts in the Amazon series Homecoming.

The Netflix deal comes a couple of days after their latest triumph, getting the signatures of Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans for the adaptation of the Mark Greaney novel The Gray Man.

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