Marvel Star Mahershala Ali Replaces Denzel Washington in Netflix’s ‘Leave the World Behind’

With two Oscar wins in his bag already, this year’s release of Apple Studio’s Swan Song, has put Mahershala Ali in the Oscars race once again. The Moonlight actor has also made his presence felt in the TV world with an Emmy nomination for his role in the Hulu series Ramy

Ready to add another major movie to his list, Marvel’s Blade actor will star in Netflix’s Leave the World Behind, Deadline recently reported.

Mahershala Ali in a black t-shirt and dual colored brown and black jacket at an event in 2019.
Mahershala Ali | Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for WE Day

Ali will replace Denzel Washington in the movie

Last year, Deadline reported Netflix’s purchase of the movie’s rights with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington on board as actors and producers. Sam Esmail, the director of Mr. Robot, was to direct and produce the movie. 

While Roberts and Esmail still continue to be on board, Washington will now be replaced by Ali. Now, cast alongside the Eat Pray Love actor, Ali will be filling in some big shoes left by Washington.

The reason for Washington’s exit has not been disclosed. As for now, we will just have to believe, as, in the real world, some things simply don’t work out. And apparently, they always have a reason. 

With Ali joining the cast, the movie has found another accomplished and talented actor.

‘Leave the World Behind’ is based on Rumaan Alam’s novel of the same name

The novel, which came out in October 2020, garnered positive reviews from all across the board. It featured in Barack Obama’s Summer Favorites list. It also made the cut for the Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and several other publications. 

The novel is about two families brought together under terrible circumstances over a long weekend. A family of four from New York City rents a quiet and luxurious house in Long Island for a week away from the city. Their stay at the secluded property is interrupted by the supposed owners of the house. 

A Black couple, the homeowners claim a sudden blackout has taken over the city. An electricity blackout renders all modern technology unusable. Now, all humans have is each other. While the family on vacation struggles to know what they can believe, bigger questions about who can be trusted arise.

Exploring various themes of family, parenthood, race, the story also focuses on the changes that relationships go through — as new ones are formed — in moments of crisis.

Roberts will likely play the mother of the family on vacation

Previously, Variety reported that Roberts was cast as the mother in the family that will rent the house and Washington was to play the homeowner. 

As Ali steps in for Washington, it is likely that he will play the homeowner now. The Variety article also noted that Esmail would direct the movie with an adapted script of his own. 

With only two actors associated with the project so far and the need of the story for more. Additional announcements can be expected as the casting process of the film moves ahead. 

Netflix has not disclosed any other details about the movie. 


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