Obamas producing Netflix project critical of Trump | Film | DW | 02.05.2019
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Obamas producing Netflix project critical of Trump

As former US president Barack and his wife Michelle Obama unveil plans for a Netflix series critical of the country's current government, here's a look at other on-screen portrayals of American politics.

The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy, a 2018 political book by Michael Lewis, looks into the inner workings of the US government and Donald Trump's first year as president.

In his book, Lewis is very critical of President Trump, underlining the unpreparedness and incompetence of his transition team as well as the inexperience of the people the former real estate mogul installed in the administration's key positions.

In October 2018, the Obamas' production company, Higher Ground, acquired the rights to the book for a potential Netflix series. The video-on-demand platform has now announced that the project would be among the Obamas' first batch of projects.

The Netflix statement about the Fifth Risk project however avoided naming Trump, saying that the series "will aim to portray the importance of unheralded work done by everyday heroes guiding our government and safeguarding our nation."

Playing basketball with Obama

Michael Lewis and Barack Obama already know each other well: The author had written a long-form profile of the then US president in October 2012 for Vanity Fair magazine, titled "Obama's Way," for which Lewis accompanied the president for six months, watching him at work in the White House and playing basketball with him.

Three of Lewis' previous books have already been adapted for cinema, including The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, a non-fiction book about the US housing bubble in the 2000s. 

Telling the stories of the Overlooked

Other projects the Obamas are currently developing include a film adaptation of David W. Blight's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography on Frederick Douglass, an African-American slave who went on to play a leading role in abolitionism.

Higher Ground is also producing an adaptation of a New York Times series called Overlooked, about historical figures whose deaths were not reported at the time, mainly because they were women or minorities.

Bloom is a drama series that will explore the "barriers faced by women and by people of color in an era marked by hurdles but also tremendous progress," set in post-World War II fashion world New York, to be written and produced by Oscar-winning Thelma and Louise screenwriter Callie Khouri.

"We believe each of these productions won't just entertain, but will educate, connect and inspire us all," Obama said in the Netflix statement.

eg/db (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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