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Snowden actor cast as young Barack Obama

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Lane Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images, Handout

Parker Sawyers, who had small roles in Zero Dark Thirty and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and recently completed Oliver Stone’s Snowden, will portray Barack Obama in Southside With You, inspired by the story of the president’s first date with Michelle Robinson, who would go on to become his wife. Tika Sumpter (Get on Up) had previously been announced as Michelle. 

The year was 1989, and 27-year-old Harvard law student Barack Obama was back in Chicago working as a summer associate for the Sidley Austin law firm. His office advisor was Michelle, who initially rebuffed his invitations to go out on a date. She finally relented, and on a summer afternoon and evening, they visited the Art Institute of Chicago, saw Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing, and kissed for the first time outside of an ice cream parlor. 

Richard Tanne wrote the screenplay and will make his directorial debut. Shooting begins in Chicago in August.