A new 30-second spot for the military drone drama Eye in the Sky (in theaters now) includes profound words about warfare from a uniquely qualified narrator. “Technology has evolved,” begins the voice of President Barack Obama. The TV clip premiered during the March 10 Republican primary debate on CNN.
Obama’s remarks are from a speech delivered in May 2013 at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. In the ad, Obama continues, “This new technology raises profound questions — about who is targeted, and why; about civilian casualties, and the risk of creating new enemies; about the legality of such strikes under U.S. and international law; about accountability and morality.”
In the film, directed by Gavin Hood, Aaron Paul plays a drone pilot pressured by Helen Mirren’s military commander to eliminate a Middle Eastern terrorist before an imminent attack. Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam, and the late Alan Rickman also star.
The White House has not responded to EW’s request for comment about the Eye in the Sky ad. But this is not the first time that Obama has been used in a mainstream film. The President and First Lady appeared via archive footage and body doubles in last year’s Pitch Perfect 2. Back in 1997, the White House expressed concern at the use of then President Bill Clinton, whose South Lawn press conference about Mars was digitally re-edited for a scene about space travel in Robert Zemeckis’ Contact.
The use of Obama’s rhetoric about the moral complexity of the new warfare recalls the snarky but effective 1988 sci-fi movie Alien Nation, which began with a speech in which President Ronald Reagan seems to be granting asylum to E.T. refugees.