Last night, Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter celebrated their new blockbuster Southside With You at a New York screening hosted by Miramax, Roadside Attractions, and The Cinema Society. The film, which was executive produced by John Legend, was inspired by First couple Barack and Michelle Obama’s first date: a daylong excursion around Chicago’s South Side in the summer of 1989. “When you read about the date itself, it has the makings of a movie. They had this epic day of activities across Chicago. Michelle was reluctant to date him at first, but she gave him that one day to prove his worth, and that felt like a movie romance conflict, so I related to that,” said Richard Tanne, who made his feature directorial debut.
While the real Michelle and Barack weren’t present for the premiere, the actors who played them dished to us on what they did to prepare for their roles. “I read Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope [by Barack Obama]. I also watched videos of him just to get the mannerisms down and gave a lot of thought to just who he was by 2. He has this confidence that I think comes from the fact that he’s moved around quite a bit and is mixed race, which has given him an interesting perspective on the world. I hope to portray that in the film!” said Sawyers. As for Sumpters? “I read a lot of books and watched some videos of her to get her dialect down. I actually hired a dialect coach.” As for the pressures of playing the First Lady? “Pressure? No, not playing Michelle Robinson! Maybe for Michelle Obama…good luck for that story! But I think it was important to make sure the essence of her confidence, intelligence, and love was there.”
Other guests at the party, who then made their way to an after-party at new—but not yet open!—Harold’s Meat + Three at Arlo Hudson Square included executive producers Zanna Devine, Mike Jackson, and Tracey Bing, Orange Is the New Black‘s Adrienne C. Moore, Nolan Funk, Dan Abrams, Dale Moss, and 90210′s Tristan Mack Wilds.