The PJ Tatler

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You: The Shelly and Barry Love Story

We should be used to the fawning adoration of Barack and Michelle Obama by now. It may not be as intense or as widespread as it used to be, but this story shows that Obama worship is still alive in some corners of the land.

A film is in the works that will depict the “legendary” romance of Barack and Michelle Obama. The movie will center on the early days of their romance, including a re-enactment of their “epic” first date.

Bringing this romantic drama to the screen will be an indie film company, Homegrown Pictures, and will star Get On Up’s Tika Sumpter as the young Michelle Robinson. No actor has been chosen to play Barack yet, which is probably just as well. Only a larger-than-life actor like Heston or Eastwood could possibly portray such an iconic figure.

From Deadline Hollywood:

As Presidential lore has it, the date took some convincing. Obama, then an idealistic first-year Harvard Law student, took a summer job as an associate at Chicago law firm Sidley Austin where he fell for lawyer Michelle Robinson, his younger boss. Southside With You spans the day she agreed to go out with him when the two visited the Art Institute, took a long walk, and caught a showing of Spike Lee’s new film, Do The Right Thing. They were married in 1992.

Richard Tanne (Worst Friends, The Roman) is helming the indie feature from his own screenplay, and former Warner Independent exec Tracey Bing and Columbia Pictures alum Stephanie Allain (Hustle & Flow, Beyond The Lights) are producing for Allain’s Homegrown Pictures. The project originated with Tanne and Sumpter, who developed the script together and will executive produce. Filming is set to begin in July on location in Chicago.

“I took her to this new movie that everybody was talking about, directed by a guy that not that many people had heard of, but it was supposed to be pretty good,” Obama recalled during the film’s 25th anniversary celebration this summer. The site of the Obamas’ first kiss – curbside, outside a Baskin-Robbins in Chicago’s Hyde Park – was commemorated with a city plaque in 2012.

The inscription on that plaque is all that any Obamabot could hope for. It’s a quote from the president’s interview that appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine:

On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her, and it tasted like chocolate.

That’s very nice. I’d hate to read a plaque describing my first date with my ex-wife. It would come with an “R” rating. And that’s after it was cleaned up.

Does it bother anyone else that a moment such as this would be memorialized by a plaque? Sorry, but that’s creepy — as in, making my skin crawl. Sheesh.

“Stephanie and I are excited to produce this smart and timeless film that sheds light on one of the great love stories of our time,” said Bing. “Richard really captures the essence of that romantic connection between Barack and Michelle that is so evident in the way that they look at each other. We are looking forward to finding the perfect Barack.”

Yes, but will he catch Barack’s pecs and Michelle’s upper arms?

Timeless? Well, at least until January 20, 2017, at which point it may be available in the DVD remainder bin of your local grocery store. Whether Netflix will continue to stream it is open to question.

Seriously, the historic nature of the Obama presidency cannot be discounted or ignored. We will never again have a first African American president of the United States. That fact alone, given our history, makes Obama a cultural icon who will be memorialized in film, books, TV miniseries and web broadcasts for decades.

But no president has ever had his love life memorialized until long after he was dead. But this is America and Hollywood is Hollywood and in search of a buck, people will make a movie about anything; serial killers, assassins, mobsters…

And even the romanticized notion that our current president and his wife’s courtship is worthy of the big-screen treatment.