Little is known about Barack Obama's life as a kid growing up in Indonesia from ages six to 10, aside from the brief memories recounted in his book Dreams of my Father. But Little Obama, an imminent film from Indonesian production company Multivision Plus, promises to shed new light on the young "Barry" Obama. (Watch behind-the-scenes footage of "Little Obama.") Here's a quick guide to the project:
What's the point of Little Obama?
To celebrate the nostalgic simplicity of the year Obama was nine years old in Jakarta. According to the Associated Press, co-director and screenwriter Damien Dematra based the movie on his book Obama Anak Menteng, "a fictionalized biography based on interviews with about 30 old friends and neighbors [of Obama's]...the first in a planned trilogy about Obama in Indonesia," with other volumes focusing on Obama's Catholic school experiences and his relationship with his mother.
Is the film going to be political?
"It's just the story of a boy," says Dematra. "It's about his friendships, his hobbies, just a childhood story." Although he hopes the film will show how Indonesia's rich racial and religious melting pot shaped Obama's character, Dematra says he "does not want the message of the film to be political in any way." He is considering cutting a scene in which Obama tries on a sarong during Muslim prayer in case it is misinterpreted.
What were some of Obama's hobbies?
It seems ping-pong and boxing featured highly. A mysterious preview clip, quips Gawker, suggests that Obama also "rode motorcycles around town with flamboyant Asian men."
Who is playing Obama?
Hasan Faruq Ali, a 12-year-old actor who — like the character he plays — was born in the U.S. before emigrating to Indonesia with his family. The similarities don't end there: He too has a white mother and African-American father. The main difference, says Dematra, is "Hasan is not at chubby as Obama was at his age."
When will it be released?
Little Obama will premiere in Jakarta on June 17, to coincide with the President's visit to Indonesia. The filmmakers are in talks with the U.S. Embassy there to arrange a screening for Obama himself. There are currently no plans to release the movie in the U.S.
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