You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Southside With You’ Star Tika Sumpter on Malia Obama: ‘Give Her Some Slack’

“I’m so hyper,” said Parker Sawyers, on the red carpet of the “Southside With You” premiere, presented by The Cinema Society and Miramax & Roadside Attractions, at Landmark’s Sunshine Cinema in New York Wednesday evening. “Even this is taking a lot of energy to stand still.”

It was obvious that Sawyers, who plays Barack Obama, and his leading lady Tika Sumpter, who plays Michelle Robinson, were excited about the release of the film that brings to life a romantic first date that you could only dream of.

Although the pair never got to meet the Obamas before playing them, it seems it may have been a blessing in disguise.

“I think that would’ve been a lot of pressure and I didn’t want to do an imitation of her,” said Sumpter. “I wanted to embody the essence of her.”

The soon-to-be-mom also learned about loving herself and being open after portraying the First Lady.

“Throughout the journey, she opens up and you start seeing different things she realizes about herself,” she said. “Hopefully my daughter will take away some of that.”

Sumpter also gave her maternal two cents on the recent controversial response to news reports that accuse President Obama’s eldest daughter, Malia, of smoking marijuana.

“Listen, she’s a teenager. She’s young. She’s been great for eight years. Give her some slack,” Sumpter expressed. “There’s been other daughters in the White House who have done way more. You know [what] I mean? Let kids be kids. And hopefully I’ll give my daughter grace if I see a video like that as well.”

For Sawyers, it was easy to get into character as the future President.

“There wasn’t that much pressure,” he said. “It was just about me, playing a 28-year-old trying to get the girl.”

As for the most difficult part of his role? “Walking slow,” said the 6’4” actor, chuckling. “To walk slow in that romantic lens, I felt like I was going to fall over.”

It was a packed theater for the screening and most of the audience stayed for the full credits at the end to hear the song, “Start”, that executive producer John Legend composed specifically for the film.

The cast and creators then moved to the new and not yet open Harold’s Meat-and-Three at Arlo Hudson Square to continue the celebration, complete with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. Sawyers’ energy carried on into the after party, even breaking out a few dance moves.

“Southside with You” bows Aug. 26.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Hopper Reserve

    Dennis Hopper's Dying Wish: His Own Strain of Marijuana

    Even as celebrity brands are starting to flood the emerging Cannabis market, Hopper Reserve stands out. The brand was launched by Marin Hopper, Dennis Hopper’s daughter from his marriage to Brooke Hayward. Hopper Reserve is a gram of California indoor-grown flower, two packs of rolling papers, a pair of matches and a trading card either [...]

  • Lowell Smokes Cafe Marijuana

    With Cannabis Lounges, On-Site Consumption, Marijuana-Infused Meals Go Legit

    Can this century’s Roaring ’20s repeat history but with pre-rolled joints instead of whiskey flasks and soccer moms as the new flappers? This month, West Hollywood will see the opening of the nation’s first at least quasi-legal cannabis consumption lounge, officially dubbed Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Café, located at 1211 N. La Brea between Fountain [...]

  • Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter,

    'Downton Abbey' Movie Sequel? Producers Tease That They Have 'Some Ideas'

    “Downton Abbey” holds the record as the most-nominated international show at the Emmy Awards with 69 nominations and 15 wins — and now, it stands a chance to nab an Oscar. More than three years after the beloved series signed off the air following six critically-acclaimed seasons, “Downton Abbey” is making its big-screen debut. “It [...]

  • Thandie Newton and Regina King70th Primetime

    Emmys 2019: The Ultimate Party Guide

    The 71st annual Emmy Awards may be going hostless this year, but that doesn’t mean the big night will be any less of a celebration. For all the details on the biggest bashes happening this week and throughout the weekend, check out Variety‘s Ultimate Emmys Party Guide below. Tuesday, Sept. 17 Variety’s Showrunners DinnerEveleigh, 7:30 p.m [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content