Leave the World Behind is the next apocalyptic thriller viewers everywhere didn’t know they needed. The film is based on the popular, fan-favorite 2020 novel of the same name, written by Rumaan Alam. The story follows two unsuspecting families who cross paths and must work together to survive a series of cyber attacks. What appears to be a technological mystery that’s affecting much of the world will test each family member and bring out true colors – for better or worse.



Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot) not only directed this movie but also had a hand in writing the screenplay. And we couldn’t get too far into a discussion about this film without mentioning Julia Roberts – actress in the movie and producer by way of her production company Red Om Films. Also producing are Barack and Michelle Obama, Nick Krishnamurthy, Tonia Davis, and Daniel M. Stillman. Leave The World Behind premieres in select theaters on November 22, 2023, and will stream on Netflix shortly after, on December 8, 2023. So here’s more on the cast and characters that make up this suspenseful, end-of-world flick.

Image via Netflix

Leave the World Behind

A family’s getaway to a luxurious rental home takes an ominous turn when a cyberattack knocks out their devices, and two strangers appear at their door.

Release Date
November 22, 2023

Sam Esmail

Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Bacon, Mahershala Ali

Main Genre

Julia Roberts as Amanda Sandford

Julia Roberts as Amanda in Leave the World Behind
Image via Netflix 

Julia Roberts plays Amanda Sandford, a wife, mother of two, and an advertising executive based in New York City. With such a consistently busy schedule, it’s evident that Amanda needs a break from the everyday routine. This prompts her to book a getaway for her husband (Ethan Hawke) and kids. Of course, the vacation isn’t what they expect as it soon becomes a fight for survival amidst a seemingly global technological blackout.

Roberts has been nominated for several Academy Awards, taking home Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2001 for Erin Brockovich. She’s also won and been nominated for several other awards, including BAFTA Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild Awards, among many others. To list her best films would be a feat. In case you’re looking to do a Julia Roberts marathon, catch her in Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Eat Pray Love, Closer, Steel Magnolias, and Notting Hill, just to start with.

Ethan Hawke as Clay Sandford

Ethan Hawke as Clay Sandford in Leave the World Behind
Image via Netflix

Ethan Hawke plays opposite Julia Roberts as her husband, Clay. As a professor of media studies, Clay is a lot more laid back than his spouse and seems to be okay with his wife taking charge of their plans. During their getaway, and just when things start to get bizarre during the blackout, Clay takes too much of a backseat. He becomes a bit frantic and is out of ideas when it comes to guiding the family through this apocalyptic nightmare.

Hawke is also an accomplished actor. He is perhaps best known for his roles in Training Day, Dead Poets Society, Boyhood, First Reformed, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, The Black Phone, and Before Midnight.

Mahershala Ali as G.H. Scott

Mahershala Ali as G.H. in Leave the World Behind
Image via Netflix

Mahershala Ali plays G.H. Scott, a financial advisor in New York City who can’t seem to shake the feeling that something bad will happen. Because of this, he takes his daughter (Myha’la) out of the city and to their vacation home. It just so happens that Amanda booked the same place for her family getaway. Given their sudden arrival, they are met with friction and resistance from Amanda and her family.

Ali is best known for taking on diverse roles and being an award-winning actor. You may have seen him in True Detective, Hidden Figures, Green Book, Moonlight, or House of Cards.

Myha’la as Ruth Scott

Myha'la as Ruth in Leave the World Behind
Image via Netflix

Ruth, played by Myha’la, is the daughter of G.H. Scott with a vivacious, spunky, and incredibly direct personality. She is the type of person who has no problem marching to the beat of her own drum. Her role is needed to cut the space between moments and add a bit of relief or hope to this thriller.

As an actress, Myha’la is a lot greener than some of the other cast. However, that certainly does not detract from her talent and vigor as a young actress. She has already been in prominent and diverse roles, including the romantic comedy anthology series Modern Loveand the horror comedy Bodies Bodies Bodies. She is certainly a well-versed actress, and we can expect to see a lot more from her. And if you already can’t get enough of her, definitely catch her in Black Mirror, Premature, and Dumb Money. You will not be disappointed.

Farrah Mackenzie as Rose Sandford

Farrah Mackenzie as Rose Sandford in Leave the World Behind
Image via Netflix

Rose is the youngest child and only daughter of Clay and Amanda. She’s played by Farrah Mackenzie, another fresh young face in the world of acting. Her role in this film is more supportive than not, but the family would not be complete without her. She’s confused as she is the first to notice what’s coming. As she watches reruns of Friends, strange things happen to the TV screen, and then suddenly the blackout occurs. Her character must fight to survive alongside her family, but will she make it? You’ll have to watch to find out.

Mackenzie is a promising new actress who many believe will make major waves in the film industry as a whole. She’s taken on roles in both film and television, starring in titles such as Utopia, Logan Lucky, The Big Bang Theory, and United States of AI.

Charlie Evans as Archie Sandford

Charlie Evans as Archie Sandford in Leave the World Behind
Image via Netflix

Brother to Rose and eldest child of Amanda and Clay, Archie is a homebody who prefers to keep to himself. More of an introvert, Charlie Evans perfectly captures the essence of what an older brother brings to the table in the average family. We mainly see Archie fixated on his video games, with headphones on, or obsessing over how to get the internet back up despite the blackout so he can get back to gaming.

Charlie Evans is not just an actor but also a professional musician. By the time he was six years old, he began performing with theater groups while pursuing creative arts and music. You might have seen him in The Park, or Everything’s Gonna Be Okay.

Kevin Bacon as Danny

Kevin Bacon as Danny in Leave the World Behind
Image via Netflix

Last but certainly not least, Kevin Bacon takes on the role of Danny in Leave The World Behind. Danny built the vacation home the Sandfords are staying in. Bacon’s character is that of the local guy in the neighborhood, who keeps to himself but is equipped to take on anything. Some might call him a survivalist, who may or may not come in handy for these families during such a critical time.

Kevin Bacon is a Hollywood staple in the world of acting. He’s been in countless roles and has played various characters, from the likes of a dancer in Footlooseto a fraternity pledge in National Lampoon’s Animal House. He’s a dynamic actor and can seemingly take on almost any role. He’s also starred in She’s Having a Baby, City on a Hill, The Woodsman, Hollow Man, Mystic River, Apollo 13, and Tremors.

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