Sawyers, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the president, sat down with The Huffington Post’s Lilly Workneh last week and revealed that his spot-on Obama impression became a staple party trick prior to ever hearing about the movie.
“Well I had been doing the voice, because I heard that I resembled him,” said Sawyers. “So as a joke I was doing his voice at parties and on-set and stuff like that, but I did think I’d play him in like 10 or 15 years. And then this popped up and I had to dial back the impersonation ... and play the 28-year-old.”
Interestingly, that impressive Obama bit almost drove the film’s director Richard Tanne to cast a different actor for the lead role in the film, which follows Michelle and Barack Obama during their first date.
“It was actually that impersonation that almost led me to not casting [Sawyers], believe it or not, because it’s such a good President Obama impersonation.” he said. “And we needed the guy that was going to be the 28-year-old version of Barack Obama.”
So before Sawyers’ second audition, Tanne called the actor and offered him some advice about the character ― and it worked.
“I said, ‘Just drop the guy you see on TV every night. Forget him for now and just play this young guy trying to get a girl to have a cup of coffee with him.’ He totally got it,” Tanne said.
Check out the video above to hear more from Sawyers and head here to see the full interview about the movie.