Obama inspires Jamie Foxx presidential role in ‘White House Down’

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Director Roland Emmerich brings new life to summer blockbusters with the action-comedy White House Down.

The Columbia Pictures film is reminiscent of big 90’s smashes like Air Force One, The Rock, and one of Emmerich’s earlier films Independence Day.

Similar to Morgan Freeman in 1998’s Deep Impact, Jamie Foxx plays the role of a black president, and similar to Bruce Willis in the Die Hard films, Channing Tatum spends most of the film in a tight, white tank top while trying to save the day. White House Down has all the explosions and effects you come to expect from a summer popcorn flick, without the stereotypical superhero or sci-fi twist.

theGrio: Black presidents who represented on film and television

“We had a really great script,” Emmerich told theGrio at Tuesday night’s premiere. “That’s why I did this movie.”

The film takes place over the course of one eventful day. John Cale (Channing Tatam) and his daughter Emily (Joey King) find themselves in the middle of a paramilitary attack on the U.S.  Cale is forced to spring into action, attempting to save his daughter, rescue President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx) and ultimately save the world.

Foxx and Tatum work well together, creating funny on-screen moments.

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“Working with Jamie and Channing was the most entertaining experience of my life,” the film’s executive producer, Reid Carolin, told theGrio. “Foxx is the most entertaining person on the planet, and when you put him and [Channing] in a room and just let the cameras roll, who knows what you get.”

A smoker, but not a soldier

While doing an impersonation of President Barack Obama on the red carpet, Foxx said he did draw inspiration for his role as president from our current commander-in-chief.

President Sawyer is similar to Obama, and not just because they both happen to be African-American.  Sawyer’s lack of military experience and intellectual pedigree may be perceived nods to Obama, who has been criticized in the past by conservatives for his lack of service.

At one point in the film, Sawyer grabs Nicorette gum and anxiously chews a couple pieces, offering a piece to Tatum’s character.

Obama’s use, and even sharing, of Nicorette gum to battle his old smoking habit have made headlines in the past.

Sawyer is portrayed a liberal politician, who has plans for a major peace deal and to remove all U.S. troops from the Middle East, similar to Obama’s plans to slowly withdraw most of America’s forces from Afghanistan. In the film Sawyer’s plan inspires American right-wing extremists to take action against the government.

Quips are not in bad taste

“Get your hands off my Jordans!” is one notably cheesy line that Foxx’s character says to a bad guy who grabs his leg.  While it is doubtful a line like this would be written for a white president, it is not insulting or done in bad taste.

“I think it’s a great film throwback with some interesting futuristic things,” Foxx told theGrio.

Opening in theaters June 28, White House Down is a fun thrill ride that its trailers don’t do enough justice.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals