On a deeper level it almost feels like an actor isn’t trying to take a picture of a scene. The actor explained to Hall that they are trying to express their impression. I was searching for his soul, the essence of him. It’s amazing to see him as a person. His family loves him so much, his intellect is incredible, and his charisma is unmatched. The challenge was to reach the core of the man.

When it came to trying to gain some personal insight from the former President himself, however, Fagbenle says he got the cold shoulder. After being put in touch with Obama’s personal assistant, things didn’t go according to plan.

“I said, ‘Look I’m filming in three months, can we chat?,’ Fagbenle told Variety. “And I got a message back saying—lovely message—‘Barack would love to, but he’s booked up.’ Is he booked for 3 months? You don’t want to see me bro. You can just say, “I don’t want you to see me.”