Today Hosts Urge Obamas to See ‘Beautiful’ Movie About Themselves

During an interview with actress Tika Sumpter in 9 a.m. ET hour of Monday’s NBC Today about her role in a new biopic about the first date of Barack and Michelle Obama, co-host Al Roker eagerly wondered if the First Couple had seen the movie yet: “Have you heard at all from the Obamas?”

Sumpter replied: “We haven't, not yet. I mean, I know they know about it. John Legend’s an executive producer and he does a lot of initiatives with them and he told the President, ‘I produced this movie that you might want to see.’ And they were like, ‘Yeah, we keep seeing reviews.’”

Fellow co-host Tamron Hall chimed in: “I cannot imagine they've not seen it. There you have this beautiful image of your courting. Who could resist it? Who could resist it?” Sumpter declared: “I know, I know. So hopefully we'll get a call, like, ‘Good job.’”   

At the top of the segment, after clip played of the film, Roker asked: “So how much pressure is it? I mean, it's a wonderful love story to start off with. We all kind of – sort of know the story, but you are portraying perhaps one of the most famous women in the world. No pressure there.”

Sumpter explained:

Yeah, I mean, at first it is a little bit of pressure if you – but once I took the Michelle Obama of it off of it and brought it back to Michelle Robinson, the girl from the south side of Chicago, you know, who was raised by this amazing family, very humble beginnings, I was, like, okay, I can do that. So then it took the pressure off of me. It wasn’t like I’m playing her now, you know? DNC speech, like, you know. Yeah, it's the before.

Here is a full transcript of the August 29 exchange:

9:49 AM ET

TAMRON HALL: It's a film getting a lot of buzz, it’s called Southside With You. The movie tells the story of the first date of Barack and Michelle Obama.  

AL ROKER: Tika Sumpter, who’s also a producer on the film, plays Michelle, a dedicated attorney reluctant to fall for a smooth-talking law associate.
                                    
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: The First Couple’s First Date; New Film on the Obamas Hits the Big Screen]

TIKA SUMPTER [AS MICHELLE ROBINSON]: How many times do I have to tell you? We're not going out together.

PARKER SAWYERS [AS BARACK OBAMA]: Well, Michelle, thank you for saying that. You seem like a real sweet girl. But I have to correct you. We are in fact out and we are in fact together.

SUMPTER: But not on a date. This is not a date.

HALL: Nails it!

ROKER: Tika Sumpter, good morning.  

SUMPTER: Good morning, guys.

ROKER: So how much pressure is it? I mean, it's a wonderful love story to start off with. We all kind of – sort of know the story, but you are portraying perhaps one of the most famous women in the world. No pressure there.

SUMPTER: Oh, no, not the way you put it. Yeah, I mean, at first it is a little bit of pressure if you – but once I took the Michelle Obama of it off of it and brought it back to Michelle Robinson, the girl from the south side of Chicago, you know, who was raised by this amazing family, very humble beginnings, I was, like, okay, I can do that. So then it took the pressure off of me. It wasn’t like I’m playing her now, you know? DNC speech, like, you know. Yeah, it's the before.

HALL: It’s the early years. How was that capturing that Chicago style? I lived in Chicago. It’s a very distinct accent all of it’s own. How did you get that?

SUMPTER: Yeah, I mean, and she has a distinct accent as well. So I had a dialect coach. Yeah, and I just wanted you to hear the essence of her. She's kind of very hard on her words and she means every single thing that she says. And I just wanted to make sure –

HALL: You're doing it now.

SUMPTER: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

ROKER: Exactly.

SUMPTER: I just wanted to make sure that you guys heard it, you know?  

ROKER: Have you heard at all from the Obamas?

SUMPTER: We haven't, not yet. I mean, I know they know about it. John Legend’s an executive producer and he does a lot of initiatives with them and he told the President, “I produced this movie that you might want to see.” And they were like, “Yeah, we keep seeing reviews.” So – and they’re good reviews – they’re great reviews, actually.

HALL: I cannot imagine they've not seen it. There you have this beautiful image of your courting.

SUMPTER: I know, yeah.

HALL: Who could resist it? Who could resist it?

SUMPTER: I know, I know. So hopefully we'll get a call, like, “Good job.”  

HALL: Okay, let's talk about the little cute belly over there.

SUMPTER: My little baby.

HALL: How are you feeling?

SUMPTER: I'm ready. I feel so good.

HALL: First child?

SUMPTER: This is my first child. I’m super excited. And I'm just proud of, like, being able to do a movie like this and my little girl see somebody that she can look up to, and you know, just strength. I feel like this is the year of the woman. Not even just the year, I just feel like women are just so empowering right now. I don’t know, there's something in the air. But I just feel like this is a good time to be alive.

HALL: And you dropped a hint just now, you’re “little girl.”

SUMPTER: My little girl!  

HALL: So you know obviously?

SUMPTER: It's a little girl. It’s a little girl and I'm so excited.

ROKER: That’s so terrific.

SUMPTER [SINGING]: “What a lovely time to be alive right now.” I’m going to sing Hamilton.

ROKER: There you go. Tika Sumpter, it’s so great to meet you.

SUMPTER: Thank you, oh, my gosh.

ROKER: Congratulations on the movie.

SUMPTER: I love you guys, by the way.

ROKER: Oh, thank you.

HALL: We love you. You got to team with Tyler and own it.

SUMPTER: Oh, yeah.         

HALL: Oh, boy, you’re constantly working.  Good stuff.

ROKER: That’s terrific. Southside With You in theaters right now.

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