Helmed by Steve Shill, ‘Obsessed’ is a 2009 psychological thriller touching on themes of obsession, infidelity, and marriage. At its core, ‘Obsessed’ orbits around Derek Charles (Idris Elba), a thriving asset manager, his wife Sharon (Beyoncé Knowles,) and Lisa Sheridan (Ali Larter), a temporary staffer at Derek’s workplace. Lisa’s infatuation with Derek spirals into a harrowing obsession, causing turmoil in his personal and professional worlds. Her continuous advances push the boundaries, ultimately hurtling the story toward a dangerous and heart-pounding climax.
‘Obsessed’ didn’t quite reach a unanimous verdict; it was a mixed bag in the eyes of critics and audiences alike. Some lauded the standout performances by the lead actors and the movie’s gripping, nail-biting scenes, appreciating the tension it built. However, on the flip side, there were those who took aim at the plot, branding it as a predictable formula with a shortage of fresh, innovative elements. If the film’s depiction of marital troubles makes you wonder whether the story of ‘Obsessed’ is rooted in reality, let us lay down the facts.
Is Obsessed a True Story?
No, ‘Obsessed’ is not based on a true story. Instead, it’s the brainchild of Steve Hill who is known for steering the ship on hits like ‘The West Wing,’ ‘The Sopranos,’ and a bunch more. The words in the script were conjured up by David Loughy, the genius behind Hollywood hits like ‘Hart to Hart’ and ‘Money Train.’ The movie’s core theme is obsession, demonstrated via Lisa’s unhealthy fascination with Derek. Lisa’s fixation with Derek hampers both his marriage and mental health. Her cunning methods underscore how obsession can alter one’s perception of reality and put one in harm’s way.
Moreover, the film also touches on the subject of infidelity and the repercussions of engaging in such behavior while married. Derek is a devoted partner, but Lisa’s deceitful actions test his dedication and his sanity. The film highlights how even the most solid partnerships can be challenged by temptation. When Lisa makes sexual attempts on Derek, he must decide whether to remain true to his marriage or give in to temptation. In doing so, it offers a glimpse of the inner conflict that some people experience when offered alternatives to their committed relationships.
The casting for ‘Obsessed’ was overseen by Ron Digman and Valorie Massalas. The producer, Will Packer, revealed that Idris Elba and Zoe Saldana were their initial preferences for the lead roles. Packer emphasized that both actors embodied the perfect blend of depth and allure essential for the characters in the movie. He believed it was vital to have actors who could connect with the audience and adeptly handle the intricate human dynamics depicted in the film. But for some reason, Packer forwarded the film’s script to Beyoncé’s talent agency, and following their recommendation, Beyoncé was considered an excellent fit for the role of Sharon.
Packer continued that Beyoncé was fascinated by the prospect of being part of ‘Obsessed’ because the film diverged from the music industry theme, offering her a role unrelated to singing—marking her first foray into a non-musical role. According to Packer, this departure appealed to her as she was already looking for a new and exciting challenge. Beyoncé herself expressed the difficulty she faced in focusing solely on “the emotion and the psychology of the relationship,” something she hadn’t experienced before. Despite never having engaged in a fight scene previously, Beyoncé showcased her adaptive prowess by swiftly mastering the scenes.
Idris Elba plays the role of Derek Charles, a man grappling with a woman’s wild obsessions. The ‘Luther‘ star also reflected on his experience of collaborating with Beyoncé. Idris shared, “She’s a true professional—a very smart, talented, giving actress. It was a very good experience, and we had a phenomenal time. We got thrown into working on the film very quickly, and we didn’t know each other at all. Honestly, within 20 minutes of meeting each other, we were playing man and wife, and that’s a challenge for any actor. We also had some good chemistry, which definitely helped toward making sure we looked married for real.”
Beyoncé thought quite highly of Idris Elba, too. ‘The Lion King‘ voice actress stated, “He’s amazing. And, you know, he brought out a lot of wonderful things in my performance. It was the first time I did improv. And, you know, he is a student and a great teacher. And we’ve spent a lot of time just with the two of us going back and forth with the script and making adjustments and making it our own,” she added. “I learned so much working from him.”
Idris also spilled the beans on why he hopped aboard this film train. The film’s sly racial subplot was like a dash of spicy sauce for him. The main characters, an African-American power couple, were smoothly integrated into the plot without a heavy hand. He grinned at how the story kept its cool, never loudly announcing, ‘Hey, look, they’re African-American!’ The baddie, Ali Larter, catches feelings for her boss, a high-achieving fellow who just happens to be African-American. This funky twist in the story had Idris’s curiosity on full alert. Edris appreciated how the narrative strayed from the usual script and remained under the radar without the studio going all neon signs about it.
To summarize, ‘Obsessed’ isn’t a true story, but it sure throws in enough reality to keep you guessing. At its core, it’s a compelling dive into relationship vulnerability when outside forces knock on love’s door. It screams about trust, loyalty, and talking things out to keep that marriage flame burning bright. Yet, it also shines a light on how obsession can wreck it all, showing just how far some will go to rock the boat of a rock-solid relationship.
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