Leonardo DiCaprio’s and Jennifer Lawrence’s fans are in for a treat on December 24: the irreverent sci-fi dramedy Don’t Look Up, which tells the story of an astronomy graduate and a professor who want to warn humanity about a comet they discovered within the solar system and would destroy Earth.
The only issue is that no one appears to care. It turns out that warning humanity about a planet-killer on the scale of Mount Everest is a difficult truth to negotiate.
With the assistance of Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), Kate and Randall embark on a media tour that takes them from the office of an apathetic President Orlean (Meryl Streep) and her sycophantic son and Chief of Staff, Jason (Jonah Hill), to the airwaves of The Daily Rip, an upbeat morning show hosted by Brie (Cate Blanchett) and Jack (Tyler Perry).
With just six months before the comet’s impact, navigating the 24-hour news cycle and capturing the attention of the social media-obsessed public before it’s too late is hilarious – what will it take to get the world to simply lookup?
According to writer and director Academy Award winner Adam McKay, the movie about Professor Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence), who uncover a startling discovery about a comet that would destroy where humanity lives, is laugh-out-loud funny, not simply smart or cynical.
“I knew the movie needed to be laugh-out-loud funny, not just clever or wry, so I turned to the all-time greats. Comedies like Office Space and Idiocracy really capture the weird way we live in the modern world (both of those Mike Judge films were north stars for me). But also movies like Dr. Strangelove, Network, and Wag the Dog. I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of finding a way to encapsulate these giant looming threats that we’re faced within this world, but to show it in a way that has a bit of fun with it,” McKay said.
Lawrence said she had always wanted to work with McKay as she’s a huge fan. Don’t Look Up, she thought, was genius and probably the funniest script she has ever read so far.
She said she had to speak with American astronomer Amy Mainzer to get a sense of what the world is like for her in order to help build Kate’s personality.
“It’s maybe the funniest script I’ve ever read, and I thought it was such a poignant way to get such an important point across, that people don’t need to be fighting each other over science. We need to be fighting this collective war to save humanity together,” Lawrence said.
“I was mostly curious about what the world for a female astronomer looks like since they’re so outnumbered. That helped shape Kate’s personality, how she dresses, how she carries herself. I tried to learn about astronomy as well, but I don’t know how much of it I retained. Leo, of course, learned all of it,” she added.
For DiCaprio, the film gave an interesting opportunity for all the actors to try anything that will lock them into their characters.
He said Don’t Look Up is, in a lot of ways, “the full fruition of what he’s been able to mend together thematically and tonally in his movies. Not having had a lot of experience in that space, McKay helped guide him through balancing the comedic elements in this role.”
“It was done through a lot of different improvements. There were so many different actors who came in and were given free rein to really delve into their characters. It was incredible to work alongside such amazing talent,” DiCaprio said.
“I just remember walking on set and Tyler Perry and Cate Blanchett already seemed like they had this amazing talk show dynamic like they had been working together for decades. They’d improvised a lot of their jokes together. I don’t know how much they rehearsed beforehand but I just remember it being an incredibly realistic dynamic and they were so locked into their characters it was pretty amazing to witness,” he added.