Vital Thrills got a chance to talk to the Don’t Look Up cast during a global press conference for the new Netflix film, opening in select theaters on Dec. 10 and launching on the streaming service Dec. 24.
Written and directed by Academy Award winner Adam McKay (The Big Short), the dark comedy stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence.
Don’t Look Up tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet earth.
Kate Dibiasky (Lawrence), an astronomy grad student, and her professor Dr. Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) make an astounding discovery of a comet orbiting within the solar system. The problem – it’s on a direct collision course with Earth.
The other problem in Don’t Look Up? No one really seems to care. Turns out warning mankind about a planet-killer the size of Mount Everest is an inconvenient fact to navigate.
With the help of Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan), Kate and Randall embark on a media tour that takes them from the office of an indifferent 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 only six months until the comet makes impact, managing the 24-hour news cycle and gaining the attention of the social media obsessed public before it’s too late proves shockingly comical – what will it take to get the world to just look up?!
The Don’t Look Up cast also includes Mark Rylance, Ron Perlman, Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Scott Mescudi (aka Kid Cudi), Himesh Patel, Melanie Lynskey, Michael Chiklis and Tomer Sisley.
DiCaprio plays Dr. Randall Mindy and was asked about the way scientists are treated these days. He said, “Well, I’ve been looking for a movie that was about this subject for decades now…. this is an issue where everyone feels ultimately like what kind of difference can we make?
“What can we contribute to this cause? And Adam really cracked the code with this narrative. I mean, there’s so many comparisons that we can make to the climate crisis with this storyline. And, you know, as a whole, I think it’s probably the most important issue all of us could be talking about on a regular basis. And it takes artists like this to change the narrative, you know? To create conversation and it’s just an honor to be a part of it, really.”
Jonah Hill plays the son of the President, who clearly got his job through nepotism. He spoke about what he learned on this film. “I’ve just learned how everyone was so bummed the past two years. When I got in a room with all these people that are geniuses, some of whom are friends of mine, some of whom I didn’t know, but all of whom I respect. It was just amazing to laugh and think and create something in a time where everyone’s been stuck in their houses. It was really emotionally meaningful to me.”
Scott Mescudi aka Kid Cudi plays DJ Chello in the film. He said, “I just learned that sometimes you’ve just got to relax and just go with the flow and just be in your space and be comfortable with s***, you know… I talked to Kathryn Hahn, who’s a friend of mine, and she was telling me about Adam. And she was like, ‘Just be ready for him to throw you anything,’ you know? And I was just like, okay, that makes me even more nervous.”
Writer/director Adam McKay said of the timing of filming Don’t Look Up, “There is definitely a vaccine now, and everyone should be getting it. But at that time, there was no vaccine, and we all had to wear crazy masks and stay away and have zones and everything.
“But everyone did it and found a way to be creative, in a way that was, like, genuinely moving and touching. And for me, I feel like the whole time I’ve been working in movies or theater or TV or whatever, that’s the thing that I love the most. And seeing this Page 9 of 36 group do that was just, like, one of the more special experiences I’ve ever had.”
Jennifer Lawrence plays doctoral candidate Kate Dibiasky. She spoke about what her character is feeling as the planet killer comet she discovered is dismissed by the public. She said, “I think there was probably an evolution. I think at first she was very, very proud of this, and then I’m sure resentment started to build up as people started fearing Comet Dibiasky.”
The legendary Meryl Streep said of her Presidential character [who seems very much based on the former President], “You know, there [were] so many places to take things from, because there’s so many preposterous people who’ve put themselves in public places recently.
She added: “And shamelessly. So, yeah, it was kind of fun to put together this character that was in just, pure Id, just what her appetite wanted. And about amassing power, money, more power, and more money, and that’s pretty much-and nice hair and nails, you know?”
Tyler Perry plays the host of a very perky morning show along with Cate Blanchett. He said of his role, “Okay, as fun as that was in that moment, I actually made a couple phone calls to a couple of people who are on morning shows right now, that I admire. Joe Scarborough is one, and Michael Strahan is the other.
“So I asked them, I actually sent them part of the script. I said, ‘Why don’t you read this and send it back to me on-on your iPhone? Just tape it.’ And they did, and I was like, okay, I got some bits here, I got some bits there. But those guys are professional journalists. I mean, this guy is-he’s-the guy I played is not that. So they were very helpful in pulling that off and helping me to pull that off.”
Lawrence joked about one moment in the film that was rough for her. She said, “I had to rap Wu-Tang Clan. And it was just horrendous. And then what’s in the movie is like, you know, five seconds. I really wish I had known that.”