Last year, filmmaker Adam McKay pulled off possibly the most illustrious casting coup in modern Hollywood history, with his upcoming Netflix movie Don’t Look Up featuring an ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, and Chris Evans among other A-listers. In an interview with The New York Times, McKay explained the basic premise of his film, about a giant asteroid on a deadly collision course with Earth.
“It’s not the most high-concept bizarre idea – the idea of a disaster movie in which people don’t necessarily believe that the disaster is coming. It goes back to the trope of the mayor from Jaws: ‘Love to prove that, wouldn’t you? Get your name into the National Geographic?’ So it’s two midlevel, very sincere astronomers who make the discovery of a lifetime, which is a killer asteroid headed toward Earth. They have to warn everyone and have to go on a media tour. It’s them navigating our world. It’s them navigating their equivalent of Twitter. It’s them navigating the political landscape. It’s them navigating talk shows and how they’re perceived.”
DiCaprio and Lawrence will star as a couple of scientists that are trying to warn the people about the catastrophe that is about to hit the planet, and getting ignored. While such a situation could once have been played for laughs, last years’ struggles with containing the pandemic amidst misinformation and fear-mongering have made the basic premise of Don’t Look Up depressingly realistic. According to Adam McKay, the current state of the world forced him to adapt his script to address mankind’s difficulty in finding things to agree on collectively, and the role that technology plays in the situation.
“It’s DiCaprio and Lawrence and Rob Morgan trying to warn the world. I call it a dark comedy… That is kind of how it started. But then the pandemic hit. What that did was bring out what the movie is really about, which is how we communicate with each other. We can’t even talk to each other anymore. We can’t even agree. So it’s about climate change, but at its root it’s about what has the internet, what have cellphones, what has the modern world done to the way we communicate.”
Written and directed by Adam McKay, the Netflix original features an illustrious ensemble cast consisting of Jennifer Lawrence as astronomer Kate Dibiasky, Cate Blanchett as Brie Evantee, Rob Morgan as Dr. Clayton “Teddy” Oglethorpe, Leonardo DiCaprio as Dr. Randall Mindy, Meryl Streep as President Janie Orlean, Jonah Hill as Jason Orlean, President Orlean’s son and Chief of Staff, Timothée Chalamet as Quentin, Ariana Grande as Riley Bina, Himesh Patel as Phillip, Scott Mescudi as DJ Chello, Matthew Perry as Dan Pawketty, a conservative pundit, Tomer Sisley as Adul Grelio, Tyler Perry as Jack Bremmer, Melanie Lynskey as June, Ron Perlman as Colonel Ben Drask, Chris Evans as Peter Isherwell, Gina Gershon, Mark Rylance, and Michael Chiklis. This news first appeared at NYTimes.com.