In Don’t Look Up, a comet is headed straight for Earth, but no one except two astronomers are worried about what this means for humankind. Jennifer Lawrence, who plays astronomy graduate Kate Dibiasky, and Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays her professor Randall Mindy, were part of a virtual global press conference to promote the Netflix comedy.
Adam McKay’s satire will be released on Netflix on December 24. Among the star-studded cast who addressed the press meet were Meryl Streep (who plays the American President), Johan Hill (as her son and Chief of Staff) and Tyler Perry (as host of a morning TV show).
DiCaprio fielded numerous questions about the climate crisis and his commitment to the environment. “This is such an important film,” he said. “It is based on so many climate scientists trying to communicate the urgency of the issue.”
Writer-director McKay said the idea was to tackle a serious issue through the lens of comedy. “The climate crisis is overwhelming,” he said. “Laughter gives some distance. The doomsday talk is legitimate, but laughter is a great unifier.”
The Mount Everest-sized comet that is heading for Earth is named after Dibiasky. Lawrence was asked about how she felt about the comet being named after her character. “At first it was exciting and I felt proud but then there was resentment as people were fearing the comet,” she said.
Given the practice of discoveries being named after the discovering scientist, Streep quipped, “I wonder how Dr Alzheimer would feel about that now.”
The multi-Oscar winner enjoyed playing President Orlean. There were several references “because there are so many preposterous people out there”, Streep said. “It was fun to put her together – there’s power, money, more power, more money and nice hair and nails.”
Jonah Hill, who has previously appeared with DiCaprio in Django Unchained and The Wolf of Wall Street, praised DiCaprio as “incredible” and “the best actor”. Leaning over in a mock whisper, Hill said to Streep, “It’s you!”
In keeping with the doomsday theme, McMay and the actors shared what they would do if it were their last day on Earth.
Tyler Perry: “I would sit around a table with people I care about drinking wine, eating good food and taking cyanide.”
Johan Hill would tweet all his thoughts and opinions, including everything he knows about the lives of stars and who is dating whom.
Jennifer Lawrence said she would “die commenting on TikTok”.
Meryl Streep said that if it were her last day, she would be with her grandchildren.
Hill summarised Don’t Look Up and its tone. “Adam took terrifying things and used comedy to make them palatable.”