If there’s anything director Adam McKay is an expert in, it’s turning real-life catastrophes into entertaining, satirical films. In 2015, he directed The Big Short, which dramatizes the story of the financial crash of 2008. Three years later, he came out with Vice, which takes a deep-dive into the sinister vice presidency of Dick Cheney. And now, fittingly, he’s turning to the most relevant subject matter of all: The end of the world.
Don’t Look Up is a sci-fi-comedy film written, directed and produced by McKay. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as an astronomy professor named Dr. Randall Mindy and Jennifer Lawrence as his student, Dr. Kate Dibiasky. They make a shocking discovery: There is a comet headed to destroy Earth. Frustratingly, people have a hard time taking it seriously—including the President, Jane Orlean (Meryl Streep), and her son, Jason Orlean (Jonah Hill). Also in the (insanely stacked) cast is Timothée Chalamet, Ariana Grande, Cate Blanchett, Mark Rylance, Rob Morgan, Tyler Perry, Ron Perlman and Scott Mescudi.
In an interview with Esquire, McKay explained why this film felt more pressing to make now than ever. “It’s the most thinly disguised metaphor in the history of metaphors,” he said. “The original idea for the script was the feeling of how crazy it is to live when there’s a crystal-clear threat that is being expressed from scientists [all over] the world, and yet we chug along like it’s fine. When COVID hit, I realized it really was about how much we’ve fouled the means of communication, and how monetizing the very way we talk to each other could be the end of us.”
And it looks like McKay is ramping those frustrations up to a ten in the new film, channeling them especially in an anxiety-ridden DiCaprio.
Check out the glorious mayhem of the official trailer here:
Don’t Look Up hits theaters on December 10, and Netflix on December 24.