Don’t Look Up: Jennifer Lawrence on collision course with comedy

(CREDIT: Andrea Raffin /

What if you discovered that a comet was on a collision course with Earth? And what if no one really seemed to care? That’s the premise of Don’t Look Upthe upcoming Netflix comedy written and directed by Academy Award winner Adam McKay (Vice, The Big Short, Stepbrothers).

The film uses subversive humor to reflect and underscore some of the most absurd elements of the current moment we live in, and stars Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

Timed to the film’s official trailer premiere today, Lawrence spoke about the inspiration for the film, improvising on set, and the all-star cast.

What drew you to the film?

I’ve always wanted to work with Adam McKay, I’m a huge fan. When I read the script, I thought it was genius. 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.

What was your preparation process like? 

I spoke to a brilliant astronomer named Amy Mainzer. 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.

REElated: A chat with Director / Writer / Producer Layne Marie Williams

What was it like working with Adam McKay?

He’s a comedy writer so he’s just coming up with hilarious material as we’re going. It was so fun to get pitched one hilarious line after another.

Did you improvise during any of your specific scenes?

There was a lot of improv in the film. Adam made us feel very free to move with whatever you’re feeling.

Why do you think comedy and entertainment are powerful tools for communicating social issues?

Making such a difficult thing to talk about, like climate change, lighthearted and funny, pointing out the embarrassing truths in all of us — it leaves this blameless place where we can actually look at an issue and laugh at it instead of pointing fingers at each other.

Don’t Look Up opens Dec. 10 in select theaters, and is available Dec. 24 on Netflix. (NOTE: This interview first appeared on Netflix’s media site.)