Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up,” the last shoe to drop this awards season, was unspooled before a crowd of BAFTA voters at the Harmony Gold Theatre on Wednesday night. In attendance for a Q&A with the Oscar-winning stars Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Meryl Streep (“Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Sophie’s Choice” and “The Iron Lady”), along with director, writer and producer Adam McKay (“The Big Short”), the screening was introduced to the attending members by Matthew Wiseman, BAFTA Los Angeles CEO, and moderated by John Horn of the Los Angeles Times.
McKay spoke about working with Oscar-nominated composer Nicholas Britell (“Moonlight” and “If Beale Street Could Talk”) on the original song, “Just Look Up,” which was co-written by Tara Stinson, along with Ariana Grande and Scott Mescudi, a.k.a. Kid Cudi, who also have roles in the film. “You have to write the song to save all of mankind,” McKay shares. After Britell shared a scratch track from Grande, McKay knew he needed it. “It might be my favorite moment in the movie. The No. 1 pop star in the world telling us, ‘We’re all going to die, get your head out of your ass.’”
Lawrence shared her love for the Grammy-winning Grande, saying, “She can’t make bad music. I’ve since reflected on my behavior with Ariana Grande. I went full radio contest winner. I was so excited and nervous that at one point, I just kind of walked into her hotel room and sat down. I’ve just been thinking about it a lot lately. There were all of these trunks for her hair and makeup, and I was like, ‘Do you live here?’”
McKay jokingly quipped back, “She didn’t like you.”
When speaking about the trivialization of news, celebrities and superficiality, Lawrence said, “The entire media experience is how we digest information. What was crazy about shooting this film about climate change and then COVID happened. Some people don’t want to hear the truth because it’s terrifying. The escapism of celebrities and the distraction is more fun, and tearing down other people is better than looking at yourself while you’re watching Tucker Carlson.”
DiCaprio, who plays astrologist Dr. Randall Mindy, talked about looking for a project regarding the climate crisis for years. “Adam cracked the code,” he said. “I immediately identified with that character because I met so many of these scientists who have devoted their lives to these issues, who feel like they’re in a hamster wheel.”
With a sprawling ensemble of actors and characters, McKay says the “the trickiest character of the entire movie was Isherwell,” played by Oscar winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”). “We’ve seen these billionaires behave in the most ridiculous ways imaginable. We’ve seen Mark Zuckerberg look like a supervillain from the 1960s DC Comics. We’ve seen these dudes launch each other into space like total morons while the world is trying to stay alive. With all due respect to no one, honestly, fuck every one of those people that are shooting themselves into space, except William Shatner — he gets a pass.”
“Don’t Look Up” will open on Dec. 10 in theaters before releasing on Netflix on Dec. 17.
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