With no fewer than five Academy Award winners, a number of nominees and familiar faces from the big and small screens, Netflix’s latest we’re-all-going-to-die, space-based offering, Don’t Look Up, is already being hailed as a possible Oscars contender come next April.
With the first teaser trailer out, the film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Timothee Chalamet and Cate Blanchett, is set to be released in cinemas on December 10 and on the streamer on December 24, injecting more than a little satirical end-of-the-world flavour into the festive season.
Also making headlines is the casting of Meryl Streep in the role of US President Janie Orlean in the film, which is directed and co-written by Adam McKay, the Oscar-winning helmer of Vice and The Big Short.
Don’t Look Up features Lawrence and DiCaprio as low-level astronomers, Kate Dibiasky and Dr Randall Mindy, the latter of whom dissolves into panic attacks on a regular basis while intoning, “You’re here now, you’re here now” to calm himself.
After discovering a comet is on course to collide with Earth, the pair embark on a nationwide media tour to alert mankind and the world’s leaders to the big ol’ chunk of ice and rock on its way to destroy the planet.
The only problem is, the world doesn’t want to listen.
“There’s a comet headed directly towards Earth,” says a super-serious Kate to eye-rolling chief of staff Jason Orlean (Hill). President Orlean smirks in the background, channelling Miranda Priestley to ask: “Do you know how many the-world-is-ending meetings we’ve had over the last two years?”
“Drought, famine, hole in the ozone …” drawls Hill in his best bored millennial voice. “It’s so boring.”
Blanchett and Tyler Perry pop up as Brie Evantee and Jack Bremmer, hosts of The Daily Rip, a pair of immaculately coiffed, won’t-take-things-seriously US morning TV anchors. The music world is represented by the appearance of Kid Cudi as DJ Chello, and Ariana Grande as Riley Bina.
“I wrote this role for her. She was the first actor in,” McKay told Entertainment Weekly about using Lawrence as his muse. Of DiCaprio, he said: “He’s really smart, he really knows movies, he knows movie history, he understands characters, and it was very enjoyable.”
Naturally, with a cast this stacked with talent, social media has had a field day, with plenty of fan love for Streep’s louche, bored-of-the-facts president and Blanchett’s blonde bombshell Fox News-esque TV anchor.
Owing a little to the knowing satire of Mars Attacks! and with some US military-versus-space scenes ripped right out of the Independence Day and Armageddon playbooks, it soon becomes clear that no one apart from Dibiasky and Mindy gives a stuff about impending doom.
Rather Hill’s laidback Orlean is far more concerned about the effect Mindy’s hyperventilating is having on his personal well-being. “Your breathing is stressing me out,” he says, missing the point entirely. “It’s, like, so stressful.”