Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Don't Look Up Scene That Took Two Days To Shoot

Adam McKay's specific brand of humor often makes for a refreshing change of pace. His most recent film, "Don't Look Up" — which he also produced and directed — is a story based in the very real fear of climate change. Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence play astronomers who try to warn the world about a comet hurtling towards earth and are shocked when they are only met with apathy.

The film is based in satire, but rooted in real-life concerns about certain contemporary issues — think a modern-day "Dr. Strangelove." When it comes to the talent involved in the film, the cast speaks for itself, as more than a few Academy Award-winners signed up for it. McKay's project attracted not just talent like DiCaprio and Lawrence, but also Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett, to name a few. "We got great reads on the script from a lot of actors who said they'd been waiting for a project like this, with how crazy the world has been," McKay told Deadline

In fact, it was all the actors involved — and McKay's own love of improvisation — that led to one pivotal scene taking two days to film. 

Sit tight and assess

With as many acclaimed actors in one room, it's no wonder that this particular scene took so long. During the sequence, Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) meet with President Orlean (Meryl Streep) to discuss their impending doom. Also present is the President's son Jason (Jonah Hill) and NASA executive Dr. Oglethorpe (Rob Morgan.) "That group of people could not have been happier to be in that fake Oval Office, doing that scene. Laughing, improvising," McKay said to Deadline

Basically, everyone was enjoying the improv so much — particularly Meryl Streep, reportedly — that they just kept the positive vibes going and going. DiCaprio also spoke to Netflix about how much he loved the improv on the set. "Adam gave us an interesting opportunity to try anything," DiCaprio said. "And so, right off the bat, Jen and I really developed our characters on camera. It was done through a lot of different improv. There were so many different actors who came in and were given free rein to really delve into their characters. It was incredible to work alongside such amazing talent.

Viewers will recognize this scene as the opening in the trailer for "Don't Look Up". Instead of reacting appropriately, the president decides to wait on the information.

"We shot that scene for two days and the first cut was 16 minutes long and I never got tired of watching it," McKay explained. "The problem was, you can't have a scene start off a movie that's 16 minutes long." Considering what a great time everyone was having, it seems, it's no wonder that the scene took so long to shoot. In any case, viewers can see the finished product when "Don't Look Down" hits theaters on December 10th.