Adam McKay on Dont Look Up

Director Adam McKay discusses Don’t Look Up

November 20, 2021 A DGA Membership Screening Q&A in Los Angeles

Two scientists attempt to warn the world about an impending disaster in Director Adam McKay’s sci-fi comedic drama, Don’t Look Up.

In an allegory for the imminent dangers of climate change, McKay’s film tells the story of low-level astronomers, Kate Dibiasky and Dr. Randall Mindy, who discover that a planet-killing comet the size of Mount Everest is hurtling toward the Earth. With only six months until the comet makes impact, they embark on a media tour to try to get the world to take the situation seriously before it's too late.

On November 20, after the DGA membership screening in Los Angeles, McKay discussed the making of Don’t Look Up during a Q&A moderated by Director Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk).

During the conversation, McKay spoke about finding the right aesthetic to make a dark satire with such a serious underpinning.

“When you're making a film like this you have to go back and look at all the great films and the ones that were really inspiring to me were Ace in the Hole, To Die For and obviously, Doctor Strangelove and especially Network — which might be the greatest movie ever made. Network is just tremendous and I loved what they did where there was an artistic kind of Sidney Lumet vibrancy to the way it was shot, and yet a playfulness. So, when I worked with [DP] Linus Sandgren, I told him, 'Do the black blacks. Don't back off for comedy. Do it all artful yet it should always have a vibrancy to it.' Then the other key was we shot on film. I just am a big believer of shoot on film. It just it gives a life, a texture to what you're doing — especially with a movie like this — that you need.”

In addition to Don’t Look Up, McKay’s credits include the feature films Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Step Brothers and The Other Guys; and episodes of Saturday Night Live and Eastbound & Down. He was nominated for DGA Awards for his 2015 feature, The Big Short, and for his 2018 feature, Vice. He won the 2018 DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series for his “Celebration” episode of Succession.

McKay has been a member of the DGA since 2000.

Q&A photos by Shane Karns — Print Courtesy of Netflix
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