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Cate Blanchett (L), Tyler Perry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence in a scene from the new movie "Don't Look Up." (Netflix)

The Adam McKay film “Don’t Look Up,” coming to Netflix later this month, is a gut-punch of a climate change comedy disguised as a movie about a comet headed directly at Earth.

Driving the news: In a virtual press conference Sunday, the film’s stars discussed how they constructed a comedy about a fictional doomsday crisis that’s a stand-in for another, all-too-real-life threat.

Details: The movie addresses the many ways that science has been warped, steamrolled and drowned out in recent years.

  • This film is likely to be cathartic for many climate scientists who have been subjected to politically motivated attacks for years. Many are frustrated that world leaders are not responding with sufficient urgency.
  • “We wanted to deal with this subject, the climate crisis, which is so overwhelming and it's arguably the greatest threat to life in the history of mankind,” McKay said. “If you're able to laugh, that means you have some distance. And I actually think that's really important.”
  • “You can feel urgency and you can feel sadness, and you can feel loss while also having a sense of humor. And that was really the intention with this movie after the crazy last five, 10 years we've all had across the planet, was that God, wouldn't it be nice to laugh at some of this and feel the other feelings?” McKay said.

Leonardo DiCaprio, whose philanthropic work focuses on climate change, said the climate science community’s experience served as a motivator for his character, particularly for one impassioned speech he delivers on a morning TV show.

What's next: "Don’t Look Up" opens in theaters on Dec. 10, and arrives on Netflix on Dec. 24.

Go deeper

Jan 3, 2022 - Science

Climate scientists grapple with wildfire disaster in their backyard

The Marshall Fire burns homes in Broomfield, Colo., on Dec. 30. Photo: RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The wind-whipped firestorm that tore through parts of Boulder County, Colorado, on Thursday struck at the heart of one of America's top climate science and meteorology research hubs.

  • Now some of the top minds who study how climate change is amplifying wildfire risks find themselves shaken and struggling to process what they just witnessed.
Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker

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