Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep hope their new comedy “Don’t Look Up” might help change minds about the perils of climate change

"It doesn't get better than this. It slowly becomes worse"

Academy Award-winning actors Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio say they hope that through the laughs in the new film “Don’t Look Up” they’ll be able to change some minds about the perils of climate change. Streep, DiCaprio and director Adam McKay talk about the Netflix production, their careers and more in an interview with correspondent Tracy Smith for “CBS Sunday Morning,” to be broadcast December 5 on CBS and streamed on Paramount+.

The film has an all-star cast and revolves around a scientist (DiCaprio) trying to warn the world that a comet is heading toward Earth and will destroy the planet. Streep plays the president who won’t take him seriously. The comet is a metaphor for climate change with the world split between believers and skeptics.  

Watch a preview: 

But can a movie make a difference?

“Hopefully,” DiCaprio told Smith. “But at this point, I’m a Debbie Downer with the system. So, you’re asking the wrong guy. To me, it’s about a little less, you know, conversation, and a lot more action.”

The film was shot at the height of the pandemic’s impact on the entire world, which made it more meaningful to DiCaprio: “And that’s why it connected with this screenplay that was about the climate crisis that we’re all going to go through – we’re all going to feel the ramifications of this,” he said. “And what we’re seeing right now, with the wildfires and the massive hurricanes and all these catastrophes, doesn’t get better than this, okay? … It doesn’t get better than this. It slowly becomes worse.”

Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry are two TV anchors who don’t quite get the seriousness of news about the Earth’s impending demise from scientists Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, in “Don’t Look Up.”NIKO TAVERNISE/NETFLIX

Director McKay, known for the comedies “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” and the Oscar-winning “The Big Short,” felt comedy was the best way to approach the topic of climate change.

“We can overcome this,” McKay told Smith. “But what’s scaring me now is, it’s really getting to be down to the last second. And so, hopefully this movie is something where we get a lot of laughs, but we also get a kick in the pants.”

Streep, who describes herself as a big fan of McKay, agreed that the director’s comedic take could help spread the film’s message: “Nobody makes me laugh harder in his movies. And nobody makes me think more.”

“Don’t Look Up” opens in select theaters December 10, and streams on Netflix beginning December 24.

To watch a trailer for “Don’t Look Up” click on the video player below