The conversation surrounding Adam McKay’s recent Netflix hit Don’t Look Up has been like pretty much every other big conversation to sweep across social media in recent years—which is to say, it’s been acrimonious, divisive, and loud.
McKay hasn’t necessarily shied away from that hubbub, either, responding to the mixed reviews for the film—which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as astronomers who discover that a giant climate change metaphor is racing toward the earth—on Twitter a few weeks back, noting that he was “Loving all the heated debate our movie,” but that, “If you don’t have at least a small ember of anxiety about the climate collapsing (or the U.S. teetering) I’m not sure Don’t Look Up makes any sense.”
The response to this tweet was, yes, acrimonious, divisive, and loud, as various people argued whether McKay was implying that anyone who didn’t like his movie—who found it, say, scattershot in its comedy, and ineffective in its attempts at satire—thus didn’t care about climate change.
“Which is utterly ridiculous,” the Anchorman director told IndieWire this week. “No human being would ever say that. I gotta laugh, because it’s right out of the movie.” (McKay’s co-writer on the movie, journalist and political speechwriter David Sirota, went quite a bit further on his own Twitter account, having stated that the media disliked the film because of its heavily critical stance on the way stories about climate change and other emerging horrors of the 21st century get reported.)
McKay: “Suddenly, it became like I was saying critics can’t say anything, and of course they can. It’s important to have debate and passionate critics. We’re living at a time like no other and stories are part of it. People should be hating them, loving them, going back and forth. We welcome the negative reviews. I actually think it’s really good, that people should be fighting and passionate about it.”
For what it’s worth, McKay makes it clear in this latest interview, as he has elsewhere, that his fears about climate change, and humanity’s lax response to it, come from an honest place. “It’s actually the biggest threat in the history of humankind,” he notes, describing sleepless nights contemplating the global rising of temperatures predicted to happen over the next few decades.
He also outlined his ideal viewer for the film: West Virginia centrist Democrat Joe Manchin, who’s spent a decent chunk of his recent Senate tenure blocking White House efforts focused on reducing energy usage and other green measures.
My sweaty fever dream of a situation would be Joe Manchin sitting down with his family, thinking, “Let’s watch this, it’s supposed to be a comedy, my kids like Leonardo DiCaprio, my grandkids like Ariana Grande.” And then that ending comes. My dream would be that for one second, Joe Manchin feels it in his bones. For even a second!
McKay noted that he’s trying to dial back his time on Twitter at the moment.