Don’t Look Up’s writer and director Adam McKay has revealed Ariana Grande “certainly did improvise” the apocalyptic anthem she sang during the film.
The film, which was released earlier this month on Netflix, stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as scientists trying to warn the world about a comet the size of Mount Everest that will wipe out all life on Earth.
Starring alongside Jonah Hill, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep in the satire is Grande, who plays pop star Riley Bina, alongside Kid Cudi, whose DJ Chello is her on-again off-again boyfriend.
In one of the standout scenes in the film, Grande and Cudi perform at a benefit concert, hoping to raise awareness about the impending apocalypse.
The track, ‘Just Look Up’ is every bit the powerhouse pop anthem we’ve come to expect from Grande, but features lyrics such as: “Listen to the goddamn qualified scientists/ We really fucked it up, fucked it up this time”.
Speaking about use of improv comedy throughout Don’t Look Up, McKay said: “The rule I always say is, let’s get the written version because we’ve then fulfilled the legal obligation of our contract. Then once you have it, you’re free.”
He then went on to confirm that “Ariana Grande most certainly did improvise. Her best improv was when she sang the song for the first time.”
“She’s the one who added all that stuff about, ‘We’re all gonna die. Turn off that shitbox news’. That was her riffing on the first scratch track of the melody line, and the second I heard it, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s going in the movie.’
McKay went on to say that the scene “might be one of my favourite moments in the movie, where you have pretty much the biggest pop star in the world singing beautifully, ‘We’re all gonna die.’ Every time I see it, it’s just this hilarious cognitive dissonance with it. So, Ariana Grande can definitely improvise.”
In a four-star review of Don’t Look Up, NME wrote: “McKay’s political satire isn’t always subtle – one scene shows Streep’s leader whipping up a rally in a MAGA-style baseball cap – but it does feel horribly convincing.
“Though Don’t Look Up loses some momentum towards the end of its 138-minute runtime, it still succeeds as both a raucous comedy and a grim cautionary tale. By the end, McKay has definitely driven home his message that Earth is ours for the saving.”