Science

Watch the first trailer for ‘Don’t Look Up’, Netflix’s dark comedy about a comet heading for Earth

Hyperventilating in a bathroom, actor Leonardo DiCaprio repeatedly sings “You are here now” in the opening moments of the Netflix trailer for a new movie that portrays a fictional comet threatening Earth.

We only have a few glimpses of what to expect from “Don’t Look Up,” which opens in select theaters on December 10 and hits Netflix worldwide on December 24. For one thing, we still don’t know what the comet is made of, how big it is, or its chances of hitting Earth.

But it doesn’t look good for humanity so far in this trailer. Military jets fly over the US Capitol, protests erupt across the country, and astronomer Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) stares at the sky from the streets of New York City.

Related: The Greatest Close Comet Encounters of All Time

“Don’t Look Up,” starring Jennifer Lawrence (left) and Leonardo DiCaprio, portrays a fictional comet threat to Earth. (Image credit: Netflix)

“Your breathing is stressing me out,” the son of US President and Chief of Staff Jason Orlean (played by Jonah Hill) tells astronomer Randall Mindy (DiCaprio) in the Oval Office, during a meeting to discuss the impending threat.

“This will affect the entire planet,” Mindy responds, to which Orlean responds, “I know, but it’s like, very stressful.”

Unimpressed, Dibiasky tells Orlean and the president that a comet is “heading straight for Earth,” but no one seems to want to take them seriously.

“Do you know how many ‘the world is ending’ meetings we’ve had?” Asks President Janie Orlean (Meryl Streep) with her hands crossed over her chest.

Your son leans his head back on the couch in mock weariness. “Drought, famine, hole in the ozone, it’s so boring,” he adds, as Mindy shoots him another terrified look.

Related: The 9 Brightest Comets Ever Seen

“Don’t Look Up” is directed by Adam McKay from “Ant-Man” and “The Big Short” (both from 2015); this will be his first big space movie. The film also marks at least the fourth time DiCaprio and Hill have appeared in the same production, after “Django Unchained” (2012), “Wolf” (2013) and “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013).

The main actors have a remarkable experience in space films between them; DiCaprio was the narrator of the 2010 IMAX film “Hubble” and Lawrence was a journalist stranded aboard an interstellar ship in “Passengers” of 2016.

In “Don’t Look Up,” astronomers must convince skeptical White House officials of the looming comet threat, including President Jason Orlean’s chief of staff (Jonah Hill). (Image credit: Netflix)

“Don’t Look Up” follows decades of Hollywood heritage of actors who find every possible way to rid themselves of the looming threats of comets and asteroids.

Some of the more famous entrants include 1998’s “Armageddon” starring Bruce Willis and a set of fictional oil drillers turned astronauts, 1998’s “Deep Impact” with a young Elijah Wood (2001-03’s Frodo’s “Lord of the rings “trilogy), 2012’s” Looking for a Friend for the End of the World “with Steve Carell of” The Office “fame, and 2020’s” Greenland “that followed the aftermath of the arrival of a fictional interstellar comet.

In real life, NASA plans a launch in 2022 to send a spacecraft called DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) to finally crash into the moon of the asteroid Didymos, as a future asteroid deflection test. The agency also participates in preventative activities through its Planetary Defense Coordination Office, which searches for potentially dangerous asteroids through a network of telescopes and partner agencies.

Asteroid science evolves rapidly. For example, in early 2021, a potentially threatening asteroid called Apophis left its dangerous state for at least the next 100 years following new observations that refined its predicted orbit. Fortunately, ongoing observations of comets and asteroids show no imminent threats to our planet, but astronomers are still looking just in case.

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Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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