Adam McKay on how to make a movie about climate change

Don’t Look Up finds the dark humor in existential threat.

This is a crossover episode between Volts and The Carbon Copy. If you like what you hear, consider subscribing to both podcasts. 

Pop culture is increasingly grappling with climate-change themes. And some of it is appealing to wide audiences.

But Hollywood films with climate themes are often dystopic and heavy-handed. They fail to consider in nuanced ways the forces that are causing and exacerbating climate change right now.

So when David Roberts heard about a new Netflix film last December called Don’t Look Up, he figured it would be more of the same. But he was delighted when he realized that screenwriter and director Adam McKay had actually flipped the disaster-movie premise.

It worked. Don’t Look Up became one of the most-watched movies ever on Netflix. And it sparked an overwhelming online response among climate scientists, culture writers and audiences responding to the angst.

This week on The Carbon Copy: a conversation between David Roberts and Adam McKay about the inspiration, themes and impact of the film. Will it convince Hollywood to approach climate issues in a different way? 

Guest: David Roberts, founder of the Volts newsletter and podcast. Read his review of the film. Listen to the extended version of his interview with Adam McKay.

The Carbon Copy is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Support for Carbon Copy comes from Climate Positive, a podcast from Hannon Armstrong, the first U.S. public company solely dedicated to investing in climate solutions. The Climate Positive podcast features candid conversations with the leaders, innovators and changemakers driving our climate-positive future. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.