KGUN 9 On Your SideNewsLocal News


UArizona professor helps cast of 'Don't Look Up'

Posted at 9:04 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 23:04:22-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Dr. Amy Mainzer is a planetary science professor at the University of Arizona. She helped the cast of ‘Don’t Look Up’ get ready for their roles as scientists after an employee at NASA recommended her to director Adam McKay.

Dr. Mainzer describes the moment she met Mckay. “The minute we talked it was sort of an instant connection because we’re both interested in the same thing, which is really trying to portray how we should be reacting to global crisis, like the pandemic and climate change and all that.”

“There’s a couple of scenes in the movie where I told Leo you really have to speak for the science community here, for all of us who feel frustrated when were not listened to,” says Dr. Mainzer on working with actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

The film was shot at the start of the pandemic, so all of her work was virtual. Dr. Mainzer says, “They basically put me on an iPad and wheeled me around the set which actually turned out to work great, which was a blast seeing the movie being made even despite the difficulties posed by covid.”

She says the star-studded cast which includes Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, and Jonah Hill were all prepared to take on a movie about science. She says, “they’re all really smart. These actors are legendary for a reason because they’re really bright people.”

She went on to discuss the importance of being a science advisor in a film about science, saying “there’s a stereotype of scientist just being these nerds in lab coats off in a corner somewhere, of course that’s not at all what the real work is like.” Dr. Mainzer added, “so in my case I spent a lot of time really working with them to help them get through the dialogue, which is really technical in some places. But also to just portray how do scientists feel when we have to deliver news that is not great.”

The movie is in select theaters and drops on Netflix December 24.