The apocalyptic comedy Don’t Look Up premiered on Netflix last week starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as scientists trying to warn the world about an impending asteroid impact. The movie includes a scene in which the character played by one of the film’s most famous actresses appears in the nude. There was apparently some serious pushback in response to the scene, but it wasn’t the actress who wanted the nude scene removed — instead it was DiCaprio.
That’s right — he may be remembered for drawing Kate Winslet in the buff in Titanic, but Leonardo DiCaprio apparently isn’t always for an actress showing it all. In an interview with The Guardian posted on Monday, Don’t Look Up director and co-writer Adam McKay said his lead actor was very much against Meryl Streep — who plays President Orlean — having a nude scene. The character shows up in the nude very briefly revealing that she has a lower back tattoo. It is not, in fact, Meryl Streep but a body double according to McKay. Still, DiCaprio was apparently not happy with it.
According to McKay, Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t betray any kind of moral objections to nudity, but rather sees Meryl Streep as what McKay calls “film royalty.” McKay told The Guardian DiCaprio “didn’t like seeing her with the lower back tattoo, walking for a second naked. He said something to me like: ‘Do you really need to show that?’ And I was like: ‘It’s President Orlean; it’s not Meryl Streep.'” In the meantime, McKay said, Streep never objected to the scene or even brought the issue up.
Even though Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t get what he wanted as far as his co-star’s nude scene is concerned, you could argue he was fairly compensated for his discomfort, and then some. Back in August, Variety reported DiCaprio was getting $30 million for appearing in Don’t Look Up while his co-star Jennifer Lawrence was offered $25 million. To put that in perspective: in response to Variety’s report, Cinema Blend pointed out that the originally reported budget for Don’t Look Up was $75 million, meaning — unless it was adjusted, which seems likely — DiCaprio and Lawrence’s combined salaries would eat up around 73% of that budget.
In spite of the paycheck, Adam McKay told the Happy Sad Confused podcast (via Insider) that he was amazed that Leonardo DiCaprio agreed to star in the film. He claimed to have written the role of Kate Dibiasky specifically for Jennifer Lawrence, but always thought DiCaprio would pass on playing Dr. Randall Mindy. He said he spent five months tweaking the script while in communication with DiCaprio before the actor finally agreed to commit.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Lawrence, and Streep are joined by an ensemble, all-star cast. The other actors involved include Timothée Chalamet, Jonah Hill, Ron Perlman, Cate Blanchett, Tyler Perry, Chris Evans, Ariana Grande, Michael Chiklis, Liev Schreiber, Sarah Silverman, Chris Evans, and more. With that many actors in a single film, we’re surprised Dwayne Johnson didn’t find time to show up. You can see all those stars (not Johnson) and more in the black comedy Don’t Look Up, streaming now on Netflix.