One Moment That Was Supposed To Be In Don’t Look Up’s Epic Ending Had To Be Pulled Because It Was Too ‘Gut-Wrenching’

Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio in Don't Look Up
(Image credit: Netflix)

Major spoilers for Don’t Look Up lie ahead.

2021 saw the release of a number of interesting films, but few were arguably as intriguing and polarizing as Don’t Look Up. Adam McKay’s apocalyptic satire raised a lot of eyebrows when it was released back in December, and many are still talking about it. One point of contention among viewers is the film’s ending, which borders on both silly and sentimental. But as it turns out, there was another moment cut from the final few minutes that would’ve leaned heavily into the latter category. But apparently, it was too “gut-wrenching” to include.

Don’t Look Up centers primarily on two astronomers (Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio) who seek to warn the people of Earth of a major comet that’s set to destroy the planet. By the end of the movie, the cosmic rock does indeed hit, though the aforementioned characters spend their final moments at a dinner table surrounded by their loved ones. Meanwhile, other characters accept (or escape) their fates in more humorous ways. 

Hank Corwin, the film’s editor, sought to execute Adam McKay’s vision in a detailed way. This apparently included trimming a scene that depicted a suicide during the movie’s final montage. However, he had to completely cut a religion-based scene that was even too much for McKay to handle. And to be quite honest, I think there may be others who might’ve felt the same: 

I had a rabbi praying at the Wailing Wall. The rabbi was crying, it was very powerful. But Adam thought it was just too gut-wrenching.

Some may find it hard to believe that the Big Short director, known for his sharp wit and occasionally cynical brand of storytelling, couldn’t bear to keep that sequence in. But of course, like all of us, he is human, and such a shot would draw plenty of emotions from viewers. Admittedly, it is a beautiful-sounding scene, though and one that could’ve added another layer of emotional resonance during the ending. Hank Corwin, however, told Insider that he has no regrets in regard to the creative decision his director made: 

Adam is really tough. But the one thing I know is I’ll have my day in court, he’ll look at anything I do. But it’s any editor’s obligation to respect the story and to respect the script.

The reactions to said story and script have been interesting, to say the least. In the early reviews for Don’t Look Up, many critics derided the film for not delivering on big laughs or sharper social commentary. Day After Tomorrow director Roland Emmerich also thought it lacked bite. However, many pundits and general viewers seemed to enjoy the film, with many taking to the web to defend it. High-profile creatives like Seth MacFarlane even praised it. The film also received support from its stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio who defended the controversial ending. Meanwhile, Ron Perlman dropped a few F-bombs while chastising those who panned the flick. 

Regardless of how you feel about Adam McKay’s latest, I think we all can agree that the movie is generating some interesting discussions amongst viewers. Based on the way things are going, it would appear that the discourse could continue for a little while. It’ll be interesting to see how viewers feel about the ending, and the movie as a whole, a decade from now. 

If you’re hoping to get in on the Don’t Look Up discussion as well, you can grab a Netflix subscription and stream it!

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.