Here’s a thought for you: what if Meryl Streep was the President of the United States Of America? There’s no denying, she’d be a particularly powerful POTUS – with ABBA singalongs on the daily, Vogue-worthy looks written into the Constitution, and the delicious scents of Julia Child recipes wafting across the great American expanse. Or not. In Adam McKay’s upcoming satire – about an imminent global catastrophe, which society seems intent on ignoring – he tapped up none other than Streep to play his leader. But rather than being a glorious ruler, her President Janie Orlean is more akin to the guy who most recently left the White House.

Don't Look Up

As McKay tells Empire in the Spider-Man: No Way Home issue, Streep’s character is “an amalgam of all the ridiculous, ineffective Presidents that the United States has had over the past 40, 50 years.” And she’s far from the only big name in an astonishingly star-studded cast – one that features leads in Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence (an astronomer duo warning of an approaching comet), plus Jonah Hill, Mark Rylance, Tyler Perry, Timothée Chalamet, Cate Blanchett, Himesh Patel, and appearances from Ariana Grande and Scott ‘Kid Cudi’ Mescudi.

It’s a stacked line-up that even McKay can’t believe. “Of course, it’s great to get tremendous actors in your movie, but I never expected it to be this many, and to this degree,” he says. “Initially I had a couple of people in mine – ‘Well, if we could get them, that would be great’ – and it just kind of kept snowballing.”

Empire – December 2021 cover

Read Empire’s full Don’t Look Up story in the Spider-Man: No Way Home issue – on sale Thursday 28 October. Don’t Look Up comes to Netflix on 10 December.

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