Ariana Grande doesn’t just sing the apocalyptic arena anthem in the Netflix satire Don’t Look Up, she ad-libbed its most memorable line.
During a run-through of her delirious duet with co-star Kid Cudi, her on-screen DJ boyfriend, Grande started throwing out off-the-cuff lyrics that writer-director Adam McKay instantly recognized as comedic gold, he said in a behind-the-scenes interview shared by Netflix Film Club.
“Ariana Grande most certainly did improvise. Her best improv was when she sang the song for the first time,” McKay says in the new clip.
“She’s the one who added all that stuff about, ‘We’re all gonna die. Turn off that shitbox news,'” he explains. “That was her riffing on the first scratch track of the melody line, and the second I heard it, I was like, ‘Oh, that’s going in the movie.’ And that might be one of my favorite moments in the movie, where you have pretty much the biggest pop star in the world singing beautifully, ‘We’re all gonna die.’ Every time I see it, it’s just this hilarious cognitive dissonance with it. So, Ariana Grande can definitely improvise.”
The scene with the song is one of the best in the science fiction satire starring Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as a Michigan State PhD student and professor trying to warn the world that a planet-killing comet is on a collision course with Earth.
Grande, suspended from the ceiling and swathed in spray of white feathers, tries to warn the world that the clock is ticking toward humanity’s extinction.
“Listen to the goddamn qualified scientists / We really fucked it up this time,” Grande sings.
Don’t Look Up also stars Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Tyler Perry, Cate Blanchett.