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WARNING: CONTAINS DON’T LOOK UP SPOILERS
DiCaprio stars in the movie as Dr Randall Mindy, an astronomy professor who – along with astronomy grad student Kate Dibiasky (Jennifer Lawrence) - discovers there is a comet headed towards Earth. Together, they embark on a media tour to warn the world, despite the fact the world doesn’t really seem to give two hoots.
In a new interview with Insider, McKay has revealed that the script was something of a collaborative effort, and that DiCaprio not only came up with the movie’s closing line, but also insisted they gave it a go in the final edit.
He said: “Believe it or not, that line at the end of the movie where he says, ‘We really did have [everything, didn't we?]’ that wasn't in the script. He came with that the day we were filming.”
McKay continued: “In the edit, it was Leo who pushed us to put the line in. The line was so devastating. We were trying to get the balance of that ending just right.
"You don't want to traumatize the audience but you want it to hit them. So we didn't have that line in, and this is nearing final cut. We don't have much time left. And Leo was there and said, ‘Don't you have to try that line? It really felt powerful when we did it.’
“I was afraid to use it and we put it just before a test screening and it just landed. So I thanked Leo for pushing me on that. That's really the line of the movie.”
Explaining what the last line was supposed to be, he added: “Originally the line was Jen saying ‘Well, we tried.’ And it was Leo who was like, ‘No, it feels like it needs to be something else.’
“So he didn't just come up with it, he came into the edit and told us to try it.”
It was actually the film's final scene - in which DiCaprio and Lawrence's characters eat dinner with their closest friends and family moments before the comet hits Earth - that attracted Oscar-winning the actor to star in the film.
Speaking to Los Angeles Times, he said: "That's what I loved about the ending, because I felt like that's ultimately how I would respond.
"We're a communal species, and I would want to be around people I love and ignore the impending Armageddon.
"That dinner table scene is really what clinched it for me."
You can stream Don't Look Up on Netflix now.
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