The Netflix dark comedy Don’t Look Up has been making headlines since its release in December, mainly for its political commentary and all-star cast. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as two astronomers who set out to warn the world about an incoming planet-killer asteroid only to be laughed off the proverbial (and literal) stage. But there’s one scene that Oscar-nominated editor Hank Corwin cut from the film because it was just too much for director Adam McKay.
“I had a rabbi praying at the Wailing Wall,” Corwin said, referring to the religious site in Jerusalem. “The rabbi was crying, it was very powerful. But Adam thought it was just too gut-wrenching.”
Those final moments of the film are a collection of cell-phone footage, stock footage of animals, and even Corwin’s own real Vegas wedding video, complete with Elvis impersonator.
“What I try to do is I try to find stuff that looks really authentic,” Corwin told Insider earlier this month. “I find a shot that’s a little shaky and really emotional on somebody’s cell phone to be as emotional or more emotional than something that’s very third person.”
“For the purpose of this film I really wanted to bring it home,” he added. “I wanted to show the small moments that people could relate to.”
But, as with the shot of the rabbi, McKay also had Corwin trim down a particularly disturbing suicide sequence that remained in the film as a woman’s arm hanging over a bed.
“Adam is really tough,” Corwin said. “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.”
Hank Corwin has worked on everything from Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers to Robert Redford’s The Legend of Bagger Vance, but his collaboration with McKay has already earned him an Academy Award nomination for 2015’s The Big Short. Will Don’t Look Up be his big win this year?
Don’t Look Up is currently available on Netflix where it has enjoyed a top-10 status since its release.