A killer comet strikes Manhattan in new prank video for Netflix's 'Don't Look Up'

New York-based director Michael Krivicka is a guy whose expertise in creating award-winning tie-in prank videos for corporate clients has become legendary over the last few years. 

Having already produced hilarious urban stunts for Netflix's "Sweet Tooth," Sony's "Spider-Man: Homecoming," Warner Bros.' "Geostorm," Digital Extreme's "Warframe," and Fox's "The X-Files," the filmmaker and his crew were primed to end 2021 in style with their latest attempt to fool gullible New Yorkers.

After the success of their "Sweet Tooth" stunt last year, Netflix reached out to Krivicka's company with a new gig for December's big-budget disaster spoof starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, and Meryl Streep, "Don't Look Up." They challenged the notorious jester and his team to create a next-level hidden camera short that would take the movie's comet threat theme and insert it into a real-life context for unsuspecting folks back in the Big Apple. 

"When we pitched this stunt idea, we had no clue how complex the execution would become a few months later," Krivicka told Space.com. "This was by far our most ambitious stunt to date, involving hundreds of extras and stunt people, and capturing the action outside of the office with hidden cameras that were placed inside."

Related: Climate scientist and Netflix 'Don't Look Up' director talk comet metaphors and global warming (exclusive)

Production Control Room

(Image credit: Michael Krivicka)

Krivicka admits that the most challenging aspect of this stunt was to make it feel so realistic and believable that the innocent participants would react to something they couldn't see with their own eyes. 

"It was an elaborate mindf--- created by connecting what they saw on the breaking news screen and what they saw outside: panicked crowds looking up at an imminent threat in the sky. It was a very complex scenario that involved a number of signals that had to happen in a very specific sequence. Our hidden camera control room felt like NASA's mission control center, but instead of landing people safely on a planet, we aimed to destroy our planet with a comet."

Director Michael Krivicka (in red vest) on set with his team

Director Michael Krivicka (in red vest) on set with his team. (Image credit: Michael Krivicka)

While their last Netflix stunt for "Sweet Tooth" was filmed in Los Angeles, Krivicka and his team were happy to return to their favorite playground in New York City to produce this project. 

"Finding the perfect location was key, and after weeks of scouting we found it on Wall Street of all places," he said. "The space needed to have large windows with the perfect view, and the interior had to be large enough that we could transform it into an office with a control room in the back. We raised the floors of the entire office space to a specific height that worked for our stunt, so the seated marks would have a very specific field of view for each window. It was all about perspective — what you saw and what you couldn't see.”

"Don't Look Up" is currently streaming on Netflix.

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.