Judging from the glitz and glamour of the red carpet at “The Lost City of Z” premiere, one would never have guessed all of the grunt work that the cast and crew went through to get their movie onto the big screen. Stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland, as well as producer Brad Pitt, were among the stars in attendance at the ArcLight Hollywood on Wednesday night as James Gray’s historical drama made its debut.
The film, which features the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Hunnam) and his obsession with finding the remnants of a once-great civilization in the Amazon, was in development for several years before a grueling shoot in the Colombian jungle.
Pattinson, who plays Fawcett’s aide-de-camp Henry Costin, discussed what it was like to shoot in the jungle. “After the first week when we realized it’s basically going to be a tropical thunderstorm at 3:30 p.m. every single day, it was kind of easy to go with it because it was pretty consistent weather — just not a lot of time to shoot anything,” Pattinson said. “But I find that anything that makes it easier to not act at all makes it way easier. We were just in a raft on the river and the only difference was there was a camera there; I thought it was very satisfying and fun.”
Holland, who plays Fawcett’s eldest son, Jack, shared some anecdotes from that same jungle shoot. “One of the funniest moments was when the howler monkeys decided to throw feces at us, because that’s what they do,” Holland recalled. “It was disgusting, but also hilarious.”
Hunnam, who had an insect crawl into his ear at one point in the jungle shoot, still loved his time on set. “I’m a great lover of the outdoors so any time I can be, like in our film, spending enormous amounts of time in the Highlands of Scotland and Snowdonia National Park and then in Colombia,” Hunnam said. “Any time I can be outside and away from big groups of people, I’m at my happiest.”
While the shoot itself was “hellish” in the words of Gray, the film had to shake off years of being stuck in development before it could even get to that point.
“At a certain point I stopped thinking that the movie would even get made, around 2011 or 2012, and I went off to make another film. I just gave up completely,” said the director. “It’s actually a testament to Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner, who were the producers and stayed committed to getting it made and kind of called me out of the blue to bring it back together. It’s a great joy and strange to be here tonight for that reason.”
After the screening of the film, the cast, crew, and guests made their way to Le Jardin in Hollywood for an after-party. Among other notables in attendance were “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins and “X-Men: Apocalypse” actor Tye Sheridan.
“The Lost City of Z” opens in theaters on April 14.