The Lost City of Z Trailer

[Spoiler Alert]

The anguish of not having a father there is palpable in even the foreword of Exploration Fawcett and the stuff that he adds in the end. The anguish is palpable, and I thought that’s the source of the emotional aspect to it because I didn’t want to make a tragedy. Guy, at the end of the movie, is eaten by indigenous people, that’s not really all that interesting to me. What is interesting to me is yes, he dies almost assuredly, right? But he sees a part of the world white men from Western Europe and North America could never even imagine and comes to some kind of understanding in a way that other people are not equipped. I found that very powerful, so I didn’t think it was a tragedy for him.

Now, for his wife, by the way, is another issue. That’s another issue because she was left without him, without her son and without answers and for decades, and that haunted me, and that’s why I wanted to end with her because I felt that we had to give her her due and understand her as a person. Almost all the dialogue in that last scene is taken from her words exactly. It’s almost sort of a monologue that she has.

[Spoiler Over]

I think what you’re talking about the kind of emotionality I tried to bring into the movie, it really stems from the familial relationships I think and also this idea that they have seen a part of the world and the universe as an extension that other people have no knowledge of.

You really feel like you’re along with Percy. Not until someone asks why he does what he does that you question what drives him. 

Right. It’s a very critical moment, I think. It’s the scene with Pattinson toward the end where he says basically if you find it, it’s not going to give you all the answers. Which I thought was a powerful thing because if Fawcett had found El Dorado or something like that, big stone structures in the jungle, totally unlikely. He might have just walked into the middle of it going, “Wow, what’s next?”

We have a comparative real world example, which would be Hiram Bingham, who discovered Machu Picchu in I believe 1911 or maybe 1912, I forget these things. His life was clearly not over, he became a senator afterward and there was clearly still unfinished business. And you get the sense that Fawcett’s exploration process was both noble and what it is that you wanted to see — but also a form of escape from the rigid class structure in the United Kingdom. A form of escape from life’s indignities and then, of course, the war comes. The mechanized death that probably haunted the hell out of him and it became a way of escaping that.

Charlie Hunnam

The book goes into much greater detail and much darker detail about his racism but also the effects that the war had on him, and his commitment to the occult and then he kind of went off the deep end and I saw through that because I didn’t want to make a movie about a lunatic. I didn’t want you to be able to distance yourself from him. It might have been a more in vogue style movie since we love to laugh at people now and we love to look down on people.

We love to say, “Look how great we are. That guy’s a piece of shit.” My own attitude was that I was trying to do the opposite. To have us understand or feel compassionate for him as much as we could so I did have to soften those things. It’s not based on historical fact, but I don’t really care, it’s not a documentary, it’s not the point, not the reason the movie exists. You don’t watch Raging Bull and say, “Whoa, the brother and his manager are a composite and that’s a cheat.” You don’t watch Richard III and boo at it when it’s historically inaccurate, so to me, it doesn’t make any sense.

You said you want to make a “tender” film, and it’s funny, I think that’s how you could describe Charlie Hunnam’s performance, and you look at him and he looks like someone that would be the lead of a classic adventure movie.

Exactly.

He has this big presence but great sensitivity. What qualities does he have as an actor that you responded to? 

That’s a wonderful point. You know, he was not supposed to be in the movie. It was supposed to be Brad Pitt at first who bought the book, and then Brad went off to make … We couldn’t quite get the project together, it was very expensive, and he went off to make World War Z and one thing led to another, the movie fell apart, and I went off to make a movie called The Immigrant, which was not on the side. I’m very proud of that film, but it was just me trying to do something else after I couldn’t get this going.

Then, when I was on post on The Immigrant, I got a phone call from Plan B and they said, “We just made this movie called 12 Years a Slave, and there’s an actor named Benedict Cumberbatch,. We’d like you to meet with him, he wants to do it” and I was like, “Who?” I’ve never seen Sherlock or I am a loser.

I also don’t watch Sherlock.

We’re losers.

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