The Lost City Directors Reveal How That Hilarious Mid-Credits Scene Came Together

Note: This article will contain spoilers for the 2022 film "The Lost City."

Adam and Aaron Nee's "The Lost City" was released in theaters on March 25 of this year, coming in at #1 at the box office that weekend, unseating "The Batman" as the highest-grossing film in the country. As of today, "The Lost City" is available to stream on Paramount+. While certainly a trifle, "The Lost City" was reviewed positively on /Film (and elsewhere), called "a good old time at the movies" by critic Hoai-Tran Bui.

The premise of the movie has the whiff of Robert Zemeckis' 1984 adventure film "Romancing the Stone" on it: Sandra Bullock plays a former archeologist named Loretta Sage who turned to writing romance novels when archeology wasn't paying the bills. Her novels are all in the "Indiana Jones" pulp adventure vein, and just to keep her mind occupied, Loretta included a lot of genuine archeological detail. It's those details that attract the attention of a kooky millionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) who kidnaps Loretta and forces her to help him discover the location of a long-lost treasure on a remote tropical island set to be swallowed by a volcano in a few days. Coming to her rescue is book cover model Alan (Channing Tatum), a handsome beefsteak of a man who, while good on book tours, has to quickly develop heroic skills to save his boss-cum-potential lover. 

Alan is wise enough to hire a guide to help him through his jungle sojourn and finds Jack Trainer (Brad Bitt), a man who looks and behaves very much like a character in a Loretta Sage adventure novel, only in real life. Jack Trainer is not the sort of man who's supposed to exist, and both Alan and Loretta are impressed by his handsomeness, affability, and skill. That he is unexpectedly dispatched partway through the film is a fun, bloody, shocking twist that leaves Alan and Loretta not only at a loss for guidance but kind of realizing the true depths of their incompetence. 

Trainer, luckily, returns partway through the credits of the film. He's okay! Well ... kind of. In an interview with ScreenRant, the Nees discussed Jack Trainer, how they came up with the mid-credits scene, and the kind of old-world adventure story he comes from. 

The fate of Jack Trainer

Jack Trainer was pretty unambiguously dead in "The Lost City." A bullet to the head will pretty reliably take a person's life. Alan lost a mentor and Loretta lost a potential love interest who looks and feels like the hunky heroes she writes about. Pitt was perfectly cast as such a character, as he's handsome enough to be an archetypal adventure hero but funny enough to give his role a little bit of sardonic sparkle. 

That sparkle comes out in "The Lost City's" credit sequence wherein Alan and Loretta are attending a yoga class together. And who should be behind them but Jack Trainer, his head bandaged. Being something of a master of his own mind, as he put it, he was able to, in a superhuman display of mental power, shove his consciousness into the part of his brain that did not take a bullet. 

This fun little return was something hidden from the cast — it wasn't in the original script — and in the ScreenRant interview, the Nees talked about how they filmed it. Aaron said: 

"That's something that we intended to slip in from the beginning, but wasn't officially in the script. So we had some side pages that we wrote that we talked with Brad about and it wasn't even officially in the shooting schedule, either. We had to find how we're going to slip it in there. But we loved his character so much and felt like the movie is such a non-cynical, warm embrace of adventure that makes you feel good. And we want the audience to leave the movie feeling good. We also just love the idea of him being such a Zen master in control of his mind that he can just switch which [which] 10% of his brain he's using after getting shot."

The return of Jack Trainer

Adam said that the set was such a laidback place, he was unconcerned about asking an enormous movie star like Pitt to add an extra day to the shooting schedule to take care of a funny scene that he had to slip to the actor on the sly:

"I think one of my great memories of this process was slipping Brad the pages for that scene. There's a couple versions of that scene, there's like a five-minute version of that scene, we shot a lot of crazy stuff, and him being like, 'What is this?' But [he was] so game. That was what was so crazy about him and the entire cast is that we would ask them to do such crazy things and everybody played along. They all brought such positive, playful energy to the process and it never felt like, 'Oh, we're making a movie with movie stars and they're difficult.' Everyone was just like, 'Let's do it, that sounds amazing.'"

The success of "The Lost City" fulfilled the dream of many cinephiles the world over. Not based on a known property, and driven by little more than its genre and the charisma of its stars, "The Lost City" was a throwback not so much to the "Indiana Jones" knockoffs of the 1980s, but to the diverse film landscape of the mid-1990s, when a wide variety of mid-budget movies could dominate the box office. Here is a film with a budget of about $70 million that made nearly $200 million worldwide, and sold itself on the presence — and well-worn shtick — of notable movie stars. What is this? 1994? 

There has, as of this writing, been no announcement of a sequel to "The Lost City," and any description of such would be mere speculation. For the time being, one can see "The Lost City" on Paramount+.