Woody Harrelson on His Crazy, Live Directorial Debut ‘Lost in London’

     January 16, 2017

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No matter what happens this Thursday night in London, you’ve got to give Woody Harrelson credit for taking a big risk with his directorial debut, Lost in London. That’s because not only is he writing, directing and starring in the project, it’s going to be screened live in U.S. movie theaters while it’s being shot on the London stage. This means audiences will be able to experience the unique opportunity to watch a film shot in real time which also stars Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson.

According to Fathom Events, which is presenting the special cinema event, the film is loosely based on a crazy night full of real-life events and it follows Harrelson, playing himself, as he struggles to get home to his family. It’ll include run-ins with royalty, old friends, and the law. Following the feature presentation, Harrelson will participate in a live Q&A.

the-duel-woody-harrelsonEven though Harrelson is super busy with production, the other day I was able to land an exclusive interview with him. He talked about where the story came from and how it’s very personal, how the movie will be shot with a single camera and in one take, how they’re still reworking some of the scenes, and more. In addition, with Harrelson a part of director Matt Reeves War For the Planet of the Apes, he talked about his love of the franchise and getting to be part of Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s Han Solo movie. Check out what he had to say below.

If you’d like to watch Lost in London this Thursday night, tickets can be purchased online by visiting this link or at participating theater box offices. Fans throughout the U.S. will be able to enjoy the event in more than 550 select movie theaters through Fathom’s Digital Broadcast Network (DBN).

Finally, before getting to the interview, check out the trailer:

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COLIIDER: You’ve never written or directed anything before Lost in London, what made you say I’ll just do the most challenging thing ever and start with that?

woody-harrelson-lost-in-londonWOODY HARRELSON: Well that’s a good question. I’ve been asking myself that very same question quite a bit lately, and I might’ve bit out more than I can chew. But I’ll tell you what, it might end up being pretty good. It’s a lot of work, we’re still everyday working on the script and every day I think, “Well, that shot doesn’t look right, that’s the wrong place for the camera.” There’s just so much that’s still left to be done, there’s literally a million and one things to accomplish between now and when it hits. But I guess this can happen [Laughs].

I’m really looking forward to it. I think that it’s really ambitious. I mean, you’re doing something that’s never been done before. Can you talk a little bit about where the story came from and what inspired you to write this?

HARRELSON: It was an incident that happened to me several years back just after the turn of the century actually. And it was a very unpleasant experience and I don’t know why later I thought to myself, “Wow, comedy.” It’s a very personal story, so personal that I don’t think anyone in their right mind would ever bring it up again and tell it. But, of course, I’m probably not in my right mind, so here I am telling this very personal story. There’s something cathartic about it, I felt like I had to say it and get it out.

I guess it’s just the love of theater, love of theater, love of film, and I wanted to merge the two and realizing just because you merge them that…It doesn’t make it a theatrical event unless there’s an audience. I don’t know, these are the kind of things that led me to where I am. I gotta say, it’s exciting, it feels like what it must be like to walk a tightrope and know there’s no safety nets. The fact that it could be a disaster is what, in spite of it keeping me up at night, keeps the adrenaline flowing.

Regarding filming this thing, how many cameras are you gonna have going to tell this story? Do you have five cameras, do you have ten? How are you setting this up?

HARRELSON: 22 cameras.

Wait, how many?

woody-harrelson-lost-in-london-posterHARRELSON: Just kidding, there’s only one camera. It’s a single camera, single take. That’s another thing that adds to the ambitiousness of this deal.

I think there was a Russian film from a number of years ago that tried to do something not on the stage where they did it with one take, one camera and it’s very ambitious.

HARRELSON: Yeah it’s called Russian Art.

That’s it!

HARRELSON: They also did a great movie called Victoria with one camera, one take that really came out great. So, I don’t know, it wasn’t –I honestly thought that I would be using multiple cameras and using all sorts of POVs of like CCTV cameras sometimes on the street, but my dear friend Nigel Willoughby, who’s the DP and I think is phenomenal –I first saw his work with The Magdalene Sisters and I thought it was amazing, and I actually had just a fan call where I called him up and said how great it was and that I’d love to work with him someday. Then later I see he’s doing Downton Abbey and he did incredible work on that. So I was always hoping to work with him, so he was one of my first calls. When I wrote the script and I sent it to him, it was his idea, and also I love Victoria but he loved Victoria too and I think it kind of influenced him into wanting to do a single take, a single camera. Which I think just adds to the level of tension, but anyway that’s what we’re doing [Laughs].

You’re doing this live in London, are you not?

HARRELSON: Yeah, yeah.

So I was gonna say, it airs at 9 o’ clock East Coast, does that mean you’re starting to film this thing at like 1am local time?

HARRELSON: 2am.

That’s even more ambitious.

HARRELSON: Yeah [Laughs]. We just hope everybody’s awake.

I think it’s gonna be very exciting, that won’t be a problem.

HARRELSON: I hope not.

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