11:00am PT by Chris Gardner
Woody Harrelson Film Winkingly References Power Lawyer Marty Singer
Woody Harrelson made his feature directorial debut on Jan. 19 with the Fathom Events release Lost in London — billed as the first feature-length film shot in real time and broadcast live to cinemas (550 screens in the U.S., including Regal L.A. Live Stadium 14, where The Hollywood Reporter spotted filmmaker Spike Jonze and Jonah Hill taking in the experimental project).
Shot on one camera, it featured 14 central London locations, 30 actors, 300-plus crewmembers and one single take. But there's also one juicy scene that winks at power lawyer Marty Singer. Inspired by the night Harrelson was arrested for vandalizing a taxicab in London on June 7, 2002, the film follows the actor after he finishes a performance of a play in central London only to discover that a tabloid has splashed him on the cover courtesy of an alleged cheating scandal.
He escapes to a VIP nightclub where he bumps into celebrity pal Owen Wilson, playing himself. In one of the more hilarious exchanges in the film, Wilson suggests that Harrelson could've made the whole thing go away if only he had called "Marty," presumably referring to star lawyer Singer of L.A.-based firm Lavely & Singer. Harrelson offers that he didn't want to pay Marty's proposed $30,000 fee, while Wilson counters that scandalized stars like Pee-wee Herman and Tiger Woods didn't make the call to Marty either, hence why they, too, have been splashed on the cover of tabloids.
"Did you hear about Daniel Day-Lewis?" Wilson asks, also mentioning a Lady Gaga story in passing. "You never will — he paid." Matthew McConaughey was able to bury his fat photos with Marty's help, Wilson claims. "El gordo," Wilson continues. "He paid."
Singer's name didn't come up in the post-screening Q&A (also live-streamed into the theater) but Harrelson, who wrote the film and produced it alongside Ken Kao of Waypoint Entertainment, did mention the nightclub scene. He revealed that the club he actually went to in real life back in 2002 was Chinawhite and the actor he ran into was Leonardo DiCaprio.
As for Singer, he wouldn't confirm or deny that the mention was supposed to be about him. “I haven’t seen the movie, but it makes me want to see it," Singer told THR. The lawyer isn't the only famous name dropped in the film. Harrelson and Wilson get in an argument after Wilson gushes about his "best friend" Wes Anderson, a relationship status that upsets Harrelson, leading him to insult Anderson as a “precious” filmmaker who tries too hard. “[Wes Anderson] is a Woody Allen wannabe who hasn’t made a good movie since Bottle Rocket,” disses Harrelson.
Wilson’s comeback is that he was the first actor offered the role of Larry Flynt in The People vs. Larry Flynt, a role that garnered Harrelson an Oscar nomination. “You haven’t had sex appeal since the '80s,” claims Wilson. Not to be outdone, Harrelson retorts, “You got out-acted by a dog in Marley & Me.” Ouch.
A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.