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“Oh god, it took forever to grow. I was so happy to get rid of it. It was disgusting, the whole thing was disgusting,” he told The Hollywood Reporter on Saturday night. “And I had lost so much weight by the end of the shoot — nearly 35 pounds, we weren’t eating the entire time — that when I shaved it off, it was like I had no bottom half of my face. I was like a small, strange squirrel.”
Set in 1925 and based on David Grann’s best-selling book of the same name, the true-life drama stars Charlie Hunnam as British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon.
The long-gestating adaptation was originally set to star Plan B producer Brad Pitt, and then Benedict Cumberbatch. “But then his wife got pregnant right before we were gonna [start shooting] — I wasn’t gonna make him go to the jungle while his kid was being born. That would make me the worst person ever,” writer-director Gray laughed. Of casting Hunnam as the lead, he said, “He’s so dedicated. He lost 45 pounds in eight weeks for the movie. I love him and I have mad respect for what he went through for this movie.”
Sienna Miller, Tom Holland and cinematographer Darius Khondji were also on hand to introduce the 35mm print of the New York Film Festival closing-night gala title, which was prefaced with atmospheric jungle sounds playing in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
“The book was great so I’m sure I’ll hear a lot of, ‘Yeah the movie was good but the book was a lot better.’ So just don’t read the book, OK?” Gray joked to attendees. Hunnam sent a comical video message explaining why he couldn’t leave a film shoot in Montenegro for the premiere: “It would’ve cost one million dollars for me to be there, and although I would’ve paid for it, actually when it came down to it, I wouldn’t.”
Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street will release The Lost City of Z in limited theaters on April 21, 2017.
— Ashley Lee (@cashleelee) October 16, 2016
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