Live-shooting with Woody Harrelson at 2am: ‘There’s something about the terror of it I love’26 days ago
In 2002, the star ended up in jail after being chased through London by police. Now hes turning that wild night into a single-take movie starring Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson to be beamed live into cinemas. What could possibly go wrong?
It is almost midnight on Monday evening and Woody Harrelson is presenting me around the situate for his directorial debut, Lost in London. An unused building in the centre of the capital has been hijacked to house assorted places including a club with burlesque trimmings where gold statues hang from the ceiling and a police station complete with cells and interview rooms.
Theres just one problem: Harrelson doesnt seem to know where he is. Hold on, he mumbles. I lost track of what floor were on. Wheres the? His bleariness has always been a considerable part of his charm: that sleepy Texan drawl, that quizzical gaze, half-amazed and half-sceptical. But padding around in tracksuit bottoms and a fleece, his eyes faintly bloodshot, the 55 -year-old actor looks positively somnambulant. He smiles as he recognises his cinematographer, Nigel Willoughby. Nigel, wheres the room where I get booked by the policemen? An affectionate chuckle: Next floor up, Woody.
No wonder Harrelson is dazed. In stimulating Lost in London, he has taken on the biggest challenge of a 32 -year career that has stretched from the sitcom Cheers to Natural Born Killers, from True Detective to the Hunger Game series. Shortly before we gratify, it is announced that he will play Han Solos mentor in a new Star Wars spin-off due next year. But tonight he cant think about anything except why he decided to write, direct and star in a movie about the worst night of his life and then shoot it all in one unbroken 100 -minute take in 14 locatings across London, complete with chase sequences on foot and by car.
So far, so Victoria. But, while Harrelson was inspired by that German reach, which used the one-take, single-camera approach to tell the narrative of a frantic night in Berlin, he also needed to go one better. That cinema is genius, he tells. Its an inspiring work of art. Ours is a different animal. Willoughby explains: It was me who told Woody we had to do it all with one camera. He told, Victoria did that. How can we improve? Harrelson then came up with the idea of blending elements of theatre and film by live streaming Lost in London to cinemas as it is being shot. Im an adrenaline junkie, he grins. Theres something about the terror of it that I love. Its maintaining me up at night.
Though the movie cant claim to be the first to be broadcast as it is being shoot that honour goes to My One Demand by the interactive-art trio Blast Theory, which was transmitted online and to a single cinema in Toronto last year it is certainly the largest-scale project of its kind; it will hit more than 500 screens in the US on Thursday evening and one in central London in the early hours of Friday morning.
Read more: www.theguardian.com