James Gray to Direct Brad Pitt in The Lost City of Z
by Alex Billington
December 9, 2008
The Lost City of Z is a period epic about a British explorer who was lost in the Amazon searching for the mythical City of Z, the supposed location of an advanced civilization. Paramount has just announced that James Gray, of We Own the Night previously, will direct the adaptation. The film is based on David Grann's forthcoming book due out on shelves in February. Apparently Gray will be writing the adaptation himself. Plan B Entertainment is developing the project and Brad Pitt is set to star as the British explorer. "This is a terrific opportunity to do something entirely different for me," Gray said of the news. "It is a story that will be told with an epic scale, with a main character who is larger than life."
Grann's book focuses on the British explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett, who went searching for the so-called City of Z in the Amazon, but mysteriously disappeared in 1925. Over the last 80 years, countless explorers have tried and failed to retrace Fawcett's path, including a 1996 expedition of Brazilian adventurers. He is said to have been an inspiration for Indiana Jones and other fictional archaeologists. No one knows what happened to him, which makes me wonder if this script will eventually have Fawcett discover the City of Z (and whoever is there), but still have him die or stay there forever.
I am quite interested in finding out more about this, as there is something that I find very appealing about it. I'm also reminded of Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain, and the scenes in that film that involved Hugh Jackman as the conquistador. If James Gray can make an entire movie set in that same kind of dark, intimate jungle atmosphere, then I know I will love it. Speaking of Gray, I actually enjoyed We Own the Night, although it got trashed by critics. Unfortunately that film doesn't help convince me that he'll be able to handle an epic like this, so I'll say I'm cautiously optimistic and will be waiting to see how it develops. The next big step will be finding a damn good screenwriter.