Woody Harrelson’s film Lost in London is set to premiere in theaters on January 19 — but it also won’t be filming until then. For the actor’s latest undertaking has its goal set for “first time ever” status — attempting to be the first live broadcast feature film — whatever that may mean for its quality. As Harrelson states in a teaser for the film (obviously sans footage from the actual project, as it doesn’t exist yet), he decided that the experience of “one of the worst nights of [his] life” would make “good comedy.” And wrapped up in that comedy is of course the notion that anything could go wrong at any time while filming, and that whatever does go wrong will indeed be seen by all watching.
The movie, called Lost in London, will star Harrelson (who also wrote it, and will direct), Owen Wilson, and Willie Nelson. According to an interview in Entertainment Weekly, the “worst night” in question occurred in 2002, and saw the actor landing in jail in London after breaking an ashtray in a cab. “But in this film,” Harrelson says in the interview, “the whole night starts bad and keeps getting progressively worse.” He calls it a “soul-searching comedy,” but emphasizes in the interview that he doesn’t want to reveal too much else.
Harrelson says he’s “always loved theatre and film and wanted to find the best way to merge the two.” He continues:
When I decided to shoot this in real time I realized it wasn’t quite like true theatre because the one piece missing was a live audience. By broadcasting the film live as its being shot I hope to truly blend the excitement of live theater with the scale and scope of film.
To add even more pressure, it’ll all be made in a single take — something Harrelson’s cinematographer, Nigel Willoughby (The Magdalene Sisters) convinced him would be best, given their shared admiration for the German single take film Victoria.
The interviewer also brings up rain as a potential saboteur, given that it’s filming in London, and Harrelson responds, “Every night I wake up in the middle of the night and completely freak out. Rain is one of the things that freaks me out the most.”
Apparently, the film will screen in 500 theaters as it’s being shot; it’ll film for 100 minutes at 2 am in England, screening at 9 pm EST and 6 pm PST in the States. It comprises a 30-person cast, and will see them filming across 14 locations.