The Lost City of Z (film)

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The Lost City of Z
The Lost City of Z (film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Gray
Produced by
Screenplay by James Gray
Based on The Lost City of Z
by David Grann
Music by Christopher Spelman
Cinematography Darius Khondji
Edited by John Axelrad
Distributed by
Release date
  • October 15, 2016 (2016-10-15) (NYFF)
  • April 14, 2017 (2017-04-14) (United States)
Running time
140 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $5.9 million[1]

The Lost City of Z is a 2016 American biographical adventure drama film written and directed by James Gray, based on the 2009 book of the same name by David Grann.[2] It describes real events, about British explorer Percy Fawcett who made several attempts to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon and disappeared in 1925 along with his son on an expedition.[3] It stars Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett[4] along with Robert Pattinson as his fellow explorer Henry Costin and Sienna Miller as his wife Nina Fawcett.[5]

The film had its world premiere as closing night film on October 15, 2016, at the New York Film Festival[6] and was released in the United States on April 14, 2017, by Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street.[7]

Plot summary[edit]

Based on author David Grann’s book, The Lost City of Z tells the true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region.

Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as “savages,” the determined Fawcett — supported by his devoted wife (Sienna Miller), son (Tom Holland), and aide-de-camp (Robert Pattinson) — returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925.




David Lean but with a "slightly more hallucinogenic feel. Because [the protagonist] went to the jungle and sorta went mad."

James Gray, director of The Lost City of Z, on the film.[12]

Originally James Gray was hired by Paramount Pictures and Plan B Entertainment to write and direct the film based on David Grann's 2009 book in February 2009 but the film remained in development stage for six years. Based on his previous films, Gray was not initially sure why Plan B sent him the book. He explains, "When I was sent the book in the fall of 2008, it hadn’t yet been published. I didn’t know what it was and I hadn’t heard of the story at all. It takes place outside of New York, and it’s a period piece in the United Kingdom and the jungle. So I had no idea why the people at Plan B decided to send me this book, because nothing in my prior work had shown that I could do anything like this. Maybe it was an act of madness on their part."[13]

In a 2015 interview with IndieWire, Gray admitted that he had developed the script for a while before moving towards production.[14] He explained that "(it's) very complicated production and the story is amazing, but it's a complicated story. And you want to get it right. It's a very, very scary proposition to go into the jungle and all that. But at the same time it's terrific. It's why you make movies."[14]


The project went through numerous casting changes for the lead role. Initially Brad Pitt was to star as Colonel Percy Fawcett, additionally providing production duties through his Plan B Entertainment.[15][16] In November 2010, Pitt withdrew from the lead role due to scheduling conflicts, but remained attached as the producer to the film.[17] On September 4, 2013, Benedict Cumberbatch came on board to portray Fawcett,[18] along with Robert Pattinson, who also joined the cast as fellow explorer Henry Costin.[19][20]

In February 2015, Cumberbatch also dropped out of the project due to scheduling conflicts, and was replaced by Charlie Hunnam, while Sienna Miller also joined the cast as Nina Fawcett.[21][22]


Principal photography began on August 19, 2015, in Belfast, Northern Ireland and continued for five weeks through late September 2015.[23][24] After that, filming moved to Santa Marta, Colombia, South America and continued through September and October 2015.[25][26] On August 28, 2015, filming took place at Greyabbey Village and Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.[27] Hunnam and Miller filmed scenes at Ballintoy County Antrim on August 31, 2015.[28][29] Filming took place at Craigavon House, East Belfast on September 2, 2015.[30]

Hunnam, Pattinson, Miller and Macfadyen shot scenes at Methodist College Belfast on September 3, 2015.[31] On September 7, 2015, scenes were filmed at Belfast City Hall and on the grounds of Royal Belfast Academical Institution.[32] Scenes were also shot at Bangor Castle Leisure Centre on September 13, 2015.[33]


The Lost City of Z: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Film score soundtrack album
Released March 24, 2017
Genre Alternative rock, indie pop, electronic
Length 55:04[34]
Label Filmtrax[34]
Producer Christopher Spelman
Christopher Spelman chronology
The Immigrant
The Lost City of Z

Christopher Spelman composed the music of the film. He also composed the music of James Gray's 2013 film The Immigrant. He also worked as the music arranger for Gray's previous films including, The Yards (2000), We Own the Night (2007), and Two Lovers (2008). George Drakoulias and Randall Poster served as the music supervisor for the album.[35]

"Tangled Earth" by audiomachine was used in the trailer of the film.[36] The soundtrack was released digitally on March 24, 2017.[37]

No. Title Length
1. "The Lost City of Z" 0:59
2. "The Hunt" 2:35
3. "The First Goodbye" 2:33
4. "Onto the River" 2:29
5. "The Letter" 2:05
6. "City of Gold" 7:39
7. "Source of the Verde River" 5:40
8. "The Grenedier's Welcome" 1:34
9. "The Argument" 2:25
10. "The Attack" 2:20
11. "Crossing the River" 3:16
12. "Delusions" 2:51
13. "Homecoming" 1:48
14. "Confrontation" 3:47
15. "In the Hospital" 3:33
16. "The Chase" 1:40
17. "The Final Journey" 7:50
Total length: 55:04


The film had its world premiere as the closing night film on October 15, 2016, at the 54th New York Film Festival.[8] Prior to that, StudioCanal acquired international distribution rights to the film,[38] while Amazon Studios obtained U.S. distribution rights.[39] Bleecker Street is partnering with Amazon on the film's theatrical release.[40] The film was released in the United States on April 14, 2017.[7] The film was released in France on March 15, 2017 and in the UK on March 24, 2017.[41]

In February 2017, the film was presented at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival in the Berlinale Special section.[42] It also served as the opening night film of Boston International Film Festival on April 13, 2017.[43]


From left to right: Hunnam, Miller, Pattinson and Gray at the film's premiere at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival.

Box office[edit]

The Lost City of Z was first released in France on March 15 where it generated $770,719 on its opening weekend.[1] This was followed by the United Kingdom and Ireland on March 24, earning £270,139 from 282 theatres. It managed to debut at number seven on the box office chart.[44]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 88% based on 154 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Lost City of Z's stately pace and visual grandeur hearken back to classic exploration epics, and Charlie Hunnam turns in a masterful performance as its complex protagonist."[45] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 78 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[46]

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter described the film as "a rare piece of contemporary classical cinema."[47] Dan Callahan in his review for TheWrap said that "The Lost City of Z feels like a clear artistic advance for Gray, who proves himself here as one of our finest and most distinctive living filmmakers."[48] Owen Gleiberman, writing for Variety, called the film "a finely crafted, elegantly shot, sharply sincere movie that is more absorbing than powerful."[49] Joshua Rothkopf in his review for Time Out called it "a rare piece of contemporary classical cinema; its virtues of methodical storytelling, traditional style and obsessive theme are ones that would have been recognized and embraced anytime from the 1930s through the 1970s."[50] Mark Kermode of Kermode and Mayo's Film Review stated that while the film had numerous flaws, such as ineffective elliptical storytelling and Hunnam's uncharismatic performance, "it is a film which is haunting me more than I thought.... it did feel like it was trying [to] break out of being just that narrative into something else".[51]


Year Group/Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2017 International Cinephile Society Awards Best Picture Not Released in 2016 James Gray Won [52]


  1. ^ a b c "The Lost City of Z (2017)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  2. ^ Fleming, Michael (December 9, 2009). "James Gray, Brad Pitt find 'Lost City'". Variety. Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  3. ^ Biello, David (August 28, 2008). "Ancient Amazon Actually Highly Urbanized". Scientific American. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  4. ^ McNary, Dave (February 3, 2015). "Berlin: Charlie Hunnam Joins 'Lost City of Z'". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  5. ^ Davis, Edward (December 27, 2014). "Sienna Miller Joins James Gray's 'Lost City Of Z,' Shooting May Happen Summer 2015". IndieWire. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  6. ^ Erbland, Kate (August 3, 2016). "New York Film Festival Announces James Gray's 'The Lost City of Z' as Closing Night Selection". IndieWire. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Nordine, Michael (September 1, 2016). "Amazon Studios Acquires James Gray's Rainforest Drama 'The Lost City of Z' Starring Charlie Hunnam". IndieWire. Retrieved October 14, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Gregg Kilday (August 3, 2016). "James Gray's 'The Lost City of Z' to Close New York Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 3, 2016. 
  9. ^ "New 'Spider-Man' Tom Holland Joins Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson in 'Lost City of Z'". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  10. ^ "'Lost City Of Z' Adds 'Turn's Angus Macfadyen". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  11. ^ "'In the Heart of the Sea' Actor Edward Ashley Joins Charlie Hunnam in 'Lost City of Z' (Exclusive)". Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  12. ^ Perez, Rodrigo (October 9, 2013). "James Gray May Direct Jeremy Renner's Steve McQueen Biopic; Calls 'Lost City Of Z' Epic & Hallucinogenic". IndieWire. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  13. ^ McKittrick, Christopher (April 14, 2017). "Birth of an Obsession: The Lost City of Z". Creative Screenwriting. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  14. ^ a b Jagernauth, Kevin (April 8, 2015). "Interview: James Gray Talks 'The Immigrant,' Diving Into TV With 'Red Road,' And His Own Favorite Films". IndieWire. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  15. ^ "James Gray, Brad Pitt find 'Lost City'". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  16. ^ "James Gray To Direct Brad Pitt in The Lost City of Z". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Brad Pitt no longer starring in 'Lost City of Z.' Who should take his place?". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Benedict Cumberbatch in Negotiations to Star in James Gray's THE LOST CITY OF Z". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Robert Pattinson Joins Benedict Cumberbatch in James Gray's 'Lost City of Z'". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Robert Pattinson is so much more than Twilight, and his new film The Rover will prove it". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Charlie Hunnam Will Run Around the Amazon With Robert Pattinson in Lost City of Z". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Charlie Hunnam Replaces Benedict Cumberbatch in 'Lost City of Z'". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  23. ^ "New Spider-Man Star Tom Holland Joins Charlie Hunnam in 'Lost City of Z'". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Tom Holland Joins 'Lost City Of Z'; ARC Acquires 'Garm Wars' From 'Ghost In The Shell' Helmer". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  25. ^ "James Gray's 'The Lost City Of Z' Starts Shooting, Marvel's Spider-Man Tom Holland Joins The Cast". Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Next Gen 2015: New Spider-Man Tom Holland on Jake Gyllenhaal, David Ayer and Why He Won't Leave London". Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Brad Pitt sets pulses racing in sleepy Greyabbey village as filming picks up pace". Retrieved August 28, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Charlie Hunnam films on set in Co Antrim". Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Hollywood 'A' listers filming in Ballintoy". Retrieved August 31, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Brad Pitt movie The Lost City Of Z shoots scenes in East Belfast". Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Sienna Miller wraps new red locks beneath questionable pink hairnet as she joins Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson on The Lost City of Z set in Northern Ireland". Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  32. ^ "City Hall takes starring role in Brad Pitt film The Lost City of Z amid speculation star expected in Northern Ireland this week". Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Bangor to become another Movie Destination - The Lost City of Z". Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  34. ^ a b "The Lost City of Z Soundtrack (2017)". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  35. ^ "The Lost City of Z Soundtrack (2017) Credits". Soundtrack.Net. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  36. ^ "The Lost City of Z - UK Trailer - Song / Music Info". Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  37. ^ "'The Lost City of Z' Soundtrack Details". Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  38. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (March 16, 2016). "Studiocanal Acquires Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson's 'Lost City of Z' for Multiple Territories (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 17, 2016. 
  39. ^ Busch, Anita (September 1, 2016). "Amazon Negotiating To Acquire Rights To 'Lost City Of Z'". Retrieved September 2, 2016. 
  40. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (September 9, 2016). "Toronto: Charlie Hunnam Drama 'The Lost City of Z' Lands at Bleecker Street (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  41. ^ "The Lost City of Z – Release Dates". Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  42. ^ "The Lost City of Z". Berlin International Film Festival. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  43. ^ "Max Chicco, dal g-local di Torino a Hollywood e New York". Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  44. ^ Charles Gant (March 28, 2017). "Beauty and the Beast magic helps UK box office survive the spring sunshine". The Guardian. Retrieved March 29, 2017. 
  45. ^ "The Lost City of Z (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved April 28, 2017. 
  46. ^ "The Lost City of Z reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 20, 2017. 
  47. ^ McCarthy, Todd (October 15, 2016). "'The Lost City of Z': NYFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 16, 2016. 
  48. ^ Callahan, Dan (October 15, 2016). "'The Lost City of Z' NYFF Review: Charlie Hunnam Explores the Amazon in Stirring Saga". TheWrap. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  49. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (February 1, 2017). "New York Film Review: 'The Lost City of Z'". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2017. 
  50. ^ "The Lost City of Z reviews Timeout". Retrieved March 24, 2017. 
  51. ^ The Lost City of Z reviewed by Mark Kermode. Youtube. March 24, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2017. 
  52. ^ "'Toni Erdmann' Wins Five Awards From International Cinephile Society". Variety. Retrieved March 24, 2017. 

External links[edit]