Woody Harrelson’s ambitious upcoming project might just be a total disaster. But a lot of people are working to make sure it’s not.
“Lost in London Live,” a comic recollection written by Harrelson himself chronicling a real-life misadventure in the English city, will stream in theaters across the U.S. on Thursday as it’s filmed live, in one shot, across the pond.
With the help of Fathom Events, a production company responsible for theater showings of live concerts, fine arts performances and sporting events, the movie will be filmed in 14 locations within a two-mile radius in central London. It’ll use just one camera, which will need to properly connect to 54 separate receivers throughout the filming in order to transmit footage to audiences.
According to John Rubey, the event company’s CEO, around 400 crew members will be on hand to ensure the spectacle ― which stars Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson alongside Harrelson ― goes according to plan. But it will be a tough assignment.
For starters, the film is an hour and five minutes long. The single camera that will be used to shoot the movie can only hold an hour and six minutes’ worth of data, Harrelson has stated. Any filming delays might present technical problems that would be witnessed throughout hundreds of theaters.
But, as Rubey suggested, not knowing what could happen contributes to an “energy” that’s all part of the draw.
“It’s kind of the same thing that drives sports,” Rubey told The Huffington Post about the medium of live film, “and that’s uncertainty of the outcome.”
He added, “If you think about Woody, Owen and Willie having something unpredictable happen, it sounds like a lot of fun.”
The film is billed as a first-of-its-kind experience, providing theatergoers with a fictionalized story that will begin around 2 a.m. local time for a 9 p.m. EST debut. The most difficult shots, Rubey said, surround scenes shot from moving vehicles that also include dialogue, which appear “a couple of times” in the script.
Actors and crew members have been rehearsing scenes from the film since December. Because the project requires streets to be shut down, however, full run-throughs have been more limited. The first full rehearsal happened on Monday.
“It’s never been done before, and there’s probably a reason for that, but we’ll see if it turns out good,” Harrelson says, with his signature drawl, in the video above. He’s explained that his inspiration for the project was a result of his dual appreciation for theater and film, and a desire to combine the two. Realizing that theater requires a live audience brought him to Fathom Events.
“And that’s the kind of ‘eureka’ moment I might regret for the rest of my life. Unless it’ll be great, in which case, I’ll be really glad I had the thought,” Harrelson says above.
“Lost in London Live” hits theaters nationwide on Jan. 19. Find tickets through Fathom Events.