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The Lost City Interview: Directors Adam & Aaron Nee on Blending Different Genres

The Lost City, which stars Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, Oscar Nuñez, and Brad Pitt, is now available to own digitally and to stream on Paramount+. As stated in our review, the comedic adventure features plenty of action and laughs.

“Brilliant but reclusive author Loretta Sage has spent her career writing about exotic places in her popular romance-adventure novels featuring handsome cover model Alan, who has dedicated his life to embodying the hero character, ‘Dash,’” reads the synopsis. “While on tour promoting her new book with Alan, Loretta is kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire who hopes that she can lead him to the ancient lost city’s treasure from her latest story. Wanting to prove that he can be a hero in real life and not just on the pages of her books, Alan sets off to rescue her. Thrust into an epic jungle adventure, the unlikely pair will need to work together to survive the elements and find the ancient treasure before it’s lost forever.”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with The Lost City directors Adam and Aaron Nee about blending genres, post-credit scenes, and more.

Tyler Treese: The Lost City has such a great mid-credit scene. I thought it was hilarious. What do you think about this trend going on? Almost every movie has it now, but I like that you guys are able to have fun with it here.

Adam Nee: I think as a filmmaker, you just feel like, “Well, I have an opportunity to give you like one more punchline that can be a little bit outside of the box of the main story.” So it just feels like … to have that swing, like why not take it? For us to do a little surprise with Brad’s character, like the fact that Brad’s even in the movie was such a surreal gift. That was like, “well, let’s just squeeze in one more moment with him.”

Aaron Nee: The trend has become such that it feels like those bumps exist exclusively to slip a trailer in for another movie. And we like the idea of using it actually to slip in one more fun character moment.

What I really liked about the film was just how you were able to blend all these genres together. Sometimes I see that in films and it goes very wrong, the tone just doesn’t mesh, but it all came together here. Talk me through just balancing that, because I imagine it’s hard to do, and it’s so easy to go just a little bit too far in one direction and it tips everything off.

Aaron: Yeah. The balance between the adventure and the comedy and the romance was something that we were very conscientious about and was a big part of our initial take on this movie when we came to the studio to talk about our vision for it. We wanted this movie to be not just a comedy or a comedy that cannibalizes the action or action that cannibalizes the romance, but instead look at constantly throughout the whole process, the writing, the shooting, and in post, be watching those and make sure they’re supporting each other, rather than undercutting each other.

Adam: I feel like it’s like nowadays, you do need for a theatrical movie to be more than one thing, you know? I think it is important to have sort of a blend. Even look at the great success of Marvel films, I feel what makes that world so sprawling and fun now is how much irreverence and poking fun that they’ll do, because it stops being so earnest and so overly dramatic. I think you need to have that balance of all of these different elements to stand up as a theatrical film.

RELATED: Interview: The Lost City Directors Adam and Aaron Nee Discuss the Hit Comedy

This was definitely you guys’ biggest film yet. Working on like a blockbuster like this, can you talk me through what surprised you most about this process? We’re seeing films kind of change, where they have to be these tentpoles to find an audience in theaters. Adapting to these types of huge films is a very important skill set and you both showed that.

Adam: Thank you! Yeah, I mean, going from the indie world to a big movie like this, obviously, there are some huge differences. I mean, the kind of actor pool that you have access to obviously changes very drastically. The talent of some of the crew … you can really get some of the most incredible people, but ultimately it’s interesting. It feels like the job as the director stays kind of the same where you’re really just communicating your vision to these incredible craftsmen and creating a team and making this thing together. And I feel like everyone had really latched onto the vision for this film, of being something that was big enough for a theatrical experience, but also intimate and sweet and could connect to an audience.

Tyler Treese: I was really curious about how the film evolved over time as you continued to work on this through production, what was the biggest shift from, you know, what was it was initially?

Aaron: This movie stayed pretty consistent from the moment we came on through. It was a gradual refining of that balance of the adventure and the comedy and the romance, and playing with each of those elements, watching it in the scripting process, watching it on set while we’re working with the actors, and really modulating. “Okay, is the comedy now undercutting us taking seriously your relationship? Or are we spending too much time just really hitting home this relationship thing and we’re losing the pace of an adventure?” And so it was a constant adjusting, readjusting, and balancing throughout the process to get us to where we are.

Adam: It was very ambitious. There were things that definitely … I think right before production started that did have to go and change because we were going to do all kinds of crazy stuff. And you had to just get very real with, like … we had a finite budget shooting in the jungle for a limited amount of days. And so really, all of the big changes happened before we started shooting. Once we started shooting, we shot the movie that you guys see.

What was the biggest lesson you learned here that you’re going to apply to your future work like Masters of the Universe?

Adam: I think, to me, the important thing is really recognizing that filmmaking is a team sport. It’s a collaborative thing. So you shine by surrounding yourself with excellent people who are kind and want to be there and are gonna bring everything that they have to the table. Just embracing the collaboration that filmmaking is, I think, has been something that we have continued to do, and I think is a way to really reach great success.

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