×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

PopPolitics: James Gray on How Today’s Rise of Trump Plays Into ‘Lost City of Z’

James Gray, director of “The Lost City of Z,” which opens this weekend, said that what first drew him to the story was its undercurrent of class striving.

Set in Edwardian England, it focuses on Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), whose family name has been tarnished by his father’s misdeeds, and he sets out to become a world famous explorer. His obsession becomes the search for a legendary lost civilization in the Amazon, which he never finds.

The project went through years in development, and Gray says that his perspective even changed.

“Then as the movie took a long time get made, what I began to see is the encroaching nationalism and the creeping racism, really, and I decided to delve into that as much as I could for the movie, because it was certainly there — Edwardian England, as it is today,” he says, referring to the rise of Donald Trump, Brexit, and other movements.

In the movie, Fawcett is viewed as somewhat of an outlier in thinking that the indigenous populations of the Amazon were anything but savages, and certainly not capable of an advanced civilization. Gray said that in making the movie, though, what he wanted to avoid any storyline of the white man as the “noble savage,” or that the indigenous people depend “on the white, blonde haired European for their existence.”

“What I tried to do was treat the indigenous people in the film as entirely independent of the white man’s involvement,” he tells Variety‘s “PopPolitics” on SiriusXM.

Gray said that for him, typically “making the movies about what is wrong with the world is a great motivator,” so “The Lost City of Z,” a story set a century ago, was a bit unusual for him.

A challenge was that the movie doesn’t end with the discovery of the lost city. Based on David Grann’s book, “The Lost City of Z,” it shows how Fawcett, on his last expedition with his son, disappeared into the Amazon in 1925 and was never heard from again.

Listen below:

Hasan Minhaj’s Big Break

Nikki Schwab of Daily Mail talks about the selection of Hasan Minhaj as the featured entertainer at this year’s White House Correspondents Assn. dinner, and how the decision by President Trump to skip the event may actually be a great opportunity for the comic.

Listen below:

“PopPolitics,” hosted by Variety’s Ted Johnson, airs Thursdays from 2-3 pm ET/11-noon PT on SiriusXM’s political channel POTUS. It also is available on demand.

More Biz

  • iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive

    iHeartMedia Promotes Angel Aristone to Executive VP of Communications

    Angel Aristone has been promoted to executive vice president of communications for iHeartMedia, the company announced today. According to the announcement, Aristone will continue to position iHeart as a media and entertainment leader through proactive strategic communication efforts on both a local and national level. She will also continue to oversee media relations and external [...]

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara Out as Warner Bros. Chief Amid Sexual Impropriety Scandal

    Kevin Tsujihara has resigned his post as chairman-CEO of Warner Bros. following an investigation into his relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk and allegations he used his clout to help her find work at the studio. In a statement, Tsujihara said he realized “my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s [...]

  • TV Ad Sales Upfronts

    NBCUniversal, Sky Make Joint Ad Offering as TV Upfront Looms

    NBCUniversal and Sky PLC will offer joint packages of advertising services, a new effort to monetize the European satellite broadcaster, which was purchased by parent Comcast Corp. for $39 billion last year. Advertisers will be able to reach customers in sundry international markets as well as the United States, using inventory across NBCU and Sky [...]

  • Robert Iger and Rupert Murdochcredit: Disney

    Wall Street Applauds as Disney Nears Finish Line on Fox Acquisition

    Wall Street is rooting for Disney as the media giant reaches the finish line this week in its 15-month quest to acquire most of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV empire. Fox shareholders, on the other hand, are being a little more cautious. Disney is poised to close the $71.3 billion deal that took many twists [...]

  • Sony Music Names Amanda Collins Head

    Sony Music Names Amanda Collins Global Head of Corporate Communications

    Amanda Collins has been named executive vice president and global head of corporate communications for Sony Music Entertainment, effective immediately, it was announced today by CEO Rob Stringer. According to the announcement, in this role she will be responsible for the company’s global internal and external communications strategy and its implementation around the world, working [...]

  • Trocadero

    Philadelphia’s Iconic Trocadero Theatre to Close, Owner Confirms (EXCLUSIVE)

    After several days of rumors and a last-minute attempt by local promoters to save it, Philadelphia’s Trocadero Theatre — part of the city’s entertainment skyline since 1870 — is closing at the end of May, owner Joanna Pang confirms to Variety. The last of the city’s mid-sized independent live venues, the 1,200-capacity Chinatown performance palace [...]

  • FilMart: China's Times Vision Steps Into

    FilMart: Arthouse Distributor Times Vision Steps Into Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    This year’s FilMart marks the international sales debut of Beijing-based distributor Times Vision, which brings to Hong Kong a slate led by crime thriller “Savage” and animated feature “Nezha.” The company will be presenting nine live action films, including one documentary, and seven animated titles. Times Vision is led by CEO Nathan Hao, who co-founded [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content