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The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Woody Harrelson at UI for first U.S. screening of ‘Lost in London’

The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Al
Woody Harrelson visits the IMU on Thursday, Jan. 25 to speak about his new movie “Lost in London” which premiered earlier this month. This is the first live screening of the film in the U.S. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

By Julia DiGiacomo

[email protected]

Academy Award- and Emmy-nominated actor Woody Harrelson joined audience members at the IMU on Jan. 25 for the first U.S. screening of Lost in London in a year. After the screening, Harrelson was brought on stage for questions from Iowa Pubic Radio’s Charity Nebbe and the public.

His film Lost in London was first broadcast live to more than 500 cinemas in the U.S. on Jan. 19, 2017. In Harrelson’s début as a writer and director, the film was ambitiously shot on just one camera in a single take across the streets of London. Harrelson said they had to rehearse daily for months in preparation.

University Lecture Committee chair and UI student Ben Hyland said the Lecture Committee was offered the chance through a special campus tour series with five universities across the country. The UI was the first stop on the tour.

“This is one of the biggest events that [the University Lecture Committee] has had in the past few years,” Hyland said. “It’s been phenomenal in response so far from the community.”

Starring Harrelson as himself, the comedic film is based on a real night he spent in London in 2002. It also notably features Owen Wilson and Willie Nelson.

“It was one of those things where I couldn’t get it out of my head,” Harrelson said when asked by Nebbe why he would want to recount a night described as his worst.

The film starts off with his wife discovering his infidelity through blaring tabloid headlines. After being confronted, he embarks on a series of misadventures, eventually ending up arrested and spending a night in jail for damaging a taxi.

“I just kept thinking about it. Then one day I woke up and I started thinking about it from a different perspective,” Harrelson said. “Really, comedy is just tragedy with a turn on its head … and a little time.”

Some of the strongest comedic moments of the film centered on Wilson’s and Harrelson’s on-screen friendship as themselves.

“Owen came up with so much great stuff,” Harrelson said. “He’s actually brilliant.”

Harrelson said there was a point at which he realized how difficult his filming style would be, but at that point, it was too late; he was committed. Harrelson also described the amount of intricacy that goes into each detail and room on set.

“You could have taken five more minutes just to see all of the intricate layers of great stuff [the set designer] did in just one of the rooms,” he said.

Harrelson said he has done almost 100 movies now, “which is a lot of flops but a lot of great ones.” He said his role in Zombieland was one of his favorites, and he hinted at a sequel.

“You might be the first person for me to tell, well, all of you comrades here, that I think we will make another one,” Harrelson announced to applause.

The event was cosponsored by the Bijou Film Board, University Lecture Committee, and FilmScene.

Bijou Film Board Executive Director and UI Ph.D. student Hannah Bonner was especially intrigued to see Lost in London after reading that it was based on events in Harrelson’s life. She was interested in seeing how he plays with the public’s perception of who he is in the film.

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About the Contributor
Julia DiGiacomo, Politics reporter
Julia DiGiacomo is a politics reporter and digital producer at The Daily Iowan. She is a junior majoring in journalism and international relations with a Spanish minor. Throughout her freshman year, Julia worked as a news reporter with a focus on the human rights beat.