There’s a big difference between actors and celebrities. Actors are people who play characters in TV shows, movies, and stage productions. Celebrities are people who may also play characters at times, but they themselves are recognizable and adored even when they’re not performing. Their “real life” persona as telegraphed on talk shows, social media, and through the traditional press is just as interesting as their characters, leading audiences to feel like they know the celebrity — a state that generates megabucks for studios who cast big stars in their movies.
Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt, Dan Radcliffe, and Channing Tatum are celebrities. Bullock’s long career in romantic comedies like While You Were Sleeping, The Proposal, and Miss Congeniality cemented her as the ultimate fun, brilliant, and sarcastic woman who finds love in the wackiest of situations. Brad Pitt’s work as the leading man in Hollywood grants him the status as the über A-Lister whose good looks and charm ooze off the screen, regardless of his personal behavior. Dan Radcliffe’s eclectic post–Harry Potter roles (Horns, Swiss Army Man, the upcoming Weird Al Yankovic pseudo-biopic) lend themselves easily to his quirky, intelligent vibe. As for Channing Tatum, his CV transformed him into the King of the Often Dancing Himbos, first of his name (Step Up, Magic Mike, 21 Jump Street).
The name of the game in Hollywood is to use personas like Bullock’s, Pitt’s, Radcliffe’s, and Tatum’s wisely, and the wisest, if not legitimately genius, casting of all four of these megastars comes through in The Lost City, streaming now on Paramount+. No, really. The roles are perfect.
In The Lost City, Sandra Bullock plays Loretta Sage, a widowed romance novelist whose popular series about searching for a very well-researched lost city stars a fictional superhunk named Dash. Alan (Channing Tatum) is the model who portrays Dash — complete with a flowing blonde wig and frilly shirt — on all of Loretta’s novels, and what he lacks in brains (most of them) he makes up for with sweet sincerity and a desire for Loretta to see him as more than a pretty face. Brilliant lady novelist, meet Himbo Prime. You see where this is going.
Brilliant lady novelist, meet Himbo Prime. You see where this is going.
Or perhaps not. Certifiably bonkers billionaire Abigail Spencer (Dan Radcliffe) kidnaps Loretta and attempts to bribe her with “all of the cheeses” to help him find the actual lost city she writes about in her books. When the cheeses don’t work, he knocks her out with chloroform and spirits her away to the island where the city is located anyway. Alan senses his chance to prove himself to Loretta and enlists the help of his trainer Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt), a ruggedly handsome survivalist and cryptocurrency enthusiast, to help him rescue Loretta in the depths of the tropical jungle. Weirdo and almost too sexy leading man type? Check and check.
Credit: Kimberley French / Paramount Pictures
The Lost City transforms these characters into pitch-perfect vehicles for the extreme ends of each actor’s personality overtones. Loretta is peak Bullock when she’s translating ancient texts while flopping around the jungle in a sequined purple jumpsuit; Tatum as Alan is the biggest, dumbest, most lovable hunk in the world. Radcliffe is a fast-talking, wide-eyed oddball whose crisp white suits and unhinged temper flare in a villain role reminiscent of his work in Now You See Me 2, and Brad Pitt is so noticeably hot that Loretta’s first words upon meeting him are “Why are you so handsome?” (Answer: His father was a weatherman).
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The blatant ballsiness with which The Lost City wrings every drop from its cast is difficult to overstate. It’s like passing a chemistry text by mixing the right solutions to blow up the entire lab. The Lost City‘s cast going full throttle on themselves must be seen to be believed, so please — if you’re going to use your free trial of Paramount+, do it in time to watch a smart lady, a himbo, a basket case, and Brad Pitt go hog wild on the roles they were born to play.