Directing duo Adam and Aaron Nee, writer Dana Fox talk creating Paramount’s ‘The Lost City’

Noah Levine, Life & Arts Film Columnist

Paramount’s “The Lost City” stars an incredible ensemble of actors, featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Sandra Bullock, Brad Pitt and Channing Tatum. The action comedy film premiered this past Saturday at SXSW, and the cast and directors attended a red carpet event. 

The Daily Texan spoke with directing duo Adam and Aaron Nee and writer Dana Fox about their work on the star-studded adventure film. Check out The Daily Texan’s interview with Radcliffe and Bullock here. 

The Daily Texan: How big is the difference between directing a smaller indie film versus a large studio-funded feature? 

Adam Nee: You start with the shorts, and you build. You get better. You realize that at each step up, it’s the same job. The director has the same job on every level. You’re basically just managing the movie and keeping everyone to see your vision. It just gets bigger and bigger, but your confidence grows and grows until you become ready. 

Aaron Nee: Your job as a director is to put together a team of incredible talent and enable them to do what they do best. On top of that, you’re making sure everybody is making the same movie. You are setting that vision. You are the captain of the ship. 

DT: Is it ever intimidating to work with such famous talent? 

Aaron Nee: It could be. It was not for us. We were super fortunate that we not only had incredible talent, but they’re (also) incredible people. 

Adam Nee: Daniel (Radcliffe) who you’ll meet in a second is the most professional, hard working actor in the world and also the nicest guy. Sandy is the star, a producer, a mother and just a beautiful human being who cares about everyone. Channing is like your best buddy. It’s really wonderful people who make it easy. 

DT: What’s your best advice for those trying to break into the industry? 

Dana Fox : Having been doing this for twenty years, being someone who wanted to do it (but) thought this is crazy, everybody wants to do this thing — I work harder than everybody else, that’s all. Literally, I’m not more talented, but I was working on “Cruella,” my last movie, and I was like, “I will never say die. I will not give up.” … I leave it all on the field. If you do that, people will recognize you. 

DT: In film school, it can be tough because you’re constantly comparing yourself to your classmate’s work — any advice for overcoming that insecurity? 

DF: Can I tell you a crazy secret? It’s not a competition. It’s “rising tides raise all boats.” Find those people in class who you admire the most and be like, “I want to collaborate with you!” The Nee brothers, who are also writers on the movie, I had written the script before them. Then, I had to go back and run my TV show. When they came on as directors, they took over (and) started writing the movie. I got their draft. I read it and was like, “You guys are incredible. This is great. How can I now help you execute your vision on this movie? I’m not trying to make it my movie now. I’m trying to make it your movie now.” If you do it that way, without ego, and without a sense of “me me me,” you’ll be so much more successful.