An action-adventure comedy is only as good as its villain, and Paramount Pictures’ The Lost City has an unforgettable one in eccentric, author-nabbing billionaire Abigail Fairfax, played by Daniel Radcliffe (“Harry Potter” film series).
When Daniel Radcliffe was first mentioned for the role, co-star Sandra Bullock thought the suggestion was, as she calls it, “genius,” adding, “Daniel has these piercing blue eyes that are soft and inviting, until Fairfax starts going nuts. Then, Daniel transforms into that maniacal guy. He’s brilliant and I am excited for audiences to experience a Daniel Radcliffe they will not expect.”
Radcliffe embraced the villainous but always fun role. “Fairfax is a bad guy, but there’s a lot of humor to him because he’s both bratty and petulant,” he points out. “All of Fairfax’s villainy comes from a need to please his media mogul father, which undercuts any real evil about him. Fairfax is just this terrible, entitled colonialist.
“He has a real interest in archeology and history, but for all the wrong reasons,” Radcliffe continues. “Fairfax wants to possess treasures so that the rest of the world cannot. It’s a very childish motivation.”
When Fairfax pitches reclusive author Loretta (Bullock) the idea that her expertise can help him find the Lost City of D and its hidden treasure – a rare red diamond headdress – he thinks she will jump at the chance. When Loretta resists, he decides his next best option is to kidnap her.
“Fairfax chloroforms Loretta and puts her on his jet, expecting that she’ll change her mind, and when she doesn’t, it is clear to Fairfax that he’s not going to get his own way,” Radcliffe points out. “When she steals Fairfax’s one clue to finding that treasure, he decides she’s not an innocent anymore. Loretta is now fair game, and Fairfax is going to hunt her down.”
Fairfax’s temperament isn’t helped by his given name: Abigail. “I do love that name,” Radcliffe says with a laugh. “It was a source of constant amusement for me because Fairfax is so defensive about it. He’s spent his entire life insisting that it’s a gender-neutral name.”
Radcliffe always remained cool under the locations’ unforgiving sun and triple-digit temperatures. “Normally, extreme heat or cold are great because they sort of make you forget about acting; you’re just in it,” he says. “But Fairfax was not somebody who was supposed to be particularly sweaty, so I had five people around me with fans just trying to stop me sweating through my T-shirt.”