‘The Lost City’s Thomas Forbes-Johnson: How Channing Tatum ‘Saved’ Him During Insane Stunt

HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with 'The Lost City' cast member Thomas Forbes-Johnson about that Brad Pitt moment, Channing Tatum saving him, and more.

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Image Credit: John Salangsang/Shutterstock

Thomas Forbes-Johnson has wanted to focus on acting, and he got the chance to do so in The Lost City. The British stuntman turned actor stars as Julian, Abigail Fairfax’s main henchman in the action-adventure romantic comedy. Julian has a key role in the movie, and it’s hands-down the most shocking moment in the film: Julian kills Brad Pitt’s Jack Trainer. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Thomas about that game-changing moment and so much more.

“There was a moment where I just went, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I want to be that guy because he’s a bit of an American icon.’ He was great fun in regards to the comical aspect to it,” Thomas said. “I think they needed the shock factor, and it was brilliant. I get to basically be Daniel Radcliffe’s number one henchman, which I absolutely love. He’s phenomenal. I get to kidnap Sandra Bullock and play around and act with her for ages. I get to beat up Channing Tatum on top of a truck and then get to kill an American icon. So yeah, it’s a pretty successful movie for me.”

Thomas Forbes-Johnson
Thomas Forbes-Johnson at ‘The Lost City’ premiere. (John Salangsang/Shutterstock)

Thomas and his team were initially hired to be the stunt team for The Lost City. What was supposed to be a short shoot for him turned into him nearly being there for the entire run of production. “What normally happens is that if there’s any position that you need to be doing stunts, but they also want to have someone that can act, there’s a select group of us where we don’t just train the stunts, we don’t just train the driving, we actually train the acting part as well because it’s part of the job. I’ve been training for that for years just in the off chance I get the opportunity, which happened on this,” Thomas explained. “The role started as a small role, just going to be coming in doing some bad guy henchman thing, a couple of lines. It ended up going from a two-week shoot to shooting 43 out of 53 and being taken away from stunts except for doing my own stunts. That basically happened from Adam and Aaron Nee seeing one of my tapes, and I think it was the last submission actually. They’re like, we need to some more people. I got the job and everything from there has been fantastic.”

As Julian, Thomas gets to face off with Channing on top of a tank bus. Thomas admitted that Channing is like a “caffeinated bunny rabbit” who is always game for wild stunts. While filming their intense fight scene, Channing ended up saving him from “falling” off the bus!

“In regards to the shoot that we had on top of the tank bus, there was a point where we had to do a break as we’re breaking with the fire happening downstairs and Hector popping his head out. Well, we did a test break, and I was being stuntman-minded. He [Channing] is talent in my head. He’s priority. We were going to do a 50 percent break, and I was going to have my hand behind him to make sure he didn’t fly forward. We were tied off. I was so focused on him that I didn’t brace myself. We broke and I ended up on the front of the bus, and he was saving me. He grabbed my ankle, and I’m almost falling off the edge. I’m curled up in a heap thinking I’m going to save him and as I go, he goes ‘no!’ and grabs hold of my ankle and hold me at 265 [pounds] going off the edge. For about a week, he didn’t let me forget that. Every stunt performer didn’t let me forget that as well,” Thomas told HollywoodLife.

The movie was shot in the Dominican Republic, and the cast had to get down and dirty in the jungle. All those river scenes? Completely real. “Everything was deep in the jungle or on top of a cliff,” Thomas noted. “The cliff was a lava cliff, so all of that was just insane. Every location was just bananas, to be honest. They picked all the hardest locations, and then nailed it.”

Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe as Abigail Fairfax in ‘The Lost City.’ (Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection)

Thomas admitted that he’s always been a “huge fan” of Daniel’s and was a bit “nervous” to meet the Harry Potter alum initially. That changed the second he met Daniel. “From day one, he had me part of his team,” Thomas said. “In fact, that was with every actor there. They didn’t treat me like a stunt guy trying to act. They wanted me to play, they wanted me to interact and co-create everything. Daniel was fantastic. He would say hello to literally everyone on set. He was so welcoming all the time. He’d be like, ‘Jump in my car. I’ll take you to set.’ He came on two-weekend excursions with all the stunt guys and just hung out. He was absolutely fantastic. To that note, we were on an island where there were probably 10 of us, and maybe two other groups. He’d kept his mask on all the time because of COVID and, sure enough, everywhere we went someone would recognize him. He was an absolute gent. He took pictures with them and explained he had to keep the mask on, but never grumbled, never complained. It kind of set a standard for the stunt team because it was a tough shoot. It was in a jungle. It was sweaty and humid, mosquitoes were everywhere. It was really taxing. And it kind of said, if he’s not complaining, maybe you shouldn’t be. He was a great standard. So he was awesome.”

Thomas revealed that there’s usually some separation when it comes to stuntmen and the actors, but that wasn’t the case with The Lost City. “This was completely different,” Thomas said. “At one point, Daniel grabbed my chair from a holding tent that was way, way away and brought it into their holding tent. Channing would invite us out for dinners. Sandra was just from beginning to end absolutely fantastic. She was welcoming. I don’t know if a lot of people know this but she hired predominantly female heads of departments. If you look at some of the branding that they have on I think the luggage and other clothing, they’re women-owned. The diversity that we had with it throughout the entire production was huge. That was on the American side, not just the Dominican side. There was no segregation. There wasn’t like it was America and the Dominican Republic over here. Everyone was mixed together and that’s because of Sandra and how she wanted to run it. I think that’s also why she did so well with the Nee brothers because they’re exactly the same. It’s family orientated. Come and sit down at the table, eat and drink the same as us, which doesn’t happen often.”

Channing Tatum
Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock in ‘The Lost City.’ (Paramount Pictures/Everett Collection)

As for what’s ahead for Thomas, he’ll be teaming up with Daniel once again. “He [Daniel] actually hired me,” Thomas told HollywoodLife. “He wanted me for the Weird Al movie. He actually asked for do producers, ‘If I’m going to fight someone, I want Thomas.’ So he’s actually not just the guy where it’s like we’re friends for summer camp, and then we’ll never see each other again. He’s extended that all the way through.”