LONDON >> Woody Harrelson is trying to do something that’s never been done before, although he’s starting to realize why his feat would be a first.
The American actor and part-time Maui resident plans to spend the early hours of Jan. 20 shooting a full-length film, called “Lost In London LIVE,” which will be broadcast as it happens in over 550 U.S. theaters.
“Someone was asking me earlier, ‘Do you think that people will start doing this now? Filming a movie and live-streaming it at the same time?’ And I said, ‘Well, not if they speak to me first.’ This is some harrowing stuff,” he laughs.
Based on a relentlessly awful night out he really had in the British capital, Harrelson wrote and is directing the film that combines comedy and drama.
Talking on the movie’s set in the streets of London’s theatre district, where rehearsals are happening during the day and at night, Harrelson says he could do with three more weeks of preparation before the action unfolds in real time.
Harrelson, 55, was arrested in London after a night out in 2002. He declined to say whether “Lost in London” is based on events from that night, but the set includes a recreation of the club he visited before his arrest.
“Lost In London LIVE” is an attempt to merge his two loves, film and theater. And even though audiences will be watching on the other side of the pond when it’s Thursday evening, Harrelson is convinced the event’s live-streamed nature will add an electrifying element.
“Will it mess up the performance? That’s the question. Will the fear be too high to eke out a performance? I don’t know,” he said.
Harrelson’s co-stars — musician Willie Nelson and actor Owen Wilson, a close friend who also helped refine the script — are also part-time Maui residents.
“Owen Wilson is my best buddy. Now, that doesn’t mean I’m his best buddy, but he’s my best buddy and he is a tremendous asset because not only is he just so great on screen, and he’s great as an actor and he’s great to work with,” he said.
Harrelson’s breakthrough as an actor came on the 1980s television sitcom “Cheers.” He’s since starred in a number of critically acclaimed TV shows and movies, from “Natural Born Killers” and “No Country For Old Men” to “True Detective” and “The Hunger Games” films.
Harrelson next will be joining the “Star Wars” universe, with a part in the spin-off movie about a young Han Solo. Describing his character as a criminal and a mentor, he says he’s delighted to be joining that “amazing world.”
“All you want is to make good movies, because eventually I’ll be gone and those will still be here,” he said. “You know what I mean?”
Hawaii screenings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at Dole Cannery Stadium 18, Maui Mall Megaplex 12, Makalapua Stadium 10 and Price Kuhio 9, with tickets priced at $18.75 ($18.85 at Dole).