Interview: Actor Oscar Nunez on The Lost City

The star of ‘The Office’ on his role in the action-adventure comedy, why interviews are the hardest part of the job and more

Comedic actor Oscar Nunez stars in The Lost City, Paramount’s action-adventure-comedy flick led by Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum and Daniel Radcliffe.

With an extensive career across film and television including appearances in The ProposalCurb Your Enthusiasm, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and his beloved role as Oscar in the US remake of The Office, Oscar is no stranger to organized madness.

That’s one way to describe The Lost City, the latest project from directing duo Aaron and Adam Nee. The film follows Bullock’s romance novelist Loretta Sage, who finds herself kidnapped by an eccentric billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe), believing that her latest book unwittingly contains clues to the location of a priceless relic. Channing Tatum co-stars as Alan Caprison, the heartthrob cover model for Sage’s famed book series and reluctant companion after a rescue mission goes awry.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Oscar about his role in The Lost City, why interviews are the most difficult part of the job and more.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

How was your character pitched to you? He’s quite unlike anyone on the rest of the cast, and he’s quite an oddball.

Oscar: You know, Sandy—I call her Sandy, how cool is that? Let that sink in for a minute. Sandra said, “Oscar, it’s a funny character, come on”, and I read the script. He’s kind of an adventurous guy, but I know they wanted a comedic flair to it. So I’m like “okay, I’ll make him silly and do my thing”. To me, it’s like the uncle from The Proposal. His uncle who lives in the Caribbean. It’s the kind of sensibility where he’s very innocent and, kind of like Michael Scott, he doesn’t really realize what he’s saying.

He’s absolutely flying by the seat of his pants.

Oscar: Yes, thank you. Flying by the seat of the pants, with the thing and the other thing.

I appreciate that Aaron and Adam (Nee, directors) cast quite a wide net in terms of the senses of humor brought to the film by the cast. You’ve got Sandra and Channing doing what they do so well as clashing leads, but you and Patti Harrison bring very different kinds of laughs.

Oscar: Yes. Patti’s hilarious, by the way.

I’m a massive fan!

Oscar: When we showed the movie here in Los Angeles, every time Patti would come on the screen, the audience would lose their minds. She didn’t have to do anything. They were big fans.

You’ve cast quite a wide net in terms of the projects you’ve chosen over the years, even if you’re perhaps best known for your television work. How do feature films compare for you?

Oscar: There’s no difference. It’s just not as consistent, of course, as being on a show. On a TV series for three or four seasons, you get used to that. It’s wonderful to have a regular job like that. On a movie, you go in and out, you make friends and you go your own way. It’s different, but the same as far as delivering your lines and doing what you do. You just need more patience with a movie, because there’s more setup time.

I imagine that with a long-running TV series, you fall into a somewhat comfortable way of doing things compared to movies.

Oscar: Yes, absolutely. Look, this is the hardest thing. This is harder than anything on a movie or TV show. Deconstructing and talking about the process of a movie or TV show. And I’ve realized, you’re my 23rd interview today. You’re the fifth guy from New Zealand. I don’t know what’s going on down there, but you’re the fifth guy to talk to me from there alone. Never mind China, and I don’t speak Chinese! I had to speak to a guy in Mandarin. He spoke Mandarin, I spoke English; I hope it came out okay. This is the hardest part of the job, right here.

I’m sitting thinking, “boy, waking up at 5am is rough!”. But you’ve been sitting there talking to all kinds of people, all day long.

Oscar: Of course, I’ve exaggerated for comedic effect. You’re like, my third person. But in my mind, it feels like 23.

To be fair, for New Zealanders, three is still quite a few.

Oscar: That’s right [laughs]. You have more sheep than people. Is that still correct?

For my entire life, I’d understood that to be the case. And I assume it’s still true. But now I’m wondering.

Oscar: But you’re in the big city?

That’s right. But it’s not too far away from the kind of country you’d imagine. I can drive five minutes away and find a cow. It’s that kind of place.

Oscar: I have to drive further than five minutes, but they’re out there. You know, the funniest concert I’ve ever seen in my life were two fellas from New Zealand.

I think I can probably guess who – Flight of the Conchords.

Oscar: The funniest. At the Hollywood Bowl a couple of years ago. I went with my manager, and halfway through we looked at each other and said, “I wish everyone we ever knew in our lives was with us”. They were so funny, they killed. It was so entertaining. I hope I can see them again.

I kick myself all the time for not having ever caught them live before they headed off to Hollywood; now they’re so busy.

Oscar: I’ve met Rhys (Darby), he’s out here. He’s on a show about pirates or something (Editor’s Note: Our Flag is Death on HBO). Great show.

I hope you guys do get to come down here, as well as Australia. We’re kind of a brother-sister nation thing.

Oscar: I hope so too. Go All Blacks!

THE LOST CITY is now available on Digital and Paramount+. It will be on 4K ULTRA HD™, BLU-RAY™ & DVD July 26, 2022.

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