So sometime in 2012 - hopefully before the world ends - Brad Pitt has a film coming out with director James Gray (The Yards, We Own The Night) based on the book "The Lost City of Z," which in turn is based on the real-life story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who disappeared into the uncharted jungles of Brazil in 1925 with a team that included his own son, all in pursuit of a renowned lost city of lore, a quest that had already killed 100 men before Fawcett ever set foot in the Amazon basin. Brad Pitt plays Fawcett, and such is the reason, it is suspected, for that crazy ass goatee he was sporting for a while.
With that as the basic premise - an explorer goes on a dangerous, obsessive quest for a mythical city hidden somewhere in an unmapped jungle - I humbly present a tie-in, The Forgotten City, a blend of this story, Saul Bellow's novel "Henderson the Rain King." and a dash of King Solomon's Mines.
Richard Dancy is a cartographer - map-maker to the layman - in 1920's Britain, a man in his mid-30's, single and coldly academic. This is the result of his harsh upbringing by a famous explorer and therefore an often absent father, the revered Reginald Dancy, with whom Richard has a strained relationship at best. One day a triumvirate of members from the Royal Academy of Exploration comes with some rather foreboding news for Richard: his father has disappeared during his latest expedition, it has been six months since he was last heard from. Richard knows his father is had mounted his third expedition for the Forgotten City of Kuikugu (kwee-coo-joo), a mythical civilization hidden somewhere in the deepest reaches of the Amazon basin in western Brazil, a place no other civilization exists even today, one of the last entirely unknown regions of the planet. The triumvirate implores Dancy the Younger to lead a rescue mission - since he knows both the maps and the region, having been on the second expedition with his father, a source of their falling out - of himself, two soldiers in the British army, a local guide and an associate cartographer assigned by the academy who just happens to be a woman. Hesitantly, and perhaps at the behest of his estranged-by-association mother, Richard agrees and the film shifts to the jungles of Brazil.
I don't want to give too many twists or turns away, but needless to say the journey through the jungle - using copies of older Dancy's maps, extrapolated from by the son based on what he knows of his father's cartography mindset, the father having taught the son - is arduous at best, beset with danger floral, faunal, native and from within. But I will tell you this: they do find the city, and they do find a culture still living there, ruled by a god in flesh, as far as the natives are concerned. And this god? None other than Reginald Dancy. (this is where the "Henderson" comes in)
The rest amounts to this: the father has discovered the most significant archaeological and sociological discovery of the century, perhaps ever, and in the process he has been mistaken for a god by the primitive inhabitants here, a role he was only eager to play. He's gone mad with power, and instead of sharing this discovery with the world, he wants to horde over it, command it where it is, create a world, a society, a civilization, all of his own. Son wants to bring him back. He won't go. Son wants to go back, then, let people know Reginald is alive, let them know what he's discovered. Reginald won't be having any of that, either, because if the world knows, the world will come, and his idyllic kingdom will be destroyed. So he can't let his son leave. But his son won't stay. So...turmoil!
The third act I'll keep to myself but to say it's awesome. As for casting, I'm seeing Brian Krause (2012 Supernova) as Dancy younger, maybe Jonny Lee Miller, if they can get him, but definitely John Rhys-Davies as Darcy the elder. The woman I think would be best suited for Natalie Stone (30,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Allan Quatermain and the Temple of Skulls), and as far as the soldiers go, I'm happy so long as one of them is Geoff Meed (6 Guns, Airline Disaster).
Here's your tag line: "A lost civilization...that will do anything to remain that way."
And if this idea doesn't float your boat, but the idea of tying-in to Lost City... does, you could always just do a supernatural-action adaptation of the story of Hiram Bingham III, the American explorer who rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Brian Krause would definitely be suited for that role.
I'm just sayin'.