Last night, I was one of the lucky few to be part of the in-person New York Times Talk event with “Lost” creators Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. The talk featured cameo appearances by Michael Emerson (doing an eerily stealthy “Ben” walk onstage) and Jorge Garcia (Hurley) — coincidence or fate that they are chosen two? Discuss!
The event was also broadcast simultaneously to over 500 movie theaters in the US and Canada. The event addressed questions submitted by fans online and by in person-fans in the NY audience.
Best of all was that the audience was able to see a “non-spoilery” scene from this Sunday’s sure-to-be-epic series finale. This write-up reveals better memory recall than my own. But [SPOILER] I am excited that one of the most adorable “Lost” characters ever is BACK — Vincent! The creators said a while back that Vincent would survive until the end of the show, and I knew he had to show up since he was in the first scene with Jack in the bamboo forest.
Notes from interview with NYT journalist:
- The writers didn’t have it all mapped out in advance. They would gather each year before the season to discuss the arc of the show. They did some extensive mythology creation between the first and second season. They had the final scene of the finale in mind since the first season and that has not changed.
- The actors had no say in what happened to their characters and didn’t ask questions of the creators. They often received partial scripts a few days in advance of shooting, so like their characters, they had no idea what was coming next.
- Charlie was the hardest character for the creators to kill off. Dominic was doing great work and when you kill off a character, you are firing the actor. Darlton looked at the footage of his death scene and said, “We are such bastards.”
- Fans didn’t have a major impact on the direction of the show, but the writers did address burning fan questions (Why doesn’t Hurley lose weight?), writers’ room debates (Why doesn’t Ben posing as Henry Gale recognize Sayid as the man who shot him when he was younger?), and polarizing fan reaction (killing off Nikki and Paulo — from Damon: “They could just go away or we could shoot an episode with Billy Dee Williams! Let’s get Lando — and then bury them alive!”).
- “The Constant” was one of the longest episodes to write (5 weeks) due to Desmond’s non-paradoxical time-traveling.
- Everyone loves Michael Emerson’s character — Darlton and Hurley all chose Ben as their favorite character, for Ben’s fantastic lines and Michael’s nuanced delivery. Michael Emerson chose Mr. Eko as his favorite (“He had a crackerjack backstory”).
- Darlton joked about having Sawyer taking his shirt off when the narrative became more challenging to enjoy (pushing the button).
- They screened the scene where Locke convinces Jack to push the button in Season 2 and Darlton explained that Jack pushes the button because Locke says, “I can’t do this alone.” It’s Jack’s “Live Together, Die Alone” mantra that motivates him — although Jack is on the side of reason, he does it to support Locke who has faith in pushing the button. Darlton contrasts this scene with the Jack vs. Sawyer argument over the bomb — this time it is Jack who has faith that nothing will happen if the bomb runs out and it’s Sawyer who is on the side of reason.
- Michael Emerson was asked how be approached playing Ben who is such a deceptive character who does evil things. Michael didn’t see the character in terms of good and evil, he tried to line up what Ben did with what Ben said to try to make the character convincing. When the journalist pointed out that he did kill a lot of people, most recently Widmore, Michael joked and said something to the effect of, “That’s true, but who didn’t want that?”
Notes from questions asked:
Why was Walt special? What happened to Walt? [spoiler]
Often people are described as special and sometimes it is explained why that is — Hurley can interact with the dead, Miles can see the dead. But in Walt’s case, they chose not to explicitly say why he was special. They did allude to what was going on in Room 23 in the mobisodes — that Walt was scaring the Others with his specialness. Ultimately, Ben decided to get Walt and Michael off of the island so clearly they were threatened by Walt.
Walt had to leave the storyline because he literally grew up. However, we will be seeing Walt again in the finale.
Why was the psychic so intent on Claire getting on the plane? Why is Aaron special?
Aaron isn’t special — the psychic confessed in a later episode to being a fraud. The reasons why the Others wanted Aaron was because he was born on the island and they had fertility issues and wanted to do tests on him.
Fans attribute a lot of importance to Desmond’s advice to Jack in their first meeting (flashback) in the stadium, where Desmond tells Jack to “lift it up.” Are they right to do so?
Darlton could not respond to this question — so perhaps fans are on to something, hmm.
New Yorkers who are fans of “Lost” should flock to the free “Lost” memorabilia exhibit at the Vilcek Foundation from now until June 5th at 167 East 73rd Street. It appears that these same items that will be sold at this amazing auction.
I want Charlie’s DS ring and Daniel Faraday’s notebook! Or some fish biscuits. See Gawker.com pictures here.
There was a cast reunion of sorts at UCLA’s Royce Hall last week — Sawyer, Jin, Desmond, Penny, Boone, Walt, Michael, Charlotte, Faraday, Big Ben and Young Ben, and Dr. Chang showed up, among others (and Others).
REMEMBER: Saturday will air the entire pilot episode with pop-ups – Sunday will have a 2 hour recap followed by a 2.5 hour finale, and check out Jimmy Kimmel for a fun wrap-up. Namaste!