LOST at PaleyFest 2014: The Panelists on the Ending, Unanswered Questions, and More - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

LOST at PaleyFest 2014: The Panelists on the Ending, Unanswered Questions, and More

March 17, 2014 by  

Some of the cast and producers of LOST reunited in Hollywood to celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary with a PaleyFest panel. And while some of the topics were expected (the show’s ending), the festivities also shed light on a few of the behind-the-scenes fun moments.

Yes, the original plan was to kill off Jack in the pilot.

LOST started — and ended — with Jack, but the original plan was to kill off the character in the pilot to shock the audience.

“The idea was cast an actor, have them on all the billboards, and it’s hard, you could never pull this off now in 2014, but in 2004, there was an internet, but the spoiler culture was not what it is now,” LOST executive producer Damon Lindelof explained. “We could kind of pull it off. The idea was to pull a bit of a PSYCHO [in terms of what they did with] Janet Leigh, and say this guy is going to be the star of the show, he’s going to be in all of the marketing, he’s doing to do all of the press for the show, and then we’re going to kill him in the pilot.”

“It was actually Steve McPherson and Heather Kadin, who were executives at ABC, and executives very often get a reputation for giving dumb notes; this was a very excellent note,” Lindelof continued. “The way they articulated it was, the audience’s trust — they’re going to really start to care about this character. If you kill him in the pilot, they’re never going to trust you again. And they’re also never going to form emotional bonds with other characters because [of it]. It ended up being a great note.”

Sometimes the actors inspired their mysteries.

“While we were shooting the pilot, Terry [O’Quinn (Locke)] — we would be shooting, and we had the wreckage of the plane brought to the beach, and we’re doing all that insanity of people running around, and getting sucked into engines, and things flying,” Lindelof recalled. “Between takes, Terry O’Quinn would go half a mile down the beach and just sit and put his earbuds in, and listen to his iPod…[LOST co-creator] J.J. [Abrams] goes, ‘That guy has a secret.’ [I said,] ‘What is it?’ [He replied,] ‘You figure it out.'” (The producers did tell Yunjin Kim from the start that her character could understand English, but was hiding it.)

The writers know who was on the outrigger, but won’t tell anyone…yet.

In season 5, a mysterious shooter (or shooters) shot at several LOSTies, but the show never explained who was attacking our guys. And while the writers do know the answer to that question, they’re keeping mum for now. (Despite a male fan jokingly propositioning the panel.)

“We actually wrote that scene,” Lindelof said. “It was going to be in the final season, it definitively answered who was on the outrigger in a perfect, very satisfactory way, and all the writers…we all looked at it and said, this is a cool answer, but what’s much cooler is to not answer this question. And we looked at each other and said — I shit you not — years from now, someone is going to stand up at a panel, with the offer of sex, and we will have to say, ‘No, sir. We decline.’ That’s the truth. It happened. The scene exists on paper. And years from now, for some excellent charity, we will probably auction it off.”

Maggie Grace (Shannon) played an awesome trick on Ian Somerhalder (Boone) when their characters had to make out.

“We had been doing this scene all day, take after take of having to make out with this beautiful woman, and the day was over, it was a really heavy day — it actually was — and I’m leaving the set, and they’re like, whoa, whoa, whoa, there’s a flag on the play, we have to do one more take,” Somerhalder recalled. “And I’m like, I just want to go home…the making out part was great, but it was an intense day. So I said let’s make this take great. So I go to kiss this beautiful woman — and apparently the whole crew was in on it — she had a mouthful, that had apparently been marinating for like five minutes, of minced garlic. She had a couple of puffs of a cigar. And she was wearing a large baseball cup, so when she grabbed me and pulled me to [kiss, it hit me]…that was an amazing moment with the entire crew laughing.”

So, about that ending…

First of all, LOST executive producer Carlton Cuse confirmed “they were not dead the entire time.” The idea behind the wreckage shot being shown post-finale but pre-local news was, as Cuse recalled, the mentality that “you don’t want to slam from the end of the finale to a Clorox ad…And then when people saw the shots of the plane and there were no people, that exacerbated the problem.”

As for why they opted to have the final season partially set in the afterlife — and have the characters moving on together be the show’s ultimate conclusion — the producers admitted it was something that came to them as the series progressed.

“Very early on, we decided LOST was a show about people who are on an island in the middle of nowhere, but it’s about people who are lost in their lives and need redemption, and are looking for meaning and purpose in their lives,” Cuse said.
“The more we started talking about the ending, the more it became clear to us that the ending had to be a spiritual one. We kind of talked about these characters’ journey and destiny. It was not a single conversation or a single idea, it was a series of long discussions. Damon would have breakfast in my office every morning, and we would have discussions about the nature of the show, the characters, about spirituality, about what all of our journeys mean, how all of us are here to lift each other up in our lives. We wanted the show to reflect our own personal beliefs and desires and hopes and dreams, really.”

“I would just add to that for us, one of the on-going conversations with the audience was there was a very early perception that even as soon as the pilot [aired] that LOST was some sort of purgatory,” Lindelof added. “And we were always out there saying that it was not purgatory, all of these things are actually happening, it’s real, they’re going through this experience, this is real, we’re not going to SIXTH SENSE you. But at the same time, the audience was perceiving that. And we felt it, too, that the show had to be meta in this way. And writers have the tendency of getting very pretentious when we’re amongst ourselves, and we started saying, well, obviously there’s all these mysteries that are sort of surrounding the show. Wouldn’t it be great if in the final episode we tried to answer a mystery that the show had never asked. So let’s just go for, I don’t know, what’s the meaning of life and what happens when you die? And that conversation started in the space of seasons 3 and 4 as we were plotting out the endgame. Because knew season 4 was going to be flashforwards, and season 5, the island was going to be shifting around in time, a bit of a wild card season. But what were we going do in season 6?…And we had the idea of trying to Trojan horse a paradoxical time travel story that Juliet hits this bomb and perhaps resets a world where Oceanic 815 never crashes, but instead was going to be this afterlife…and we all got very excited about it and just engaged.”

Be sure to check back with Give Me My Remote for interviews with the panelists!


PaleyFest 2014: LOST 10th Anniversary Reunion Photos

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