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Jumpin' Jack Flash (Forward): Getting "Lost" with Matthew Fox

Throughout the first three seasons of Lost, our main entry to the unfolding story of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 has been through the eyes of determined surgeon Jack Shephard.

So it was more than a little surprising at the end of last season to find the doggedly optimistic leader of the castaways had become a pill-popping alcoholic about to throw himself off a bridge.

I sat down with Matthew Fox to talk about what to expect in Season Four, that mind-blowing twist ending to Season Three, and how he prepared for the suicidal Jack we found at the end of last season.

Q: What was your reaction when you read the amazing twist ending at the end of Season Three?

Fox: Well, I knew about that quite a way before I actually read it, because of the twist and the future flash. Damon tipped me off to what he was planning to do quite a way before that actually. Which was tough, because I loved it… I remember the phone call with him where he told me what he had in mind and I was very blown away by it, very excited, and it was hard not to tell people. Most of the crew, and a lot of the cast, they didn’t know about it until they ended up seeing it. Those pages were never published in any script, so it was really Evangeline and I [who] were the only two members of the cast who really knew. So, it was pretty top secret… I thought it was awesome, I think it opens up the show in a big way for the next three years. I always felt that it was an incredibly smart move on Damon’s part and also just a huge surprise so I think it blew people away.

Q: As an actor, how did you prepare for that flash forward? Your entire body language and demeanor were completely different.

Fox: I remember getting an email from John Terry, who plays Christian Shephard, and he said, Boy, they really wrote you an opus.” They did, they wrote me some great material, and I always feel very honored when you get that kind of heavy stuff and it’s difficult. I just did my best to bring everything I could to it. Obviously, in the future-flash the man is suicidal. He’s a drug addict, he’s a drunk, he’s really just trying to kill himself, so tapping into that for a month was not easy.

Jack Shephard’s motivation on the island has always been – the only thing he really focuses on and cares about – is getting everybody off, he’s really goal-oriented in that respect, and so this is his moment where he thinks he’s going to get it done. He’s got this opportunity to call out to this ship, so we see him really driven and feeling like he’s almost there, he’s almost home. And I think that the contrast and the juxtaposition between those two versions of him is pretty intense. And then to find out in the final three minutes that it’s not actually a flash back, it’s a flash forward, and that’s where he ends up, I think it’s really cool.

Q: So, what do you think Jack did after getting off the island?

Fox; That’s a good question… Honestly, I think he’s so driven by the idea of getting off the island that, once he did it, he’d kind of be lost for a while, and he’d be wandering around not knowing what to do. Obviously, getting back into his life at home I think would be out of the question, but I think he tries. I think he tries really hard to forget about it all and put it all behind him like it never happened, get back into work at the hospital, get back into doing surgeries. I think he really tries to move on with his life like it never happened.

But, as you’ll see, there’s more to him ending up suicidal than just some guilt of the way things went down on the island. It’s pretty big, and it’s unavoidable for him, the draw of the island and what’s left for him to do there and so it would be very hard for him. He would try to keep his mind off it but it would eat away at him and ultimately result in him using all types of narcotics, booze… and eventually standing on a bridge wanting to kill himself.

Q: What can you tell us about Jack’s circumstances going into Season Four?

Fox: Well, I think that a big part of Season Four will be about closing those two points that are in juxtaposition at the end of Season Three, which are Jack Shephard on the phone, making contact with the freighter on the island, and Jack Shephard in the future, suicidal and yelling out to Kate that he has to go back. The fourth season will be about closing those two points, finding out how you get from point A to point B; that’s going to be the really intriguing thing for the audience, obviously. Their first setback is being blown away by this idea that Jack Shephard and Kate get off the island, and immediately your mind starts going to, how did that happen, and who else got off the island, and how did they get there, and how could it possibly be that he now feels like he has to go back?

That’s where the show will start for him in Season Four: on the island in that moment he’s made contact and then of course all hell breaks loose and there’s a bunch of stuff that he obviously doesn’t anticipate having to deal with and it kicks off from there.

The countdown to tonight begins!

Part 1: Michael Emerson
Part 2: Elizabeth Mitchell

Part 3: Yunjin Kim
Part 4: Josh Holloway

Season Four of Lost launches tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on ABC.


Anonymous said…
What a great set of interviews, Jace! I'm looking forward tonight's return of Lost and these will help tide me over until it begins.
Anonymous said…
Thanks for this great, articulate interview! Matthew Fox was wonderful in the Season 3 finale, he really nailed that incredible "two Jack Shephard" turn!
I can't wait to see his journey "from point A to point B", then, obviously, his return to the Island of doom...
The CineManiac said…
wow! That's all I got on this whole series of interviews at this point.
Anonymous said…
I love how drastically different Jack is in the flash forwards and I can't wait to see how he gets to that point. It's such clever storytelling. I am dying to see how this season begins!
Anonymous said…
I don't know how you got access to all of these awesome actors but I am glad you did as this interview series has been excellent. I can't wait for Lost to return!

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