Skip to main content

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!

Popular posts from this blog

Have a Burning Question for Team Darlton, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, or Michael Emerson?

Lost fans: you don't have to make your way to the island via Ajira Airways in order to ask a question of the creative team or the series' stars. Televisionary is taking questions from fans to put to Lost 's executive producers/showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and stars Matthew Fox ("Jack Shephard"), Evangeline Lilly ("Kate Austen"), and Michael Emerson ("Benjamin Linus") for a series of on-camera interviews taking place this weekend. If you have a specific question for any of the above producers or actors from Lost , please leave it in the comments section below . I'll be accepting questions until midnight PT tonight and, while I can't promise I'll be able to ask any specific inquiry due to the brevity of these on-camera interviews, I am looking for some insightful and thought-provoking questions to add to the mix. So who knows: your burning question might get asked after all.

What's Done is Done: The Eternal Struggle Between Good and Evil on the Season Finale of "Lost"

Every story begins with thread. It's up to the storyteller to determine just how much they need to parcel out, what pattern they're making, and when to cut it short and tie it off. With last night's penultimate season finale of Lost ("The Incident, Parts One and Two"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, we began to see the pattern that Lindelof and Cuse have been designing towards the last five seasons of this serpentine series. And it was only fitting that the two-hour finale, which pushes us on the road to the final season of Lost , should begin with thread, a loom, and a tapestry. Would Jack follow through on his plan to detonate the island and therefore reset their lives aboard Oceanic Flight 815 ? Why did Locke want to kill Jacob? What caused The Incident? What was in the box and just what lies in the shadow of the statue? We got the answers to these in a two-hour season finale that didn't quite pack the same emotional wallop of previous season

Pilot Inspektor: CBS' "Smith"

I may just have to change my original "What I'll Be Watching This Fall" post, as I sat down and finally watched CBS' new crime drama Smith this weekend. (What? It's taken me a long time to make my way through the stack of pilot DVDs.) While it's on following Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars on Tuesday nights (10 pm ET/PT, to be exact), I'm going to be sure to leave enough room on my TiVo to make sure that I catch this compelling, amoral drama. While one can't help but be impressed by what might just be the most marquee-friendly cast in primetime--Ray Liotta, Virginia Madsen, Jonny Lee Miller, Amy Smart, Simon Baker, and Franky G all star and Shohreh Aghdashloo has a recurring role--the pilot's premise alone earned major points in my book: it's a crime drama from the point of view of the criminals, who engage in high-stakes heists. But don't be alarmed; it's nothing like NBC's short-lived Heist . Instead, think of it as The Italian