This may be a little old but I had not read it before. It’s got some good stuff in it.
What’s your favorite memory from Lost?
I don’t have one favorite memory from Lost; I have many. For starters, one of the greatest days of work involved strangling John Locke. That event was shocking and we spent an entire day shooting that scene, but there was so much focus and quietness on the set that day. It was like everybody knew we were making one of the greatest scenes of Lost. Terry brought an insane, dark depth to the playing of that scene that made my hair stand on end. As a craftsman and as an actor, I will never forget that day. We were making magic.
How much are you going to miss the show?
I’m going to miss it immensely. When will there ever be a part that is more delicious than Benjamin Linus? There were scenes of dangerous intimacy alongside scenes of action – and I got to play with guns, ride horses and fall into holes in the ground. It was a magical experience and it’s something I will never forget. I’m sad that it’s over, but we’ve got some wonderful work to look back on.
How did it feel to return to Hawaii for Season Six after your Emmy Award win for Season Five? Did that change anything for you?
No, it didn’t change a thing. To be honest, you try to forget about any awards or publicity. They don’t translate to your working day. Everybody was very sweet about it when I first came back from Los Angeles and everybody congratulated me, but it was soon forgotten. I was fine with that.
Did you have any idea how the show was going to end when you started work on Season Six?
I didn’t have a clue. I really thought I would be able to see it coming. I thought that the path to the end would begin to be clear as soon as we started filming, but the contrary was true. The ending was more obscure in Season Six than it was in Season Five.
How did you want Lost to end for Benjamin Linus?
I didn’t have a wish for the end of the story except to survive to the finale. That was all I wanted. I wanted to be able to film the finale episode with the rest of the cast – and thankfully, my dream came true.
What do you think of Benjamin Linus?
Benjamin Linus is a question mark. I think the writers tried to keep him morally ambiguous but interesting, so he irritates and interests people at the same time. The writers were very smart with Benjamin. It was tough to keep that balance in place for four or five years. That’s a long time for people to not know what’s going on. I have always found him fascinating in that respect.
How similar are you to the character you portrayed for six years?
I’m not very manipulative in real life and I can’t even tell a lie. I’m a very bad liar and I’m a bad manipulator, so it’s fun to play someone who gets away with these things. He can say the most outrageous statements and keep a straight face. I could never do that.
What was the worst thing Benjamin Linus ever did on Lost?
The most shocking thing I had to act was the massacre of the Dharma Initiative. The producers made it appear even worse in post-production than how we shot it. When we shot it, I did not personally set off a canister of poison gas in the van with my father and watch him die before my very eyes. When I saw that, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s so harsh.’ It shook me a little.
Did you ever disagree with anything the writers had in store for Benjamin?
I would never go to the writers and complain. I just assumed that everything was for a reason. I know it sounds a little crazy, but Ben has said some things that were extremely cold. I used to think, ‘How will he come back from a line like that?’ But Ben was there to entertain as well. It might have been more important to have a stunning moment than it was to have perfect character logic at all times.
Did you ever know what was in store for your character?
I was happy if I had a script in my hand before the camera started rolling. It wasn’t like we took a meeting and went through the storyline and plots week by week. We never knew what was coming up on the show.
Did the cast talk about theories on how the story was going to progress and end?
Everyone did. Everyone on the show would give their ideas, but we didn’t have a clue if we were on the right track or not. Our theories were never as talented as the online fan theories, though. I stopped coming up with theories towards the end of the show because I was never right. However, if you sit around with Jorge Garcia, you inevitably have to start trying to figure out everything because he loved talking about things like that. He would always pay attention to the online chatter more than the rest of the cast. I used to depend on him to fill me in with what the prevailing theories were.
How intensive was your work schedule during Season Six?
The schedule for every season of Lost was always fragmented. I would have 10 insane days of work, but then I wouldn’t work for two or three weeks. That’s when I would go back to the mainland and spend time with my wife. Then I’d head back to Hawaii where huge chunks of plot would have been explained during filming, but I wouldn’t be aware of it.
Did you find it frustrating to have three weeks off where you don’t hear anything about the storylines?
I didn’t worry about it because I used to busy myself with other things. I’d try to return to the life I had before Lost. I would never call Hawaii to find out what was going on. I’d just focus on my life at home. It’s funny because at times I was extremely out of touch with the show. Actors would come and do guest spots, but they’d leave before I even knew they had visited Hawaii.
What was the most challenging aspect of working on the show?
The physical challenges were the hardest aspect of filming Lost. Running through the jungle at night can be quite tough on your body. It’s bad enough if you’re dry, but they would always find a need to have it raining. It’s after midnight and you’re running around on slippery leaves and roots. I felt like a broken ankle was always waiting for me in the jungle.
Did you enjoy any of the physical challenges of the show?
It’s fun to be on an action show and run around in the jungle, but it’s tough. I thought I had gotten to an age where I would do no more fighting, but then I get on Lost and that’s half of what Benjamin does all the time. I enjoyed it, though. I had fun riding horses, fighting and shooting guns. You don’t get to do things like that every day.
What was your most challenging stunt?
The horse riding was tricky for me. There’s an episode where Ben wakes up in the Sahara and some Bedouins or Berbers come at him with guns. They’re riding on the back of Arabian horses, but those horses were very nervous. There were guns shooting and the horses were going crazy, but then I was told I had to shoot a guy, take his horse and mount it with one hand while holding an assault rifle in the other. It was impossible. I could not hoist my tired old body high enough onto that horse. Plus, the horse didn’t want to stand still. Every time the guns went off, the horses would run away and someone would have to chase them back to the set. That was a very long day.
It sounds like your role was extremely demanding at times…
Every day was physically demanding because of repetition. Even if you’re just sitting in a chair and holding your pose, you have to deal with tension in your body. On a rough day, you are running, tackling, fighting and shooting – and that was extremely challenging for me. I wasn’t getting any younger and no matter how careful I was, I would always feel beaten up by the end of the day.
Did you sustain any injuries on the set?
I did, but it was nothing major. You turn your ankle and you stub your toe. You catch a piece of flesh from your hand in the action of a pistol. You get some bruised ribs or you hit your head on a tree trunk. It comes with the territory. It was fine.
So what’s next for you?
I’m currently looking at offers, but I haven’t signed up for anything yet. The one thing I will be doing is going back to the beginning of Season One of Lost and watching the DVDs all over again. I wanted to review the entire series before Season Six started airing, but I didn’t have time, so I’m going to go back to the beginning with the DVDs shortly. I think it’s going to be great to experience the entire series with new eyes. I look forward to seeing it all over again. It’s going to be a lot of fun to relive the entire experience.
Source: Stale Popcorn