The cast and showrunners of “Lost” are appearing at the Television Critics Association press tour for the final time together Tuesday (Jan. 12). They’re going to answer — or dance around — a lot of questions about the final season, what the show has meant to them and to television and, we’re guessing, how they’d feel if ABC or Disney wanted to extend the franchise without their involvement.
We’re live-blogging the session starting at noon ET/9 a.m. Pacific. Follow along to hear what Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and the cast have to say.
With us on stage are Lindelof, Cuse, Emilie de Ravin, Daniel Dae Kim, Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lilly, Terry O’Quinn, Michael Emerson and Jorge Garcia. Matthew Fox is not here. We’ll find out why soon enough.
9:04 a.m. As these things tend to do, it’s running a few minutes behind. Packed house, though.
9:05 a.m. ABC Entertainment boss Steve McPherson introduces the show, and thanks “a lot of people” for the show’s success — including the Hawaii crew. He hopes to film other things in Hawaii in the future so he can work with those folks again.
9:06 a.m. Setting an end date “made the stakes of the final season even bigger,” but he says Cuselof and the rest of the team are up to it.
9:07 a.m. Teaser fot he new season, with clips from the pilot, the four-toed statue, fan hype, Sawyer-Kate kiss, Damon/Carlton talking head, “This is our destiny,” etc. Nothing new, though.
9:10 a.m. First question: “I’d like to ask each one of you exactly what happens in the final season.” Big laugh. De Ravin: “That’s a really humorous question.”
9:11 a.m. Lilly: “I’m gonna cry like a baby when this show ends … It will be life changing.” Garcia adds that he’s feeling a lot of nostalgia when he goes to certain locations now.
9:12 a.m. Lindelof says he’s grateful they’re getting to end something “while anybody still cares.” He also says it’s a huge gift from the network to get to do it this way.
9:13: Cuse: No definitive answer to when they figured out the end. “We came up with the final image” way back when and have been adding to it ever since. The end isn’t yet written, and while certain “mythological elements” are intact, character stuff, which is continually evolving, is still to be determined.
9:14: O’Quinn knew Locke was not Locke only when he played it. Why not before? “They’re mean,” Holloway says. Lindelof: “Quite honestly we just don’t speak to them at all.” More seriously, the producers let the actors decide how they need to play it. The fun is sending scripts to Hawaii and seeing what they get back, he adds.
9:16 a.m. Lindelof: If we’d called O’Quinn and said, “Thousands and thousands of years ago … he’d have said, ‘Stop.'” O’Quinn: “It was easier to play whoever Locke is now before I knew he wasn’t Locke.” Emerson adds that it’s easier to play the character by not knowing what’s coming.
9:17: Cuse says there’s been no pressure to advance the franchise beyond the finale — which should be a huge relief to “Lost” fans everywhere. The end will be the end, as far as Cuse is concerned.
9:18: Favorite moments question: De Ravin — times when the whole cast is together. Kim — the season 1 finale and the launch of the raft. Holloway — “My god, that’s such a huge question.” He agrees with de Ravin that the group scenes, despite the long filming involved in them.
Lilly — “Sangria Thursdays” — which has become a season 6 tradition. Boone’s death and Claire giving birth is the biggest for her. She doesn’t often cry watching “Lost,” but that got her. Lindelof — walking across the bridge from the writers room to the ABC executive offices to discuss what’s in the hatch or figuring out if “there’s any other way to say ‘time travel.'” Cuse also likes the raft launch, because it illustrates the collaborative nature of the show, from cast to crew to the scoring.
O’Quinn — “Just that collaboration — there’s no special moment, because there were so many.” Working through a scene and working as actors is what he’ll take away. Emerson — lots of “breathless confrontations in small rooms.” Jacob’s cabin, Widmore’s bedroom, the hatch. The moment that captures the whole is Ben and Sawyer on the cliff, trading quotes from Steinbeck, “and I had a rabbit in a backpack — it was so absurd and beautiful, I thought we should just put the cameras down.” Garcia — running away from an exploding plane wing — but also random scenes: “They’re throwing raw chicken parts at me” when Mr. Cluck’s blew up.
9:27: Any holy-crap moments so far this season? Garcia, Holloway and de Ravin all say the premiere is a mind-blower. “I had to read it about three times before it made sense — which it totally does,” she says. “Get ready to scratch your heads, America!” Lindelof says.
9:28: “What’s great is you get to try on a new character, even though you’re playing the same person,” Lilly says. Lindelof: “Oh, you haven’t been playing Kate since season 3.” Lindelof’s next project should be a sitcom.
9:28: “We’re not bored yet, which is unheard of” for a show in its sixth season.
9:29: Emerson praises the “two-part cliffhanger” that ended last season. “I was happy to play the scene I got to play” because it was a departure from Ben’s normally calculating nature and he got to something “completely impulsive and childish.”
9:30: Cuse says the premiere picks up “right after the finale,” but he doesn’t want to say too much beyond that. Fine with me.
9:31: Critic asks about never being able to completely satisfy everyone. Lindelof: “I thought it would be great [five years ago] to cover my bases and guarantee a sh**ty ending to ‘Lost.'” Now that the end is approaching, he thinks the worst end is the safe one — although they won’t take risks just to take risks.
They’ve been talking about the end for three years. Now “there’s a hope” that everyone will love the ending, but it wouldn’t be “Lost” if it doesn’t spark a debate. “There will be people over here who’ll say it’s the worst ending in the history of television, and over here is my mom.”
9:33: Cuse acknowledges that not every last question will be answered. “To explain everything down to the last midichlorian of it all would be a mistake.”
9:34: When did Holloway and O’Quinn realize their characters were so awesome? Holloway: “When I read the pilot, I thought, ‘This guy’s such an a**hole — I gotta figure out how to stay alive.'” Hee. He’s gotten a charge out of finding the different shades of his character.
O’Quinn: “Walkabout.” (Duh.) “I said, ‘Wow, this guy has a stake, and this might be fun.'”
9:36: How does it feel influencing the president’s State of the Union schedule? “What’s amazing is how quickly your political affiliation … I’m a lifelong Democrat, but when I heard they were considering Feb. 2, I thought, ‘That motherf***er.'” Huge laugh. Seriously — get this man a comedy.
9:37: Cuse says there will be a wee bit of new footage revealed shortly before the season premiere, just so audiences aren’t completely in the dark. But the show didn’t want to bombard us with information beforehand.
9:39: One of the things the show will do this season is “show the audience the before” as a way to let us know how far the characters have come.
9:40: Do they ever think much about the relative lack of Emmy love? Cuse says the process of Emmy voting is probably not suited to a show like “Lost.” But he’s pretty happy with the success of the show. Lindelof: “It’s a miracle the show won an Emmy in its first year.” Telling the story in a different way would be a “quantum mistake” and just alienate those who did watch.”
9:42: Is there any wa
y to jump in at this point? Cuse says watch the recap show before the premiere, but also the final season won’t require “deep and vast knowledge” to get. Also: Review season one. That will be important.
9:43: Matthew Fox isn’t here because he’s working today. Yunjin Kim, Jeff Fahey and Zuleikha Robinson, Naveen Andrews, Ken Leung and Nestor Carbonell also didn’t make the trip.
9:45: Legacy question: People will be talking about just the finale for a while, but Lindelof hopes that the perspective will eventually widen and people will appreciate the series as a whole.
9:46: Can you see yourselves attending a “Lost” convention 20 or 30 years from now? O’Quinn: “We all hope we have something else to do.” Holloway: “What are you talking about? I’m retiring — I’m only gonna do conventions.”
9:47: Holloway talks about Sawyer’s growth as both enlightening and scary. He’s tried to open up the character while still keeping his edge — “discovering his humanity while still being a little salty about it,” is how he puts it.
9:48: Last question: What’s life after “Lost” look like? Holloway: “Bittersweet.”
9:48: Harold Perrineau will be back this season. Hmm. Lindelof: And Libby! Woot!
9:49: Cuse: “All your Libby questions will be answered.” Lindelof: “No they will not.”
9:49: Back to the post-“Lost” question. Garcia: “I’m guessing there will be less mosquitoes.” Lilly: The show’s also been kinda like prison, because they’re stuck on Oahu even when they’e not at work. Yeah — tough to feel sympathy there.
And that’s it, folks. “Lost” premieres Feb. 2.