Jorge Garcia Contemplates Life After 'Lost'

Today's cuppa: coffee from the Tassimo

Below find the full text of my syndicated feature story for today ...

Lost_Jorge_Garcia.jpgIt's early January, and "Lost" star Jorge Garcia is back in Hawaii after spending Christmas in Wisconsin. He still has a little time before filming begins on the final group of episodes of the island castaway drama's last season - which begins airing on Tuesday, Feb. 2, on ABC - but thoughts that the end is nigh are creeping in.


"It feels good still," he says. "We know that sadness is on deck, but we're not going there just yet. But you're starting to see the list of lasts. It's like, 'This is the last New Year's on the island.' "


And, of course, there's the packing. Says Garcia, "Now, you're starting to look around the house, thinking, 'How am I going to pack up all I've amassed over six years?' "


Since this is true for many of Garcia's fellow cast members, one wonders if there might be a "Lost" garage sale.


"There might definitely be some Craigslist-ing," Garcia says. "I don't know. It's a lot. I'm just looking at my bookshelf. We're talking about possibly a bunch of us going in on one of those shipping containers. Everyone gets a fraction, and we all start filling it up."


Before "Lost," Garcia was best known for doing 13 episodes of the CBS series "Becker," so his role as unlucky lottery winner Hugo "Hurley" Reyes has not only changed his career but also his life.


"Totally, completely," he says. "When I got the pilot, I didn't even have a script yet to read. I just knew it was (producer) J.J. Abrams, and it shot in Hawaii. So I figured, if anything, I'd have a little Hawaiian vacation out of it, and that was good enough for me."


In the years since, Garcia has also made forays into social media, starting out with a MySpace page, a move that soon became unmanageable.


"I just found," he says, "with all the personal messages and stuff, that the workload got really big. I'm still not at a place where I'm comfortable hiring someone to answer mail and send it for me. So it started getting where I'd spend two hours answering messages."


Instead, Garcia started a blog called "Dispatches From the Island," which has included such gems as photos of the show's 100th-episode cake; "Nunu's Advent Calendar of Stuff She Likes to Chew," featuring Garcia's tiny Chihuahua-dachshund mix; and the epic, seven-part YouTube video series "Jorge and Beth's Rat Incident," featuring a rat and the hysterical reactions to it from Garcia's girlfriend, Beth.


"I think I'll have to come up with a new one with a different title," Garcia says, "when I'm not on the island anymore. It's been fun. I'll definitely keep doing it in some way."


Although "Lost" became a worldwide hit, Garcia says that remembering that isn't always easy far across the sea.


"We're kind of protected shooting in Hawaii, in a way. You can convince yourself that you're just doing a little show that you and your friends do, and you don't think about the huge phenomenon it's become worldwide, until you start doing international press, or if you go to ComicCon or things like that. You begin to see the level of the fan base.


"It's going to be interesting, because there's this idea of coming back to Los Angeles. It's like you went away to make your fortune, and now you're returning home."


Of course, this wasn't exactly planned, especially on the part of the show's producers.


"Originally," Garcia says, "I remember seeing an old breakdown where Hurley was in his 50s and wasn't going to survive the pilot. So I'm glad I was able to change their minds.


"They had a rough list of some people to put in the show, but when they were Josh1.jpgcasting us - and it was late in casting season - they ended up really concentrating on finding actors they wanted to work with and not worrying too much on how it's all going to fit just yet.


"So they ended up creating the part for me, after they met me. I had read for Sawyer, and they chatted with me for a little while. They ended up writing scenes for me, when I actually tested for the role.


"So, in that sense, because I was the only Hurley that they tested, as far as I know, that makes you feel pretty good."


Asked what will change immediately after the director calls the final "That's a wrap!" Garcia says, "I probably will give a nice close shave. Periodically it's just nice to feel real clean in the face."


As to whether co-star Josh Holloway, who plays Sawyer, will also lose the scruff on his chin, Garcia says, "He said he was going to shave his head when it was all over. He probably could be talked out of it."


UPDATE: To learn more about Garcia's early days with pal Lana Parrilla ("Swingtown," "Boomtown" and the upcoming "Miami Medical"), click here.


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