To celebrate the end of Lost, cast and crew gathered in Los Angeles on Thursday for Lost Live: The Final Celebration. Before the event, I snagged interviews with as many actors as I could get to on the red carpet. While none of the cast members I spoke with came close to disclosing anything about the series finale—duh—they were all more than willing to reflect on their characters and their experiences filming Lost. First up: Lance Reddick (Matthew Abaddon), L. Scott Caldwell (Rose), and Daniel Roebuck (Dr. Arzt).
It’s funny. I think that every show I’ve been on has been genre in one way or another. I don’t think it’s so much I’m drawn to them as they seem to draw me in. You go where the work is.
It’s an understatement to say that Abaddon was enigmatic. When you don’t know where the character is going, what’s your acting approach?
You ask for as much as they can give you, and then what you don’t know, you kind of make up and fill in the blanks.
Did the creators give you any information ahead of time?
Basically, what Carlton Cuse said to me when we first discussed the role and I accepted the part, he said, “You’re second in command to Widmore.” He said, “The best corollary I can give you is, you’re like Darth Vader. Widmore’s the emperor.”
I overheard you say you haven’t had time to watch Lost as it’s aired. Do you have any plans to marathon the series after it’s over?
I don’t have plans for that, but I know sooner or later I will. I’ve got a bunch of DVDs. I’ve got to catch up on Breaking Bad!
You probably get this a lot, but are you OK with flying? It’s clear in the Lost pilot that Rose has some issues with it.
Yeah, but [in the sideways universe] I was cool, wasn’t I?
A lot mellower, yeah.
Yeah. So it’s fine. I make other people nervous when they see me get on the plane.
On a show like Lost when you have no idea how big your role will be when you start, how much backstory do you give your character?
Oh, I couldn’t give her any backstory. I just had to bring myself and be wholly available and flexible. I think that’s basically what happened. They hired good actors and because they were chess pieces—they were moving people around. You didn’t really know what direction you’d be going. So it was futile to invest too much backstory, because if you’d load stuff up, you’re sending the wrong message. The most important thing for an actor is to find a playable action in whatever scene you’re doing and let that take care of itself. The writer does the rest.
Do you have plans for watching the finale?
Well, there are a couple of big fan parties. And I really, really want to be with fans on that night, because if it weren’t for the fans, I know I wouldn’t have been around for six years. Because they were always asking, “Where’s Rose?”
You’re definitely a fan favorite character. So you do feel like the fans had an effect on your journey on the show?
Yeah, I think if it weren’t for the fans, I probably would have had a brick on my head a long time ago!
You played a character who literally explodes. Did you have any idea you’d be back in one piece? You’ve been on the show lot, especially this season.
You know, who would have thought when you died on TV that you could come back at all? So that they gave me that opportunity was a hell of a blessing for me. When I shot the show initially, I didn’t really think that I could come back, so it was kind of unique. When they called, I went, “what?”
You’re definitely another one of those characters that fans really latched onto. Why do you think that is?
You know why I think people liked Dr. Arzt? Because I think he was saying what they were thinking. He was saying, “How come you don’t lose weight? We’re on an island.” “How come you’re in charge?” “How come you get to be the ones who make all the decisions?” I think fans at the end of that first year, they were really paying attention, and they were wondering why the stars got to do everything. And then, by the way, if I was the voice of the fans, then I think my death was a very clear indication of what the writers of Lost thought of that opinion. Because they’re great writers. They knew what they were doing. They didn’t really care what the fans thought. They knew ultimately that the story would revolve back to what it needed to revolve back to.
How are you with spiders in real life?
Spiders, fine. Dude, you know what was scarier? That centipede. The guy said, “Don’t let this bite you.” I had the tongs on that thing so tightly, because all it wanted to do was kill me. I was very clear. I was like, “Don’t tell this centipede where I’m staying, what hotel I’m at. Because he’s going to come looking for me and he’s gonna kill me.”
Stay tuned for Part 2: Hurley, Michael Dawson, and Richard Alpert!