Room 23

A gathering place for those who love the ABC TV show Lost. This blog was started by a group of Fans who kept the Season 3 finale talkback at Ain't It going all the way until the première of the 4th season as a way to share images, news, spoilers, artwork, fan fiction and much more. Please come back often and become part of our community.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Interview Terry O'Quinn

Séries TV - Interviews - Vendredi 18 Juillet 2008

Terry O'QuinnAllocine : What do like about Locke and what don't you like about him ?

I like everything about him, and I do, I'm not being faecitious. I like playing him, and I like his flaws, I think it's all his weaknesses that make him interesting. He's the un-Jack, and I like his instability. So you know, there's nothing I don't like about playing my character. If I met him on the street I'm not sure I would like him, he might frighten me a little bit, but I love my character.

Is that important for you, do you think you have to love what you're doing to be a good actor?

You have to love what you're doing. I don't know if you have to love your character or not, but you certainly have to understand him, and you have to know why he makes the choices that he makes. That's half an actor's job, is the understanding, it's the psychology of this person. Everyone has a reason to do anything they do, and you simply have to understand what that reason is, and then, once you understand it, you have to try to make it interesting to watch, and that's the other half of the actors job. I think.

You were the only cast member cast without auditioning, what do you think made J.J. Abrams think you were right for the role?

We had worked together on Alias, I did Alias for a long time. I was a guest actor on Alias, so I didn't get paid a lot of money. And I think he though he owed me something (laughs). He thought he owed me something, and apparently he had faith that I would be able to deliver something, that I could make Locke interesting, so I'm grateful to him for that.

Do you have anything in common with Locke?

Sure. But I think you do too (laughs).What are those things?Well, in my case, a self-doubt, y'know, "Can I do the job?" I have a lot of that. I'm impatient, like Locke. I want to believe in magic and spirituality , I have that.

You want to or you do?

This I have in common with him. I want to, and I do if I have evidence (laughs). And he's the same way, y'know, he wants to and he needs... When they say he's a man of faith, I think he's a man who desperately wants to have faith, in something. I think, y'know, his whole life before the island, he had no faith in anything, because everything was a disappointment: his family ? no family, no friends, no recognition and no place in the world. And he believes that, um, he landed on the island and he had a clean slate, as the philosopher, John Locke said, tabula rosa, a clean slate, now I can write on that slate whatever I want to, I can be sombody.So actually he's not lost.Oh no, no, no, he's the only one [who's not lost]

Do you think he's right to have faith in the island?

I don't know, I mean that's a good question. He has lots of evidence, I mean it saved his life. First of all it made him walk, and then it pulled him out of a hole in the ground with a hole through his body and it made him well and it keeps on taking care of him. I think it would frighten me a little bit, but I think he has no choice.

But do you think that the island only takes care of certain people?

It might well just take care of certain people. He believes he's chosen. He believes he's chosen, and that he's here for a reason and that he was chosen to be where he is and to be doing what he's doing. Whether or not that will prove to be wise or not, I don't know, but he has no choice, he can only do what he's doing. Jack, on the other hand, simply refuses to see what's happening, and he won't acknowledge that there are strange powerful forces at work. At least Locke is seeing that and acknowledging it.

How do people approach you when they see you in the streets?

Um, I think like, I don't know, I think like they approach anybody who they recognise from the television or a film or something...

They're not afraid?

Not that I know of. I guess the ones that are afraid don't come and approach me! (laughs) But they're all very friendly, and they're all excited, they're excited. Fans of the show are excited about it.

Do they ask you about what's going on or what's going to happen next?

Sometimes, but we've gotten really good at refusing. And I don't know. I don't know. We go back to work at the beginning of August, or the middle of August, supposedly, and I don't know what's going to happen, I don't know what's in the script, I don't know where the island went.

Do you have any theories though?

No. I don't have theories. I don't indulge in theories, because I might be right, which would be bad, (laughs), or I might be wrong, which would be a little less bad but still bad. If I was right and I told you my theory, then the writers would go like "He just told all the answers! Did you tell him?" (laughs)

So how far ahead do you know? Have you seen four seasons?

Yes. Then you everything I know, you know everything I know. When I go to work in August, I don't know what's in the script.

What would you like to see in the script?

I don't have likes. I would like to see me in the script a lot (laughs). I'd like to see a lot of John Locke in the script, y'know. The more I get to work on the show the happier I am.

Do all the actors speculate about what's going to happen with each other?

I don't know. Not much. At first they did, but I think they've begun to understand that it's fruitless, and that if you make the wrong guess, it might start to make you make the wrong choice, y'know, in your work. You really have to look at it like, if you try to anticipate what they're going to write, I mean -- this story is even more unpredictable than life (laughs). We might know sort of how tomorrow's going to go for us, but...Or you're hoping for something which isn't going to happen...I can only hope what I know John Locke hopes for, y'know. I can't be a fan of the character. I can be a fan of the show, just in that I like to watch it, but I can't want anything to happen.

Are you a fan of any specific character aside from Locke?

No. I can't be a fan of any character. I mean, I'm a fan of the actors, there are great actors on this show.

Which are your favourites?

I think Michael, Michael Emerson, you know Ben, Desmond. I mean, there are a lot of really good actors ? Jores, Josh, everybody. I think everybody does a great job, I really do.

Who do you like playing against?

Ben, I like playing with Michael a lot, we're comfortable, we have a similar way of working ? we have interesting scenes together, y'know. Evangeline, just because she's so beautiful, and she's a sweetheart, y'know, she's a lovely girl to work with. Yunjin Kim is I think one of the best actresses I've ever worked with, and only a little bit with her and not enough.

What would you bring to a desert island if you were stranded?

I would bring my guitar and my wife and Josh Holloway, and Josh Holloway. Yeah, I would bring my guitar and my wife, and I would bring Josh Holloway because my wife loves Josh Holloway and sometimes I want to be by myself and play my guitar.

And Bush?

Sometimes you get angry and you just have to kick sombody's ass! And I don't want to hurt Josh, or my wife, so George and I will go round a little bit, when we get frustrated.

How do you feel about the show finishing after six seasons?

I'm happy that they're going to do it the way they're going to do it. Because it means the story's going to be good, it's going to end strong, and that the audience will be satisfied and that the actors will be happy. Because there'll be more meat on the bone. Every episode there'll be more there. Because there are only thirty something episodes left and that's it.

Are you relieved that there's an end?

I'm happy that there's going to be a good story. I won't be happy when Lost is over, because I think it's a great job, it's done a lot for me, and I'm enjoying-- I enjoy working in Hawaii, and I enjoy working with these people, and I love working as this character. But I wouldn't want it to end from lack of interest. I wouldn't want people to just get bored and finally they cancel the show, I wouldn't want that.

Do you have any plans for the future?

Next summer I hope to be making a film in Ireland that my brother and I have written, that I think is a very good film.

What's it about?

It's called The Land of Youth and it's about an American who's there to find out about his mother, and it's a mystery, his mother's history is a mystery, and it's not just "Where did my family come from in Irleand?" It's a lot about who killed who, and what happened 50 years ago, and why did she run away?... So it's a mystery and a love story and it's a story about forgiveness.

Will you be the director or the main character?

Yes and yes. (laughs) That's my plan. And if I can't be both, I'll be the main character.

And do you have any ideas about which actors you'd like to be in it?

I mean, sure, I have the perfect cast but I mean... Emma Thompson and uh, y'know... I think Martin Sheen ? Martin Sheen's expressed some interest in doing the film with us already. So I we're going to -- I'm hopeful, I'm hopeful. It would be a great accomplishment. And it would be largely due to Lost that that happens.

Do you think that there'll be a Lost movie?

I don't know, I don't know.

Would you do it if there was?

Well I would if it was, I would if ? I can't see how there could be, because I think Lost should be finished when the show ends, the story should be done. I don't think there should be any more: "the continuing adventures of so-and-so."

When Lost begn did you think that it would get this big?

No, I always assume a show's going to fail because most of them do, most show fail. So I expect the worst ? I hope for the best and I, and if the best happens, it's like you've won the lottery, it's unbelievable. This won't happen, and I told the other cast members, some of the younger cast members, " This isn't gonna happen again, this isn't going to happen to you again, I can guarantee ? I can almost guarantee this won't happen again in your career, so enjoy it.

Why do you think it's so successful?

It's different. It's successful around the world I think because it's not American, it's not about any American situation, or American people specifically. I mean it's about a bunch of people land on an island.' And it has the highest production values of any television show I've ever seen: the cinemetography, the writing, the acting, the music, are like a feature film. It's like we make a feature film every ten days, a small one. I think it's beautiful to watch, it's different...

From the beginning Locke has been separate from the other characters, does that effect the way you interact with the cast when you're not filming?

Not really, I mean it did at first. I just tend to try to, if I can, I wabt to stand back and see who's who in the cast, identify the people and the animals, and in this case it helped because Locke kind of stands back, so I could use that for an excuse, and I good try to find my footing, you know, in the group. But it was such an accessible group that after a while you can't really maintain any illusions, it would be pretentious of me to try to stand back when in fact I like them all and I'm a friendly person.Is it hard to get into the mindset of the island survivor when you're living the luxury life in Hawaii? Not really, because, y'know... because you're in Hawaii is part of it. When I'm not working I'm usually out walking, I walk in the mountains, in the jungle, and I walk on the beach, and, y'know, the sun is hot and there's the beautiful ocean all around, I mean it's the same place so... it's not hard, I mean, that's an actor's job. You go there in the morning, you get your coffee, you say hi to everyone, they start putting on, y'know, dirt and blood wherever you're shot that day, wherever you're wounded, and you get into the working mode, and then when you get there you have this wonderful script that makes it easy. It's hard to get into bad writing. It's easy to get into good writing.

You mentioned your guitar. You really like music, what do you like listening to?

I've read you like Neil Young...Yeah, Neil Young... Well the music when I was young, when I was in college, that I started out with, was Neil Young and James Taylor and Crosby Stills & Nash, and on. And I like Mark Knopfler, y'know, Dire Straits, and I like Colin Haye, y'know Minute Work. I don't hear as much new stuff as I maybe should. I like The Proclaimers, I just heard their new thing, their latest and I love that. I like popular music and folk-ish type music.

And did you get any special training for the part of Locke, for example in survival skills?

No, no they gave me a knife and then I read "Oh, Locke throws the knife," so I started throwing knives at trees and now I'm good at hitting trees with knives. That's what I do to pass the time, it's a new hobby, so, it's better than smoking cigarettes or eating donuts on the set.

And you've never hit anyone?

Never hit anyone. I've gone to the hospital a couple of times just from playing, juggling and flipping the knives around.

Is it true you havea black belt in karate?

It's not true. Some internet thing, that's imdb or wikipedia, said I had a blackbelt in karate and said I was a bodyguard: Not true. That I was in the miltary: Not true. I don't know what else ? that I was in a band: Not true.

Would you have like any of those things to be true?

Sure, I wish I had a black belt in karate, y'know.

What about being in a band?

Well actually I've played with a few people, that's not that big a deal to me. I like to sing. Naveed and I play and sing sometimes on the set, he's fabulous... Sure, it'd be great to have a black belt in karate, I'd probably be in good shape, a little more limber.

Is Lost an addiction for you as an actor?

No, I mean, well, I'm addicted to acting and this is a particularly satisfying part in my career, but when it's over ? I'll be sad that it's over, and I trust that will end strong, and that's what I want most: that it ends strong and that when it's over everybody goes "That was great, that was just great, all the way to the end, very satisfying," and then I'll be sad and hopefully I'll move on, but, I was often broke before Lost began, and I wouldn't be surprised if I was broke when it's over again at some point, y'know. Actors are gypsies to my mind, I've always been a gypsy and that's what I am.

What do you like about the gypsy existence?

I don't have a lot of responsibility. When I met my wife I had a pillow case full of clothes and a guitar, and I was quite comfortable. Now I got a house there, and house over here and a lot of stuff, but I don't need things, I just need to keep ? I mean it's great to make good money. But honestly, if I had a pocket full of money and enough to eat and a comfortable place to stay, I'm great.

Do you follow any other TV series and if you could choose to be in another TV series which one would it be?

Y'know, I haven't followed a lot of TV series so I would big the wrong one I'm sure. Nothing specific. When I see other TV series I see other actors doing him and I can't imagine me doing what they're doing, y'know. I see it as them and I admire what they're doing, I would just like to do another good one. I told Michael Emerson, I said "We should do something together when this is over, get some sort of thing."Any ideas? Yeah, let's do a thing where we go like around the world to really great cities and investigate crimes. (Laughs). He could be Sherlock Holmes and I'll be Dr. Watson and we'll go to all the really great towns.

Where are you going to live after Lost is finished, you'll move from Hawaii right?

Probably. We live on the East coast, we live near Baltimore, in Maryland, that's our home. Y'know, I've never had a place in LA, we may have to get a place there if I want to carry on in the business in a strong way, I may have to try to find a place there. Other than that, I don't know, over here some place would be lovely too.

In Ireland, for the movie?

Oh yeah, yeah.

1 comment:

Napoleon Park said...

Great article. His character may be a whack-job these days, but O'Quinn seems like a very well adjusted, happy and serene person grateful for his good fortunes.
Was this from a web site where English was not their first language. Some of the transcription errors were pretty glaring.
So, what's your favorite Minute Work song, "The Lamb Down Yonder" or "Who Canned the Bee, Now?"