The Lost show runners (Darlton) on the final season.
by Fred Topel
Feb 26, 2010
This is the end of an era. Not only is the series Lost coming to an end, but this is probably the last time Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse will give us vague non-answers about what’s coming up on Lost. Thanks for this last press conference, guys. We’ll miss you.
Q: When exactly did you figure out how this all ended?
Carlton Cuse: You know, there isn't really a completely definitive answer to that. I mean, we came up with the final image of the show a long time ago back when we were first plotting out the mythology in the first season, and then we started adding elements to that as we went along. Really, between the first and the second season is when we cooked the mythology. We kind of knew what the end point was, but as you move towards the end point, you add elements. And obviously, the end is not yet written, and there are certain sort of mythological, architectural elements that are intact for that ending, but a lot of character stuff will get worked out as we go along. I mean, that's part of the discovery process of writing. Obviously, for instance, like Michael Emerson wasn't on the show at that point, and it's a fun process because we sort of have a concept of where we're going to end the show but there is still the process of actually executing it and there still is the process of discovery, particularly on a character level, that will come into play as we finish the show.
Damon Lindelof: So if you guys have any ideas, we are open-minded.
Q: In recent interviews, you've said that of all the seasons, the upcoming season of Lost will be closest to the first season. Can you at least explain sort of in what way the coming season will refer back to the first season more than any others?
Damon Lindelof: One of the things that I think we are trying to do, all of us, the actors and the writers, as well, in the sixth season is to show the audience the before so they have some sense of, oh, this is what he used to be and who they are now so you really get a sense of how far that person's come. And obviously, the process of doing that, not just thinking about it, but doing it on a story level, really makes you feel like we felt in Season 1.
Q: Was it really important all along to keep the actors from knowing what happened to their characters in advance?
Damon Lindelof: That's a great question. Our dialogue with the actors, it's one of those things where, quite honestly, we just don't speak to them at all.
Carlton Cuse: It's better that way.
Damon Lindelof: But with Terry, it's kind of one of those things where the actor reads the script, and they decide what they need in order to play the scene and they know that we are completely available to answer any questions. But I do feel like the fun of the show for us as writers and producers is to send these scripts down to Hawaii and then see what we get back as opposed to trying to micromanage it.
Carlton Cuse: And for the actors, I think, the fact that they don't know where things are going kind of makes them very present in performing those given scripts, and I think that's actually a good thing. I mean, I think they do a remarkable job basically reading the next week's episode and basically kind of bringing it to life, and there's that immediacy that's part of that process.
Q: Have you given any thought to a Lost spin-off, like the further adventures of Sawyer?
Carlton Cuse: They have not pressured us at all. I mean, the network has been fabulous, and we owe a great debt of gratitude to Steve McPherson again just for this whole notion of ending the show. We are definitively ending this story of these characters and the show that we wanted to tell in May, and there's not going to be an implanted sequel. There's not going to be a secret back-door pilot embedded in that. The story of Lost that we've been telling for these six seasons is coming to a close this May.
Q: What have been your most memorable moments in the six years of Lost?
Carlton Cuse: The raft launch in the first season was such a great example of the kind of collaborative way in which this show is made and that's, I think, the thing that really distinguishes and makes it special. It wasn't enough that we just wrote that raft launch. It was also what all the actors brought to bear. It was Jack Bender who actually came up with the idea of the dog swimming out and then turning back. And then, I remember sort of most vividly being on the scoring stage, and the orchestra that plays the music for the show was playing Michael Giacchino's cue for that and they sight-read and they hadn't played it. And after they played it the first time, it was so moving and beautiful that they all just started spontaneously applauding, tapping their bows across their instruments, and everybody was crying and it was just this moment where you realize that the show is so much larger than any one individual, and collaboration on this show is really, truly probably the most special thing that will happen for all of us.
Q: How will the events of the season finale cliffhanger wit the bomb impact the characters?
Carlton Cuse: The season premiere picks up right after the finale, and we really don't want to say too much about it. We've obviously been very circumspect about the sixth season, and primarily because there's this big cliffhanger. Juliet hits this bomb. There's a white flash. What happened? Jack and Faraday were postulating that that was going to reset the clock and the Oceanic 815 would fly along and land in Los Angeles. If she taps that bomb and something else happens, maybe they're still stuck on the island. We don't really want to kind of give away what the show is going to be this season, so that's why we've been very circumspect about what we said and why we haven't shown any new footage.
Q: Even though you set the end date and decided on the story, how do you deal with the inevitability of die hard fans having issues with the finale you wish to give them?
Damon Lindelof: It would be great to cover my bases and guarantee everybody a sh*tty ending of Lost. Now you're actually going to see the ending to Lost, and all we can do is, basically, put our best foot forward. We do feel like the worst ending that we could possibly provide everyone who has invested this amount of time and energy into watching the show is the safe ending. You know, the ending that is basically sort of like, "What's going to be the most appealing to the most number of people?" At some point, you can't take a risk just to take a risk because that's a betrayal in and of itself.
Carlton Cuse: Obviously not every question's going to be answered, so obviously, some people are going to be upset that those particular questions don't get resolved. We felt if we tried to just answer questions, it would be very pedantic. Apart from that, we also really embrace this notion that there's a fundamental sort of sense of mystery that we all have in our lives, and certainly that is a huge part of the lives of these characters, and to sort of demystify that by trying to literally explain everything down to the last little sort of midichlorian of it all would be a mistake in our view. So I think there would be, hopefully, a kind of healthy cocktail of answers, mystery, good character resolutions and some surprises.