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Chicagotribune’s interview with Damon and Carlton part1

By lyly ford,

  Filed under: Lost Interviews, Lost News
  Comments: 8

In December, I interviewed “Lost” executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof over lunch on the Disney-ABC lot in Burbank, Calif. In a week or so, I’ll be using that interview to write a feature for the print version of the Tribune (I’ll post that “Lost” feature here too).

But with the anticipation of the “Lost” Season 6 premiere building — the start of the final season is only two weeks away on Feb. 2 — I thought I’d start posting the full transcript of the interview. It’s looong. Check back here for additional installments (there should be two more installments over the next week or so).

Yes, what follows is only about a third of the interview. I know! But given that Lindelof and Cuse were kind enough to give me an hour of their time, I’m going to share everything they said with my fellow island fanatics. Casual fans might not want to read the whole thing; if that’s the case, there are a few choice excepts here. All my other “Lost” coverage is here.

This interview contains no spoilers for Season 6. I didn’t (and still don’t) want to know any specifics about the season to come.

I was interested in finding out how Cuse and Lindelof approached Season 6 and how they feel about the fans’ expectations for the last season. This section of the transcript also contains the first set of ‘Star Wars references, and there are several “Battlestar Galactica” and “Sopranos” references too. Also, giraffes.

In the next exciting installment: Time travel!!! Later: Ewoks!!!

Here’s Part 1 — enjoy!

Ryan: Even as a hardcore “Battlestar Galactica” fan, I was taken aback at how impassioned people were about the last set of episodes of that show. And I was really unprepared for how harsh people could get over the smallest things and what they meant, and over what and wasn’t dealt with in those final set of episodes. It was as if everyone had a different checklist in their mind of what had to happen.

In approaching this last season, do you have the sense that it’s going to be like that? Or did you just not think about the intensity of the fan reaction?

Lindelof: I’m sure we both have similar yet vastly verbose responses to that because we talk a lot about it and been talking a lot about the ending of the show for a long time. But I think that there is a disproportionate focus on a finale and there always has been. And this happens on a micro level, where the critically and fan-hated season, Season 3, also happens to have the greatest finale probably of the series. And the taste left in your mouth in the wake of the finale is really all that matters.

If the entire series is going to be judged based on our ability to execute the dive, you can’t do your job. Part of it is — despite what people think or say, so much of it has been talked about and planned for years now that you’re just kind of executing the plan to the best of your ability. You’re changing the plan when it’s not working, but otherwise, you’re kind of married to the inevitable — the stuff that we want to do.

Cuse: We also spent a lot of time talking about how we don’t want the last season of the show to be didactic. It’s very dangerous to basically create a checklist of answers and then start trying to tick them off, because we want to make sure we’re telling engaging stories. For us really, while the mythology is important, for us it’s a story about these characters. And so most of our focus has been on, how are we going to resolve the character stories?

We really feel we are very committed to this notion of not stripping the show of its essential mystery. I mean, mystery exists in life and we kind of always go back to the midi-chlorians example [in the ‘Star Wars’ prequel films]. Your understanding the Force was not aided by knowing that there were little particles swimming around in the bloodstreams of Jedi.

There are sort of fundamental elements of mystery and magic to the show that are unexplainable, and any attempt to explain them would actually harm the show, and in our opinion, the legacy of the show. So we’re trying to find the right blend of answering questions, but also leaving the things that should be mysterious mysterious.

Read the rest of the interview here!

From TVFrenzy:

  • theglasseye

    This is great. Can't wait for the rest!

  • gusteaux

    Cuse: “I feel like there will be diverse opinions and again, we understand that the hardcore mythology fans might react differently than the people who are really waiting to find out if Kate ends up with Sawyer or with Jack. And for us, we feel that the story lines that ultimately will be the most satisfying are the character stories. In discussing the various conundrums of mythology answers, we are very well aware that for people who are really focused on the mythology, it’s hard to provide probably completely sufficient answers for those group of people. So there will be there’ll probably be different levels of satisfaction based on what it is that interested you about the show in the first place.”

    The problem with this line of reasoning is that the vast majority of viewers who were more interested in the characters than the mythology dropped out during seasons 2 and 3. The vast majority of those who have remained loyal are those who are more invested in the SiFi/Mythology elements of the story. So now, they are going to try to apease those who no longer watch rather than those who have remained loyal and have embrased the SiFi/Mythology elements? Sorry guys, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

  • codywheeler

    I dont get the twitter comments. are they supposed to say something?

  • elginmiller

    They seem to appease those people every year by promising that the coming season will be all about the characters and the relationships and that's what's truly important to the writers, and then every year we get more and more mythology. Seriously, you can find statements exactly like this made by D&C before every single season, starting with the third.

  • unclebeaver

    Well, I kinda disagree (but you do make valid points).

    I've watched LOST from the begining, and have probably seen each episode at least 5-6 times (I LOVE the mythology, and think season 2 was the best). Some other people were introduced to the show later on, and have seen A LOT of the series in a smaller time-frame, and have a different approach to the narative.

    When I got my brother and his girlfriend into LOST, they of course, loved it, but one of the biggest “Oh my GOD” reactions I got out of my bro's girlfriend was in the SEASON 3 finally, when Jack tells Kate he “Loves her”. This moment had almost nothing to do with the mythology of the show, but was VERY character driven, and drives home Cuse's point in that statement.

    So, in THAT regard, there are people that are invested in the show that find the romance aspect of it to be the most engaging. I LOVE almost everything about this show, and can't wait to see where they take these characters.

  • unclebeaver


    I don't really know anything about “Twitter”, but what is all this indecipherable mess?

    Sorry if I don't know, but it seems like a bunch of nonsense.

  • unclebeaver

    Everyone's talking about SERIES FINALES, and how some of them were disapointing, but what about the good ones…

    The Wire
    Six Feet Under

    Anyone got any other good ones that are rarely mentioned?

  • It's kinda funny, I always read “hated Season 3”, and here now even Season 2 & 3 as “exits” for character-focused viewers – I personally am definitely more interested in the characters, in fact all the sci-fi stuff first put me off a bit (a “monster” and “special kids” were enough for my liking), and I still think S3 is ONE OF THE GREATEST SEASONS of Lost! I loved the Locke-Jack rivalry, loved the Desmond-Charlie thing, loved the Jack-Sawyer interaction (one of the most emotional moments of the entire series: Sawyer telling Jack about meeting his father!) and of course the great finale, breath-taking and sad at the same time …

    For me it was actually harder to keep watching in Season 4 and 5 as the character's backstories were more or less told, there was no or hardly any “sh***, they should actually know each other already!” moments, the new characters didn't do it that much for me (except Faraday), and mayby only because I'm a physicist I liked the time travel part and especially faradays experiment – it actually didn't get enough attention in the end, I would have liked to see a more scientific dealing with it.

    As for S6 – what I am hoping for is that the character interactions get back to the same level that they had in S1-S3 and that especially early questions such as “what is the monster?”, “what about Walt and Aaron?”, “what exactly is the story with Dharma and the others?”, “what is the list?”, “what happened to thh Stewardes (to make her live with the others)?” …. all the Jacob stuff is too much myth for me actually.

    But somehow I'm afraid it will be the other way around and the unanswered questions will mostly consist of those that arose in the beginning (and which are hopefully forgotten by now 🙂 )