Last night, the extremely affable Jeff Fahey was kind enough to take a few minutes between scenes on the set of the Robert Rodriguez film ‘Machete’ to discuss his role and experiences as Captain Frank J. Lapidus on LOST.
Minor Spoiler Alert: read at your own risk, as Fahey addresses the fate and future of Lapidus.
You are primarily a film actor, and have not been a series regular on television since ‘The Marshall’ in 1995. So what was it about LOST that lured you back to the small screen?
JF: “When they called me and asked me if I’d be interested, I was working in Afghanistan. I talked to Carlton on the phone; he walked through the pilot and all three seasons. He was so nice and such a wonderful man. I then had lunch with he and Dmaon in LA. They are two great, comfortable, intelligent, creative people. So I said yes. I went over (to Oahu) and did a few episodes, and it kept going. They gave me freedom. For season six, they offered a contract. I just love everybody on the show and it was a dream job. If it’s the only one I have in my career, that’s just fine.”
What was it like to work with the impressive ensemble cast in Hawaii?
JF: “It was so easy, so free. In the three seasons I was on the island, I never experienced one moment of discomfort. I loved every person in all departments; writers, directors, producers, the wonderful cast and great crew. I can’t even consider it working. It was like three seasons of a paid vacation.”
What was your favorite line of dialogue delivered by Lapidus?
JF: “There were so many. I loved the way they wrote him, with the one liners. But everybody loved the line about Guam.”
What was your favorite scene to film throughout your three seasons on the show?
JF: “It was one great ride and I loved the whole process. It was a joy every day to go to work. When we worked on the sub, it was so confined, but there was more freedom to work on the (Ajira) plane and (freigher) helicopter. On the sub, I banged my head a few times…but I think everyone did. For the scene with the door, they put in a stunt man and he wen’t flying. It worked. You couldn’t tell it wasn’t me.”
There are a few fascinating theories about Lapidus out there. One prevailing thought is that the Man in Black (as the Smoke Monster) killed original 815 pilot Seth Norris because he was supposed to be you. My theory is that in the flash sideways, Frank will be the helicopter medic who picks up or delivers Claire and Aaron at the hospital, thus fulfilling Desmond’s vision that led to Charlie’s sacrifice on the island. Are you aware of such speculation or did you ever theorize about your character’s destiny/role on and off the island?
JF: “I made a point to not overthink where anything was going. I enjoyed the fact that because it was so well written, one could work in an environment of the unknown. I didn’t overthink the destiny of Frank. It allowed me to stay in the moment and enjoy the moment without wondering if I was doing the right thing. I honestly told myself that I can’t be disappointed or over-excited about whatever his fate is, whatever happens. For that reason, when this is all over, I’m going to watch the whole thing all the way through as a fan.”
Where are you going to watch the series finale?
JF: “I’m going to watch the finale at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin. They are showing it on several screens.”
Did you read the last script, the series finale? If so, what was your reaction?
JF: “No. I’m as much in the dark as you are. I’m enjoying that.”
Many fans were openly discontent with the lack of Lapidus in season 6. And although he was taken out by a sub door and we did not see him surface afterward, there is great debate about whether Frank survived and will appear in the finale on the island. Can you confirm or deny your appearance in the final episode?
JF: “By the time they were filming the finale, I was in the Western Sahara. He’s dead now, the dream is over. I couldn’t overindulge where and what the fate of Lapidus was. He’s sitting somewhere at the bottom of the sea.”