[02/27/10 - 07:00 PM]
Live at the Paley Festival: ABC's "Lost"
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

7:04 PM - A fun clip of "The Simpsons" from the Paley archives opens night two of the festival - a 1994 episode in which Homer's toaster allows him to travel back in time, to disastrous results.

7:10 PM - The Paley Center's Craig Hitchcock informs us 1,900 people are here tonight - a record attendance for a Paley event. Second place: yesterday's "Modern Family" event with 1,400. He turn brings out Debra Birnbaum, editor-in-chief of TV Guide Magazine, who is sponsoring tonight's panel.

7:15 PM - She brings out the men of the hour, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, who reveal they've brought a brief clip from the coming week's episode. (Nothing earth shattering but obviously I won't spoil.)

7:20 PM - Debra returns to intro who's here tonight: Nestor Carbonell! Adam Horowitz! Edward Kitsis! Jack Bender! Carlton Cuse! Damon Lindelof! Elizabeth Sarnoff! Zuleikha Robinson! And in what brings the house down: Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn! Rounding out the group is "The League's" Paul Scheer, who will serve as moderator.

7:24 PM - Scheer runs down the silly questions people have told him to ask on his Twitter account. Among them: "Ask those writer dudes, why aren't there any monkeys on that island?" "Will we finally get a musical episode?" "Which house would the sorting hat from 'Harry Potter' put each of the characters?" "Yo, what's the deal with the island?"

7:27 PM - "We're writing the finale right now," Carlton says when asked what script they're on. Damon adds that Eddie, Adam and Liz have just turned in the penultimate episode.

7:28 PM - Carlton on if there's any wiggle room left in the final episodes: "We have an architecture to the end of the show but sometimes on the character level there's room for discovery as we put our characters together and find those scenes as we write them. I mean there's a definite [point] where we're getting to but we actually have in working out the story and writing the finale there will definitely be things that we'll discover, moments."

7:30 PM - Eddie on what fans tell him the most about the final season: "Hey, don't screw it up."

7:31 PM - Carlton on which plotlines won't be addressed by the time the show ends: "We're not going to stop in the finale and explain who the economist was that Sayid shot on the golf course." Damon adds, "We call [the show] the iceberg. And the show that you're watching is the iceberg that's above the waterline but we have to talk a lot about the iceberg you can't see. And sometimes that stuff is really cool and makes it into the show and you go, 'Wow that's so cool that we should make an episode about it.' And sometimes you're like it's just going to end up being a scene. So if you're wondering - should I do a mystery with this, sometimes all a character has to do is ask. And say like, 'Hey Lapidus, why is it that you ended up flying the plane?' He can either answer the question or you can whoosh and do a whole episode about it."

7:33 PM - Damon continues, "We're big fans of the show 'Top Chef.' And those guys all run through Whole Foods and they have to pull all this stuff - and they get stuff they might not use in the dish. And when they get into the kitchen they had to decide whether or not they're going to use it. Or process is kind of the same thing."

7:35 PM - "This is your 9/11," Nestor on what Jack Bender told him on how to play the scene in which Locke emerges from the temple in the season premiere.

7:36 PM - "It does run against your work habits," Michael says about working on a show with so many secrets. "To work sort of outside the backstory or context or arc or anything like that. But after a while, once you get used to it, it really is quite freeing. And you don't have to worry about those things. You just show up on the day and play the scene and hope the writers and the audience will place it somewhere where it means the right things."

7:38 PM - Jack on directing the show: "Alan Dale says to me, 'What the fuck am I doing on this show? What am I talking about?' And you give them just enough to have them play it beautifully." This causes Paul to quip, "He also asked that on 'The O.C.' too."

7:40 PM - Damon adds, "We can call the actors and try to explain these things to them but we've experienced the same thing you guys have experienced when you're trying to explain 'Lost' to someone who doesn't watch - you sound like an idiot or crazy. And if we'd have called Terry at the beginning of 'The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham' and said, 'Dude, here's the situation - you are no longer playing Locke, you're playing a guy [goes on unintelligibly for a few beats] but he also has been basically the smoke monster all along.' It's easier to go, 'Remember when you had the orange in your mouth? Do that again.'"

7:43 PM - Michael on who's hit him the hardest: "I'll say this, the younger the actor the more inflamed their performance, the more likely they are to hurt you."

7:46 PM - Liz on writing for "Deadwood" versus writing for "Lost": "You're writing for what you shoot later that day. So your job as a writer on ['Deadwood'] is to constantly be giving [David Milch] material because you have no material. So it's really an amazingly different experience. There were two writers on 'Deadwood' the two years I was there and there's not a room like [on 'Lost']. It's a lot of David. And if you wanted a story on the show with David, you write the story. And you write, and write it, and write it until finally he reads it so many times he thinks he thought of it and then we get to do it."

7:48 PM - Zuleikha on her experience being a newbie to the show: "You abandon everything you've ever learned as an actor and you just play and be free. It's really wonderful."

7:51 PM - Damon on, well, you'll just have to read: "There's actually a character on the show this year named Chester who is the husband of Squirrel Baby's mother. He sells real estate on the island. He's been turning up a lot to basically inquire as to why when he returns to his hollow, Claire's flown the coop and left him with the kid." Carlton chimes in, "This is why we take 11 months [to do the show]."

7:53 PM - Damon reveals they'll explain what the "Hurleybird" is in the final episodes. Note to self: look up what "Hurleybird" is.

7:55 PM - Both Damon and Carlton freely admit Walt would still be part of the show if it were possible for Malcolm David Kelley not to age. That being said, they're "working on a way to try and bring it all back before 'Lost' is all said and done."

7:57 PM - Paul asks why Ben says Jack isn't on Jacob's list in "I Do" when he's on the list in Jacob's cave. "Whether or not that actually came from Jacob or came from Ben pretending that he had some relationship with Jacob that he didn't have - that's always been my interpretation. He wants Jack Shepherd to perform the surgery on him so everything that's happening in that season is sort of filtered through whether or not Ben is telling the truth or not."

7:59 PM - Carlton on if we'll see Annie, Ben's childhood friend, again: "Probably not."

8:02 PM - Jack notes they just wrapped episode 14. Episode 15 is shooting now and prep has begun on episode 16.

8:07 PM - Nestor on his most memorable moment on the series: "Finally finding out who the hell I am."

8:10 PM - Damon on his early experiences visiting the set: "I remember being on the beach and basically Josh was sitting there in one of the chairs that they pulled out of the plane going on and on about how screwed they were and 'I don't even know where we're going to find water or what the hell we're gonna do, how we're going to get something to eat.' And all of a sudden a knife on a wire that they had just sort of slides up right next to him and Josh goes like this and the camera pans over to Terry and he goes, 'We hunt!' And I thought, 'Nobody's gonna watch this show.'"

8:12 PM - Jack on the reaction of "The Sopranos" creator David Chase after seeing the first couple of episodes: "We were having lunch and he said, 'This is the most screwed up show that's ever been made. Nobody's gonna watch this show.'"

8:14 PM - Damon on how "Lost" would be different if it were a cable show: "Of course, we'd say 'fuck' all the time."

8:22 PM - Paul asks about the rumored Michael-and-Terry-as-hitmen-series. "That has nothing to do with 'Lost,'" Terry says. "It is a thing we might do on a street corner," Michael adds. "Or in a church basement with the idea that we'll eventually move it closer to Broadway."

8:24 PM - "When I was in Intro to Philosophy 101 at NYU, I was like, 'I'm never going to use this.'" - Damon on the irony of where a lot of the characters' monikers come from.

8:26 PM - Damon on if Ilana is ageless (a la Richard): "I think I can tease here that there is some, that Ilana and Richard will have things to say to each other about each other."

8:27 PM - Paul proceeds to run down a list of yes/no questions. In the sideways world is Jack married to someone we've met before? (Yes.) Was the bus that killed Juliet's husband the smoke monster? (No.) Was Jacob telling the truth, is someone coming to the island? (Yes.) Will we see Matthew Abaddon again? (No.) Will we find out the connection between Hurley and Libby (Yes, in an episode written by Eddie and Adam.) Will we learn why women can't have babies on the island? (Yes.) Will we see Vincent again? (Yes.) Will we see Bernard again? (Maybe.)

8:31 PM - Paul opens the floor to audience Q&A.

8:36 PM - Someone asks about why New Otherton is presented the way it is when Sun and Frank arrive. "There was the purge, the Dharma Initiative was wiped out and Benjamin Linus and the Others moved in to those houses so they were lived in... [the scene is from when] Benjamin Linus lived in that house, not the Dharma Initiative. And if that's not the case we apologize."

8:38 PM - Damon goes on to explain "The Santa Claus" effect when it comes to potential production inconsistencies: "There was an ultrasound in the third hour of the show this year which basically has an October date. And people said it should be a September date if everything's in sync. So we basically said it was a production gaffe. But then production told us no, that's her due date. So basically if we just kept our mouths shut and allowed the Santa Claus factor to kick in, it's just so much nicer to believe in Santa Claus."

8:41 PM - Someone asks if the rumor is true that a DVD set will be released with the flashbacks, flashforwards, etc. in chronological order. In short, no.

8:43 PM - Damon on the various adjustments they've made to the original story over the years: "You have to remember that we're not writing a novel where the characters will do whatever we ask them to. And that's the fact of when we write something the actors give us so much back. And we're sort of in the business of not making off the rack suits, we're tailoring suits. And the fun part is doing the alterations, constantly. We've talked in the past about the fact Echo would have had a much more prominent role in the series beyond the beginning of season three when we killed him off, primarily because Adewale didn't want to be on the show anymore. That changes your plans."

8:48 PM - A woman, who reveals she met her husband at the last Paleyfest event for "Lost," asks if we'll see Dominic Monaghan again. We will.

8:51 PM - "I've never missed an episode." - Terry on if he watches the show.

8:54 PM - Carlton reaffirms he and Damon won't be giving any sort of debriefing after the finale. "We're going to let everybody have a chance to digest it and we're not gonna say, 'This is what it's all about.'"

8:55 PM - Did Desmond move seats or did his disappear? Carlton responds, "You will get the answer to that question very shortly in the show."

9:00 PM - "Water" - the one word Damon says that encapsulates the remaining episodes.

9:01 PM - That's it for day two! See you Monday for "NCIS!"

  [february 2010]  


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