LOST Media Mentions - DarkUFO

Thanks to Cristiane for the heads up about this article.

She may be an “Other” on America’s favorite island, but fans still love her. Get to know actress Elizabeth Mitchell as she talks about her career, motherhood, and guilty pleasures.

Actress Elizabeth Mitchell is best known as the enigmatic Juliet Burke on ABC’s drama/thriller LOST, but it is what she’s found that’s generating excitement this afternoon.

We just found a lost puppy,” says Mitchell, apologizing for the slight delay in starting the interview. No problem: In my book, rescuing a cuddly pup trumps shop talk any day. She deftly fields questions about career and family, all while following the dog as it explores its new, if temporary, digs. “I love puppies, but they really are like babies,” Mitchell adds. Her 3-year-old son, CJ, isn’t so sure about the new arrival, but Mitchell calmly soothes his worries. Seems she’s got the mom role down, too.

Mitchell, her husband, Christopher Soldevilla, who is a teacher and improvisational actor, and their son are in Hawaii, the family’s part-time home while she films season five of the Emmy Award-winning show. She joined the tight-knit cast in season three when fans were introduced to her as one of the island’s “Others,” making her a potential threat to hunky hero Jack (played by Matthew Fox) and his fellow marooned flight mates.

Followers of the show know that Mitchell’s character is complex, at once cold and cunning and empathetic and vulnerable. “[Juliet] is one of my favorite characters,” Mitchell says, “because she does have this tremendous amount of empathy, which I identify with, but she’s also kind of—I always like to say she’s fairly lethal. I love her mystery.”

In real life, there was never any mystery about Mitchell’s career calling. Growing up in Dallas, she always had a passion for acting, performing with the Dallas Theater Center and landing her first big role at age 7 as Alice in Through the Looking Glass (coincidentally, also the title of Lost’s season three finale).

A Texas upbringing and encouragement from her parents infused in Mitchell a confidence and trueness that’s led to her success on stage and screen. “In Texas, you’re kind of brought up to be strong and be your own person,” she says. “My parents absolutely echoed that. They were big on you being an individual and making your way in the world. They also very much had the Texas mentality of ‘there’s nothing you can’t do.’ I enjoyed growing up with that idea.”

On stage, the self-described “hugely awkward” adolescent (hard to believe looking at the 5-foot-10-inch blonde beauty now) became a swan. “I had terrible acne, but on stage you couldn’t see any of that. I could be the most awkward person you’ve ever seen or I could be a lovely person. With makeup on stage, I could be anyone.”

Playing all sorts of characters gave Mitchell an escape. “All of a sudden I’d get a laugh from the audience or applause for something and it was a completely different world than what I walked around in, bumping into locker doors,” she laughs.

Mitchell devoted herself to her craft, attending a performing arts high school, earning a bachelor of fine arts in acting from Stephens College, and studying at the British American Drama Academy in London. “[In London] I was overwhelmed by the talent and overwhelmed by the mentality there, which is the working actor mentality,” she recalls. “They don’t see themselves as anything but actors. They don’t get a lot of notoriety; they do it because they love it. It’s kind of an old-fashioned approach to acting that I adopted as my own.”

Back stateside, she performed theater in Dallas and later in New York, paying her so-called acting dues. “I was on a soap opera during the day and did a play at night,” she says. “Then I got an understudy part in a show that was touring all across the country.” It was an Edward Albee show, and the revered playwright was touring with the company. Ever the student, Mitchell saw the opportunity as a chance to learn.

Following the tour, she settled in Los Angeles, but a transition to the screen wasn’t quite instantaneous for the accomplished stage actress. “I think I went on three auditions and booked the third. And this was over the course of three months. One audition a month and I thought, ‘At this rate . . .’ ” she trails off.

For Mitchell, the medium presented a welcome challenge. “I enjoyed the whole second layer of it—having to develop a character but also having to hit my mark and know where the light was and know where the camera was.”

Jobs and pilots trickled her way, but her first big break came in the HBO film Gia, based on the life of ’70s fashion model Gia Carangi. Mitchell costarred
alongside Angelina Jolie.

From there, doors opened and Mitchell earned roles in films such as Nurse Betty and Frequency and in series such as ER. Of her early career in Hollywood, she says, “Every once in a while something would hit, something would do well. But in the midst of those I never stopped working. I was always doing stuff no one would ever see.”

Many did see Mitchell, however, in her 2002 role opposite Tim Allen in The Santa Clause 2 and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, in which she played Mrs. Clause. “I loved playing Mrs. Clause,” she says. “I certainly loved the second movie tremendously. It was really my chance to do somewhat of a romantic comedy, and to get to do that with Tim was very exciting. He was funny and talented and worked really hard.”

It was in 2007 that Mitchell debuted on the mysterious Lost island as Juliet, a challenging character she so perfectly portrays that viewers root both for and against her. Should Juliet be trusted? Will she help or harm the crash victims? Is Jack her Romeo? Despite the uncertainties, viewers know for sure that Juliet is a force who cranks up the intrigue.

Mitchell was actually a fan of the show before joining the ensemble cast. “I didn’t know that I would be so drawn to the first episode,” she confesses. “But it was so compelling and the characters so well-drawn. You have the best of all the things I love. You have an incredible, dramatic story but also an adventure. It was a very well thought out, methodical, sometimes terrifying but always exciting adventure. That’s what drew me to it as a fan.”

But she tuned out during the second season when she became pregnant with CJ and wanted to avoid the show’s violence. “Any person that I was before the baby, I was different when I was pregnant,” she says. “I had been this huge risk-taking, adventurous kind of soul, and then I got pregnant.”

Around the same time, however, the show’s writers were thinking of her for the role of Juliet and called her manager to say so. Though the writers thought she’d be perfect for the part, Mitchell warned, “I know you guys think so, but this is a really big show and they are never going to let me on it. Don’t feel bad when it doesn’t happen.” She acknowledges the scenario had played out before: a part written with her in mind but given to someone else.

Fortunately for the show and for Mitchell, things turned out differently this time around. “In this case, the show was already so successful they could kind of take a gamble, I guess, with me,” she says. “I’m admiring their bravery.” Watching her performance, one wonders how there could have ever been any question.

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