LOST Media Mentions - DarkUFO

Ben Falk gets the lowdown on Sky One’s smash hit Lost from executive producer/writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.

“It goes directly to the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” laughs Damon Lindelof, thankful to his assistant for protecting him from the worst of the post he regularly receives. “There is some threatening mail, like ‘if you dare have Sawyer and Juliet consummate their relationship, I’ll never watch the show again’.”

Unfortunately for Angry from Cleveland – and Lindelof, 36, co-creator and exec producer of Lost – that ship has sailed. Luckily, there are millions more around the world who continue to be glued to one of the most intricate, daring, grand and successful shows in television history.

Despite the extreme reactions (“It’s never our intention to raise ire,” he insists), Lindelof and his co-pilot Carlton Cuse, 50, often listen to the fans and their opinions. “The kind of feedback we get in those forums is actually fairly constructive for us,” says Cuse. “After the season ends, it’s always good to get a sense of how the viewer responded, and that filters into our thinking.”

Fans will get a chance to air their views when the pair come to BAFTA for a Q&A in July, and the anticipation is already mounting, since the programme has recently finished its fifth and penultimate series on Sky One and audiences are now preparing for next year’s final 18 episodes. The audience then will finally get to see the loose ends of the many, many strands of mythology tied up, mainly thanks to a unique deal the creators struck with host network ABC.

“The American television model is like the Pony Express – you ride it until it drops underneath you,” says Cuse. “We didn’t want that to happen and we were able to negotiate an end-date three years out, which was unprecedented. We owe a debt of gratitude to JK Rowling.When she announced there would be seven Harry Potter books, that completely defined the journey. People knew exactly what they were getting into.”

Of course, even for regular viewers of the show, precisely what they’re watching is frequently open to discussion.

Ostensibly, Lost is about a group of plane crash survivors (played by Matthew Fox, Terry O’Quinn and Evangeline Lilly amongst many others) struggling to exist on a desert island somewhere in the South Pacific (actually Oahu,Hawaii).

If only it were that simple. Throw timetravel, electro-magnetism, sentient smoke monsters and polar bears into the mix and you’ve got one of the most dissected serials ever produced.

“The Prisoner was a big influence for us,” admits Cuse. “It was 17 episodes and the enigmatic nature of that series had a lot of influence in constructing Lost as a story where the audience had to participate and interpret events.We thought maybe we would be like Twin Peaks or The Prisoner and we’d end up having a cult DVD following. But then the ratings came in and it was huge.”

“I guess it was my dream to create a television show that created a culture around it like the shows I grew up loving, like X-Files and Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” adds Lindelof. “I think it came along at exactly the right time, when the internet became the water-cooler for people to aggregate the show – and that culture’s really blossomed.”

Despite today’s climate of spoilers and web reveals, the surprises, which often include major character deaths, have managed to stay fairly intact,much of which is to do with the dedicated and enormous team who put the show together.

Over 425 people work on Lost, whilst its crew include or have included DOP Larry Fong (Watchmen, 300) and JJ Abrams (Star Trek, Cloverfield) who co-created the show and directed the pilot. Meanwhile, seasoned TV director Jack Bender, says Lindelof, came in and showed “what we could do with eight days of photography and how we could still retain this filmic look.”

Though not involved in the initial episodes, Cuse (who created Don Johnson vehicle Nash Bridges) was soon brought on by Lindelof (previously a supervising producer on crime show Crossing Jordan) who took over the day-to-day running of the show when Abrams left to make Mission: Impossible 3.

“I’d given Damon his first job and he was calling me and asking me for advice,” remembers Cuse. “I fell in love with the material and believed something special could happen, so I came over.” Now the duo are the creative hub, presiding over a small group of writers. And before you ask – yes, they do know how the show’s going to end.

“The mythology is all planned out,” says Cuse. “We’ve known the ending for quite some time.”

That’s not to say they’re happy about it. “I’ll probably work on other shows or movies, but I will never outdo the accomplishment that is Lost,” says Lindelof. “Nor will I set the bar that high for myself. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

May we suggest a journey to the island, Mr. Lindelof. After all that’s where miracles happen...

Source: BAFTA

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