Mod: cut off! (Sorry!) Damon: We’re shooting the fifth episode, but we’ve written the first seven. Mod: How many people at this stage know how the show wraps up, and is J.J. Abrams one of them? Damon: Uh, well, um, obviously all the writers know how the show’s gonna end because we’ve been talking, Eddie and Adam have been on since season 1, Elizabeth since season two. We have in depth conversations about an episode that we’re breaking, but then at the end of every season we have a writer’s mini-camp where we talk about what we’re gonna do in the following season and beyond. Once we secured an ending for the series, everybody who was part of the writing process pretty much had a very strong sense of what that was. As far as J.J. goes, he himself has sortof, um publicly spoken about the fact that he hasn’t been creatively involved in the show since the first season, and he really enjoys watching it as a fan. So he’ll call us the day after an episode airs – he sees it the same time that you do – and basically say “Oh my God, that was awesome!” He has expressed an interest and curiosity in how the show is going to end now. We are internally debating as to whether or not he’ll enjoy it more if he sees it on the air or whether we tell him. But, uh, he’s kinda like: tell me, don’t tell me. But clearly when we were doing the pilot a lot of things that we talked about that, uh, that may or may not be incorporated in the actual series finale. Mod: And I also – Along those same lines, um, I know a little something about this but I suspect a lot of people don’t. What kind of security measures do you have to go through in terms of putting out red herrings, and when you’re auditioning actors for guest roles and those sorts of things, to keep what is going to happen on the show a secret, because I think it probably set the bar for that in terms of television shows having to go to these sort of crazy like star wars sequel lengths, almost. CARLTON: What’s happened is there’s this new kinda spoiler culture that has evolved on the internet, and there are internet sites where people make money sort of parasitically trying to spoil the secrets of the show, and, of course, shooting in Hawai’i, it’s a state where there’s a lot of public space and so we’re filming on public beaches and in locations and people get telephoto lenses and they take pictures and they shoot scenes. Last year they had pictures of our characters in dharma jumpsuits, and so they kind of were figuring out oh, what does it mean that our characters are all dressed up like members of the dharma initiative. So we can’t really stop it. I mean, the front line is that everybody who works on LOST is really committed to the show, and I think, works very hard to protect and preserve the secrets of the show in terms of the scripts and all the material that they get. But we actually, when we cast, when you cast a show, you have to send out sides, which is the scenes that the actors read to audition. Those have to go out to all the agencies, so we never actually send actors the actual scenes they’re going to audition with. We write fake scenes that kind of are like the scenes that they’re going to do. So someone might read a scene, like between a couple of insurance executives, and then find themselves in the jungle battling a polar bear. But the emotions are the same. Mod: Alright, and this is as close as I think I’ll get to having you say anything about the last season, but I’m gonna give it a shot. Given that the series has evolved from year to year – I would suspect in ways you didn’t entirely anticipate – is it going to end pretty much in the place you always envisioned it ending, or did it evolve into something that you didn’t quite see when the show launched? I know that Carlton, you joined it just a few episodes in, but from that moment – Damon: That’s a very, very clever question. Mod: I’ve done this a few years. Damon: No wonder you were offering me all those cocktails before! Basically, the questions that we get asked the most often -- other than, what’s the monster or what do the numbers mean – is are you making it up as you go along. This is a question we’ve been asked from the beginning, and all that we can really say is that we’ve always had a plan, but like in life, anybody who has plan, you have to presupposed that the plan is actually going to work! And we feel like, one place that we’ve been very good at is that we try to be fans of the show that we’re writing. And sometimes our plans don’t work. And when it’s not working, we have to figure out a way to either change the plan or invent the plan. But that being said, for the last four or five years, pretty much between seasons one and seasons 2, we began to talk about how the show was going to end, if they allowed us to end it. Right now that’s the ending that we’re doing, and I can’t imagine anything that would change our mind. We’re so committed in terms of the storytelling to achieving that end that—so yes, the answer is -- although the route that we took to get there was wildly different than we ever could have imagined it, the destination is the same. That’s all I got on film. Sorry! However, I remember a few other things: J.K Rowling publicly announcing that there would only be seven Harry Potter books had an influence on the idea that ending the show after six seasons might work. Concerns were that viewers would give up on the show because they knew it was ending. But they (writers/producers) were more concerned that the show would drag on and/or they would never have the chance to finish the story. Carlton said this story wasn’t like Grey’s Anatomy, where it could go on and on with some character changes and different storylines. It had to be handled differently. They were thrilled when the show was given a definite end-date because they could complete the story in concise and pre-planned steps instead of randomly diluting it (Jack’s tattoo episode mentioned here) for an unknown number of seasons. Yunjin Kim said that she couldn’t really turn down the part of Sun after she heard they had created it just for her! When she finally read the script, she thought, well either this will be the best show every created or the absolute WORST show ever created! Damon said that when they created the part of Henry Gale/Ben, they told the casting director they wanted a “Brian Emerson” type. The casting director said, “Well, why not just get Brian Emerson?” Brian Emerson said that he’d taken the part, and folks in NY told him, “That’s good work, but it’ll be a tough shoot.” He thought, “I’ll be in Hawai’i! How tough can it be?” His first day of shooting, he was hanging upside down from a tree and then shot with an arrow. It was noted that Ben got beat up more than any other LOST character. Terry O’Quinn said that he and Jorge Garcia were the only ones that hadn’t smacked Ben around! Yunjin said that Damon and Carlton should get right on that. Terry said that it was very difficult, at first, for him to work with absolutely no idea what was happening or where his character was going. He wasn’t trusting at first, but now he is. Then he said, “Well, now they’ll kill me. Now that I’m trusting,” and Damon said, “We killed you two seasons ago, Terry!” All the actors agree that reality had not really set in that the show was ending. In fact, they were flooded with so many memories just watching clips from the show. Jorge said it felt like early in your senior year of high school where you’re really excited, but the sadness hasn’t really sunk in yet. Damon said to Jorge, “But no slacking!” There was only time for four audience questions, and I only heard 2. One question was: have there been any Easter Eggs or clues that you definitely included that we haven’t found yet? General consensus was “We don’t see how that’s possible.” Another question was: Are you going to do a beach party/viewing of the season premiere? They didn’t really have an answer to that one (so I’m guessing no). Aohora [ME] asked: How have advances in CGI technology impacted what you’ve been able to accomplish with the show? Carlton answered that it was very beneficial because they were shooting entirely in Hawai’i and had to replicate Germany, New York, etc. He said that the lowered cost of CGI had increased their flexibility and raised the production value of the show. [I thought this was a weird answer considering the smoke monster, the black rock, the submarine, the boars, the flying debris of the incident, Juliet’s fall – is there anything on that show that hasn’t been touched by CGI?] OH! And it was Jack Bender’s birthday. So we all sang Happy Birthday to him, and then the show was over!
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