Q&A with “Lost” Actor Harrold Perrineau

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Broadcast journalism student, Alessandra Incandela had the opportunity to interview “Lost” actor Harrold Perrineau for an article about the show’s ensemble cast.

Q: The large ensemble of actors in Lost was cast before they even had a script for the pilot. How do you think that contributed to the future success of Lost? 

A: There was a script, we couldn’t see it. It was confidential. But they definitely had
people in mind for certain roles. I know that for my role, I was the only person they tested.

Q: Is there one thing “Lost” did differently with an ensemble cast that has changed the way some ensemble casts work?
A: Lost was the first cast to be so racially diverse, on network. It was also diverse in physicality, age range, men and women. Shonda Rhimes does a great job with this as well. eg. Greys Anatmoy, Private practice.

Q: How did you feel about being apart of a diverse ensemble cast?
A: It was a great experience. Listen, for me everything does not come down to race. But I can’t say that in any other profession you can compare two resumes that aren’t even close and go with the less experienced guy. Being a minority in a profession that caters to White audiences is a tough choice.

Q: Are there any examples of how the large cast worked together that was different from other shows that you had in before?
A: I got along with pretty much everyone in the cast. But there were definitely cliques that formed with certain people. And it was interesting to see how the writers wrote to those relationships. Josh and Daniel Dae were two of my closest friends on the Island. We all
lived in Hawaii Kai, and our wives hung out. Suddenly, Sawyer, Jin and Michael were like the 3 amigos.

Q: What was the casting process like? Was it different from anything you had auditioned for?
A: The casting process was interesting. Pilot season was essentially over. I was doing a play called Topdog Underdog at the Mark Taper downtown. They wanted me to go in and read, and I almost turned it down because I didn’t want to be late for the play. But I went, and I read for producers, and JJ seemed to be a fan of Oz and The Matrix movies. So they brought me back to test. Usually when you screen test, there are 3 to 5 people testing to give the network and studio a choice. But I was the only one testing. So that was odd. And I got approval, and ended up on this monster hit of a show.

The last thing I’d probably say about my role and the show was that as a whole, it was a satisfying experience and I made some amazing friends. I really wish that the Michael and Walt relationship had been “finished”. I feel like there was no closure there for this man and his son and they deserved it. I’ll never understand why Michael and were not in the church in the finale. People ask me all the time and I honestly have no idea. People scream “Waaaalllltttt” at me, they tweet it to me, they obsess about it. I didn’t write the show. I didn’t run around with wild abandon yelling Walt and nobody stopped me. Hopefully people get that I think it’s funny too, and that they enjoyed the journey these characters went on.

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