Terry O’Quinn Interview LOST

     February 3, 2010

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While the Final Season of Lost has only just had its premiere, the cast is getting closer by the day to finishing up their work on the groundbreaking landmark series.

Actor Terry O’Quinn, who plays the spiritual, mysterious and now very dead John Locke, has really grown to love his home and cast mates in Hawaii. He says that his favorite moments as part of Lost involved the collaboration of his fellow actors, which have kept him excited to go to work, every day.

During interviews at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, Terry O’Quinn revealed that he realized as early as Episode 3 that he was playing a really interesting man, who has turned out to be more than anyone could have ever imagined.  Check out what he had to say after the jump:

john_locke_terry_o_quinn_01.jpgSo, you actually sold your house and bought a place in Hawaii?

TERRY O’QUINN: We were going to do that anyway, but we did buy a house in Hawaii, when we sold our house in Maryland.

You really became part of the life there then?

O’QUINN: Quite a bit. I live on the North Shore, which is a little bit more isolated. It’s a smaller community and I think I’ve become a member of that community.

Will you still live there, once you’re finished with the show?

O’QUINN: I’m not sure it’s possible to stay in Hawaii. It’s kind of impractical. We still have a home that’s a smaller place on the east coast. As much as I like it, I don’t know if we’ll try to keep a residence there or not.

Because you figured Locke wouldn’t be able to eat or drink on the island, you started eating healthy and not drinking alcohol to look really lean. Have you kept up that regimen the entire time?

O’QUINN: The healthy eating, yes. I’m a lot healthier than I was and I probably weigh 20 pounds less than I did when we started the show. I eat better and I exercise more. It’s easier to be healthy in Hawaii than it is, almost anywhere else I’ve lived. You spend a lot of time outside, in the ocean and on the beach.

When did you start to realize that Locke was getting to be a really interesting character?

O’QUINN: It wasn’t that long for me. It was in Episode 3, in the first season. In the pilot, there wasn’t a lot for me to do. When I talked to J.J. [Abrams] before we started shooting, he said there wasn’t much at first, but that it was going to develop. I hoped that he was telling me straight, and he was. By the third episode, I said, “Well, this guy has a stake, and this might be fun.”

At what point in the last season did you know that Locke was dead and that you were playing somebody else? What was that like when you found out?

O’QUINN: I knew about a month before you knew. I knew when you knew, actually. The moment you saw it on the screen is when I knew. So, I didn’t know it, all last season. It was easier to play whoever Locke is now, before I knew I wasn’t playing Locke.

terry_o_quinn_emmy_01.jpgHas knowing that Locke’s not really Locke changed your approach to the character at all this season?

O’QUINN: Somewhat. It’s a little confusing. How much of a new character do I put on top of Locke, or can I just behave as Locke, but with a little different attitude? That’s what I did last season and that worked out great, even though I didn’t know I was somebody else.

But you knew there was a difference?

O’QUINN: At the beginning of Season 5, I went to the director, Jack Bender, and said, “I’m just going to assume that I’m Locke and I’m indestructible,” and he said, “Good, go with that.” That was easy to play. It just made me kind of smarmy. I’m not sure exactly how to overlay this new person on Locke. It’s a little bit more confusing.

How has the vibe been for the final season?

O’QUINN: It’s a lot different for me. It’s a little bit more clinical and a little bit less emotional. I tend to think, if I’m performing a scene that gets somewhat emotional, is it genuinely emotional, or am I that other person, playing the emotion and using the emotion to try to get something. It’s a little bit more disconnected.

Have you had a favorite moment, arc or episode for your character, throughout the series?

O’QUINN: For me, it’s just that collaboration. There’s no special moment because there were so many. I remember sitting under the banyan trees and listening to Naveen Andrews play the guitar, and everybody singing songs. I won’t forget that.

But more than anything, it’s just about coming to work with these people, working your way through a scene, collaborating on a scene, working as actors and developing a scene. It’s always different. You look at the call sheet in the morning and you see Jorge [Garcia] or Michael [Emerson] or Josh [Holloway] or Dan [Dae Kim], or anybody, and you get excited about that day. It’s been pretty sweet.

What do you think life after Lost will be like for you?

O’QUINN: We all hope we have something else to do. We’re going to be unemployed actors. That’s what I think. This has been a great job, but I’ll be looking for a job, as far as the future goes. It’s a consistent state of being a professional actor, in my experience.

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