Henry Ian Cusick and Nestor Carbonell were never going to tell a table of reporters anything about the ending of “Lost,” but in Carbonell’s case, he has a good excuse: He doesn’t know.
The show’s stars, including Cusick and Carbonell were given scripts containing 10 of 11 actors. Cusick received the 11th act, but Carbonell did not. [Yes, that’s probably a spoiler regarding the presence, or lack thereof, of Desmond and Richard Alpert in the last act of “Lost.” Perhaps. Or maybe not.]
“I never got the last act and I didn’t ask for it after because I just really want to watch it with America how it ends,” Carbonell explained at a Saturday (May 15) press day for many of the shows in the Disney-ABC empire. “I want to be surprised. I was happy with how they specifically with my character and with what I read about they resolved a lot of the dynamics of the characters. They did an amazing job and I’m looking forward to the final resolution.”
Actually, there’s some confusion as to whether or not Cusick does, in fact, know how “Lost” ends.
“I think in act 11 there is a secret scene that no one got,” Cusick says. “Only the people who are in it, but nobody knows. Everyone is keeping very quiet about it.”
That’s pretty ambiguous, right?
Asking Cusick and Carbonell whether the finale will please “Lost” fans earned similarly ambiguous responses.
“What’s great about the show is that there are so many talking points,” Cusick says. “There are so many walks of life getting together to talk about the show and so many issues to be brought up and that’s exactly what the ending will bring up. People will be talking about it for weeks afterwards and that’s what the show has always done”
Adds Carbonell, “I think that’s a really good point. It has people talking about Biblical themes, mythological themes and literature, science verses religion. The big questions in life — incredible questions. At the heart of the show are these characters that they created, these really complex characters layered with so much misbehavior. No one is completely good and no one is completely evil. They are just well drawn out characters and that’s the heart of the show. I think the finale, without giving anything away, will bring some resolution to a lot of the dynamics between those characters and relationships”
The issue of character dynamics and that kind of resolution came up later in the interview when we asked Cusick and Carbonell about whether there were questions that they had as fans that had been answered by the end.
“There was a point in the show where I thought I don’t care about the answers anymore,” Cusick notes. “I knew what I wanted from the ending and what I wanted the message to be. I like this thing of it coming from a place of love and coming from a place of no fear. All of a sudden it just seemed a lot bigger. Small questions I just thought, ‘I don’t care anymore.’ I don’t care why I can see the future. It didn’t matter. It just seemed to be bigger than that.”
Adds Carbonell, “I’m with you. The issue of love is sort of at the heart of every one of our characters. Yours in Penny and mine is the angst over the loss of my wife. The one central theme is that love is at play in every one of our lives and it’s ripped us apart in some fashion. I think that’s fully addressed in the finale. I think a lot of those dynamics will be address and I think for me that will be the most satisfying.”
Both Cusick and Carbonell had central roles this season, but both Desmond and Richard Alpert have been used sparingly, as well as effectively. Cusick in particular was absent for more than half of the season, but served as the focus of the pivotal “Happily Ever After.”
How did the writers explain Desmond’s place in the season to the actor?
“They phone you up and say they don’t need you. Oh, okay,” Cusick recalls. “Basically the phone call was ‘We don’t need you except for the final seven [episodes] but you’ll get a really cool storyline.’ You have to just trust them.”
For Carbonell, it wasn’t so much an early absence as the sort of teasing appearances that have always been a part of the mysterious, seemingly ageless character. Then, after years of speculation, Richard’s past was finally addressed in the episode “Ab Aeterno.”
The two actors form a mutual admiration society, with each man raving about the other’s showcase episode, as well as their own.
Cusick: “It’s always nice to be involved rather than just hanging out in the back and to have a purpose on the show. Yeah. I was happy with my episode. [To Carbonell] I loved yours. I think it was the best of the season.”
Carbonell: “Well your episode is…”
Cusick: “Oh please! I do like my episode, but I think yours… What I like about yours is that when you learn about a character, the show has always been best when you introduce a character and you learn about their backstory. What they did with your character was really great.”
Carbonell: “They wrote an amazing script and I got to play with it. I also benefited from the fact that you really didn’t know anything about my character for three years so I had that built in intrigue.”
Cusick: “We were all desperate to know about your character.”
Carbonell: “In a weird way, as an actor I could almost do no wrong because I had that built intrigue.”
Cusick: “You still had to color it in.”
Carbonell: “Yeah, it was fun and they wrote me a beautiful episode so it was great to do it. [To Cusick] Man, you were terrific and amazing. You were. Look, he hates to hear it. What I love about what you did was there was a real stoic especially in the flash sideways there was a different nature about your character. It was just another great shade and a tremendous turn.”
The “Lost” finale will air on Sunday, May 23, but although the episode will run two-and-a-half hours on ABC, even the most answer-obsessed fans know that some things will be left perplexing, or maybe not-so-perplexing.
“You know I get asked why Desmond wasn’t on the plane at the beginning of season six,” Cusick says. “He disappeared and you didn’t see him again. People were making a big deal out of that. I think he just went to the toilet. Sometimes the answers are as simple as that.”
And how did the cast respond when they got that final script?
“We were in the trailer and we just debated and talked,” Cusick says. “Everyone had an opinion. We all had different opinions on the same script.”
Viewers will probably feel the same way in a little over a week.