Heat (UK Magazine) Interview with Matthew Fox
Its quite a long one but really good and there is a picture at the end to make this post legal.
Lost Star Matthew Fox talks to Boyd Hilton about almost being killed off, and forcing his co-stars to strip.
10:44am: The North shore of Oahu, Hawaii. We're sitting with a small circle of glamorous publicity people, some from Channel 4, some from ABC (the US channel that makes Lost). We're waiting for the call to tell us that Matthew Fox - the spectacularly handsome leading man in the biggest show on international TV right now and former star of hugely successful American drama Party of Five - is ready to be probed by a slightly sweaty heat. We've been waiting for a while because Fox is in the middle of filming a crucial scene - the funeral of a key character, whose identity we are expressly forbidden from revealing. So the publicity ladies are taking the oppurtunity to top up their tans and we're frolicking like a small child in the sea.
11:36am: We're still waiting. In the distance they seem to have filmed the same scene about half a dozen times already. Now we're all sunbathing furiously, listening to our iPods and occasionally taking stupid photos of each other.
12:45pm: Still no word from the Fox camp. So, practically exhausted from the morning's efforts, we break for lunch. A van arrives to pick us up and take us to the base camp, five minutes away, where a vast array of delicious treats await us. We stuff ourselves stupid.
2:07pm: Back on the beach. Now the cast is having lunch. The PR ladies (who, we hasten to point out, have worked their butts off securing interviews with all 14 Lost cast members) rub suntan lotion into each other while pondering which of the Lost hunks they fancy the most. The general consensus seems to be that while Dominic Monaghan is cute, and Naveen Andrews is mysterious, its between Josh Holloway (who plays Sawyer, with the long blonde hair) and, of course, Matthew Fox, 39. Fox is to be the eventual winner. The ensuing discussion of his unfeasibly buff physique, the enigmatically tasteful tattoo on his perfectly-honed bicep, just the right amount of stubble on his face and the preposterously firm jaw makes those of us who are a bit, er, pale, weedy and frankly, British seem feeble in comparison.
3:17pm: The ABC publicity lady goes off to see whats happening with Fox. "He's often difficult to tie down..." she says apologetically. "Dont feel the need to hurry him," someone mumbles.
3:19pm: Still sunbathing, we hear the vague sound of shouting. We turn round to see some people waving their arms around. Oh, we think, maybe Fox is ready for our big moment. But its just a lot of technical-looking people waving and shouting. They look a bit angry. "Oh," says one of the Channel 4 women. "I think maybe we're in the way of their shot." Cool, we might get to appear in an episode of Lost.
3:20pm: We walk about five yards further towards the sea to make sure we're not in the way of filming.
3:55pm: Someone else is shouting and waving at us now. Are we in trouble again? No, thankfully. It's someone telling us they've finished filming and Mr Fox is ready now.
4pm: We're with Matthew, but we still havent even started, because there isnt anywhere to sit! Its not all glamour and glitz, you know: here we are, about to interview the bestubbled Foxy (as everyone seems to call him) on this intensely sunny, cloudless day, with frothy waves gently crashing on to the pure white, privately owned sandy beach, and we cant find anywhere to perch. Matthew's trailer is at least a five-minute drive away, and it's getting unbelievably hot. Frankly we're not sure if we can work under these conditions. But its OK: Foxy spots a bit of shade under a palm tree, near where they filmed the funeral, and suggests we just kind of squat there - without chairs or anything. Hey, thats the kind of sacrifice we're prepared to make to get full access to Mr Matthew Fox.
So are you enjoying this more than Party of Five?
I am. And, I'm not knocking that show. That was the best experience that I'd ever had up to that point, but this is just the best experience I've ever had. I love the story and the characters and this place.
Yeah, its not that bad is it?
No. I've moved my entire family here. And they love it just as much as I do.
Are you handling the success differently second time round?
I'm enjoying it a lot more. The first time around I was bit shell-shocked by the whole thing. It all happened really fast and I wasnt expecting it. It kind of had this adverse effect on me personally. I got introverted and a little more distrustful - I just felt like I wanted to be small and hide.
And then you decided to star in the most expensive pilot ever made. What was that like?
It was equal parts terror and incredible excitement.
Would you say that you were at that point in your life where you were ready to star in a big series again?
Yeah. I mean the Party of Five experience was great for me - it was six years of my life. I was really fustrated by television by the time I'd finished that because I think we did 144 hours of that show and we did it in a house with four or five family characters. To tell that many hours about one family... By about year three, I thought we were starting to repeat ourselves. So I took two years off after that, just doing theatre. I wanted to drop out of the profile that show gave me and spend more time with my family. Plus, I felt it was important that I let people forget about me for a bit.
Did you like your character? He was a bit of a nice guy, wasn't he?
Yeah, Charlie was a very soft character and it was a show that had a majority of a female audience. I think the male characters on that show were written mainly by women for women, so they were men that women would tell you they wanted to be with.
So you dont think women really prefer that type of softer man? They want a tougher guy?
I think we all know what women really miss that sort of more base, and sometimes difficult part of the male psyche. So I was really a bit frustrated by Charlie at times.
You thought you should have been more of a bastard?
I would have liked to have seen Charlie be more of a bastard. I really would. And I think a lot of the guys watching that show to score brownie points with their girlfriends would have liked to have seen Charlie be more of a bastard.
So is Jack a bastard?
Well, Jack is a fairly intellectual guy, but he has this switch that snaps in when its do-or-die, and he becomes a guy who acts upon his instincts. That's one thing I really like about him.
And he's the leader of the group. Do you feel like you're the leader of the cast?
I guess I got put in that position... And I've done my very best to take on responsibility. Im sort of the person everybody comes to, to voice they're fustrations and any questions that they have. I've also probably had the most series experience, although there are some other actors that have done TV series on a long-term basis. I just try to lead by example.
We hear you've taken to forcing fellow cast members to go skinny-dipping. Why's that?
It's an ice breaker. Early on I felt that it was important for us as a cast to get to know each other, as we were dealing with some pretty heavy dramatic dynamics on the story of Lost...
Anyone say no?
Oh yeah. We've had some dissenters - some people that have not take their clothes off. But I'll get them all.
Who's still waiting to strip?
I wont name names, but you can ask them. Say "are you part of Foxy's skinny dipping crew or not?" We'll see who's honest!
Will do. Josh Holloway told me he got you back for making him go skinny-dipping by throwing sand in your face. Is that true?
Oh yeah. We were filming a scene where we're trying to put the raft out to sea and he and I started goofing around off camera. He just made a mistake and threw a whole fistful right in my eye...
He said he meant it...
Oh, he probably did. He's got some jealousy issues [laughs].
Am I right in thinking that in the initial scrip Jack was going to die?
I heard JJ had this crazy idea that he was going to set up the same opening, only Jack was going to be the one killed in the cockpit instead of the pilot. Obviously, that's never been done before - for an audience to get sucked in to a world through one person's perspective, thinking this is their lead guy, only to have him killed. JJ really trusts the people who are close to him - his wife first and foremost. He was handing this script to people and they were saying "This is incredible - but you just cant kill Jack!" So he changed it.
And we've seen a funeral going on, so clearly one of you is going to die this season. Does that worry you and the whole cast?
A lot of people have made a fuss about the fact that main characters are going to get killed off this show, but you cant set up this world that is so full of threat and is so violent at times, and then not threaten the main characters. That's part of the risk of falling in love with these characters on this show - they might get eaten.
How is your wife dealing with you becoming a sex symbol? Again.
We've been together 18 years, so we're way past that. We have a good time with it. She's Italian and very, very intense. She generally just takes the piss out of me.
5:11pm: The director is calling for Matthew's thespian services again. Sheesh, that means we might have to retire to the beach for some more sunbathing. Foxy shakes our hand with a macho firmness and tells us how much better we are than those American journalists, and strides off. Thanks for the boost Foxy, it's been a tough day...To make this legal...