Lost: Production Notes

How it all started...

Born out of an eleventh-hour idea, round-the-clock rewrites, and up-to-the-very-last-minute casting, Lost should never have succeeded.

It all started in January 2004 when Lloyd Braun, then head of ABC, had an idea for “a show about a plane crash.” He tapped J.J. Abrams, creator of Felicity and Alias, to draft an outline. But it was the end of pilot season and Abrams was busy on his own projects. Still, he agreed to meet with Damon Lindelof (Crossing Jordan, Nash Bridges) and the two fellow geeks bonded. “I met him and fell in love. I couldn’t believe I’d never met him before!” Abrams recalls. “He was wearing a vintage Star Wars T-shirt and glasses even geekier than mine. And we just start riffing. By the end of the week, we had a 24-page treatment and by then I thought it was the greatest thing ever.”

So did Braun. “The outline was, quite honestly, the best piece of television I've ever read. I was out of my mind."

The pilot was green lit and casting took place while the script for the pilot and the shape of the whole series were still being drafted. Conventional wisdom said that all the actors were already booked for the next season and yet casting director April Webster managed to tap such well-known names as Matthew Fox (Party of Five), Harold Perrineau (Oz), and Dominic Monaghan (Lord of the Rings).

Jorge Garcia was cast first in the role of Hurley, which had originally been envisioned as a 60ish logger. Charlie was supposed to be a middle-aged, washed-up rocker, until Dominic Monaghan auditioned. And so it went for all of the characters. The role of Sawyer was written as a slick, Armani-suit-wearing New Yorker, but when Georgia-bred Josh Holloway forgot his lines when he read for the part, he threw a chair in frustration. The writers liked the edge he brought to the role, and so Sawyer became a Southerner. Actually, nearly everyone in the cast read for Sawyer, including Matthew Fox, whose reading as Jack convinced Abrams and Lindelof not to cast a big name and kill off the good doctor in the pilot for shock value, but keep him around. (The shocking death went instead to Abrams’ good friend, Alias alum Greg Grunberg, who portrayed the doomed Oceanic pilot.)

Casting Kate was the tough part, with over 100 actresses reading for the role, including Yunjin Kim. Abrams had already been considering adding a non-English-speaking couple to the cast, so the characters of Sun and Jin were created. Finally, Kate was found in a little-known Canadian who was barely an actress: Evangeline Lilly, whose previous work had included a TV dating ad and work as a comatose patient on Kingdom Hospital. Even though the show’s creators had found their Kate, they commenced filming without her while they waited for her work visa to be approved, much as David O. Selznick had done on Gone With the Wind while he waited for his Scarlett O’Hara.

At a cost of $10 million, the pilot was the most expensive in television history, but ABC hyped the hell out of it and it became an instant hit -- both cult and mainstream. The next season, a raft of Lost-inspired sci-fi clones hit the airwaves, mostly to vanish without a trace.

A bona fide pop culture phenomenon, the series has gone on to win Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild honors. (See Awards.)

Lloyd Braun isn’t at ABC anymore, but his legacy lives on in Lost -- and in the show’s “voice,” at the beginning of every episode: “Previously, on Lost ...”

See also:


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Anonymous Eko is Dead?! 1 Mar 21 2007, 6:33 PM EDT by Anonymous
Thread started: Nov 1 2006, 4:12 PM EST  Watch
I am so crushed that Eko has been killed off. I really enjoyed watching Adewale A.'s performances. He has a grace and a finesse with strength that I will miss. He was believable. And the brother is HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted Eko to live on throughtout the whole series. I am soooooo sad.
~ Valerie, Detroit
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Anonymous Who are the producers? 2 Mar 8 2007, 8:13 AM EST by Anonymous
Thread started: Nov 2 2006, 1:40 AM EST  Watch
Who are the producers? Is there a page that shows show credits?
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Anonymous Does Anyone have April Webster's Address 0 Oct 31 2006, 9:51 PM EST by Anonymous
Thread started: Oct 31 2006, 9:51 PM EST  Watch
Does anyone have or knows Aprils Address please reply ASAP
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