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Cult Interview

Elizabeth Mitchell ('Lost')

By and Neil Wilkes
Elizabeth Mitchell ('Lost')
Introduced at the start of season three, enigmatic fertility doctor Juliet Burke quickly became a firm favourite with fans of Lost. She interfered with the long-running love triangle between Jack, Kate and Sawyer, almost got executed for killing one of her fellow Others, and has switched allegiances more times than Hurley has had hot dinners. But whose side is she really on? We gave alter-ego Elizabeth Mitchell a call to find out.

Is Lost a tough show to work on?
"Well, the good thing is I'm strong and pretty physical, so running around in the rain in the jungle for 14 hours a day is really fun to me. I have a great time on the show. We were running around the place the other night and this new cast member said to me, 'Is this really what you guys do all the time?' It honestly is."

It must be a pretty intense work-out…
"It's tough but it’s great and very mad. I’m really enjoying doing all the crazy stuff I get to do. I recently filmed an episode that was centred on Juliet and I was up until four in the morning in the pouring rain getting shaken around by Jack. I don’t know any other job where you get paid to do something like that."

Was it really raining – or was it a special effects team helping out?
"Well, they turn it on for us – they turn on these industrial sprinklers and all of a sudden, we’ll be sitting there drenched. I remember looking up at Matthew Fox's character, Jack, and I thought to myself, ‘This is great, this is really fun.’"

Do you think you could survive on an island like the one depicted in Lost?
"I could survive in the survivor camp. It's a really nice camp – there are supplies and everything. It would be a definite challenge but I think that's why everyone fell in love with the reality series Survivor. Everyone is intrigued to see how people survive in difficult circumstances."

How do you feel about the fact that they've announced an end point for Lost?
"I love it. I think it’s amazing that a group of people – who are making an absolute fortune off of a show – have said that they want to end it at a certain point because they want to keep the integrity of their work. I don't think you get that very much in this business. I think it's gorgeous."

Do you get annoyed by the way that the show doesn’t answer all the questions it puts out there?
"The joy of Lost is that it’s like a good puzzle – and I love a good puzzle. There are all these little questions that hang on your mind. Like, 'Why didn't they answer this?' And all of sudden, 10 episodes later, there's an answer. They do tend to end up answering pretty much every question they ask. They just keep asking more questions so you're continually, you know, lost. That’s just the way it is."

Do people still remember you from your stint as Dr Kim Legaspi on ER?
"Yeah, they do – although they know me more for Lost now. There are a lot of people who don't watch television who recognise me from a TV movie I did called Gia [alongside Angelina Jolie and Faye Dunaway]. Even though it was on HBO, it was quite successful when it came out on DVD, so a lot of people saw it – and I get recognised for that sometimes. But Lost is so big that it’s taken over from everything else now, which is really nice."

Most of the films you've done have been comedies. Why is that?
"I think I tend to grab whatever I can grab at the time really, although I also like to do projects that interest me. I like comedy tremendously – and I think a lot of comedy comes from drama. I think a comedy comes from intense feelings either way. Plus, I also like really complicated characters. I like women who you're not really sure who they are."

That sounds exactly like Juliet on Lost… What do you think about her? Is she good? Is she evil? Do you actually know?
"I think that Juliet is a survivor and she’s doing everything she can to survive. I've always believed that about her and it's what I have used to drive her from the very beginning. I think she's very single-minded in what she wants and what she needs – and things come up along the way. Like, I think Jack was unexpected. I don’t think she ever imagined she would actually like him. I think she intended to use him to get to where she needed to go, but things came up along the way. But at the end of it all, she's definitely on a path. It just so happens she just keeps getting bounced back here or there. She seems to be fairly resilient, although she's getting a lot meaner, which I like. I’ll definitely be sticking with her for as long as I possibly can."

Lost airs Sundays at 9pm on Sky One.

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