Friday, October 13, 2023

Great Magazine Reads: Lost may have been a huge hit on TV but it sounds like it was truly lost behind the scenes

Malcolm David Kelley as Walt
and Harold Perrineau as Michael 
If you've never watched Lost and don't want to go down that 121-episode rabbit hole, the least you can do is watch the pilot episode, which supposedly cost $13 million alone and was directed by the show's co-creator J.J. Abrams. I think it's still the best first episode of any show I've ever seen, and there are many other great parts of the series, even if it dovetails at the end into complete nonsense.

Now, horrendous details have arrived that probably had something to do with the unevenness of the show's latter half. Entertainment writer Maureen Ryan's new book, BURN IT DOWN: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood, has been released and it details how unhappy some of the writers and cast were during their time with the show.

In an excerpt from the June 2023 issue of Vanity Fair, "it’s clear that the landmark series played right into Hollywood’s most long-standing patterns, in which auteurs wield enormous power with very little oversight." Here are some of the most interesting details from the article:

  • "Part of it was [executive producer Carlton Cuse and co-creator Damon Lindelof] really didn’t like their characters of color."
  • "The cast ended up in a series of compensation tiers and ... the highest tier was occupied solely by white actors."
  • Actor Harold Perrineau says it became pretty clear early on "'that I was the Black guy. Daniel [Dae Kim] was the Asian guy. And then you had Jack and Kate and Sawyer,' all of whom got a good deal of screen time, as did Terry O’Quinn’s Locke."
  • In season 2, Perrineau talked to Cuse about the lack of depth for his character and that he was unhappy that it was written to seem he didn't care much about Walt, his son who has been kidnapped. After season 2, Perrineau's character did not return.
  • One writer intererviewed says, "I can only describe [the atmosphere on set largely led by Cuse] as hazing. It was very much middle school and relentlessly cruel. And I’ve never heard that much racist commentary in one room in my career." Some of the stereotyping statements one writer heard included jokes about Asian's eye shapes, Blacks being thieves, anti-Semitism, sexism against women, and one Asian American writer who people simply called "Korean," as if that were the writer's name. "There was so much shit, and so much racist shit, and then laughter. It was ugly."
  • Actor Michelle Rodriguez got arrested for drunk driving and "instead of having empathy or sympathy for her situation, [the showrunners] were just like, 'Well, we’ll just get rid of her.'"

Ryan interviews Lindelof and Cuse at the end of the magazine article and they both deny all the accusations or that they set the tone for a very unhealthy set.

No comments:

Post a Comment