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April 23, 2014

Nestor Carbonell Previews the Final Season of 'Lost'

by Mike Moody, posted Feb 2nd 2010 10:01AM
nestor carbonell lostWe're only hours away from the premiere of the final season of 'Lost'. I'm excited, you're excited, and Richard Alpert himself, Nestor Carbonell, is right there with us.

I spoke to Carbonell recently about his role in the show's much-anticipated endgame. Needless to say, there are some big things in store for our favorite ageless Other, and Carbonell is looking forward to showing fans a whole new side of Richard (or should we call him Ricardus?).

He obviously couldn't spill all of the show's big secrets, but he was surprisingly candid about what we could expect from his character this year. Will we learn why Richard doesn't appear to age? Will his bond to Jacob be explored? Head after the jump to find out ... Minor spoilers follow.

How would you describe Richard Alpert's role in the final season of 'Lost'?

Well there's only so much I can reveal. What I can say is that I find out that Jacob died, so you can imagine how much that would rock Richard's world. In terms of my character, you're going get to see sides of him, emotionally, that you've never seen before. We're going to get into not just his emotional life, but his origins too. There's an episode coming up where you really do get a look into his back story. Any questions that I had about him have been answered and the writers have done a phenomenal job in addressing them.

Will we learn why Richard doesn't appear to age?

That is addressed, yes. That is definitely addressed, and in great detail. Not in scientific detail, but in terms of his emotional life. And not only do we learn exactly who he is, but other questions are answered too. Is he indigenous to the island? Is he not from the island? All of those questions will be answered. And, as I said, I was pretty blown away, to say the least, with what the writers came up with. It really far exceeded my expectations.

In season five, I got the sense that Jacob is a father figure or a mentor to Richard. Will we see that relationship or something like that play out this year?

Yeah, that whole element will play out. I think last year Richard's world was rocked. He typically seemed to have all the answers. He'd been around for a while and he wasn't completely rattled by anything or fazed by anything until last season when Locke appears to him in one of the time travel moments in the fifties. So that's the beginning of an unraveling for my character. That's when he becomes a little less sure of what he knows. And that culminates in that final scene last season where we find out things are never going to be the same for him, or for everyone on the island, especially when he sees Locke's body come out of that coffin.

Richard always seems very peaceful and passive. Did you choose to play him that way or was that already scripted?

It's an interesting question. I was initially a guest star, and in that particular guest role I decided to play him that way, because I was recruiting Juliette to the island and I needed to do it by any means necessary, which eventually meant killing her ex-husband who was standing in the way.

But I knew that if I didn't play it calm and if I didn't at least appear genuine, then it would be extremely difficult to convince her to come over. So I felt I had to play him that way and that informed how I continued to play the character ... But all of that is going to come to a head this season, and there are colors in the character that I never thought they would write and that I'd get to play. We're going to see a very different side to the character now that things are changing.

(Executive producers) Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have talked about employing a new narrative device this season. What can you tell me about that?

Yeah, I can tell you that it's new (laughs)!

Can you tell me any more?


No, I'm sorry (laughs) ... It is a great device. It really is a great device. You're going to find out very quickly. You're going to see it in the season opener and you'll see it obviously throughout.

Obviously we started out with the flashbacks and then flash forwards and then time travel. And, what can I tell you? ... I can tell you that it's another device that allows everything to come together. It really explains a lot of the elements that have already been explored. It really ties it all together. It's a great device, and it's really one that I didn't see coming, but it really does sort of explain the choices they've made in telling the story up until now. All the devices come together, I think, this season.

I know you've spoken about this elsewhere, but we might have a few readers who don't know the answer, so I'm obliged to ask: Do you wear eyeliner and has Maybeline approached you for an endorsement deal?

(Laughs) Uh, no and no! Suffice to say I've been dealing with that question, at least the first part of that question, since I was a little kid. But no, I'm just of Cuban heritage, and I guess I got a lot of eye lashes! I was just telling someone else that now my own kids have to deal with that because they've been plagued or cursed with the same issue.

How do you feel about the idea of walking away from the show and would you considering returning to the franchise a few years down the line?

I'm sad to see it end ... Every episode is so rich and introduces so many amazing new things, and it's not every show that has all of these elements and this kind of writing. So it's going to be sad to see this conclude. Were it to come back, yeah, sure, depending on who's writing it. For me it always stars with what's on the page.

Can you tell me about your encounters with the fans?

That's another thing about this show, the fans are amazing. They are truly amazing, extremely bright, and obviously very loyal. And you have to be loyal. You really can't be a casual observer of the show.

Many of them will ask you "What's gonna happen this season?" But as soon as they finish asking that question they say, "No don't tell me, I don't want to know."

That's exactly how I feel right now.

Yeah, you want to know and you really don't, because if you're a true fan, and all fans of 'Lost' are true fans, you want to watch it and experience it in the moment.

Yeah, it's hard to stay away from all the spoilers and the advance clips on the Web and everything.

Yeah, exactly, and I don't want to wreck it for you or for anyone. You want to experience the new stuff in the moment. I've never had a more difficult time doing interviews for anything except this show and maybe 'The Dark Knight', because so much of it is about the mystery. At the end of the day, the mystery is the star of the show. There are so many tremendous elements to it, but the mystery is what grips me.

You mentioned 'The Dark Knight'. Are you heading back to Gotham City anytime soon? What can you tell me about the next Batman movie?

Actually I don't know much about that, sincerely, but I do hope I'm re-elected. I'd like to fill those mayoral shoes again.

I know you've got some comic book writers and comic book fans writing for Lost. Did the writers work in any Batmanuel references [from Carbonell's old show 'The Tick'] into this final season for you?

You know, they haven't. Not to date. You know, I have a mind to call them and say "Come on guys, give a little acknowledgment to the ol' 'Tick!'" (Laughs) ... No, I haven't talked to them about it, but I would love to see a little homage to 'The Tick'. That would be a lot of fun. That was a show that I was really fond of. It's too bad it was short-lived. Again, that's another show where the writing was just stellar.

So what's next for you after 'Lost' wraps?

There's one project in the works, I can't really mention it, but it's a film and we'll see if that materializes, a lot of it really depends on my shooting schedule.

We'll see what happens when the show wraps shooting in April, but save for that one project, I'm really just diving head-first into this (the final season) and just living in the moment.

[Watch clips and full episodes of 'Lost' over at SlashControl. And don't forget to head back to TV Squad tonight for our Lost premiere live blog.]

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Gina White

This is the best show ever. I always can guess outcomes or plots in movies and tv. I knew what rosebud was within minutes after orson wells said it. Lost, I have my ideas, nothing concrete it is a joy to watch!

February 03 2010 at 7:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GrumpyOldMan

isn't this the guy that was on that Lifetime show Strong Medicine just before it was cancelled?

February 02 2010 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sandy

That last season I was feeling for Richard, it seemed like everyone was in on some knowledge that he wasn't. So excited to find out his backstory its probably going to be crazy!

February 02 2010 at 2:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
loafer

Cannot wait!

February 02 2010 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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