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Cuse and Lindelof Discuss Season 4

Hey All,
LOST Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had a little sit down interview with UGO and discussed the remainder of Season 4 of LOST.

Not too many new spoilers, but there are some minor ones and it is a great interview.

Thanks for stopping by and namaste.

UGO: What episodes have you guys written so far?

CARLTON CUSE: We're working on 11, 10, and 9 sort of all simultaneously; we've got those 3 out of 5 in the works.

UGO: When you were out on strike, did the process stop for you mentally, or were you sort of writing in the back of your mind ?

DAMON LINDELOF: We were sort of processing more about the episodes that we'd completed then we were looking forward. There is always a period about half way through the season - in this case that was episode 8 - where you kinda say what's working, what's not working, what could be working better, are we moving fast enough, is it too confusing, what storylines should we hold off on doing, what storylines do we want to move up. So we were sort of thinking about the episodes we'd completed versus thinking about what we were going to do when we came back because 'when' we would come back was such a huge question mark.

CARLTON: We didn't really talk about the show at all. Creatively it was a pretty complete break so when the strike ended and we started back I think we were really kind of refreshed. It's the longest stretch we've gone without talking about, discussing, or processing the show since it started. When we first came back it was sort of all about trying to remember ...okay this is where we are, this is where we were," and sort of replanting where all of the characters were in the landscape of the world of the show.

UGO: With the new schedule is the finale going to be a one hour episode or will it be two hours?

DAMON: We are writing it as a two hour but they want to air it as two different hours because on May 22nd, which is essentially the last day of the season, they have a two hour Grey's [Anatomy] finale which going to run from 8 to 10, and that is only going to leave an hour for us. It's going to be designed as all of our finales have been, but not unlike the Lost pilot, which was written a two hours and aired as two separate hours , that is what they are going to do.

UGO: Who does episode 9 belong to? Is that something you want to talk about just yet?

CARLTON: That's... something we don't want to spill the beans on just yet.

DAMON: You'll find out, I'm sure, in record time. Considering it's not even on the air until April 24th, that's a long time from now... six weeks away.

UGO: How did you feel about the change with the schedule? Setting 8 out as part of the second group of episodes, then pulling it back. During the strike, it was said that 8 was not a good place to leave things.

CARLTON: I don't think that's really true. I think what we thought was a bad thing was if we didn't get a chance to come back and complete the season. The concern was really that if they only aired 8 episodes and the strike went on for a long time and let's say there was another seven or eight months before we came back on the air, the season was going to feel very complete. The important thing is that the 5 hours of the show we have left to write are really going to allow us to end the season and sort of finish the season the way we wanted to. Some of the storylines are going to have to be pushed off into season five, some details about the freighter folk for instance, but we're going to get a chance to complete the season. Our concern was really just leaving the season open, not that we didn't like episode 8. I think we both feel like episode 8 is a pretty strong episode, and one that is kind of revelatory. Certain episodes are more revelatory about the mythology of the show, and it falls into that category.

DAMON: It's just a little outside of the box of a normal episode of Lost in that it is intensely character focused on one person as opposed to the whole ensemble and as Carlton says it is a little more focused on filling in blanks as opposed to answering new questions. So it might have been a nice episode to come back to as opposed to go off on. That being said, the last scene in the show we would certainly define as a cliff hanger and really nicely platforms what episode nine is going to be. All things being equal, we're happy we're going out on episode 8.

UGO: Are we ever going to see on island flash forwards?

CARLTON: I don't think we'll rule out anything...

DAMON: Who's to say you haven't already?

UGO: Aha. Well that raises an interesting question, because some fans think that some of the flashes prior to "Through the Looking Glass" may have been flashforwards.

CARLTON: The show is a giant mosaic, and where you stand is sort of the answer to that question. At various points in the journey you're going to be standing in various spots and you can define them as past, present, or future. We like fractured story telling, and the way we're going you'll be looking at various aspects of our characters' lives in the story we are telling. We want to explore that from various perspectives.

UGO: Assuming that Ben was telling the truth, and Charles Widmore was behind the freighter, are we going to be seeing more on Alan Dale on Lost?

DAMON: Well, assuming Ben is telling the truth one would hope we would be seeing more of Alan Dale on Lost, but that's always a big assumption to make. That's all we're really willing to say on the Widmore issue right now.

UGO: So the story for the Oceanic 6 is that they came from a group of 8 survivors. Are we going to find out the identity of the other 2 supposedly not so lucky survivors?

DAMON: Well, that is part of the fiction as concocted by the Oceanic 6. Many, many things that Jack said on the stand at Kate's trial were untrue, although he was under oath, like the Marshall dying in the crash for example. We want to be very clear on the idea that there were only ever the Oceanic 6. The identity of those other two people are not as important as people are making them out to be, it just makes it feel like a more believable fiction.

CARLTON: But what we can say now is that season 6 will be Jack's perjury trial, it'll be like [Steven] Bochco's "Murder One", that'll be the whole season.

DAMON: That's right, I like that idea.

UGO: Is the narrative structure going to change, yet again, from on island present with flash forwards to something else entirely?

CARLTON: Well this season is really about connecting the dots between what you saw in the finale last year, which was Jack and Kate's flash-forward, and the events on the island that were sort of catalyzed by the arrival of the helicopter. We're going to put some of those pieces together this season. We can't say much about what the format and structure of next season will be like because I think it would spoil the ending of this season. As this season gets closer to the end it is going to become more than apparent where the story wants to go next.

DAMON: Something that is really, really exciting for us as writers is - at the end of this season we will have written 85 hours of the show when all is said and done, the fact that we'll be going into the fifth season of the show and the audience is still going to be asking the question "how are stories going to be told next year?", that is part of the fun both for us as writers and the folks watching the show. With most television shows you kind of know where the season premier is going to start. Basically, Jack Bauer is going to be in hour one of whatever the next threat against humanity is. But in Lost you could start in the hatch with Desmond, you could start off the island with Hurley in a car chase...

CARLTON: You could start with a monkey in a smoking jacket.

DAMON: ...You could start with a monkey in a smoking jacket...

CARLTON: Oh no! Did we say that out loud?

DAMON: That's the season never to be aired, only for comic books.

UGO: Is the Orchid station showing up pretty soon?

CARLTON: The Orchid station is definitely coming back into play. We put that film out at comic con, but we did so because it definitely ties into where we are heading this season.

UGO: When was the decision to use time travel in the story made?

DAMON: It's been in the DNA of the show since the very beginning. Obviously, one thing the flash backs and the flash forwards provide you with is the idea of time travel. You're bouncing around in time and events from the past are seemingly influencing the present, but it's not a traditional time travel story until we started talking about what the hatch was there for, and what this electromagnetic energy that the hatch is trying to contain is and what would be the effect of that hatch going away, otherwise known as the purple sky event. And it was sort of those conversations which obviously happened way back in season one when Locke and Boone found the hatch that were the early precursors of time travel. I will say, though, that the first significant event in the show where we were thinking in the back of our minds that this is going to require a story telling element that isn't traditional narrative, is the discovery of Adam and Eve in the caves.

UGO: Here's an issue that arises with regards to that. Fans will speculate about different aspects of the show and will often reference statements that we're made, like "Oh it can't be about time travel because Damon and JJ said on the non-linear board at The Fuselage that there is no time travel in the show." How do you deal with it when, I don't want to say out and out lie, but if a fan or an interviewer asks a question that is going to really blow the story open; you obviously can't say "yeah, that's right."

CARLTON: Obviously, we're very careful about what we say. But, honestly, the assumption that you can figure it all out pre-supposes that you know enough about the world of the show to figure it all out. If I were to ask you towards the end of season one what your theory on what all the revelations of Lost are, you're going to give a wildly different answer then you would now part way through season 4. What we would say is there are still twists and turns and unexpected surprises to come, so its really hard to figure out where we're going because the audience doesn't possess enough information yet. Occasionally people do stumble upon bits and pieces of things that are true and I think that is great, but it has to remain that viewers individual satisfaction because we're not going to ruin it for everybody else by saying "Yes! That's exactly what is going to happen."

DAMON: The reality is, anything that Carlton and I say, or anyone involved with the show says, that is all part of the politicking that sort of surrounds the show. We like the idea of being answerable to the show, that is to say if we do something the fans don't like we can come forward and apologize for it and explain what the thought process was for executing that story line. Or, vice versa, if we do something people really like we get to sort of pull that forward and explain, for instance, that we weren't able to do the flash forward part of the story until they promised us an end to the show, and this is how we were able to end the show, and this is why we are doing three more seasons, and so on. The fans are owed those explanations. But, in a lot of ways it is like J.K. Rowling revealing that Dumbledore was gay. She's saying this, and it is part of her talking about the books, but all that matters at the end of the day is the books. So, watching the show Lost, you watch it and the data is there for you to form whatever theories you have, and you can't factor in anything that even the creators or actors are saying about the show outside of the show, because at the end of the day the show will be processed in six DVD box sets. It will be completely irrelevant as to whether we confirmed or denied or speculated. The one thing that Carlton and I are steadfast on saying over and over again, and that we're not lying about is that the show is not all a dream. It's happening in the real world, there are real stakes, you're not going to get to the end and cut to black and suddenly realize that this was all sort of a fantasy. That's the only thing that we sort of need to get out there in the world, because it does diffuse a lot of wacky theories.

Source: UGO