From Comic-Con, here’s a LOST 10 year anniversary video featuring Damon and Carlton.
Damon Lindelof: “If you find yourself yearning to get lost all over again, you’re not alone. The LOST fanbase is alive and kicking, so here’s to the next ten years of LOST.”
The Leftovers, Damon Lindelof’s return to television, premieres this Sunday at 10 on HBO. As I’ve said, I enjoyed the book and can’t wait to see the show. Here are snippets from two interviews with Damon as well as a great review, click the links for more.
Damon Lindelof: The things that turn me on, turn me on. Obviously I wouldn’t have done LOST for six years if that kind of storytelling didn’t excite me. And there was something about Tom [Perotta’s] book that completely and totally captivated me. It was emotional, it was mysterious, it was surprising, but most importantly, it told a very very intimate story about people that I didn’t feel like I’d seen before.
I do feel that in the DNA of The Leftovers is the unapologetic presentation of a world that is about living an unresolved mystery, and the frustrations therein. So I almost think it would be a betrayal to Tom’s book to sort of say, ‘Oh we’re going to answer this or we’re going to answer that.’ But all of the characters are in the show are having the same experience as the audience.
Christopher Eccleston: We’re not doing a series about sci-fi, that’s not what this is about. This is about human beings and emotion and relationships and identity. So I would be very disappointed if this was tied up in a bow when it end, whenever it ends. I think the only way to be with something like this is ambiguous.
Via The Daily Beast:
Lindelof: Independent of what the reaction was to the way that LOST ended, my feelings about LOST are overwhelmingly positive. My feelings about the show itself, the experience of the show, it transcended my wildest dreams as a human being. If you had asked 12-year-old me, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” LOST was far above and beyond the storytelling that I wanted to do, as well as the way that it connected. As obnoxious as it sounds, my feeling is there’s nothing that scares me anymore because I’ve lived through every permutation—the highest of the highs, the lowest of the lows—and I walked away from it feeling like I was really happy about the work I did on this thing. And now, I’m going to do it again. LOST is a catalyst for all the work that I do now. There’s no cautionary tale there at all.
The book embraces this idea of, “I’m not going to tell you about The Departure; I’m not going to tell you how or why these people went, because that’s not what the story is about. The story is about these characters living under the condition of felling like they’ll never know. If that’s the show that you want to watch, that’s the show that we want to write. But that might not be the show that people want to watch.
Tom Perrotta: In the broadest sense, yes [the show is thematically similar to LOST]. We’re following people who are trying to make sense of something that is profoundly mysterious to them. The big difference, for me, is that this is set in a very recognizable, real world, so if you just turned it on, you’d think you were watching Friday Night Lights—which is what we’re using as the other pole of the story. The thing that excited me about LOST is that J.J. and Damon created a space where anything could happen, and The Leftovers isn’t that, so it makes for a different kind of storytelling.
Via HitFix / Alan Sepinwall’s review (grade: A):
What divine madness could have possibly compelled Damon Lindelof to involve himself with The Leftovers? Maybe he saw the opportunity to make something great. Because he sure as hell has.
Even in a television landscape that includes The Walking Dead, Hannibal and HBO’s own Game of Thrones — dramas so committed to a violent, despairing worldview that they all but dare you to keep watching — The Leftovers is a show that will make some of its viewers want to slit their wrists. Many will hate it. But there will be viewers in whom it strikes a chord so deeply that they will feel themselves overwhelmed by it in the best possible way: not like they’re drowning in the misery, but like it’s teaching them a new way to breathe.
I realize this spell will elude many, who will turn off the show shaking their heads about the depressing tone, or at Lindelof for again giving us a group of disparate survivors of a tragedy, grappling with mysteries he’ll never be able to explain to his audience’s satisfaction. (Not that he wants or needs to in this case.)
Maybe believing that there’s an audience for this show, however selective even within the HBO universe, makes me as much of a holy fool as Reverend Matt, or as Lindelof himself. But I believe in “The Leftovers.” And I want to see more of it. Now.
Damon Lindelof Promises You His New Show Won’t End Like LOST | NYTimes Magazine
On The Leftovers:
The conceit of The Leftovers is also a kind of trick: 2 percent of the earth’s population disappears one day with no explanation. There appears to be no common denominator to the people who go missing. Condoleezza Rice is gone. The pope is gone. So is Gary Busey. It may be the Christian Rapture — when believers ascend to heaven — or it may not. The story begins on the third anniversary of what has become known as the Sudden Departure, and focuses on characters living in a world that is trying to figure out how to move on.
It’s a compelling but tricky premise for a TV show, because the show’s central mystery may (or may not) be teased out indefinitely. Perrotta’s novel wrapped up its story after 355 pages, but a successful HBO series has to sustain several seasons of intrigue. And because it is Lindelof’s first TV project since he was a creator of LOST, the ABC show that famously drew out several mysteries for many seasons — only to end with resolutions that many people found, to put it mildly, unsatisfying — this may be a good time to remember how comfortable Lindelof is with the whole idea of mystery. The short answer: very, despite everything.
On the finale reaction:
He tried not to care, to remember that he loved the ending and maybe that’s all that should matter. “But it’s like no, that’s not all that should matter,” he says. “I didn’t make the [finale] up in my head and sit in my room and basically weep and applaud myself for having designed this great TV show in my brain. I put it out on the airwaves for millions and millions of people to watch, with the intention of having all of them love it, and understand it, and get it. I do not like the feeling that I experience when people talk about how much LOST sucked. I can no longer acknowledge it. I spent three years acknowledging it. I hear you. I understand. I get it. I’m not in denial about it. That said, I can’t continue to be this persona. I can’t continue to acknowledge you, because acknowledging you invites more of it, and it really hurts my feelings. Nobody cares that my feelings are hurt. It’s my job for my feelings to not get hurt.”
The success of the show also created outsize expectation for new surprises. “The longer you tell a story, the larger the stakes have to be,” he says. “It’s no longer satisfying to say: Are these people who crashed in this plane going to make it out O.K.? Are they going to fall in love? Are they going to live? Are they going to die? It’s like no, are they going to save the world?”
J.J. on meeting and working with Damon:
Abrams and Lindelof liked each other immediately; Abrams was impressed with the heart Lindelof planned to bring to the show, particularly the perspective of the island’s de facto leader, Jack, a man of science who had little tolerance for discussions of faith and magic. “It was a blast to stumble upon someone who allowed me to dream bigger,” Abrams says. “It’s playing tennis with someone better than you. It just felt like it’s better for the game.”
In Damon’s office:
This spring, I met Lindelof at his office on the Warner Brothers lot, which is decorated with: a portrait of Lincoln in a Stormtrooper mask; a “Star Wars” poster; a bust of Iron Man; a “Twilight Zone” pinball machine; a near life-size print of a painting of William Shatner as Captain Kirk; a replica of the bike from “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”; and all manner of LOST paraphernalia — a polar bear, a cartoon painting of the cast, Dharma Initiative-brand cans of beer and the original hatch from the island. There’s also a dart board that was custom-ordered by Lindelof and that consists of a photo of his face.
It’s not lost on him that, for all the residual conflicts he has about LOST, he’s not only back on TV, but back working on a show that revolves around a prolonged mystery — one that will eventually have to be wrapped up in a satisfying fashion. “More than anything else, me taking this show says: ‘Yeah, I’ve made my persona into the guy who is clearly emotionally affected by your dislike of LOST, but here we go again.’ I’m getting back on the roller coaster because I can’t help myself.”
At his office, I mentioned to him that I had become consumed with finding out how David Blaine pulled off that trick in the video Lindelof showed me, the one with Ricky Gervais and the giant needle. And that I had learned the answer. I asked Lindelof if he wanted to know it. He answered immediately, without hesitating: “Yes.”
So I told him.
He sighed and said, “I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed knowing that.” I told him I was, too. After a minute, he exhaled slowly. “I guess that’s what this is all about,” he said. “We prefer the magic to the knowledge.”
Lost Without a Prayer: ‘The Leftovers,’ About a Small Town’s Loss, Comes to HBO - NYTimes
“The Leftovers,” which debuts on HBO on June 29, is not a David Lynchian exploration of small-town evil. The creation of Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, based on the novel of the same name by Mr. Perrotta, it is an intimate family drama that traffics in issues like faith and loss and grief and how to proceed after an enormous tragedy.
“This show is about the condition of living in a post-apocalyptic world where, if you look out the window, it doesn’t look like the apocalypse happened,” Mr. Lindelof said. “But it did.”
“I loved the tone of it,” said Michael Lombardo, president for programming at HBO. “It’s as everyday and commonplace and recognizable as the most personal book or show we’ve seen. At the same time, it has an otherworldly quality that creeps in.”
After Mr. Perrotta took a crack at a first draft of the pilot, HBO decided to bring in an experienced TV show runner to help reimagine the book as a series. Mr. Lindelof, whose work on “Lost” deftly combined character-driven stories with supernatural overtones, was the first choice.
Mr. Lindelof grew up in a town (Teaneck, N.J.) much like Mapleton. And the book spoke to some deep-seated fears. “On a personal level,” Mr. Lindelof said, “the two biggest recurring nightmares of my youth were being abandoned by my parents or my parents being replaced by people who were pretending to be my parents: the body-snatcher scenario.”
Bringing on Peter Berg, who turned “Friday Night Lights” into a movie and a TV series, to direct the pilot and second episode, and be an executive producer, also helped with the tonal shift. Mr. Berg, an action-oriented director whose movies include “Lone Survivor,” suggested amping up the sense of destabilization the departure has wrought on Mapleton.
“I think there was probably a good tension between Pete and Damon,” Mr. Theroux said. “Damon can sometimes lean into the spirituality of it, and Pete’s instinct was to recoil from that: ‘Let’s not tip that hand yet.’ ”
They all said they do not know if Mr. Lindelof ultimately plans to reveal the reasons behind the departure. But they believe that he does not owe viewers an explanation.
Yet Mr. Lindelof, more than most show runners, knows he cannot escape the questions. The vocal minority unhappy with the ending of “Lost” written by him and Carlton Cuse soured what should have been a triumphant end to that six-year series.
Sitting in April in his office, where “Star Wars” posters fill the walls and a model Oceanic Airlines plane from “Lost” sits on an end table, Mr. Lindelof was by turns coy, playful and exasperated by questions of whether “The Leftovers” will answer what the audience really wants to know.
The thematic question he will commit to answering is, can the world go back to the way it was or does it have to change?
“That’s more interesting to me than, oh, they’re all in the Amazon rain forest; found them,” he said. “I just don’t know if there’s any satisfying way to do that.”
Mr. Lindelof won’t even divulge whether the show will explain the whys and hows. “If the characters are living in a system where there’s great ambiguity as to whether or not they’re going to get further information about this thing, then I have to create the same sensation for the audience,” he said. “Even though I know that that’s the worst possible thing I could be doing as a storyteller, based on my past, but I’m just drawn to that kind of storytelling.”
Mr. Lindelof paused. A hint of a smile crossed his face.
“That’s not me saying we’re not going to deal with it.”
The FX vampire drama The Strain launches on Sunday, July 13 at 10pm. Starring Corey Stoll, it’s based on the three books by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, who co-wrote the pilot script, which del Toro directed. Carlton Cuse is the showrunner. Here’s a creepy teaser for the show.
Carlton vs Damon: The Strain will air opposite Damon Lindelof’s The Leftovers, which will air Sunday nights at 10 on HBO beginning June 29.
LOST cast/writers TV news: renewals, cancellations, and new shows.
Post will be updated as necessary…
New Damon/Carlton interview: The LOST Creators Come Clean
Ten years later, they talk about their mistakes, their successes, the worst episode, and why we’re all still talking about this damn show.
Damon: The real exciting conversation happened in the middle of season three as we were begging ABC to end the show — the idea that the narrative device was going to flip out of flashbacks and into flashforwards. Once we did that we assumed people would stop asking us if we were making it up as we went along because you have to move forward on the trajectory you’ve set up.
Damon: We did 121 hours of LOST. Arguably only 15 to 20 of them were subpar, bordering on turds. It would be great to pretend those episodes never happened, but I love the fact that we’re still talking about Nikki and Paulo. Sometimes the mistake, the thing that wasn’t good, is the thing that’s really part of the legacy of a show like ours.
The Leftovers - trailer #1
If you’re like me, you turned to HBO at 9 to watch Game of Thrones and saw this trailer as a nice little surprise.