Ant-Man and the Wasp star Evangeline Lilly is opening up about her time starring in TV phenomenon Lost and it sounds like it wasn’t always the positive, enriching experience one would hope.
Lilly spoke with Lost fan podcast The LOST Boys and detailed the time she felt cornered into a partial nude scene in the show’s third season.
“In season three, I’d had a bad experience on set with being basically cornered into doing a scene partially naked, and I felt had no choice in the matter,” Lilly told interviewer Jacob Stolworthy. “And I was mortified and I was trembling when it finished. I was crying my eyes out, and I had to go on do a very formidable, very strong scene thereafter.”
The beginning of Lost Season 3 was an infamously difficult time for the show. Lead characters Jack Shepherd (Matthew Fox), Sawyer (Josh Holloway), and Kate Austen (Lily) were locked in cages at the hands of the mysterious Others. Show creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse would later say that they felt trapped in figurative cages by their inability to negotiate an end of the show with ABC. The show and ABC would come to terms on an end date during the midseason break.
Lilly’s character, Kate, is forced to change into a dress in a drab locker room by one of the Others before a meeting with their leader. Unfortunately, it sounds like Lilly felt a lack of control and autonomy in being able to film that scene and others comfortably.
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On the podcast she brings up a similar scene in the shows fourth season, saying, “In season four, another scene came up where Kate was undressing, and I fought very hard to have that scene be under my control. And I failed to control it again,” she said. “So I then said, ‘That’s it, no more. You can write whatever you want — I won’t do it. I will never take my clothes off on this show again.’ And I didn’t.”
The Hollywood Reporter reached out to ABC and Bad Robot Productions and each declined to comment.
The entire podcast is a fascinating, nuanced listen. Lilly makes it clear that she has no moral objections to nude or partial nude scenes in media, just that she felt those on Lost were poorly handled. She also expresses her frustration with the direction of her character over the series run. Kate Austen started off as a strong, intriguing female lead. She was a resourceful outlaw with a mysterious past. As time went on, however, her characters plotlines would defer to the male leads of the show.
“I felt like my character went from being autonomous, really having her own story and her own journey and her own agendas, to chasing men around the island. And that irritated the shit out of me,” she said. “I did throw scripts across rooms when I read them because I would get very frustrated by the diminishing amount of her own story that there was to play.”
In the early days of Lost‘s development, the lead was intended to be an older (at least older than network television is used to) woman named Kate. By the time the Pilot was filmed, that character was changed into background characer Rose and a younger Kate become the female lead alongside male lead Jack. The show had a solid plot for Kate in the first two seasons but as it tangled with big philosophical questions and the mythology of the Island, Kate became less and less developed.
Lilly took a bit of a break from acting following the conclusion of Lost in 2010. Then in 2013 she joined The Hobbit mid-trilogy and is now a pretty big part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Hope van Dyne.