How Matthew Fox Was Lured From ‘Retirement’ to Lead ‘Last Light’

More than a decade after “Lost” ended, actor Matthew Fox returned to TV with the apocalyptic thriller “Last Light,” which premiered worldwide on Friday at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival.

The show, which will air on Peacock and is produced by MGM Intl. TV Productions, envisions a society plunged into chaos when oil supplies are compromised. Fox plays one of the world’s leading petrochemical engineers, while Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt plays his wife. Amidst the wider crisis is a battle to save her family.

At a press conference in Monte-Carlo on Saturday, Fox spoke about his break with the deal. Since “Lost” ended in 2010, he hasn’t appeared in another TV series, and after a string of movies including “World War Z”, “Extinction” and finally “Bone Tomahawk” he filmed in 2014 , he did not act at all.

“I kind of had a list of things I wanted to accomplish in the business, and after I did ‘Bone Tomahawk’ in 2014, that kind of completed the wish list,” he said. “I wanted to do a western. It’s a very strange Western, but it is a Western. And so that kind of completed the wish list.”

He added: “At that time in my life, our kids were at an age where I felt like I needed to really reconnect. I was focused on work for a while, and [my wife] Margherita was managing the family so beautifully, but I felt like it was time to be home, and I really felt like I was retiring from the business and working on other creative elements that are really personal to me – some music and writing. ”

The offer to join “Last Light” as a star and executive producer changed that. “I got to a point where I thought maybe the wish list would include executive production,” he said. “I had never done this before. The opportunity to be involved in ‘Last Light’ came up, so I wanted to give it a try. And it felt like the right time.”

Fox had previously worked with Last Light director Dennie Gordon on Party of Five, which made the decision easier. “So it all kind of came together. It felt like it was time to go back and see what it was like to be in front of a camera again and act again. And it was surprisingly satisfying. And I felt really good doing that, and with this amazing group of people, and the collaborative aspect of it, and how we all bonded, how much we believed in the project. And it turned out to be a fantastic experience.”

Fox says stunt work on the film was a challenge. “I had a lot of moments where I thought, ‘You know, I should have gotten a little better for this,’” he said. Playing his character also required subtlety to reveal his true nature. It was “a little mysterious” what was happening to him, he said, and it was “like a revelation … like an onion being peeled.”

Fox had some rough years in 2011 and 2012, as he acknowledged in an interview on “Ellen” in October 2012, relating to an alleged incident in Cleveland, Ohio, and the legal disputes that followed. More fuel was added to the fire by an incendiary Tweet from Dominic Monaghan, another former “Lost” cast member. Fox has vigorously and repeatedly refuted the allegations against him.

Fox has lived a quieter life since that time, and he might be nervous to get back into the fray, but he felt ready to get back into television. “I’ve just spent seven years living my life with my family and chasing things that I’m passionate about,” he said, “but storytelling is in my DNA somehow, and I felt that this way of storytelling was something I wanted to embrace. meet again and see what it was like. And I’m really glad I did it – it’s been good.”

Gordon added: “I’ll just say that it wasn’t easy to bring Matthew out of retirement, and it took a project of this caliber, this cast and this important story to literally draw him in because he has a beautiful life with his wife and kids. . And it wasn’t easy to attract him. But we felt so privileged that we took him off the couch.”

Since Fox and Gordon worked together on “Party of Five” early in their career, their approach to acting has evolved. “I think I approached work in a very different way back then. So I think it probably wasn’t such a collaborative experience back then, because I was pretty cautious about all of that.”

He added: “But this experience was very collaborative. And it was tremendous. And we had this gigantic story to try to stitch together and try to track this character through this arc in five episodes.”

He credits the streaming with “opening up a whole new area of ​​premise that only requires five chapters.” He expanded: “It’s a lot of story to tell in one movie, but not enough story to tell in a 10-episode series. And I think it’s been really good for television, because one of the things that I’ve been frustrated with in the past is that you have these premises that are driven a little more than they should be, right, and the audience feels when something is being stretched. ”

He continued, “So streaming is taking us in a direction where stories are being told for the amount of time they need to be told, and that’s always going to be a very beneficial thing for storytelling.”

Gordon added: “I would just add this by saying that we were babies when we made ‘Party of Five’, absolute babies. And in those days, television shows were mostly filmed on soundstages. In this new era of the rise of fantastic streaming material across the world, audience expectations are extremely high.

“And so, what we must deliver is not ordinary television, but extraordinary television. And that’s why it was important that we go to locations, that we have extraordinary locations, that we have a global reach. We are telling a global story. And that production value was very important for all of us to deliver our story through filmmaking techniques as much as possible.

“I think in the new age of television the bar is very high and we are seeing that internationally all over the world, things that are being done everywhere – ‘Tehran’, you know, so many fantastic shows that we love in the States that made on foreign soil. So I think it’s an extraordinary time for all of us to be in this business.”

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