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Feature: Lost

Locke In

Terry O’Quinn Genre favourite Terry O’Quinn looks back on three years of Locke

Sometimes, someone is exactly the way you want him to be. Dressed casually in a cap and light clothes on an unusually warm day of Britain’s alleged summer, Terry O’Quinn doesn’t really look like a Cult TV god, but he is. This is a man whose friendship with genre colossi Chris Carter and JJ Abrams – not to overlook his acting talent – landed him roles on The X-Files (three times), Millennium, Harsh Realm, Alias and now Lost, in which he plays the mysterious John Locke. But this succession of high quality credits doesn’t seem to have fazed him, and he’s friendly, chatty, honest and modest about his work.

Firstly though, we need to set our minds at rest. Has he bought a house in Hawaii, where Lost is filmed? “Yes, we [O’Quinn, wife Laurie and two children] bought in Hawaii at the end of Season One; it’s so expensive to live there anyway so you might as well just buy something and hopefully we’ll keep it for a little while.” Oh dear. When people say that in interviews, they tend to be the next character to die, which must come as something of an irritant after forking out a large deposit. O’Quinn is pragmatic about it. “Yeah, well, the good thing is that you can probably get the money back, although we bought at the top of the market. It seems to be a consistent MO with me, I wait till it gets as expensive as possible and then I buy something! But space is limited in Hawaii so we should be able to get out okay.”

That’s a relief. Although, having survived the initial crash of Oceanic flight 815, an impaled leg and, recently, being shot point blank, it seems Locke might be unkillable. “Yeah, for the moment. Until [the writers] decide I am,” O’Quinn smiles. “I know they’re willing to change their minds about that kind of thing but I think that Locke is important to the island and maybe to The Others. But we’ll find out. I just hope that if he goes he goes with a bang.”

Even before reaching the island Locke didn’t exactly lead a charmed life, culminating in a fall from a high hospital window, thanks to a shove from his own father. It’s a favourite moment of O’Quinn’s, but also the latest in a long line of screen injuries. “I’ve done a lot of things; you work long enough you get shot and drowned and fall and beat to death and stabbed. I’ve been through all of it. I’ve been hung off a building before but I don’t think I’ve ever been actually dropped.”

He was even blown up in one in the X-Files movie. “Blown up, yeah. My kids used to say, ‘How do you die in this one?’” What about Millennium? “Actually, at the end of Millennium I think you saw some legs sticking out from behind a desk with a pool of blood and they were supposedly mine. It just got yanked, the show.”

by Paul Spragg

Read the full interview in
Cult Times #143

Photo © Buena Vista Television
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #143
August 2007
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