TV Guide Interview: “Elizabeth Mitchell: Lost’s Juliet Kisses Jack and Tells!”

Part of “Old Info And News”

tv guide elizabeth mitchell naveen andrews (2).jpgElizabeth Mitchell: Lost’s Juliet Kisses Jack and Tells!

by Matt Webb Mitovich

It was a genuine, tender moment that all but made up for the somewhat silly “Stop the nerve gas!” antics that preceded it. Lost’s Juliet, haunted by Ben’s obsession, shared a rain-soaked lip-lock with Jack. Luckily for “Jacket” fans, more of the same seems to be on the horizon. Elizabeth Mitchell shares with us what’s ahead, names the episode she deems “perfect” and talks about returning to work after the strike. (Lost airs Thursdays at 9 pm/ET on ABC.) What was with that bait-and-switch you did for the TV Guide cover shoot? I saw you and Naveen [Andrews] and thought, “Oh, Sayid is going to pop up in Juliet’s flashback or flash-forward” and… no such thing.
Elizabeth Mitchell: You know, it was more wishful thinking, wasn’t it? I called it “a little fantasy episode.” It was a hot photo shoot, though.
Mitchell: It really was! Naveen and I have known each other for a long time, so we’re comfortable together and we were able to play. It was very film noir-ish, and we both enjoyed that tremendously. Let me pull out this quote you gave me a year and a half ago: “I don’t know what kind of past Juliet and Ben have, but it definitely is complicated and intricate.”
Mitchell: Yeah! [Laughs] I guess so! And you were probably just pulling that out of your bum!
Mitchell: Well, I knew it was something really, really bad. But I didn’t anticipate standing over the body of my dead lover with a stake sticking out of his heart, and having Ben claim responsibility. That wasn’t in my imagination. I thought it was an interesting twist. Can we talk about the ill-advised decision to engage in an extramarital affair on a small, isolated island? I mean, people are going to talk.
Mitchell: It’s the same thing as, “You should never have an affair with anyone you work with,” and of course that never happens. [Laughs] I get this weird feeling that at the end of the day, it’s going to come down to Juliet sacrificing herself to save Jack.
Mitchell: Well, I think that Juliet loves Jack. I’ve always said that. If she did do that… It certainly seems very likely to me, something along those lines. She’s also tied up with [pregnant] Sun, so who knows, but it’s a possibility. She’s very rabid about the people she cares about. My mom said that this morning: “You know what I like about Juliet? I like that she likes the people she cares about so much.” I said, “Well, that is lovely. It is good.” Let’s talk about Juliet’s kiss with Jack. Are we going to get any more of that?
Mitchell: I think we are, actually. I don’t know when, but they’re setting something up. I knew that was coming because there was all this stuff with Jack and Kate. That’s the fun for them, creating these “triangles.” And when they went back into the Jack and Kate connection, I thought, “It seems like they’re going to pump up the stuff between Jack and Juliet,” and that’s what happened. [Pauses] I was very happy that Jack kissed her. I thought that was a particularly good scene for Matthew [Fox], in that he came across as a very strong and very leading man. I really enjoyed how he played that. His whole face changed when she said that she cared about him, and I thought that was fascinating. I’ve always liked them together, but I also liked Jack and Kate together, in the first season. But in watching Jack and Juliet, I hate to say the word, but there’s such a maturity to them in the way they complement each other. So we’ll see where that goes. Are you able to still watch the show as a fan?
Mitchell: Yeah, I am! It’s kind of fun to watch it now. The making of the episode was such a struggle because there was so much emotion, that to sit back and watch it as a fan was much nicer. I didn’t realize what a build there would be to the kiss. I didn’t realize how we are so sucked into our romantic archetypes that when Jack steps forward and takes care of Juliet, something in me went, “Ohhh!” My sweet husband was in Washington, and he said he stood up and started clapping: “He did it! He did it!” [Laughs] He was really excited. Lost really gives you two different kinds of episodes: the “real” episodes, like last night, and ones like the week before, which are a whole different kind of entertainment.
Mitchell: I have to say, that Desmond episode was as perfect an episode as you can get. I freakin’ loved it. I don’t think he had a bad moment as an actor, the writing was A-plus…. It was fantastic in every way. And the speed! It was like a roller-coaster. I felt like ours was more of a “Sit back and take a deep breath” episode. Are you able to shed any light on what Juliet’s therapist meant when she said, “Of course [Ben likes you]. You look just like her.” There are theories that it’s a childhood crush, or perhaps his late mother (glimpsed in the May 2007 episode “The Man Behind the Curtain”).
Mitchell: No, I’m not [able to shed light]. It could be a love-of-his-life kind of thing, or it could be his mother. You never know with Ben. It could be someone we haven’t even met yet. Luckily, this season we’re going to get to know a lot more about Ben. We actually did a reader poll at the start of the season, asking which character people want to learn more about. Ben and Juliet placed Nos. 1 and 2.
Mitchell: Oh, that’s so nice. They created an amazing and complicated woman, and they made her very much a woman. I was very proud — proud is an odd word to use — but I was proud of the creation of her and the way they did it. It was very brave, I thought. Is there a sort of “letdown” for a Lost actor after you get “your” episode for the season?
Mitchell: [Laughs] I’m so flipping hard on myself that for me it’s a relief! Other people’s episodes are a heck of a lot easier to watch. This is like pulling nails. I suppose there is [a letdown], but at the same time I’m a story dork. I’m a book reader, a comic-book reader, so I’m always interested in what happens next. I actually just got the script for [Episode] 409, and I was sitting here reading it just completely entranced, and it had very little to do with me. That’s the kind of show it is. I was already a fan, so to be on the “inside” of it is kind of crazy. Are you excited to be back at work?
Mitchell: Yeah…. Aren’t you excited the strike’s over? Um, yeah!
Mitchell: It’s nice, isn’t it? It’s exciting that people are watching Lost and getting intrigued with it. That makes me happy. The TV Guide cover story featured “Burning Questions from the Cast Members.” Did you have any that didn’t make the cut?
Mitchell: I don’t! Do you have any? Well….
Mitchell: I’m always curious what people are curious about. Me, I’m just going to sit back and see what happens next!