Has any TV show been so amazing and so disappointing at the same time? Lost was the best and worst of television epics…and we’re not the only ones who think so. It turns out that Evangeline Lilly found it just as frustrating to film the show.
In an interview with The Lost Boys podcast, the Marvel star reveals her true feelings about the character she played for 6 seasons—and the scene that left her feeling humiliated and scared.
Lost fans didn’t necessarily warm to Lilly’s character, Kate, who spent much of the show’s run in a love triangle with the two male leads. In her interview, Lilly confesses that she was disappointed with the direction her character took. “I felt like she became more and more predictable and obnoxious,” she said. “I would get very frustrated by the diminishing amount of autonomy she had and the diminishing amount of her own story there was to play.”
Out of Her Control
Lilly’s biggest beef with her time on Lost was the way her character was shot like a piece of meat. In the show’s 3rd season, she felt pressured by the producers to do a nude scene, and the experience left her feeling violated and upset. Lilly says she was “basically cornered into doing a scene partially naked, and I felt had no choice in the matter. And I was mortified and I was trembling and when it finished, I was crying my eyes out.”
When the issue came up again in the next season—during a scene where the director wanted to show Kate undressing—Lilly fought to control how the sequence would be shot. Once more, she was overruled.
After her experience of feeling forced to take her clothes off, Lilly drew a line in the sandy beach of Lost’s Island. Lilly recalls confronting the showrunners about it: “And so I 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.”
Although the show ended almost a decade ago, the experiences she had on set clearly still bother Lilly. Perhaps she finally feels secure enough in her position as a movie star to air her grievances over the way she was treated during filming of her breakout role.
An Immediate Apology
Powerhouse showrunners and producers J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Jack Bender, and Carlton Cuse issued a joint statement after the interview aired:
Our response to Evie’s comments in the media was to immediately reach out to her to profoundly apologize for the experience she detailed while working on Lost. We have not yet connected with her, but remain deeply and sincerely sorry. No person should ever feel unsafe at work. Period.
Lilly has not publicly responded to their apology.
Permission to Be Flawed
Although Lilly didn’t shy away from criticizing the writers and producers of Lost, she did find something complimentary to say about her role as Kate. “If you have flawed women onscreen who are also icons of femininity, who are also beloved, then it gives us all permission to be flawed.”
Lilly has continued to develop her action-heroine persona in The Hobbit trilogy, where she played the warrior elf Tauriel. Most recently, she appeared as Hope “The Wasp” van Dyne in the Ant-Man films.