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Lost – How Nestor Carbonell is fully satisfied with the end

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Lost Season 6 - Nestor Carbonell © ABC
Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) © ABC

It was one of the most expensive series to shoot. It was critically acclaimed, winning numerous awards including the Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, the Golden Globe for Best Drama and Best American Import at the British Academy Television Awards – but its run is almost over. Next Sunday marks the final episode of the popular Lost. Will all the hanging questions be answered? Will the flash sideways world align with the story of the crashing of Oceanic flight 815 onto the mysterious island, where 71 of the 324 passengers survived?

In the series, Nestor Carbonell portrays the mystifying Richard, who was made immortal by Jacob in the 1800s, and given the job of overseeing the island. I spoke with Nestor about the ending of a classic.

Can you talk about what a phenomenon Lost has become, if you expected that and what it has done for you?

Lost 6.10 - Yunjin Kim, Matthew Fox, Zuleikha Robinson and Nestor Carbonell
Episode 6.10 The Package – Sun Kwon (Yunjin Kim), Dr Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), Ilana Verdansky (Zuleikha Robinson) and Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) © ABC

Sure. I was a fan of the show before I got on the show. My wife was a real die hard fan. She turned me on to it so I knew, going into it, what an incredible show it was creatively and also what a sensation it was.

I was so nervous when I first started, stepping off the plane, but my fears were completely allayed as soon as I got on the set and I realized it was such a great working environment, very relaxed. But, off the set, people started approaching you and off of my recurring part at the time, the fans are so die hard and loyal and bright and they want to know things and even off my little stint initially.

I would start to see a bit of that and this year, things have certainly changed and it’s been incredible.

Was there a point where you began to feel the religious context of the show?

Lost 6.7 - Matthew Fox and Nestor Carbonell © ABC
Episode 6.07, Dr Linus – Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) and Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) © ABC

Yeah. It harkens back to when I started the show, I don’t know if it was a religious allusion but I had to report to a higher power, and that was always Jacob who was sort of a nebulous higher power. So it always felt religious or spiritual in that way. And, certainly, when they explained my back story this year, we definitely got into religious themes about the Devil and, obviously, good versus evil as well as mythological themes as well.

What surprised you the most about your character’s back story?

Certainly on no other show that I’ve done on TV, do we get to play the sides of these characters that we’ve gotten to play. I never thought I would be immortal and that presented itself to me, I think, in the third or fourth episode where I appeared. It’s been a treat for all of us. You’re confined to a certain palate of colors on a TV show because I think viewers want consistency. They want to tune in and say ‘I know that character and that’s what he or she would do.’

This show has challenged that medium and stretched every facet and certainly with character development. So, I find myself immortal, and I find myself speaking Spanish in my back story a hundred or so years ago. And, that’s been one of the greatest gifts as actors, that we’ve had a chance to play so many different facets of these characters.

Did you enjoy it when Richard finally got to have a fit and go, ‘I have no idea what’s going on here’?

Lost 6.07 - Nestor Carbonell
Episode 6.07 Dr Linus – Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) © ABC

Yeah. Again, we get all these different colors to play and one week my character is stoic and the other week he’s frazzled and scared and it’s a gift to get to play all that stuff. But, yes, specifically that moment of like, ‘Hold on a second. I thought I knew almost everything and now I feel like I know absolutely nothing’. It was wonderful to finally just let it out.

Without giving away the ending, do you think the audience will be satisfied?

I’ve only read ten of the eleven acts. I wasn’t given the last act so I don’t know entirely how it ends. I wasn’t privy to it. They just don’t trust me (he laughs). I have that face.

No, I’m kidding. I could have gotten it obviously but I said, ‘You know, I want to watch it with the rest of America,’ so I don’t know entirely how it ends but from what I can glean from the way they were going, I was fully satisfied and I think the fans will be happy.