Former cast and crew members of J.J. Abrams’ ABC series, Lost are revealing the (true ugly) drama that goes on behind the scenes.
Actors, writers, and others in the industry are now complaining about racial pay disparities in an excerpt from Maureen Ryan’s new book, Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood published by Vanity Fair on Tuesday. They are also getting more candid about the prejudice, offensive humor, and degrading behavior on the show’s set.
It was a ground-breaking hit, but the working environment became so toxic that even the co-showrunner, Damon Lindelof, is now admitting: “I failed.”
This excerpt from Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood by Maureen Ryan looks at what went wrong with Lost’s production.
The beloved hit, which had a diverse ensemble cast and excellent writing, revolutionized television as we knew it. However, a toxic workplace was developing with bullying, offensive remarks, racist and s*xist remarks off-screen.
The Untold Story Of J.J. Abrams’ Lost
According to an excerpt from Maureen Ryan’s Burn It Down: Power, Complicity, and a Call for Change in Hollywood, Harold Perrineau alleged that racial stereotypes, offensive humor, and demeaning behavior were frequent on Lost’s set.
Both Perrineau (a black actor) and another unidentified actor claimed that after plans to negotiate for equal pay as a cast fell through, the group was split into different pay tiers. In this, the top level was held by White actors only.
The unnamed actor further claimed:
“That affected relationships. A lot of us grew very close. The thing that kind of created a rift in the cast was money.”
Perrineau, who played Michael Dawson on the show until he was fired in 2008, also claimed that White characters on the show got more time on-screen in the first season.
“It became pretty clear that I was the Black guy. Daniel [Dae Kim] was the Asian guy.”
The book excerpt further quoted him as saying:
“And then you had Jack and Kate and Sawyer [who received more screen time].”
The ‘Hero Characters’ Were Said To Be Played By White Actors
A writer for the popular show, Lost, which aired from 2004 to 2010, claimed that they were informed that the “hero characters” would be played by White actors. A few of those white actors include– Locke (Terry O’Quinn), Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), and Sawyer (Josh Holloway).
The writer further alleged:
“It’s not that they didn’t write stories for Sayid [an Iraqi character] or Sun and Jin [Korean characters]. Nobody cares about these other characters. Just give them a few scenes on another beach.”
Harold Perrineau also claimed that he raised the matter with a producer and questioned why the White character served as the focal point of the narrative. The excerpt from Maureen Ryan’s new book claimed that because the characters were “relatable,” Perrineau was informed:
“Well, this is just how audiences follow stories.”
In one particular instance, Perrineau had issues with the first draft of the second episode of season two because his character didn’t seem too concerned. Fearing he might be “another person who doesn’t care about missing Black boys, even in the context of fiction,” he decided to speak up despite his concerns.
Thus, he had a phone call with the showrunner, Damon Lindelof, and Carlton Cuse, during which he was informed that his character (Michael Dawson) was not the subject of the episode. This was what ultimately caused his character to be dropped from the show.
Lindelof allegedly said that after firing Perrineau, the performer “called me racist, so I fired his a*s,” according to multiple sources.
Well, besides Lost (2004–10), J.J. Abrams, aka Jeffrey Jacob Abrams, is also known for his blockbuster action and science-fiction movies, notably Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Source- Vanity Fair