One of William’s most recognized and popular characters returns to the small screen tonight as Ethan Rom makes an appearance on the season premiere of Lost!
With so many return visits to the island by the long-dead Ethan, fans have been asking regularly about the possibility of Ethan/William’s return to Lost in season 5. As a general rule William prefers to keep such information “under wraps” to protect the mystery and allure surrounding the show, but with his return already publicized, he agreed to answer some questions about tonight’s appearance! In addition to sharing a couple of his personal photos (taken behind the scenes on the set of “Not In Portland”), here’s what William had to say about his return to the Lost set, his feelings about the fans, and what it’s like to be forever Ethan!
ATW: How did you get the call to be back on the show?
William: I awoke at 3am one night to find Charlie’s ghost at the foot of my bed tossing phantom papayas at my head while singing, to the tune of “You all everybody,” “Wake up, Willie, they’re not done with you yet.” The experience was both traumatic and strangely soothing. The next day my agent called to say that Lost had phoned and wanted me to clear my calendar about 2-3 weeks away. I told her I already knew. In fact, this episode was a bit different than most. I was acting in a play when they shot my episode, so they agreed to wait to shoot my scene until the play finished, about a month later. Very kind of them.
ATW: Did you know (had anyone suggested to you) that Ethan would be back at some point?
William: Zey are veddy, veddy tight-lipped about zuch zings. So, nein.
ATW: What was your reaction upon reading the script?
William: First, what the hell is happenin’ on this wacky isle? Second, yay, I’m in it! Third, what the hell is happenin’ on this wacky isle?
ATW: How much do you think this appearance advances our knowledge/understanding of Ethan’s character?
William: A little, perhaps. It’s a very brief appearance, but it occurs in an unusual circumstance. (Now, there’s a surprise.) Ethan wearing a grass skirt in the scene is an absolute anomaly, I’d like to assure readers.
ATW: What was your time on the set like?
William: Like a reunion with old friends, if I can get downright Hallmark about it. Lots of hugs and hellos. The feeling was that odd one you get when it feels simultaneously as if both lots of time and none at all had passed. I ran into some cast members I hadn’t seen in three years. It was, of course, tinged with nostalgia, but I feel so fortunate to be a part of the show that overall it was exhilarating.
ATW: How difficult is it for you to slip into Ethan’s skin after long breaks? How do you do it?
William: I never leave it. Ethan is with me always. Always. When I jog the city streets, ears attuned to wildlife; when I prowl the grocery shelves, searching for the ripest fruit; and when I drive the perilous freeways, eyes searching for crazy drivers. Call me Ethiam. Or Willan. You choice.
ATW: How long were you in Hawaii this time, and how did you spend your time when not on the set?
William: I was only there for a couple days. I took a run in a park along the water and had some fantastic sushi. There was a lot of time for me to get into trouble. I’m beginning to suspect the producers plan it that way for me.
ATW: Do you think we’ll see Ethan again before the show ends?
William: I certainly hope so. If not, I’m considering a web spin-off: Ethiam: Alive in the city. As a surgeon.
ATW: What do you think Ethan brings to the show that other Others don’t? Why do you think they keep bringing Ethan back so often after his death?
William: Ethan’s character was very clearly established, so the audience remembers him. That’s important in a cast of 2,136. He also meant danger, which is handy for writers to pull out after a lovey scene. I think they bring Ethan back because they know, deep in the heart of their souls, that if not, he’ll appear at the end of their beds at 3am.
William: Habit. I’m a pretty private person to begin with; I don’t want to ruin the hard work of those who work on the show; and — shoot, I’ve said too much already! Somebody stop me!
ATW: How have you gone about arguing Ethan’s motivations to fans? Have you been successful in changing people’s perception of the character?
William: I simply point out a few facts, eg, we never saw Ethan hang Charlie, and Charlie never said Ethan did it; we never saw Ethan be anything but solicitous to Claire, and there’s no evidence that Ethan knew that the Others wanted to harm her; both Jack and Charlie (with a club) initiated violence against Ethan; and when Ethan did live among the survivors, he helped gather firewood and papayas. I can never be sure that this changes anyone’s mind, but they generally pause, their eyes widen, and they give a soft, “Ohhhhh, I hadn’t thought of that.”
ATW: Do you still get stopped in the street by people who recognize you as Ethan? If so, does that bother you, or do you enjoy the encounters?
William: Yes, people still stop me. Only yesterday, in fact. Because the fans are almost always friendly and respectful, yes, I enjoy it.
ATW: Do you mind the fact that you will be forever linked with the show and the character?
William: No, it’s an honor!
Remember, Season 5 of Lost (with guest star William Mapother) premieres tonight at 9pm ET on ABC!Tags: Lost
Posted in Acting Projects, Interviews and Q&A's, Photos of Wm