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« Ausiello Report

Why Lost Killed Libby

It's confession time again: I've known for weeks that Lost was going to send Libby (Cynthia Watros) off to the big island in the sky at the end of last night's episode, and, just like with Ana Lucia, I kept my big, spoiler-obsessed trap closed. And once again, my restraint has yielded a pretty nifty reward — an exclusive postmortem courtesy of exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse!

Ausiello: Why did you kill off Libby?
Carlton Cuse:
We felt like we had run out of story for her. It happens. While we did develop the romance with her and Hurley, we didn't see enough in the way of avenues for where to go with that character. And we were starting to think about what sort of stories we were going to be telling for the characters in Season 3, and we just didn't have enough for Libby that we were excited about. That was on one side. On the other side, we thought, well, shooting Ana Lucia is going to be dramatic, but what will really make it incredible for the audience is that it'll be completely surprising if we shoot Libby, too. And it would be enhanced by the fact that Ana Lucia is not a particularly sympathetic character. But if we added Michael shooting Libby also, who is a very sympathetic character, that would really ratchet up the emotional stakes of the rest of the season.
Damon Lindelof: And all of this was obviously, first and foremost, the idea that Libby's got this mysterious backstory, of which we've only given you the tip of the iceberg. We know she's spent some time in the mental institution with Hurley, and the idea of killing her before she had an opportunity to explain how she got there... we have a master plan for how we're going to tell that story, but it's all posthumous. You'll start to learn Libby's moves through flashbacks over the course of the next season. So we're not done with Cynthia, but Libby is dead.

Ausiello: So we'll see Cynthia next season?
Damon:
You'll see her in the [May 24] finale, in fact.

Ausiello: But will we see her next season?
Damon:
That's our plan.

Ausiello: Were you pissed off that news of her CBS pilot leaked? It seemed like a repeat of what went on last summer when the trades speculated that Maggie Grace might do X-Men 3, and then she was killed off a couple of months later.
Carlton:
We were trying to be helpful to Cynthia as an actress, because she is a wonderful person and we wanted her to have a chance at a job on another show. And an unfortunate side effect of that was that people [interpreted that as], "Well, obviously that means something is up about her time on Lost." It's unfortunate, but I guess at the end of the day, hopefully it didn't get too spoiled in the press, and, more importantly, we gave the actress a fighting chance to get a role on a show for next year. It was important to us that, if we were going to kill her off, we also try to support her, just as her friends and [out of respect] for her desire to get another job.
Damon: It's the price you pay as a producer 'cause you have a choice, and the choice is, essentially, you can force an actor to sit out an entire season...
Carlton: ... by exercising our exclusivity.
Damon: Yeah, by saying, "You're not allowed to go out for other stuff until we formally tell you that we're not picking you up," or you can be a human being about it. And although we anticipated the possibility of this getting out, it seemed like a no-brainer. At the end of the day, a story running in The Hollywood Reporter is one thing, but once they start talking about it on Entertainment Tonight and in TV Guide, which have much [broader audiences], then it's officially spoiled. Like, if my mom calls me and says, "I heard Cynthia is leaving the show," then I know that it's been spoiled. You have a readership that reads Ask Ausiello on the Web that is vastly different — those are people who are seeking spoilers. As opposed to someone who picks up USA Today and reads, "Cynthia Watros got a CBS pilot! What does that mean for Lost?" Then it's like, now suddenly 10 million people know.

Ausiello: How did Cynthia take the news?
Carlton:
She was sad. I think it's really hard. When we make those calls they're incredibly hard calls to make. I think, obviously, people like working on the show. It's not a bad job to be living in Hawaii and working on a successful television series. Truthfully, she did take it kind of hard, which motivated us to help her get another job.
Damon: And also, it happened at a time when we were really writing to her. She was stepping up her game. We had just put the script out for "Dave," in which she was heavily featured and that relationship with Hurley was starting to develop, and in response to the awesome work she was doing, that sort of made us feel even more emboldened to go ahead and execute the double murder because we thought her death would really resonate with the audience.


Posted by Michael Ausiello
May 10, 2006 10:02 PM
Do you really think the producers care that much about the drunk driving to get rid of two main characters. Absolutely NOT. Ana Lucia was defintly planned - Libby Im not 100% sure about. I will miss Cynthia, great actress.

And Ausiello - how did a semi reporter like yourself land these after Lost interviews? Must have been a deal with ABC or something.
Posted by GiJoe78
May 11, 2006 9:02 AM
Yeah I do believe them in regards to the drunk stuff. Especially with Cynthia, she admitted her wrongdoing and her situation was quickly resolved.

As for what happened with Libby, it smells like something David E. Kelly would do to his characters, and that's not a compliment. Of course, that being said a D.E.K.-esque mistake by the makers of LOST was better executed because they do make a great show that I don't think he could ever pull off that kind of depth and planning with the story arcs, but that is what this reminds me of.
Posted by breakdown
May 11, 2006 9:23 AM
In response to yussi, why did you even log on to tvguide.com if you hadn't watched Lost yet? When I haven't watched a show like Lost or Gilmore Girls, I don't even go to tvguide.com, because I know everyone's going to be talking about what happened. Don't complain if you could have avoided it very easily.

In response to Libby getting killed off, I think it was a smart move. I think that's what is going to haunt Michael. He was a witness to Ana Lucia killing Shannon, and wasn't really around to know her as anything but a killer, so that murder didn't seem quite so bad to him. But Libby, with the little that he knew of her, he knew she was a good, sweet person, and that murder will stir up his guilt.

I do feel extremely bad for Hurley (the poor guy). I think Libby's death will catalyze another breakdown from him, one that he may not be able to recover from.

Thanks Michael, you did a great job getting us perspective from the producers. Notice how the people that complain about you still read your columns. That's saying something about how much people value your opinions. Now my request is that you get us a good interview or two following the Alias series finale!
Posted by Cheer85
May 11, 2006 9:46 AM
i completely agree with GiJoe78...Why oh why would the producers care if their actresses got DUI's? Its not like they were Tom Cruising it about, causing tons of bad press for the show. Their DUI's were a strange coincidence, but I seriously doubt they had much to do with their demise...
I'm sad Libby and CW is gone. I've loved her since day one, and wished that she could have at least gotten a flashback ep.
I think, however, that we need to stop trying to constantly interpret the motives of the producers. We're throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. I feel like the people that are declaring Lost and its producers hacks now simply are too impatient to see it out until the end of the season. It's like walking out on a movie early, or only seeing the second act of a three act play and calling it terrible. I'm holding back judgement until I see how Season 2 wraps up. And since Libby will be in the finale, i'm pretty sure they're gonna drop a nice juicy bomb on us (because I doubt her appearance will just be her dead corpse in the ground)...I think the writers wanted to tell the story of a dead person through flashbacks, and they felt that Libby's story worked the best in that regard. It may have had to do with budgeting for next season and the new cast members (which to me is a viable reason). But, whatever the reason for her death, I still find the show utterly compelling, week in and week out, and frankly, there isn't much else on TV that's this good.
Lost is a serial. It'll never feel complete until it actually ends...
Posted by Bacoby13
May 11, 2006 9:52 AM
First off, loved the show. I think this season did wain a little in the middle, but the last few weeks have been great. Cannot wait to see how the season wraps up.

As far as the Producers go, give me a break! I think it is great of the Producers to say anything at all to the audience. How often does that happen with any other show?? They are the Producers, and as such can do what they dang well please with the show for any reason they want. Who are we to question what they do and complain about it when they take the time to answer some questions?? After the comments I have read, I would be surprised if we ever hear from them again!! How ungrateful you all sound.

Just my two cents - I'll get off of my soapbox now.
Posted by Jogirl021365
May 11, 2006 10:14 AM
After sleeping on it for a night, what gets me in the producer's decision to kill off Libby is that it seemed to have been done for reasons of May Sweeps and at the expense of Character Development. Don't forget what's made Lost so great. Sure, part of it is the suspense and the mythology, but in large part it's the rich, vibrant characters.
Posted by lostsol
May 11, 2006 10:25 AM
Funny how last night's episode was about Locke and Eko learning that they're being toyed with by some higher-ups, but resolving to continue to press the button anyway because they have faith.

I'll miss the Libby character, but I'll keep pressing the button... um, the "on" button on the remote control, that is...

(But if the producers ARE lurking around here, don't you dare kill Claire! Ever.)
Posted by Nick
May 11, 2006 10:36 AM
I agree with nearly everyone else that Libby seemed to have so much potential as a character. I was surprised that she did not survive. As a previous poster mentioned, given the backstory of Eko & the "drowned" creepy girl, I expected Libby to make a miraculous recovery.

Does anyone think that Desmond may have watched Michael murder Ana Lucia and Libby from the Pearl?
Posted by bw8193
May 11, 2006 10:38 AM
Personally I think Mssrs. Cuse & Lindelhof are blowing smoke here .. there's a reason they killed Libby now and I am sure it will play out in time ...and once we see the finale and more of her backstory, we'll understand.

LOST is like an onion .. peeling back one layer at a time to reveal yet another layer ..
Posted by DarylE
May 11, 2006 10:39 AM
They had better make this show very exciting because there are a lot of people who are ready to give up on it what with all of the repeats.
Posted by divan
May 11, 2006 11:17 AM
Give me a break. I am as much a fan of the show as anyone else but this is what they do the make these big changes. Hey on Alias they do that all the time anyone remember Francie or Vaughn? It's the gotcha at the end of the show. Hey I was as much of fan of Cynthia Watro's Libby and hated Ana Lucia but that's how their characters were written. Guess they did a good job of it. Now why did they get rid of Boone last year I never heard anything bad about him but he was the first to go. This is just a show and it is very entertaining. Don't you all keep coming back just to see what is happening every week I know I do. And yes I was shocked when Michael shot Ana & Libby but what great storytelling it was. Do I want to know what Libby was doing in the nut house with Hurley you bet I do, do I think she was an other you bet I do but let's see where that goes next year. Stop complaining about Cuse & Lindeloff they are giving us compeling TV which is rare today.
Posted by bookie
May 11, 2006 11:28 AM
Man... most of the people complaining about the show sound like whiny morons. Seriously... Someone died on the show. It happens, and makes the show more dramatic because of it. Lost is one of the best written shows on television, and I think the dropping ratings have more to do with American Idol storming in and having more viewers than any show should rightfully have than it being because of the stories of Lost (besides, each week the new episode of Lost is always the top downloaded episode on iTunes...). The show is great, and I wouldn't want the producers to change a thing. They have a plan... and just because your tiny view on how the show should go doesn't mean they are wrong. Ugh... sometimes I hate internet message boards because people can be so... ignorant. And of course, here I am contributing. Go figure.

Oh, and for those bashing Michael Aussiellio, give it a break; he's not some "fake" reporter or whatever, Michael is a king in the land of TV news/spoilers. If you don't like him, go somewhere else. For the rest of us, we'll continue to recognize him for the true talent that he is!
Posted by WaterOz
May 11, 2006 1:47 PM
Some problems with Lost...

It's hard to care about characters who behave like such idiots. These people lack common sense and fail to communicate things that people in their situation would. Do these people want off the island? Why should we care about their situation if they don't? There seems to be absolutely no sense of urgency and no plan.

There's too many characters and not enough time to devote to each one. Too many characters has led to too many plotlines which are dropped for months at a time. Often there seems to be no continuity from one episode to the next. Jack wants to start an army and then we forget all about it. Kate and Claire find the Medical Hatch and then tell no one. We later find out Kate withheld the important information about the Hatch and disguises because she didn't feel like part of the club anymore. LAME. And what about Claire? Why didn't she tell Jack or anyone else for that matter?

There are too many sloppily contrived situations that seem to exist only to create another deadend plotline or drag out an existing one. Sawyer takes the guns, declares "there's a new sheriff on town" and then, well... we forget about the whole thing and the guns emerge in a hole he somehow managed to dig in his tent. On one hand Lost wants to be smart and begs to be analyzed but many of these contrived situations just don't hold up.

The flashbacks, which Lindelof and Cuse stubbornly still believe add something to the show, typically kill any momentum the show manages to gather. The flashbacks have become repetitive and seem hastily assembled to provide some filler. Are we still supposed to be excited when the numbers show up in flashback or we get a little cameo from someone?


And please, enough the the merchandising tie-ins. A novel and a game? How about we concentrate a bit more on the how that is imploding instead of trying to milk this cash cow to death.

JJ Abrams has yet to have a show not go off track by season 3. Everyone thought he knew what was going on with Alias and it's become a joke. Why are we to believe these people know what they're doing with Lost which is much more complicated? It's looking more and more like they are LOST. How about doing something to actually EARN the trust fans have put into this show. And sorry but A big finale and cliffhanger will not make up for this lackluster season. Hopefuly they can get it together and get back on track next season.
Posted by tomwiest
May 11, 2006 6:51 PM
I think thats just poor writing and their own ineptitude.. As soon as they can't write a character they kill them? Yep the writers are really lost..they got no idea what they are doing..
Posted by HieroHero
May 11, 2006 9:28 PM
Michelle Rodriguez is a movie star. I can totally believe she only wanted to be on TV for just one season. The shooting schedule for a normal television season is hectic enough - much less a normal television season shot entirely on location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I guess the proof will be if she gets a movie role soon.
Posted by Addyboo
May 11, 2006 9:32 PM
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