In October I was sitting in a hotel in Waikiki looking over the bios for four new actors I'd just been told were joining Lost. Ken Leung, Jeff Fahey, Jeremy Davies, and Rebecca Mader. At that time, the four new characters were a huge question mark on the series. What their characters would be like was a mystery. One look at the attractive British actress Mader deepened the mystery even more. With her flaming red hair and piercing ice blue eyes, Mader looked at once both sexy and dangerous. She could as easily be the new island femme fatale as a hostile and ruthless invader. In one day, I'd be on the set of Lost learning the nature of these new characters. Alas, it was not to be. At the last moment, ABC decided whatever they were filming that day was too secret for me to see, and my itinerary shifted a few days.
Months later, it is clear what the enigma was that ABC was protecting. The four new characters have caused a huge splash among Lost fans with their enigmatic characters, and Mader's Charlotte is, without question, at the head of the pack. A well-educated archeologist who seems to know a bit about Dharma logos, Charlotte has survived the famed Lost-Fan acid bath to be one of the most speculated-about characters. I sat down with Rebecca to find out just how much she knows, or doesn't know, about Charlotte Lewis.
UGO: Are you back in LA now?
REBECCA MADER: Yes I am.
UGO: When do you go back to Hawaii?
REBECCA: As soon as possible, please. (laughs)
UGO: That's the first question I suppose. I'd read you were really enthusiastic for this part, how was it personally to have this strike come up and cut it short?
REBECCA: Oh, I was gutted. I was having such a good time. I had been out there for a few months so I had gotten to spend some time out there and have a great time. I was really, really disappointed. I never really thought it would last this long I was really optimistic, I really thought it would be three weeks or something I didn't think it was going to be three months y'know.
UGO: Do you follow the fan scene at all? The new characters are well received.
REBECCA: Oh yeah? I didn't know that.
UGO: It's a good thing too, because there is a tradition with Lost that new characters are killed off by the audience...
REBECCA: (laughter) Oh, I'm so glad they like me then. Maybe I'll be around a bit longer.
UGO: Charlotte is especially of interest because she seems to know what is going on with the island, she seemed to recognize the Dharma logo on the bear collar, so everyone is speculating over how she is connected to the island. Do you know what that meant, or did they just sort of direct you to "act" like you recognized it.
REBECCA: I have no idea. I have no idea what is going on. I just knew from watching the show that to see a polar bear in a strange environment is in keeping with the show, and I recognized that it was a Dharma logo, but that was literally all I knew about it. That, and that sand was blowing up my nostrils. That was about it, if you know what I mean.
UGO: Was that scene filmed on Oahu?
REBECCA: Yeah, that was on the island as well. It was this stone quarry and they just managed to get all these angles so that all you saw behind us was sand. And then they had these ginormous industrial fans blowing all this fake movie sand sideways, up my nose. It looked great, it didn't feel great but it looked great. (laughter)
UGO: How much do you know about your character beyond the eight episodes?
REBECCA: I really am pretty clueless. It's crazy. Everybody asks that question and it's like 'I don't know.' I really want to know. I really hope I get to do some fun stuff and get to discover more about this character because it is the most interesting thing I've ever done, to play someone so ambiguous in such an ambiguous environment is really, really, really unique. I've never had to do this before in my entire career. So I feel like I'm almost in the same seat as the audience, like "What the hell is going on?" and "What the hell is going to happen next?", it's really exciting actually.
UGO: How has it been for you guys coming into this group of actors who have been together for three years?
REBECCA: A lot of my stuff has just been me and the old kids on the block. They were just fantastic, such an amazing group of peeps. They are so welcoming, its like I've been there for ever, they included me and I felt a part of the team very quickly, which was really nice. They totally get my secret sense of humor and I feel free to just sort of be myself.
UGO: Did you go back and watch the previous seasons in preparation?
REBECCA: Oh yeah. Before I got the offer I bought season one and two on DVD. I thought, if I start watching it I'll get the job, I'll put it out to the universe and I'll get the job. I know it sounds cheesy, but I'd just seen "The Secret," and I was like "I'm going to do it, I'm going to act as though it's already mine." I was on like episode 4 of season one when I got the phone call and I was like "Yay it works!"
I ended up watching all three seasons in about two, two and half weeks, and I saw he season finale of season 3 right before I went to work the first day in Hawaii, I was there watching it in my hotel room.
UGO: Wow, your head must have nearly exploded. That's a lot of information.
REBECCA: Oh I know! And in such a short amount of time. It was so intense because I was in my hotel room, I'd gone out earlier for fittings and stuff, I was in my hotel room with the curtains drawn and I'm like "Just one more... Just one more..." I couldn't stop, I was like a drug addict. I was up late all night watching them, then I went to work for the first day and went to the jungle and a bunch of them were off doing a scene already, and I hadn't met any of them yet. I'm sitting there, and I'd just finished the show, and out comes Locke, Claire, and Hurley and their all walking towards me, on a break, and I'm like (chokes). Oh my god! I'm like, this is not happening. It was such a surreal moment. I'm like "How did I climb inside my Mac laptop?"
UGO: So big question. Last question. Have you heard officially when you'll be going back to work?
REBECCA: No, no. I've heard rumors, of course. What I'm hoping is we'll get to go back in March and get back to work.