'Lost': The 'M:I 3' connection | EW.com


'Lost': The 'M:I 3' connection

Doc Jensen shares J.J. Abrams' tale of his big choice around ''Lost'' -- and how it gave rise to Team Darlton. Plus: Answer a burning ''Fake Locke'' question, meet super-fan Vozzek69, and consider Heraclitus of Ephesus -- the original Man In Black?

J.J. Abrams | THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM The opportunity to direct M:I 3 was too good for J.J. Abrams (pictured) to pass up; cue the arrival of Carlton Cuse…

THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM The opportunity to direct M:I 3 was too good for J.J. Abrams (pictured) to pass up; cue the arrival of Carlton Cuse on the Lost horizon (Michael Kovac/WireImage.com)

A Doc Jensen Poll for the Lost Fan Nation!

”FLocke” is ”Fake Locke,” or the Man In Black entity that disguised himself/itself/Godself/Satanself as Lost’s (resurrected) man of faith after beard-liberated Frank Lapidus bravely brought Ajira 316 to a skidding stop on Others Runway Alpha on Hydra Island. But many fans have been mulling the possibility that MIB has been impersonating Locke for much, much longer. Reader Thomas Long wrote me this week to say, ”[Remember in season 1] when Locke goes out to hunt boar and ends up seeing the Monster in person? What if at that point, the Monster killed Locke? What if that was the point that MIB or Jacob assumed the identity of Locke?”

I have my own thoughts on this matter, which I will share in a future column. Before then, I want to get a better read on what all of you are thinking. When did Locke get FLocked? Vote ”Before Ajira” or ”After Ajira” and send the emails to docjensenew@gmail.com

Meanwhile, I have obtained some exclusive footage of MIB in action. Are you ready to have your eyeballs seared by revelation? Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

In the weeks prior to Lost’s premiere in September 2004, J.J. Abrams made a decision that would shape the fate of the show we know and love by deciding to leave his fledgling phenomenon-to-be and make a movie with Tom Cruise. This choice prompted Damon Lindelof, who co-wrote the pilot with Abrams, to enlist his friend and former Nash Bridges boss Carlton Cuse to help him run Lost, and the rest is history. In my recent interview with Abrams for EW’s Best of the Decade issue, the writer/director/producer elaborated on the circumstances that led to leaving Lost and pursuing Mission: Impossible 3, a creative success that launched his film-directing career and paved the way for Star Trek. Does the fate of Lost — and Abrams’ career — pivot on a thoughtful assistant who gave Tom Cruise some Alias DVDs as a door prize? Maybe. Read on to understand why…

I was working on Alias in our third year and Lloyd Braun asked me to write a pilot about survivors of a plane crash. He had one week to greenlight it. I met with Damon on a Monday. We hit it off. We came up with an outline, working with [Alias writers/producers] Jesse Alexander and Jeff Pinkner. On Saturday, Lloyd greenlit it. It was a mad scramble, and 11 and half weeks later, we had a pilot.

In that early blur of brainstorming, I got a call that Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise, and [Cruise’s producing partner] Paula Wagner wanted a meeting. I was like: What the hell? None of it made sense. I felt like it was an episode of Punk’d. They came over and asked me if I wanted to write War of the Worlds I had known Steven for a few years, but it was always an out-of-body experience, and to compound it with having Cruise on the same sofa — freaky. We had a great meeting, and Tom and I got along great. As he left, my assistant gave him the first two seasons of Alias on DVD…

I couldn’t do War of the Worlds because I was filming the pilot for Lost. I felt like I had just committed career suicide. Here I was, doing this pilot that I didn’t have a script for, when instead I could have been working with Spielberg and Cruise. We were filming the last scene of the pilot, when the castaways are hearing the transmission and Charlie says, ”Guys, where are we?” It was getting dark, and we were losing light, and I started hearing a chicken cuckooing and it was totally interrupting this shot, and it couldn’t get any more frustrating or bizarre when my assistant interrupts to say, ”J.J., Tom Cruise is on the phone for you.” I turned to my script supervisor and everyone else and said, ”Excuse me. Tom Cruise is calling. I have to take this.” I get on the phone and he said, ”J.J.!” And I said, ”Tom Cruise!” It seems he had watched those first two seasons of Alias and was incredibly enthusiastic about them and said he wanted to hang out when I got back to L.A….

NEXT PAGE: More from J.J. Abrams on getting tapped for M:I 3