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‘Lost’ Star Jorge Garcia: He’s Got the Winning Ticket

OK, Hollywood.com didn’t have to set up a tracking station in the arctic to finally locate Jorge Garcia—turns out all we had to do was book a flight to Oahu, where we got an exclusive chat with Hurley himself, just in time for the premiere of Lost’s much-anticipated Season Three.

Hollywood.com: Coming in to Season Three, do you have a voice at all in terms of your character—suggestions about Hurley might do or say something?
Jorge Garcia:
I guess I’ve always had that power in how he says a line because I’m the one doing it, but I think that most of my feedback and input comes from just how–like when they give me something and how I do a particular scene will sometimes inspire them to write more towards a certain area. When I did [the episode] “Dave” they called me after they had seen “Dave” and said “Yeah. We have a lot more in store for you.” So it’s kind of cool to sort of indirectly influence the writing in that way.

HW: Aside from your own character, how INTO the whole show are you? Do you get as excited as the fans about finding out what’s going to happen next?
JG: Oh yeah, absolutely. These first two scripts are pretty crazy in the new season. From like the opening of the first episode, it puts us somewhere where I had no idea that we were going to go. And there is The Others. There are a few places that they hit in this new season that are areas that I didn’t know would be stuff that they would create. So it’s pretty out there.

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HW: From the moment you first heard about the show and went after the part, has it been an unbelievably crazy ride?
Oh, totally. I mean, when I first got the job I didn’t even have a script yet. It was just that I knew it was going to be J.J. Abrams, and I knew that it was going to shoot in Hawaii and that was really all I needed to know at the time. And then when I finally got that script, it was pretty cool because it had a really cool kind of Twilight Zone quality to it. I liked that a lot about it, and then when we started doing the show, the first summer before we started airing it was getting pretty excited, because we had gotten like to “Walkabout” and so we knew the whole thing of how Locke was in a wheelchair and it kind of set up that we could really go far with this show. I don’t know. As far as where it’s going now, it’s nothing that I could’ve expected or planned. Everything is a surprise right now, especially for Season Three.

HW: What direction would you like to see Hurley to go in at this point?
I’m not totally sure. I wouldn’t mind at some point seeing if Hurley steps into more of a leadership role. That could be pretty cool and I’m just curious how he comes out – he got hit with a lot of tragedy at the end of Season Two, and so that has to have some sort of affect on him. I’m curious how he’s going to come out of that.

HW: What do you hear most from the fans of the show when you talk to them? What do they ask you about?
JG: It’s pretty much general. They just tell me how much they love the show or how much they love my character.

HW: I imagine there’s a big contingent who see you as a kind of sex symbol.
JG: Well, I still don’t expect that. That is sort of stuff that I’ve started to hear, and I don’t know, I don’t give it that much thought. I think that’s cool if that’s what people are into, but yeah, I don’t really dwell on thinking of myself as a sex symbol all that much.

HW: Hurley has such a specific look. Have you ever wanted to change your look in your personal life and then realized your pretty much locked into it until the producers chose to make a change?
JG: No. I mean, it’s kind of a signature thing for him. I don’t know, maybe at some point he might get a trim or something, but I don’t know if they would go for that. Historically, some J.J. shows sometimes have had problems with hair changes and so I don’t mind [laughs]. I wouldn’t mind actually being able to tie the hair back a little more maybe. I think that might push for that a little bit in season three – a few more ponytails to get the hair off of the neck for Hurley.

HW: How long do you think the show will be able to continue to tell a mystery-driven story effectively and avoid a certain kind of “vamping” just to keep the show on the air and make the network happy?
That’s sort of the tough position that I think the writing staff is in where it’s like they know they have a story that they want to tell, but it’s just how long are they going to have to tell it. I’m not sure. I think that a lot of us in our guts feel like we can do it well on a sort of five year plan. But what happens when we get to that fourth year and we’re still going super-strong – I think that the only thing that we’d really like to do is to have a finish as opposed to shows that just suddenly end and don’t get to do a finale and wrap up whatever lose ends that we can.

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HW: You must be getting a lot of offers for other projects. Is it difficult to fit them in, needing to shoot the show here in Hawaii?
JG: Well, yeah. There is definitely stuff that shoots when we’re working. There have been some things that people have offered me, but you can’t really leave here. Most of us feel that this is the show that kind of put us in this position and so our loyalty is still here as far as like being on Lost but that’s okay. There is always summertime. There are other times to do stuff.

HW: What other acting challenges are you looking forward to when you get a chance to stretch your wings?
JG: Yeah. If the comedies are good, then absolutely. I mean, it’s definitely a place where I’d like to start. Even in the dramatic things that I do I like to them to have some humor in them. It’s really just what are good scripts, what are good stories to tell. I just kind of take them as they show up and see what excites me the most. I don’t know. It would be cool to do something where you’re like a gunslinger or a swordfighter at some point, I guess [Laughs]. That’s some dream stuff.

HW: Do you have any outside projects coming up?
Not for next summer yet. Last summer I did this movie called Deck The Halls in Vancouver which was like a Christmas family comedy with Danny DeVito and Matthew Broderick. It was really cool just because they were people that I watched when I was kid and then suddenly being in a scene with him is kind of a cool thing. Also, just because it’s the opposite of doing Lost. That was a show where we were like in snow gear for the whole time and also just the pacing on a movie is so different from our show. We would spend a whole day doing a scene that on Lost would be done before lunch.

HW: How radically different is your life now, three years into the show, from how it was the first day of shooting?
JG: Pretty much completely different. I mean, it’s pretty much completely different with the fact that I now live here in Hawaii and that this is home is a big change. Living with a girlfriend is a new change and just kind of getting used to posing for a lot of pictures when you just go shopping sometimes – getting used to that stuff. Seeing yourself in magazines. I finally got rid of my ’97 Corolla and upgraded to a nicer car. Everything is different.

HW: Do you sometimes feel like Hurley AFTER he won the lottery, surprised by the way life has changed. I don’t know if you own a box company or anything like that…
JG: Yeah, right. I’m anxious this year to maybe put something down on a house. It’s very grown up.

HW: Are you looking for a home here in Hawaii?
Yeah. I definitely like this place being home base and wouldn’t mind keeping Hawaii as home and everything else as a secondary. The plan is that assuming the show goes how it’s going that I’ll be able to be in Hawaii. Once you get to a certain level it seems like you don’t have to be in L.A. the whole time hustling for jobs. So it would be cool if this was the place that I got to relax and be home, and maybe at the most get a condo in Los Angeles for when I have to be there.

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HW: You mentioned how cool it was working with a Danny DeVito. Will it be weird to be that guy to some other actor some day? Can you see yourself in the future when some new young guy comes up and says that he watched you while he was growing up?
I didn’t even think about that! There is tons of weirdness that’s just going to keep compounding, like the weirdness of the fact that I’m going to be a toy soon. I’m still reeling about that. When I got to see the prototype when I went to ComiCon I was like, “Man. This is crazy.” When that little thing is in like a plastic package at the store and it has my face, that’s going to freak me out.

HW: Did you think it was pretty accurate?
Yeah. I’m definitely going to buy a bunch of them for Christmas for everyone. He’s going to come with a lottery ticket, which is Hurley’s gimmick.

HW: If it sells well, then they can do Hurley in his Clucky’s uniform.
JG: They had us do a lot of different facial expressions and they scanned them all and so it did seem like the plan was to go for a possible series of these, which could be pretty fun. I saw the prototypes for all of the first wave which is Jake, Kate, Charlie, Locke and Shannon and Hurley. I really liked Locke’s. I thought that Locke’s face was great, and he had this really great kind of pose which was just him holding a knife while standing over the hatch door. That one was pretty sweet.

HW: Now that you’re an action figure, any other secret goals you hope to accomplish?
JG: Oh, man. Action figure pretty much tops the list. It’s going to be really hard to beat that. I don’t know. Maybe a poster at Spencer’s Gifts.

HW: Was there any other show or film that you were as into as people are into Lost?
I was pretty into Star Wars when I was younger. I was definitely into the whole thing, with all the toys and all of the merchandising. That was a pretty big deal for me, but I was never went on the Internet to talk about anything that I watched like the way people do for Lost. I never did message boarding until I was on this show.

HW: Have you met anyone from Star Wars?
JG: I did. I have a signed picture. I met Carrie Fisher this summer, and I also met Dave Prowse. I think that the biggest deal for me as far as celebrity meetings was this summer meeting Shane McGowan. I was a huge Pogues fan. I think that no one writes songs like Shane McGowan. I went to New York from Hawaii just to see The Pogues play on the last St. Patrick’s day weekend. I happened to have my schedule clear as far as work went and so I immediately bought tickets. I bought plane tickets and got a hotel and we flew out and saw them two nights in a row of the original line up of The Pogues. So then I’m at this Pirates [of the Caribbean 2] premiere in London and who suddenly walks down the aisle behind me? I freaked out a little bit. Even cooler is that he watches Lost. I wasn’t like just some crazy person going up to him. He knew who I was, which was really special.

HW: Who is the most surprising celebrity fan of Lost that you’ve encountered?
Well, it was pretty cool when I met Tom Cruise at J.J.’ s house and he had seen the pilot at that time, and he was telling about the great work that I did. I was like, “Wow. That’s really crazy…because you’re Tom Cruise.” It’s just fun when we go to certain events and certain places and meet people who know who you are. I met Gene Simmons at the Indy 500. That was pretty cool. It’s crazy. And then the people who are almost like mad about the show, that get obsessed about it and they get really geeky. They kind of geek out with you about your show and they’re like, “Hey, I’m sorry for bombarding you, asking you all of these questions.” I’m like, “No. How can I get tired of you telling me about how much love my show and what I do?” Chi McBride—he’s on The Nine now. He’s a super cool guy and he’s a huge, huge, huge Lost fan. Oh, you know who else was a huge Lost fan? Sugar Ray Leonard. That was crazy too. When you sit there and it’s like you find yourself in a place like that because I like to star gaze and whisper to my girlfriend like, “Oh my gosh, there is Sugar Ray Leonard walking down here.” And he’s waving you over to tell you that they can’t get enough of your show—That’s nuts.

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