From Matthew Fox in a student film to Evangeline Lilly in a Canadian phone sex ad, the cast of Lost wasn’t always on that island.
With Lost starting up again tomorrow night, I thought this would be a good time to bust out this list. For the cast of Lost, life hasn’t always been network paychecks, living in Hawaii, and tons and tons of DUIs.
Thanks to the glory of the Internet video age, we can do our own Lost-style flashback… and find those early roles that the cast of Lost had to take to make ends meet. Roles that, by and large, they would probably like to keep buried. But just like Charles Widmore, I kept on searching and searching… and thanks to my searching, it’s bad news for the Lost folks.
Here are 11 pre-Lost roles that the cast (past and present) probably wishes we’d all forget about. And I’ve got video evidence of all 11.
In no particular order…
1 | Evangeline Lilly (Kate) in… a Canadian phone sex commercial
It’s not quite doing porn for the money and then getting famous like so many American Idol contestants… but it’s close. Sometime in the early ’00s, when Evangeline Lilly was still living in Canada, she did this commercial for Livelinks, a party line (a.k.a. sex chat) for singles.
The subject matter as a whole is most definitely an embarrassment for her now… but I’m guessing the most humiliating part is her ragin’ Canadian accent, which really shines through in this ad when she says “out.”
2 | Michael Emerson (Ben) in… The Legend of Zorro
We know Michael Emerson can take a great on-screen beating… for almost his entire first season of Lost he was getting beat up by Sayid. But at least that’s a beating from a tough looking dude.
In Zorro, he has to take a beating from Catherine Zeta-Jones. While wearing painfully fake mutton chops.
3 | Naveen Andrews (Sayid) in… Bride and Prejudice
I saw Slumdog and I get that any made-for-Whitey Indian movie is going to throw in a Bollywood dance scene to keep things O.G.
But… you know that when your lead role in a Bollywood dance scene is described by another character as an “Indian M.C. Hammer”, it’s going to destroy your future credibility as an Iraqi torturer and badass.
4 | Josh Holloway (Sawyer) in… A Fran Drescher Old Navy commercial
Seeing Sawyer acting like a gomer in an Old Navy ad… especially one where Fran Drescher utters the phrase “my shizzle’s gone fozizzle”… is actually difficult to watch.
5 | Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko) in… Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls
You can tell by looking at Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje that he considers himself a serious actor. So you just know it was KILLING him to stand there in Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls while Jim Carrey performed a sequence of 45 stupid faces at him.
I think at the 0:19 mark you can even see it in his eyes: He wants to murder Jim Carrey. And quite honestly, I’m not sure what stopped him. Might have even made Ace 2 watchable.
6 | Jorge Garcia (Hurley) in… a mediocre Jack in the Box commercial
I remember seeing this commercial back when it was on in L.A. about six or seven years ago. Jorge Garcia has a memorable look. Gigantic, curly hair, unshaven.
The commercial is pretty mediocre though. It’s not a funny premise and hocking curly fries in a regional commercial by wearing an undersized yellow hat isn’t particularly prestigious.
At least he got to star in this commercial opposite from Efran “Vote for Pedro” Ramirez.
7 | Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet) in… Gia
Having a lesbian scene in Gia isn’t, on the surface, embarrassing. I just think Elizabeth Mitchell would want us to forget this movie with Angelina Jolie for three reasons.
One: It’s only, like, the fourth best lesbian love scene in the movie. Two: I’m sure at the time, Elizabeth Mitchell secretly thought she’d go on to have a bigger career than Angelina Jolie, because Mitchell was blonder, less tattooed and less of a trainwreck (this was Billy Bob-era Angelina, after all.)
And three: It’s a shame to waste your nudity (when you go on to be famous later) on a made-for-HBO movie.
8 | Matthew Fox (Jack) in… some God awful student film
I’m pretty sure this was filmed after Party of Five but before Lost. And why Matthew Fox agreed to be in this… well, that’s a bigger mystery than the smoke monster, the Hanso Foundation and the giant foot statue combined and multiplied by 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42.
I chopped it down for the clip below but this nine-minute movie has EVERY element of a bad student film: Crappy dialogue, a story that didn’t need to be told, heavy handed symbolism, cigarettes, a guy contemplating suicide, painful sound edits and egregious changes in lighting.
This one even goes the extra mile of crappiness: The credits sequence is done by showing different screens of a Microsoft Word document.
9 | Cynthia Watros (Libby) in… Titus
Remember the FOX sitcom Titus? No? Well it was a FOX sitcom that lasted for three seasons, from 2000 to 2002. No one really watched it.
Here’s Cynthia Watros (who co-starred in the series) in a scene that feels VERY sitcom. Lame joke premise, gets taken way too far, laugh track loves it… and it ends with Titus getting to smack Cynthia Watros on the ass.
I always thought it was a shame that Cynthia Watros joined the Lost DUI club and ended up getting killed off. Especially since the producers said they’ve decided not to explain why Libby was in the mental institution with Hurley. I’m thinking I could crack the mystery: She ended up there after spending three years hearing Christopher Titus make jokes about “cans.”
10 | Terry O’Quinn (Locke) in… The Rocketeer
In The Rocketeer… which I remember liking when I saw it in a theater (then again, I was a kid)… Terry O’Quinn plays Howard Hughes.
But he’s a sanitized-for-Disney Howard Hughes… there are no tissue boxes on the feet or surgical masks here. Nope… in The Rocketeer, O’Quinn is a dashing, sane version of Howard Hughes who’s actually one of the heroes of the movie. He invents the Rocketeer’s jetpack… AND helps the Rocketeer in his battle to keep it away from the Nazis. (???)
11 | Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) in… Star Trek: Voyager
Daniel Dae Kim on UPN? Bad. Daniel Dae Kim on UPN, busting into a lame song? Worse. Daniel Dae Kim on UPN, busting into a lame song, with a blatant vagina on his forehead?
Even Evangeline Lilly’s clip is less embarrassing.