Freaking Me Out: Matthew Fox on Alex Cross, World War Z and Lost
It takes a really tough villain to fool Alex Cross, and the reboot movie has a doozy. Matthew Fox plays Picasso, a killer who not only murders women, but wins MMA cage fights and scuba dives through secure office buildings. This interview was our first chance to catch up with Fox after “Lost,” and we also got a few tidbits about his next film, World War Z.
CraveOnline: Did Picasso take you to an even darker place than the tortured soul of Jack Shephard?
Matthew Fox: I would say so, yeah. I mean, Jack was pretty tortured I guess, wasn’t he?
And you were with Jack for six years and less than a year to shoot Alex Cross.
Yeah, this is a totally different kind of figuring out who this guy was. Trying to bring myself to it was a whole different set of challenges and thinking about who he was and what he does and why he does it. I would say, yes. That’s the answer, yes.
In a way, was it more fun to not have to carry the moral compass of the story?
Absolutely, very liberating to some degree to be able to play a guy that has no moral compass and is sort of supremely arrogant about the notion that he doesn’t have a moral compass and is out to prove to the world that a moral compass is weakness and is false actually.
I can see you smiling as you describe that.
It was interesting to think about what it would be like to really truly believe that and to really hold yourself that arrogantly above the rest because you can do the things that nobody else can or thinks that they can’t. A sense of power comes along with that when a guy like that feels like he has the ultimate trump card, like he cannot be trumped and he goes into every human interaction that usually ends up with him slowly snuffing out a life. He would look at that as giving a gift so it’s a very powerful place to exist, sort of invincibility.
Was Picasso even more brutal in the book?
I don't know. I didn’t read the book. I just really took my idea of Picasso and really Rob [Cohen] and I’s idea, because we really did collaborate really intensely. I really enjoyed working with Rob on this movie because I really felt like he went in there with me and that we were doing it together. It was a very isolating place to be. Picasso is a very isolated person. He creates the world that way for himself so to be in that I felt very isolated and to have Rob there with me, for five months before we shot the movie, we were constantly e-mailing to each other and dropping ideas on each other and thoughts and imagery and stuff like that so I felt like he was really in it with me and he was brave in sort of being in there with me. I felt that was good.
Were you making the Rob Cohen action movie with your MMA fight and scuba stunts?
Yeah, there was that part of it which I really enjoy and the preparation for that part. The cage fighting sequence and all the prep that I did with Rory [Markham] in learning the cage fighting stuff that we were going to do. And the gun training, I enjoy that stuff. The one part of the film that, when I took the movie, I said, “Dude, the water sequence, I’m not sure I can handle that because I’m not really comfortable in the water.” I didn’t learn to swim until I was 21 or something because I grew up in the mountains in Wyoming and all the water is glacier runoff and cold. So I said to him straight out, “The water sequence is freaking me out and I have to tell you that right from the very beginning. A, it’s water. I’ve never done any scuba diving. B, it’s in this pipe. It’s going to be so claustrophobic and dark.” It was one of the few stunts that I’ve ever run up against where I was really afraid of it. But he promised me that I would get a lot of training, which I did. I learned to scuba dive and spent a lot of time doing that and then there were a lot of trial runs in the tube where I got more and more comfortable with that. I hope it turned out good.
Your next movie is World War Z. How did the new shooting with the new script for the third act go?
I’m not going to be a part of any of the reshoots. I guess my stuff is okay. I think that the amount of reshooting has been misrepresented. I think there’s some stuff that they’re going to do on the third act, but from what I’m hearing, and I know some people from the companies that I work with who have seen the film and says that it’s fantastic, it’s really just cleaning up the third act a bit and restructuring things a little bit. That was a really good experience as well. Marc Forster, I just can’t say enough about him and the whole cast. It was a good experience.
Do you make it to the third act, so if they don’t need you to reshoot that means it’s okay?
Actually, my role in the first one is more of a setup for 2 and 3. If the movie does really well and it does become a trilogy, then that’s where my workload will get much heavier, in the second one and the third one. The first one is really just a setup.
Were you playing a character from the Max Brooks book?
No, the book obviously doesn’t have any narrative. It’s just the journal entries, so this is very, very different. It’s a full on drop right into it’s all blowing up and it’s the narrative of a family trying to escape that. I really enjoyed that. That was fun, Navy SEAL but slightly fractured by what’s happening in the world.
This is my first chance to ask you, what were your thoughts on the end of “Lost” when you finally got the finale script?
I loved it. I really did. I kind of knew what was coming because Damon [Lindelof] midway through the six years, Damon and I had had conversations about how we wanted to end the show. So I had a pretty good notion of what he was going for with the whole thing and I was very moved by it. I loved it. The thing is that any time you’re dealing with any kind of storytelling, or really any kind of creation at all, at a certain point you turn it over and it means to them what it means to them. I liked that Damon approached the end of “Lost” that way, that he didn’t feel obligated to wrap up every single little loose end and that he left it more interpretive. I think it was very frustrating for a lot of people. I think that there are people that have a more literal thought process that wanted a little bit more of a concrete through line and kaboom, end. That’s fine. I’m not being judgmental of those people. There are certain minds that work that way and I think there are people out there that are a little bit interpretive and I think that maybe that end worked better for them. I’m not sure. Where do you stand on it? How did you feel at the end?
I always told people if they were watching a show for six years to wait for an answer, they’re missing the point of six years of “Lost.”
There you go.
I got into fights over the third to last episode, “Across the Sea.” People would hate on it and then complain that they never explained what the island was. THAT’S WHAT “ACROSS THE SEA” WAS! They did say that!
I’m happy to hear you say that. That’s good. I don’t run into too many people that go, “God, I hated the way the show ended.” I run into people that still I think loved it on a subconscious level and feel like they have to go, “I wish…” But I personally am really happy with the way that it all wrapped up.