February 07, 2005 12:00 PM

At Buzz’s, a local steakhouse on the island of Oahu, the stars of ABC’s hit adventure series Lost are gathering for this week’s cast party. “Whoooo! How y’all doin’ tonight?” Josh Holloway, who plays troublemaker Sawyer, yelps at 12-year-old Malcolm David Kelley (Walt). In a nearby booth, Maggie Grace (spoiled Shannon) lets out a scream. Ian Somerhalder, who plays her stepbrother Boone, has just smeared a handful of ice-cream pie on her face. “That’s payback for the kiss!” Somerhalder yells, referring to a recent practical joke Grace pulled on him. During a sultry love scene, he says, “Maggie thrust her tongue in my mouth and dumped a mouthful of minced garlic and onion.”

Fortunately, a food fight doesn’t break out tonight. Instead, for all the raucous teasing and horseplay-and unlike the often-bickering castaways they play-Lost‘s 14 principal castmates relish their camaraderie. Since assembling for the show’s pilot last March, “we’ve all bonded-all of us,” says Jorge Garcia (amiable big guy Hurley). “We have great chemistry.”

And, they admit, not a whole lot of other friends on the island. “We’re a long way from home,” admits London-based Dominic Monaghan, cast as rock musician Charlie, “so this does become your extended family.” Like family, they even have nicknames for one another. Evangeline Lilly (escaped bank robber Kate) is called Monkey because she climbs trees with ease. Naveen Andrews (Iraqi Sayid) has been dubbed J.B.—for jukebox. “He can play any song on his guitar,” explains Holloway.

Their affectionate byplay continues after-hours. Harold Perrineau (Michael) often has Kelley, his TV son, over to play with his 10-year-old daughter Aurora. Yunjin Kim is learning to play golf with the wife of her TV spouse, Daniel Dae Kim (no relation). Matthew Fox (good doctor Jack) whisked Garcia away on an impromptu weekend jaunt to Tokyo. The only “outsider” in the group is Emilie de Ravin (expectant mom Claire), who commutes from L.A for her scenes. “My fiancé and I have a house together in L.A.,” she explains. “The cast is understanding.” If not a bit homesick themselves. After wrapping their season in March, most plan to head back to the mainland during Lost‘s summer hiatus. For now, though, they’re content to commingle at Buzz’s. And while the show’s 14-hour days have put an end to the late—night partying they did when Lost first began shooting-“That was during the honeymoon,” says Terry O’Quinn (mysterious Mr. Locke)—they remain as close as ever. “The marriage,” says O’Quinn, “is still going strong.”

Mike Lipton. Monica Rizzo in Oahu

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