Hear from Lost‘s Jacob and the Man in Black!
As part of PEOPLE’s coverage of the final season of Lost, Mark Pellegrino and Titus Welliver — who play Jacob and the Man in Black respectively — guest blog about Tuesday’s episode, in which the origins of their mysterious characters were finally revealed. Who would’ve thought that these onscreen arch-enemies are actually good buds in real life? — Shawna Malcom
Caution: Spoilers ahead!
MARK PELLEGRINO (JACOB): Before this episode, I had my own ideas about who Jacob and the Man in Black were. I was wrong about everything. The fact that they’re twins was a shocker. And I was a little angry that Smokey was the favorite son! Jacob’s always seemed like the favored guy, and here I find out that I’m in second position? That was painful. It was unpleasant for me personally but it was really good writing.
There are no archetypes here. Even though we’re roughly configured into these black and white characters, the line between good and evil is blurred and we both cross over sometimes. If you think Jacob is a heroic character… it’s his temper, his need for revenge that creates the Smoke Monster. Jacob has a long way to go from that episode in 43 AD to the present. He travels a long distance, and he does it alone because he lost his family in one fell swoop. How terribly lonely.
I thought Allison Janney as our “mother” was wonderful. Seeing her work over the years and loving it so much, it was kind of intimidating and thrilling at the same time to act with her. She’s the sweetest person I’ve ever met. My mom passed away in ’98, and she kind of reminded me of my mom. There’s just a gentleness to her face, especially at the end when she passes the torch to me. That was bittersweet.
Titus and I are actually good friends. We first worked together on a movie called Twisted with Ashley Judd. We played cops, and we had quite an experience hanging out with the San Francisco PD. Let’s just say we drank enough for me not to remember certain things that Titus remembers. It was nice to have that personal relationship to draw from when the Man in Black says goodbye and basically abandons me. It’s heartbreaking and hopefully, that came across because we’re connected in real life.
TITUS WELLIVER (MAN IN BLACK): For two strong, fit guys, Mark and I are kind of wusses. We both have bad backs and after reading the script, he said to me, “I can’t carry you through the jungle.” And I said, ‘Well, I can’t have you carry me through the jungle!” I had a stunt double who did 99 percent of the stuff you see in the episode, and I still ended up getting hurt. You know that scene where Mark’s dragging me and I’m saying, “You can’t kill me?” I broke two of my toes shooting that.
The audience was always perplexed by the nature of Smokey and Jacob’s relationship. What’s at the root of their underlying animosity? Why can’t Smokey leave the island and why does he so desperately want to leave? Those questions were answered in a way that’s great for conversation. I do know I’ve never in any way thought of Smokey as an evil character. I always felt that there was something beneath his anger that was driving him, and that something was obviously important to him. I found the story of what had transpired between these two brothers that made them become enemies profoundly sad. What a dysfunctional family.
The episode was biblical in its telling of the story. Are these brothers in fact Cain and Abel? I don’t know but I get a kick out of the fact that now call me “Smokey.” I was running the other day and a rabbi pulled up on his bicycle and rode about a mile alongside me, just talking about the show. He was an inordinately bright guy and a devout Lost fan. He said an interesting thing. If you notice, the Smoke Monster goes after who are not really pure in their intentions. He’s sort of an odd instrument of justice. He said maybe the reason it would be devastating for Smokey to ever get off the island is if he does punish evil, he would probably decimate 80 percent of mankind. There wouldn’t be many left because there’s so much sin in the world.
Maybe those answers will come through Terry O’Quinn. I’ll have to live vicariously through him — that was my last Lost appearance. It’s been a fun ride. A friend of mine said, “Wow, you’re the Smoke Monster. That’s one of the most iconic characters in TV in the past 10 years.” I just laughed and said, “That’s not me, that’s the computer-generated effect.” But I feel flattered and honored to have inhabited the Smoke.
Tell us: What did you think of the episode?