After seeing Nestor Carbonell’s Emmy-worthy performance on ABC’s Lost last night—in an episode that uncovered the mystery surrounding his ageless character Richard Alpert—I just had to talk to the talented Cuban actor! Nestor called me up from Hawaii this morning to chat about last night's watershed episode and to dish on what’s still to come on Lost: The Final Season.
The Web was abuzz last night with talk about your phenomenal performance! Have you seen any of the fan feedback?
I got calls from my family, which were very sweet, and friends did send me some links, which were really sweet! It was an amazing experience to get to shoot the episode, and I’m really glad that people have responded the way they have.
Did you watch the episode for the first time last night along with the rest of us?
I watched it for the first time. I think I was probably one of the last ones to watch it because I’m on Hawaii time. I watched it with my wife and my in-laws, who are here from Australia.
Your wife must’ve been excited. She’s a big Lost fan, right?
My wife is a HUGE Lost fan. She didn’t know anything about the episode. She knew I had a beard because I came home with a beard everyday. [Laughs] But she didn’t want to know anything. She goes, “Don’t tell me anything, I don’t want to know anything.” She was extremely surprised with the places that I went to and how it unfolded.
What did you think of the episode when you first read the script for it?
I was really flattered that they were going to devote a whole episode to the origins of the character I play, but also that I would get tied into some of the bigger questions about the island.
Fans have been in the dark about your character for a while, but so have you. How have you approached playing someone you know very little about?
You know, it has probably been one of the most amazing exercises for me as an actor, to not know everything about my character, because for one thing it keeps you honest—you’re always creating, filling in blanks, that kind of thing. Having said that, our directors are unbelievable, and all of them have been incredible about guiding all of us without revealing too many things, or letting us get too far ahead. At the same time, it's been tremendous being able to play just different colors to a character: the 1950s to the 70s, from being extremely ruthless to being sympathetic and compassionate. I don’t know of any other TV show that has ever done something like this, and as an actor I think there’s no greater gift than to get a part like this.
Hurley eventually tells Richard that he has to go after the man in black. What can you tell us about what’s coming up next?
There definitely are many more answers to come, and the chapter’s really close. There will be more revealed. I will say this: We’re getting towards the end of the show, in terms of shooting, and as a fan of the show and a participant of the show, I’m really blown away by what the writers have come up with. I think fans are in for a great ending!