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- Sam McPherson is responsible for this interview.
John Williamson is an actor who has made a background extra appearance on Lost as the man with red shoes in the season three episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes". These questions were created by Sam McPherson and other members of Lostpedia, and asked via email on October 11, 2008.
Lostpedia: How did you first come to be cast on Lost?
There were casting calls that anyone could try out for so I went, and was selected to take part in a Wedding scene. Several weeks later the casting director called me for the Man with the Red Shoes part, for which I tried out. I was cast a few days later. I have been called for other parts, but could not go for the call due to my real work that I perform for Mid-Pacific Institute.
Lostpedia: Did you watch Lost before you were cast? How about now?
Oddly, I’m not a big TV watcher. I have watched LOST a number of time both before and after the episode, but like most TV shows, I’m not dedicated enough to devote an hour a week to it. When I have watched it, I have found it to be wildly provocative and wonderfully executed.
Lostpedia: Do you have any favorite characters or episodes?
I have to say that the Man in the Red Shoes is my favourite (ha)! I think that I would be insincere if I were to truly say that I liked one actor over the others.
Lostpedia: "Flashes Before Your Eyes" was a major episode which revealed a large twist. How much were you informed about the episode? Were you told the exact nature of your character's death (the course-correction of the universe)?
After I was assured of the role, then I was told about the plot. That day of filming, I hung out with the main actors of LOST and interacted with them all day. The interesting part was that most of the ‘extra’s’ thought that I was a famous actor too, and when we all had lunch together, I was treated by the extras almost like royalty. I, of course, am quite humble, so I did let them in on the scoop that I’m just a lucky person, who was able to score such a part.
Lostpedia: Were you able to speak with Henry Ian Cusick or Fiona Flanagan during filming? If so, what were they like to work with?
I did get to speak with Henry numerous times. He seemed to be a very nice guy. One interesting story was that we were filming in downtown Honolulu and it was made to look like London. Since I went to university in Paris, I’ve spent a great deal of time in London over the years, so I thought they did a good job with the set. But like any good London day, it rained on the set and Henry got wet like many people. He needed to change his clothes there on the set, so since there were on-lookers everywhere, several of us had to stand shoulder to shoulder in a circle around him as he dis-robed; changed his clothes; and got dry again with a blowdryer. This was a fun part of the day when we were all joking around, as it was about as intimate as you can get with someone on a working stage.
Lostpedia: Your character has been compared to the Wizard of Oz's Witch of the East (who was crushed by a house with only red-shoed feet sticking out). Have you noticed this similarity? What do you think of it?
I have to admit that to me, it’s a bit of a stretch, as I didn’t see my character as cruel. I thought he was an extension of me – which I hope is a balanced and kind individual. I felt sorry for him being killed off, but, another story what happened that day was that someone on the set was almost killed (or badly hurt), and it really could have been me. One of the construction workers (extras) in that scene was playing with his hammer and it flipped out of his tool belt at the top railing of the Tube Station (where I walk up) and it flew down to the bottom of the Tube station where I and many other actors were standing. It easily could have hit someone on the head, but we were quite fortunate.
Lostpedia: What other acting work have you done? Would you consider doing more roles for Lost or other shows?
I think everyone should be on a TV show at least once. It’s a great way to learn, and there must always be some great stories that happen each day. Yes, I would consider doing other shows and possibly even another episode of Lost.
Lostpedia: Thanks, Mr. Williamson.