Ant-Man and the Wasp star Evangeline Lilly nearly quit acting after starring as Kate on ABC’s Lost, with the actress moving to Hawaii and focusing on writing and being a mom in the years following the show’s finale. Since then, she’s found plentiful work, but the dark experiences she had on the mega-hit mystery show left an imprint on Lilly.
In an interview with The Lost Boys podcast published Tuesday (via People), Lilly revealed that she was, on multiple occasions, forced into scenes with which she felt violated. “In season three, I’d had a bad experience on set with being basically cornered into doing a scene partially naked, and I felt had no choice in the matter,” Lilly said. “And I was mortified and I was trembling when it finished. I was crying my eyes out and I had to go on do a very formidable, very strong scene thereafter.”
A similar experience happened in the following season. “Another scene came up where Kate was undressing and I fought very hard to have that scene be under my control. And I failed to control it again,” she said. “So I then said, ‘That’s it, no more. You can write whatever you want — I won’t do it. I will never take my clothes off on this show again.’ And I didn’t.”
Update: In a statement to People, executive producers J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Jack Bender, and Carlton Cuse issued an apology. “Our response to Evie’s comments in the media was to immediately reach out to her to profoundly apologize for the experience she detailed while working on Lost. We have not yet connected with her, but remain deeply and sincerely sorry. No person should ever feel unsafe at work. Period.”
Lilly added that her problem isn’t with doing scenes featuring nudity or partial nudity, but rather with the lack of control young, aspiring actresses are given during those moments. “I’ve been doing this now for 15 years. I’m a little bit better equipped now to know the ropes to not have uncomfortable positions come up now,” Lilly added. “Because I have had uncomfortable experiences, when I read scripts where it involves nudity, I pass. And it’s not because I think there’s anything wrong with doing nudity, It’s because I don’t trust that I can be comfortable and safe. I’m lucky, I’m in a privileged position because I can be picky. I feel for women who are struggling to come up in the industry and don’t know how to navigate that.”
Lilly added that she also struggled with her character’s arc on the series, having gotten into a number of arguments with the writers and producers over the character’s increasingly aimless romantic subplots (which, we’ll add as fans of the series, were a total bummer).
“At the beginning [Kate] was kinda cool, and then as the show went on, she became more and more predictable and obnoxious,” Lilly said. “I felt like my character went from being autonomous, really having her own story and her own journey and her own agendas, to chasing to men around the island. And that irritated the shit out of me.”
She added, “I did throw scripts across rooms when I’d read them because I would get very frustrated by the diminishing amount of autonomy that she had and the diminishing amount of her own story that there was to play,”