The actors who were in line to play Jack in Lost before Matthew Fox

Several stars turned down the lead role in one of the defining network dramas of the 21st century

Ellie Harrison
Friday 16 April 2021 12:04
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Lost: Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lilly star in 'we have to go back' moment

For Lost fans, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Matthew Fox embodying the great leader that was Jack Shephard – but he was not the first choice for the part.

Damon Lindelof – who created the series with JJ Abrams and Jeffrey Lieber – recently revealed that he had approached Justin Theroux for the role. Theroux apparently told Lindelof he wasn’t interested, not realising that Lost would go on to become one of the defining network dramas of the 21st century.

Lindelof told Esquire: “When we were casting Lost, [Justin] was definitely on the Jack list. He wasn’t interested.”

He added: “There’s a reason that you look at his filmography and there aren’t 25 movies and TV shows that he’s worked on. It isn’t for a lack of opportunity. It’s because he’s very selective about what he chooses to do.”

Theroux and Lindelof went on to work together on The Leftovers, with Theroux starring as lead character Kevin Garvey.

Years ago, it was also revealed that Michael Keaton was up for the role of Jack – but only if he died in the pilot episode, as the creators had originally intended. Instead, it was decided that Jack would be a series regular and he went on to lead the show for six seasons.

Justin Theroux and Michael Keaton

“I said, ‘I’ll seriously consider it, send me the script,’” Keaton told Access Hollywood. “[JJ Abrams said, ‘No, we’re keeping the guy alive,’ and I said, ‘Oh, ok, well I can’t do that.’”

Despite the success of Lost, Keaton said he knows he made the right decision. “I wouldn’t do it if the guy was going to be in the show every week,” he said. “An hour show every week... I’ve got stuff to do, I’ve got a life to lead. When would I fish?”

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