Let's talk about "Lost's" Mark Pellegrino this morning. He is perhaps the most intriguing actor working in television at this very moment, holding down key roles on two series -- "Lost" and "Supernatural" -- that are pulsing with their own mythologies and mysteries.
On "Supernatural": Lucifer, brother of Castiel, cast out of Heaven by the archangel Michael because he refused to serve man. An epic battle between Castiel (Mischa Collins) and Lucifer looms. The season ender, and pretty much the key and meaning to Eric Kripke's entire vision for this series ("Supernatural" is back next season, but I believe Kripke will be only on as a consultant; Pellegrino's future there would appear to be foretold but that's not definite either.) Is Lucifer good or evil? The answer is not entirely clear ...
On "Lost": Jacob, the mystery and meaning of it all, who lived and died in a foot; who is either lord and master of Hell, or he who prevents evil from loosing itself upon the world -- literally the cork in the bottle. Is Jacob good or evil? The answer is not entirely clear...
In any event, I talked with the man who plays these two roles; transcript below. Plus check out the clips. I found a good one that displays the amazing versitility of Pellegrino, and of course last week's closing minutes...
Unclear what sort of role Jacob/Pellegrino has on tonight's episode, "The Package." What is abundantly clear: This hugely talented actor will be there at the finishing line...
What did I know about [supernatural] before being cast prior to last season?
Absolutely nothing. I almost don't even own a TV, although I'm now married and we do have one in the living room and I'm able to catch up somewhat, but I had no idea about the mythology behind the show, and the huge fan base ... it was quite a culture shock. That happened right about the time everything started to sizzle and I don’t think anyone at the time knew I'd be Jacob...
Getting both at the same time, did Kripke like the idea of linking Lucifier with Jacob?
I think there's a certain amount of luck, and your preparedness takes hold and it happens ...
Lucifer? Tell me about him and your portrayal...
Is a more humanistic interpretation, believe it or not, even though I've got Christian influences in my life and have read the Bible many times, I kind of see this story in the only way I can which is as a man, and the story that I see is a revenge story -- of a man betrayed by the people closest to him, for some less virtuous, less good ... and was sacrificed for that. So I want revenge, and also that Michael, who threw me out of heaven, because I wouldn't serve man.
So I think it's a search for justice.
A sixth season for ol' Lu?
I don't know, anybody's guess. The ultimate goal of Lucifer is to get Sam, and Nick is the vessel he is using now as just a tool ... Castiel? I’m assuming they are brothers, literally brothers, obviously a split of those that supported one side and those that took Michael’s and those that would support him. There is an episode where already Castiel and I face off like gunfighters and then try to bring him to my side and convince him of my side, and he steadfastly resists me, and he takes the side of the people. So I don’t know about any confrontation down the line, though they are certainly setting up a gunfight at the OK corral. [But] don’t think Lucifer’s going to stop until it’s over.
Lost? Your thoughts?
It is exciting to be part of it and it is a little sad because you because you are like a family, and I’m the adopted member of the family – I came in so late to both shows …
What’s the set like on “Lost”?
What I like about he actors on Lost -- and I don't want to say it's rare and unusual -- but it's kind of unusual for actors to give you a full performance every time even when the camera is turned around on you [because] often actors want to save their energy [but] everytime I’ve worked with them they give you everything they’ve got.
Alpert? Last week's episode where you save dear old never-aging Dick from the clutches and wiles of Man in Black?
It’s really good. [but] I saw a piece of it. I have a hard time watching things I’m in. But the script was amazing and Nestor was phenomenal. It’s such an intense side of him. [Agreed – a brilliant performance by a remarkable actor.]
The twitter stream the day after seemed a little lukewarm - almost as though questions still remained, or were raised, about RA?
I don’t know how those questions could not have been answered. [Darlton] really knows how to write and won’t leave anyone unsatisfied.
Do you know how it actually all ends up?
I don’t know that anyone but [the top producers] know the actual end -- in the last season they kept that last second a secret and you got it that day. They never revealed that last thing; the punchline is always something you get a little bit before, a day or two before. It's held I'm thinking because the buzz is so intense [that information] will find a way and that's how they keep fans surprised and interested in the story. In fact -- I've told this story before -- there was time in the last season when an extra revealed himself as a person who did know something very specific and let it out over the Internet -- he claimed to know all this stuff and could have ruined the story for a lot of people and I think they came down on him -- I don't know where he is right now. He might be floating in the Pacific.
How do you act out a scene or portray a character without knowing the totality of him or the story?
The fact is you're hoping that someone is there to provide you with just enough light to get through the scene ... Even though I've gotten info down the line and say, dang I wish I'd known that earlier. But it hasn't affected anything. They kind of keep you in the dark, to just keep things inspiring, but enough to make you know what's going on ... It's good to withhold information [otherwise] you can play an iconic character like an iconic character ... oddly enough, the less information you have, the less time you have to get into your head an elaborate structure. Jacob needs to be firmly planted in the ground, otherwise he's not an accessible being. He is, if anything, accessible.
... but good or bad?
I hesitate to say anything ... but I play every character as if they are a good character. regardless if they turn out to be evil. As an actor, you have to be behind your guy ... Paul [the spousal abuse punk on "Dexter"] has gone to jail for spousal abuse, he smacked his wife around, and that was the end of the relationship and from his point of view, he had rehabilitated himself and wanted to get back on the straight and narrow and bring his family together, and live under a nice roof and provide for them, and then there's this arrogant, soft-spoken man named Dexter there. I can't ruffle this guy's feathers, even though I know there's something behind that cool exterior. We have a horrible conflict ... and of course you know how it ends up ... I still get tons of reaction on that show; the fanbase is almost as loyal as "Supernatural" and "Lost."
Next up? Pellegrino's shooting a small independent film, and we know how "Lost" ends up -- which is to say, it ends. But continuing with "Supernatural"?
"I would hope so ... but the truth and logic of the story, who knows where I fit in with respect to the future ... "