Courtesy of A+E Networks
|Born||Arthur Carlton Cuse
March 22, 1959
Mexico City, Mexico
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
When you're a storyteller, part of the process of storytelling is the kind of communion you form with the audience to whom you're telling your story. If some segment of the audience doesn't like that story, it doesn't feel good.
I think movie and television companies are in the business of making money, and if you have a franchise, eventually you'll want to exploit that franchise and revisit it. So I assume at some point someone will do another story in the 'Lost' world.
The experience of reading a book is always unique. I believe that you render a version of the story, when you read a book, in a way that is unique and special to each person who reads it.
Both my wife and I went to Harvard, and it's incredibly exciting that our son and daughter are going there and have the chance to experience it. There are many awesome opportunities at Harvard. That's one of its greatest frustrations – not having enough time to take the classes you want to take.
I took physics, and lo and behold, there's a lot of physics in 'Lost.' I think for most people, liberal arts educations are more abstract, but for me, it's been a chance to apply the things I've learned more directly. I also took some Folklore and Mythology classes, and I think that a lot of that influenced me.
I think 'Lost' was really a pioneer in the use of the kind of connection between a television show and the Internet, and the Internet really gave fans an opportunity to create a community around the show. That was something that wasn't really planned; it just sort of grew up in the wake of the show.
The most difficult story that I've ever been involved in breaking on any of my shows was 'The Constant' episode of 'Lost,' which was when Desmond was consciousness-traveling.
We feel like 'Lost' deserved a real resolution, not a 'snow globe, waking up in bed, it's all been a dream, cut to black' kind of ending. We thought that would be kind of a betrayal to an audience that's been on this journey for six years. We thought that was not the right ending for our show.
I can't say that the ending of a story is always the best part of the story, and yet there's sort of this implicit idea that the finale is somehow supposed to be the mind-blowing best episode of a show. The question is: Why is that? Why do people make that assumption?
'Brisco' was the first show I created, and of course, at the time I had no idea what a special experience it was because I didn't have a frame of reference. After it was over I was like, 'Damn. Shoot. That was something special.' I'm still upset that it got cancelled.
In Hollywood, there is no bigger commitment you can make than to a TV series. Even marriages pale in comparison. Marriages don't require signing iron-clad multiyear contracts. At least, most first marriages don't.
TV showrunners have become known entities to people who watch television in the way that movie directors have been known to filmgoers for a long time. When I started out as a writer and producer in television, I never had the slightest expectation that fame would be part of the job.
'Lost' is about a bunch of people stranded on an island. It's compelling, but kind of tiny. But what sustains you are the characters.
I really think that as good of a job as you do as a writer, you're absolutely indebted to the actors that have to deliver that material.
The creative process is not like a situation where you get struck by a single lightning bolt. You have ongoing discoveries, and there's ongoing creative revelations. Yes, it's really helpful to be marching toward a specific destination, but, along the way, you must allow yourself room for your ideas to blossom, take root, and grow.
If you go to a movie and it's a great experience, the experience at the end of it is always like this sadness that it's over, that your time with these characters is finished. There's almost like an achy feeling that I have when I go to a movie that I love and it ends.
I love 'Titanic' and the idea that you're kind of rooting for Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet to survive despite the fact that you know that they're not going to.
I think everyone in Hollywood works on multiple things because you never know what's going to happen with your projects.
I didn't know at all I wanted to do TV. I thought I might go to law school. I might want to become a history professor.
This idea that you can watch a show like 'True Detective,' and it was awesome, but is it really ruined for you if the finale is not your favorite episode of it? It's just odd to me.
Tragedy is a great storytelling form. It worked extremely well for Shakespeare. It worked extremely well for Jim Cameron with 'Titanic.'
That's one of the reasons why 'Lost' has to end: because we can't sit around and envision, 'What is the flashback for Jack in year nine?' It doesn't realistically exist.
I think there's this essential human desire to have a unified field theory. Everyone is like, 'I want to unlock the single secret to 'Lost.' There isn't any one secret. There is not a unified field theory for 'Lost,' nor do we think there should be, because philosophically, we don't buy into that as a conceit.
We should just go back to, like, episode 30 and re-break from there and just make it a spaceship. That would be the unexpected reboot of 'Lost.'
I feel like if you enjoyed the 119 hours that precede the finale of 'Lost,' is that whole experience ruined by the fact that you might not agree with everything that we did in the finale? I would hope not! I would hope that you would appreciate the fact that you were entertained for 119 hours even if you didn't love the finale.
'Lost' is driving toward an ending, and that ending is: Are these people getting off this island? What is the nature of this island? What is going to happen to them? What is their ultimate fate? What is their ultimate destiny? Those questions need to get answered.
Sometimes the fans want it both ways, of course. They want to feel like they're influencing the show, and at the same time, they want to think that showrunners have the story all mapped out in our brains. But it can't be both. In truth, we were usually far ahead of the fan feedback.
I think that 'Lost' is a bit of a dinosaur in terms of the type of show it is. The economics just don't support making a show this big and complicated profitable enough for a network.
When 'Lost' was over, we expected that there'd be some people who'd really like it and other people who wouldn't. The Emmy nominations are an indication to us that there were a fair number of people who did like the way we concluded our story.
There is a natural progression to 'Lost,' and as the story goes forward, it's going to change. It's not a static story. The franchise of 'Lost' is not characters sitting on a beach.
As we began working toward the finale of 'Lost,' I knew there was no possible ending that was going to be universally loved, and I accepted that. We ended the story the way we wanted it to end, and we stand by it. On my Twitter feed, I still get ten to fifteen positive comments for every negative one.
One of the things that's, I think, hard in television is that there's a certain sameness to a lot of television because you're working in a very constricted box, and the box is defined by the amount of money you have to spend and the amount of time you have to get ready.
If we lived in a time where people couldn't watch 'Lost' on Hulu or record it on their DVR, we wouldn't necessarily have succeeded. We need people to be able to catch up. Now you choose when you watch TV. We wouldn't have survived in the old days because people would have missed episodes.
Television used to be made much more in a vacuum; the only feedback the audience had for a long time was in a Nielsen number that would arrive sometime after the show had been broadcast. And now, people are just completely engaged on so many levels, and I think that you have to find a way as a show creator to follow your own compass.
Ironically, I wouldn't say I'm a massive horror fan. I love thrillers.
Being a showrunner meant writing and producing a television show, period, but with 'Lost,' suddenly it became part of the job to promote and be the face of the brand. In a weird way, the story was as much the star as any of the actors, so people wanted to hear from us.
As a writer, I always think about who my prototype actors are, in my brain. It's helpful, as a writer, to think about that.
I'm a big baseball fan, and I feel proprietary about the Dodgers. I'm not the owner. I'm not the manager. But I feel passionate about the decisions that they make, and I take it personally when they make decisions I don't like.
I think 'North by Northwest' and 'Rope' and Rear Window' and 'Psycho' are on my list of favorite all time movies. I just think his kind of command as a director was almost unparalleled, and I feel like in certain ways the sort of character-based thriller owes more to Hitchcock than anyone.