Evangeline Lilly says she was 'cornered' into taking her clothes off on 'Lost': 'I was crying my eyes out'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Though Evangeline Lilly‘s role in Lost made her a star, not all her memories from the show are fond ones.

The 38-year-old actress, who can be seen in Ant-Man and the Wasp this summer, recently did an interview with The Lost Boys podcast about playing Kate Austen (aka “Freckles”) in the ABC drama. Lilly admitted that she was a relative newcomer to show business when the series launched, and she sometimes felt she didn’t have the voice to protect herself. That led to her having to do scenes that made her deeply uncomfortable.

Evangeline Lilly, promoting Ant-Man and the Wasp in Rome this summer, talks about her career start on Lost. (Photo: Matteo Nardone/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“In Season 3, 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 recalled. “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.”

That happened more than once, according to Lilly. “In Season 4, 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 continued. “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.”

Lost co-creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof — along with the show’s executive producers Jack Bender and Carlton Cuse — addressed Lilly’s comments on Friday. “Our response to Evie’s comments this morning in the media was to immediately reach out to her to profoundly apologize for the experience she detailed while working on Lost,”  they said in a statement to the U.K.’s Independent. “We have not yet connected with her, but remain deeply and sincerely sorry. No person should ever feel unsafe at work. Period.”

On the podcast, Lilly also talked about fighting to portray her character as a strong female, whereas the powers-that-be, in her opinion, more focused on making her the girl in the love triangle (with Matthew Fox’s Jack and Josh Holloway’s Sawyer).

“I felt like my character went from … having her own story and her own journey and her own agendas to chasing men around the island, and that irritated the s*** out of me,” Lilly said, acknowledging that she did “throw scripts across rooms when I’d read them, because I would get very frustrated by the diminishing amount of autonomy she had and the diminishing amount of her own story there was to play.”

This isn’t the first time Lilly has gotten candid about her time on Lost, which went off the air in 2010 after a six-year run. In May, Lilly participated in a stuntwoman panel and talked about being intentionally hurt on the show when an unnamed stunt coordinator, whom she described as “misogynistic,” allowed her to get injured as an alleged punishment for defying his wish to have a stuntwoman do the stunt. “There were open wounds, pus-y and oozing,” she said of her injuries. “I looked like a mutant. My mom said, ‘You’ll never be able to wear an evening gown again!'”

But things were different on Ant-Man and the Wasp, Lilly has said. She told the Hollywood Reporter that she made a point to advocate for herself and her character with her male co-stars and co-workers. “I think there is an unconscious message for little girls and women that when you challenge men in the midst of doing something juvenile or fun, then you’re a heavy, a killjoy, a ball and chain,” she said. “And all my life I grew up thinking, ‘I swear I won’t be that way, I’ll be cool, I’ll be fun, I’m going to be the chick that can hang with the guys.'” But in the superhero flick, “I really challenged myself on this film to shut out all of those critical voices and the male pressures to conform and to really stand up and be a female voice in this world.”

Sounds like that’s continued long after production ended.


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