Nestor Carbonell—who is again playing the mysterious, apparently ageless Richard Alpert in the fifth season of ABC's Lost—told SCI FI Wire that he understands if viewers are a little disoriented by the show's time-jumping storyline this year: So is he.
"I'm a little dizzy," Carbonell admitted in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. "Initially, it took me, in the first episode, [a moment to figure out] 'OK, when am I exactly? Where are we, and when am I?' But, no, it didn't take long. I think the viewers, after this episode [that aired Jan. 28], the show very much settles down, and you get the gist of the season, that you're going to be dealing with some elements of time travel."
Carbonell—who was initially hired in the third season for only a quick guest spot—will instead be appearing in the rest of season five and the balance of the show, which is set to wrap in 2010, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse told reporters at this month's Television Critics Association winter press tour in Universal City, Calif.
Carbonell spoke with SCI FI Wire to promote the DVD release of the slasher film Killer Movie. The following Q&A features edited excerpts from that interview. Lost airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
It must be a great deal to be so sought after by the producers that they hire you for the rest of the show.
Carbonell: Oh, it was great, and I never know what's going to happen. It just started out as an audition for a guest spot, third season. Even though I was told it was possibly recurring, they called me about six episodes after I shot that, kind of out of the blue for me, and told me they wanted me to go to the island for about five episodes. The role grew from there. You just never know, but, yes, it was great. It was great that they were so enthusiastic. I'm thrilled. I'm thrilled to be a part of it. ...
It appears that Alpert is ageless. Does it affect the way you play him?
Carbonell: I'm not playing him as if he's 100 years old or several hundred years old. It's very clear, obviously, that the guy doesn't age, but I think there is something to being a guy who's been around, a guy with some wisdom, a shrewd man who's seen a lot in his times here on this island and abroad. I hope that carries in some way into the character. ...
At the TV Critics Association press tour, some reporters asked if you wore eyeliner, which Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse denied. What do you think of this?
Carbonell: My brother sent me this link about the TCA, where you guys were at. Someone had asked about whether I was wearing eyeliner. I think Carlton came to my defense, and he said, "He's 100 percent sans makeup" or something like that. I could see why some people would think I have eyeliner on because [my eyelashes] are dark. Especially the bottom row, they're pretty dark. I've been dealing with it since I was a little kid, and so to me it's very funny when it comes up, especially at TCA. My brother told me to look online and sort of Google something about that, and my name came up as a couple things. One of them was Maybelline Man. I've been dubbed by some people as Guyliner. It's very amusing.
Have any of your Dark Knight friends called you to be their plus-one for the Oscars? [Carbonell appeared in the movie in the role of Gotham City mayor Anthony Garcia.]
Carbonell: Oh, the plus-one thing? No, not yet. I have a plus-one, so I couldn't be someone else's plus-one, but no. I haven't been anybody's plus-one yet. I'll be watching. Hey, I may be in Hawaii [where Lost shoots].