Sterling Beaumon—the 13-year-old actor who played young Ben Linus in the third-season Lost episode "The Man Behind the Curtain"—will kick off a multi-episode arc on the ABC sci-fi series starting with this Wednesday's episode, "Namaste."
SCI FI Wire recently spoke with Beaumon about his Lost experience and his latest episodes. Following are edited excerpts of the exclusive conversation. Lost airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Go back a step. How did they first hire you?
Beaumon: I actually look hardly anything like Michael Emerson [who plays the adult version of Ben], besides the eyes. I guess I do; a lot of people say I do. But what really got it for me was I could cry. I could cry on cue. And in the first episode I did I had to cry in every scene.
When you did that first episode, did they tell you the role might be recurring?
Beaumon: They don't tell anyone anything, but everyone said, "Your character is so big, and your first episode is so big, they have to bring you back." Little did I know that after two years they'd bring me back.
We know that Lost has that crazy veil of secrecy over it, but give us a hint as to what you'll be up to in your episodes.
Beaumon: You're going to find out how Ben became the mean, cruel Ben that he is today. And you're going to find out about the roots of the island and how the island became the island. ... In two of the episodes, I'm really not doing a lot, but you just see me a lot, and you'll see what I mean by that.
Do you get a lot of people coming up to you, asking what's going to happen?
Beaumon: Yeah. It's kind of nice, and it's kind of hard. It's nice because the secrecy gets people to watch, because they want to know what's going to happen. And, in a way, it's hard, because you want to tell people what you do, but now I have to wait months to tell people how fun it was to do this or do that [in an episode], or to show people pictures from the set.
Did you go back and watch any of Michael Emerson's performances as Ben in order to help you play a natural extension of the character?
Beaumon: After I did my first episode [a couple of years ago], we became hooked on Lost, and I watched every single episode. Actually, ["Namaste" director] Jack Bender told me, "You do anything like Michael, and it'll ruin what's coming up." I didn't know what he meant, because I hadn't gotten the next script. And then I [read the next script and thought], "Oh, wow, I see why I can't act like Michael." Because you'll see why Michael starts acting like Ben within these episodes.
What are the chances you'll be back again after these episodes?
Beaumon: Everyone says, "Oh, gosh, you've got to come back again." What I'm hoping is that Annie, supposedly Ben's childhood friend, comes back [in a subsequent episode]. The girl who plays Annie [Madeline Carroll] is actually a close friend of mine.