Little-know sci-fi fact: Michael Keaton was supposed to be Jack on Lost

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Nov 20, 2019, 6:51 PM EST (Updated)

Sure, it got a little wacky at times, but Lost was easily one of the biggest phenomena in television history. But did you know Matthew Fox wasn’t the first choice to anchor the cast as Jack?

When J.J. Abrams first conceived the series, back when he wrote this insanely intriguing “show bible,” he wanted former Batman star Michael Keaton to play the daring doctor at the heart of the series.

But there was a catch — Jack was supposed to die in the pilot episode, setting up the character Kate to become more of a leader among the survivors. That plot point is largely what attracted Keaton to the role, since it wasn’t your typical long-term television commitment.

Things were rolling along for Keaton to help kick off the series until the folks at ABC got a look at the pilot script and decided Jack was too cool to kill so quickly. Abrams tried to woo Keaton to sign on for a full-fledged role, but he wasn’t interested, so the producers brought in Fox to fill the void. The rest, as they say, is TV history.

Keaton detailed the bizarre story in a 2005 interview with Access Hollywood, where he explains how Abrams’ concept impressed him enough to consider the gig. At least until he found out it would’ve been full-time:

"He told me what Lost was and I thought it was a really intriguing idea. I said, 'I'll seriously consider it, send me the script. He said, 'No, we're keeping the guy alive,' and I said, 'Oh, ok, well I can't do that.'

I wouldn't do it if the guy was going to be in the show every week. An hour show every week... I've got stuff to do, I've got a life to lead. When would I fish?”

It’s fascinating to think how things might’ve turned out with Keaton in the series, as he’s definitely a pretty big-name draw (or was at the time) for a television project. Do you think he would’ve been a good fit, or did we dodge a bullet? 

(Via Movie Insider)

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