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Standing Ovation

Jackie Earle Haley on Matthew Fox in 'Lost'

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Jackie Earle Haley on Matthew Fox in 'Lost'
I'm going to talk about a particular scene on "Lost" in which Matthew Fox completely blew me away, as did John Terry, the actor playing his father. It was that final scene where Jack Shephard (Matthew's character), with the help of his dad, came to the full realization that he had died in the plane crash. I was so awash with emotion that I'm tearing even now as I write this.

First you have to understand that there were six awesomely entertaining seasons that had earned this fan's undivided interest, attention, and concern for Matthew's character. And it was the work of many who got me to that point—the creators, the producers, the writers, the directors, the crew, Matthew, and, of course, the rest of the wonderful cast.

Watching the scene, a very odd thing happened. As an actor, there are times when I notice things like great performances, incredible writing, touching music, or skillful, nuanced direction that can often pull me out of the depth of a scene. I'm too busy admiring the work. But in this case, even as I was aware of all these things, I was still enraptured with the story and the scene that was unfolding.

This was my experience watching this scene: When Matthew's character started to realize that he had died, his performance was so real, so true, so honest, that I started to choke up. As the scene progressed, I somehow saw my son in Jack and I became torn up imagining my boy having to experience the loss of his own life. Yet I also kept thinking Matthew's performance was astounding, but I was still completely engrossed in the moment—Jack's moment.

After Jack's full realization, when the camera turned to his dad (a wonderful performance by Terry), I immediately saw my own dad, who passed away 12 years ago. And then the floodgates opened. Despite all these powerful, colliding emotions, and while admiring the brilliance of Matthew's performance, I was still entirely with the scene.

And when Jack hugged his dad—when he couldn't stop crying—I felt the full weight of emotion that his character was racked with. Witnessing Jack's painful revelation, I was hit in the gut. I thought of the love I have for my son and about his well-being. I thought about how I long to hear my own father's wisdom and to give him one more hug.

So much of this experience was due to incredible writing, but if Matthew Fox hadn't been so truly immersed, he himself experiencing what Jack was going through, I don't think it would have hit me so hard. I'm not sure how Matthew got to that emotional place, but I do know that he had a long, vested relationship with his character. With this scene being shot during the last episode, Jack really was dying that day. Maybe Matthew tapped into that. I'd love to ask him one day.

This is truly the one scene that I can't describe to anyone without getting choked up. I am now going to wipe the tears off my face and blow my nose. Brilliant performance, Matthew. Thank you.

Jackie Earle Haley started acting in commercials at age 6. He rose to prominence in the 1970s as a young actor with film roles in "The Bad News Bears" and "Breaking Away." After stepping away from Hollywood for more than a decade, Haley returned with memorable roles in "All the King's Men" and "Little Children," for which he received an Oscar nomination. More recent credits include "Watchmen," "Shutter Island," "A Nightmare on Elm Street," and the upcoming "Dark Shadows."

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