Curse of the 'Lost'
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By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Michael Tsai
From armed home invasions to stalking incidents, speeding tickets to DUI charges — all the way to the inferno that consumed actress Evangeline Lilly's rented Kailua house yesterday — the good life on O'ahu is proving nearly as treacherous to cast members of the hit series "Lost" as bare-knuckles survival on their mysterious fictional island.
In fact, not since Greg Brady got into supernatural hot water with that evil tiki has a Hollywood show experienced such a run of misfortune.
Someone call Mr. Hanalei!
Of course, yesterday's blaze was nothing to laugh about. The house, which Lilly shared with two other women, was destroyed by the morning fire. Lilly and her housemates were not home at the time.
Electrical failure in an outlet was blamed for the fire. Members of the cast and crew were keeping mum on this latest catastrophe and publicist Erin Felentzer returned a call only to say that the "Lost" team was supportive of Lilly in the wake of the fire.
Still, couple this latest incident in a string of very public "Lost"-related mini-dramas with the lingering, loopy stereotype of Hawai'i as a place of magic, mystery — and, sometimes, menace — and it's not hard to imagine the "Lost" Nation buzzing with speculation of a "Lost" curse.
Bunk, says Joe Adalian, TV editor for Variety magazine. In fact, there's little to link the pearls of real crime, random misfortune and personal misdeeds that have kept the "Lost" cast in the headlines since arriving in Hawai'i.
"Stuff happens to people all the time," Adalian said. "("Lost") just happens to be the hottest TV show in the Islands." With that comes intense media attention and coverage of each piece of misfortune.
He noted the arrests of cast members and the incident with Holloway.
"I'm sure Tom Selleck had a lot of things happen to him, too; we just didn't hear about it. Now with the Internet, you do."
Chances are, however, that Selleck never had his underwear snatched from his clothesline by an adolescent boy, as Lilly did last year. That earth-shattering story was covered by dozens of news outlets in the U.S. and abroad, as was an equally riveting story about Lilly and boyfriend Dominic Monaghan getting a parking ticket and taking a minute to smooch before moving the vehicle.
Playing into the celeb quotient: "The cast is younger than it ever was" in most hit TV shows, Adalian said, "so you double, quadruple the odds" of newsmaking troubles.
Initial reports of yesterday's fire at the Lilly home were posted on The Honolulu Advertiser's Web site within 15 minutes of the Fire Department's response. By midmorning, "Lost" fan sites and other entertainment sites were carrying updated reports.
By noon, Hawai'i time, message boards were beginning to percolate with speculation, most of it centering on the posters' certainty that the fire was a case of arson.
But by whom?
E! Online News reporter Gina Serpe was the first to note that Lilly's character, "Kate," was no stranger to homes ablaze. In the show, Kate takes out an insurance policy on her home, then blows it up (with her abusive stepfather inside) and watches as it burns.
Here we go.Staff writer Mary Kaye Ritz contributed to this story.
Reach Michael Tsai at firstname.lastname@example.org.