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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 21, 2006

Curse of the 'Lost'

Video: Fire destroys home of 'Lost' actress
'Lost' actress house fire aftermath gallery
 •  Fire destroys TV star's rented home in Kailua
StoryChat: Comment on this story

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

"Lost" cast member Dominic Monaghan surveys the aftermath of a house fire in Enchanted Lake in Kailua. The home was rented by his girlfriend, fellow cast member Evangeline Lilly, and her two roommates. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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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.

Consider:

  • Oct. 21, 2005: Actor Josh Holloway (Sawyer) and his wife were bound and robbed in their Hawai'i Kai home by a masked gunman. The robber made off with cash, credit cards and Holloway's Mercedes-Benz (later retrieved).

  • Oct. 21, 2005: Hours after the Holloway home invasion, "Lost" actor Harold Perrineau (Michael) was followed for 20 minutes by two men in a car as he drove toward fellow actor Daniel Dae Kim's house. Perrineau tried to evade the stalkers, but it wasn't until he pulled his car over and called Kim on his mobile phone that they turned and sped away.

  • Dec. 1, 2005: New cast members Michelle Rodriguez (one of several cast members to have already run afoul of the law for speeding) and Cynthia Watros were arrested for drunken driving. Honolulu police pulled the two over after their vehicles were spotted weaving along Pali Highway. Both pleaded guilty, and both were gone from the show by season's end.

  • Sept. 2, 2006: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ("Mr. Eko") was arrested for disobeying a police officer and driving without a license. The charges were later dropped when Akinnuoye-Agbaje provided proof that he possessed a license. He didn't get off as easily on the show he was killed by a smoke-monster (no, we can't explain what that is) in the first half of this season.

  • Dec. 20, 2006: Lilly's rented home burns to the ground, but no one is hurt.

    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.

    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 mtsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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