Thousands turn out for stars, 'answers!'
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By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Michael Tsai
Tanner Tokuyama had the home-made T-shirt ("I'd Rather Be 'Lost'"), the DVD sets, the official magazine and, of course, the digital camera. The only other thing he needed for last night's special "Lost" screening at Sunset on the Beach was his favorite actor's attention.
"Michael!" shouted Tokuyama from behind the steel barricade as Michael Emerson ("Henry Gale") strode down the sand-strewn red carpet. "I came here for you!"
In fact, thousands of "Lost" fans packed Queen's Surf Beach last night for a special advance screening of the hit show's Season III premiere (five days before the national broadcast premiere) and a chance to see the show's stars in person.
Tokuyama, a 19-year-old University of Hawai'i student from Hono-lulu, had been at the beach since 10 a.m., part of a devoted group of "Lost" fans hellbent on meeting their favorite cast members.
And after eight sweaty hours in the sun, Tokuyama was prepared to pull out the stops.
"Michael Emerson," he shouted in mock-groupie voice, "I love you!"
"Oh, you do not!" Emerson shot back, grinning widely.
Tokuyama eventually got his sought-after autograph as Emerson and other cast members repeatedly broke from their interviews with local and national media to exchange handshakes, hugs and good wishes with the throng of screaming and we mean screaming fans.
"They did warn me that today was going to be crazy," said Kiele Sanchez, who joins the show this season as the character "Nikki."
"(At) premieres in Hollywood, there aren't that many fans," Sanchez said. "The local people here love the show and come out and support it. It's kind of amazing. ('Lost') is the only thing that's filming now and they're really invested in it."
AFFIRMATION FOR CAST
Last night's event was the third consecutive time that the Hawai'i-based show has offered local audiences an advance look at its season premiere.
For the original cast members, last night's raucous reception was a reaffirmation of the show's ties to the local community and a welcome respite after weeks of intense work on set.
"Believe it or not, this doesn't happen every day," quipped Terry O'Quinn, who plays the enigmatic Locke on the show. "I'm not used to it, but I don't mind it. I've never been to a Hollywood premiere, but can't imagine anything surpassing it."
To O'Quinn, Season III will be a pivotal one for "Lost," which was criticized last year for its complex, some said convoluted, storylines. The show was surprisingly left without a "Best Dramatic Series" nomination at this past Emmy Awards, despite having won the award the previous year.
"I think this show has to prove that it has legs this year," O'Quinn said. "It has to prove that it wasn't a fluke. Last year was a little rougher. I think it has a lot to prove. I think it's a kind of make-or-break year.
Brandon Yamamoto, 19, of Makiki, showed up at the event with "Help me, I'm Lost" scrawled on his right cheek. Like many other "Lost" fans in attendance last night, Yamamoto knew exactly what he wanted from the new season of his favorite show.
"Answers!" Yamamoto said.
Answers to what?
And according to cast members, answers are coming.
Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Jin on the show, said the issue of whether he is the father of his onscreen wife's child will be taken up early in the season.
"I'm curious to find out myself," Kim said. "I do know that the implications of the baby's parentage will be essential to what Jin goes through this year. I'm looking forward to seeing how that affects my character."
Emerson wouldn't reveal the specifics of how his character will evolve this season, and perhaps that's fitting. He ascribes Henry Gale's appeal to his aura of ambiguity, "the way he sort of walks the razor's edge between perceived villainy and perceived vulnerability."
Emerson did say that the mysterious "Others" would become a little less mysterious over the course of the season.
"The Others are going to get fleshed out a little more," he said. "They're going to become more three-dimensional."
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje said he's entering the season with a healthy sense of uncertainty, a necessary quality when working on a show with a notoriously high character-mortality rate.
"I never feel confident," he said. "It think that would be an error."
He said his character, Mr. Eko, will continue to work through his difficult evolution.
"(Mr. Eko will) go into a different dimension," he said. "If you saw the show last season you saw that Eko was a man of dilemma, of moral dilemma. This season you're going to see a completion, a resolution."
In all, cast members say the new season will likely return whatever luster the show might have lost last year.
"There's definitely a lot more romance and action this season," said Yunjin Kim ("Sun"). "It's definitely going to be exciting. I think people can actually tune in and be thrilled at seeing 'Lost' again."'Lost'
An amazing night in Waikiki
Reach Michael Tsai at firstname.lastname@example.org.