"He's a survivor, and he just tries to do his best"
When actor Henry Ian Cusick first joined TV's "Lost," he expected to stay for three episodes. But his character, Desmond Hume -- who sometimes toggles through time and calls his fellow stranded islanders "brotha" with an endearing Scottish brogue -- struck a chord with viewers, and in 2005 the producers made him a regular.
With new episodes set to begin April 24, Cusick, 40, called from his home in Hawaii -- where "Lost" is shot and where he now lives with his wife, Annie, and their three sons -- to flash-forward into his character's future and reveal whether our Brotha Man might (no!) die.
-- Jen Chaney
Viewers really respond to your character. What makes Desmond so likable?
He's a bit of an Everyman. He's not particularly special, and I think people can identify with that. He can't fix the helicopter, he can't fix computers, he's not a doctor. . . . He's a survivor, and he just tries to do his best.
There is a lot of concern about "Lost" spoilers. Do you have to sign a confidentiality agreement every time you get a new script?
I've never signed anything, but there is an unwritten rule that you just don't talk about it. Part of being on "Lost" is the enjoyment of your audience getting things. I want them to be surprised. I don't want to spoil it for them.
I hear you don't have a TV. Why?
When we lived in England, the kids would come home from school and sit down in front of the TV until dinnertime and it used to drive me bananas. When we got to Hawaii, I said, "That's it. We're not having a TV." I thought, we live by the sea. There's so much to do here, we don't need a TV. The only thing I miss is the news and soccer, but I can get that online.
The "Lost" writers are not afraid to kill off characters. Do you worry Desmond could die?
I'd like to stay, but I'm not scared of [him dying]. People who have died have gotten great story lines. Dying is not a bad thing because on "Lost," even if you do die, you may well come back.
Flash-forward into Henry Ian Cusick's future. What will you do after "Lost" ends?
We talk about it, my family and I, because we don't know whether we would leave Hawaii. We usually have just gone with the flow and gone where the work was, but now my kids are getting to a certain age where schooling is important and we want to settle down now. It's difficult. That's always the case for actors like me who don't know what the next gig is. We just go with the flow.