Mark Pelligrino Interview

  1. Cryonics
    On March 22nd, Mark talked about his role as Jacob.

    From the LostBlog and


    Actor Mark Pellegrino had a big TV season last year: He scored the part of Jacob on Lost—the secretive protector (?) of the island with shady (??) intentions. Meanwhile, he was appearing on Dexter as Rita’s abusive ex, on Supernatural as Lucifer, and a slew of other fun bit parts including one on Chuck. With Lost, though, Pellegrino went from “that guy” status to being the face of this cultural phenomenon. I called Pellegrino—a man who’s careful and deliberate with his words—to talk about his mysterious role on the show.
  2. Cryonics
    Did Lost’s creators have you specifically in mind to play Jacob?

    Mark Pellegrino: I don’t know how open the call was, but they were holding auditions. The way they brought people in was for a “guest spot, possibly recurring,” but they weren’t specific about what the character was. We were given a three-page scene that didn’t have the same character names, or any real relation to anything that we’d done. It kind of bore a similarity to the scene on the beach, with the man in black.

    What drew you to the audition?

    I don’t have a lot of time to watch TV; I knew the show through reputation, but also I read the treatment for the pilot episode. I auditioned for one of the characters—I don’t remember which one—but I remember the treatment was so amazing. I knew it was going to be one of the best shows on TV. It was a page turner; it was 24 pages long, and I devoured it. Three times.
  3. Cryonics
    You’re an acting teacher who specializes in method acting. How can you be “method” about a character with, essentially, no character description?

    You can’t really do any homework or put in the kind of “research” you’d like to do. The upside is that it allows for a tremendous amount of creative space. You’re not encumbered by a lot of ideas, you can be more simple and in-the-moment, all that actor talk that contributes something nice to the show. When you get new information down the line, you go, “That doesn’t change what I’ve done, but dang, I wish I knew that.” [Laughs] They do give you impressions, directions they’d like you to go.

    How fully formed was the “character” when you got the part?

    If they didn’t know where they were going to take [the character], they didn’t show that. They seemed very certain, but reluctant to reveal the details. I could be wrong, they could be still working it out.
  4. Cryonics
    What is your impression of Jacob? He’s often compared to Jesus on the Internet.

    Close to the Nazareth carpenter, that’s for sure. But “good,” as I’ve discovered on this show, is a very complicated thing.

    Before Jacob was introduced, the other characters talked about him a lot, so we all knew bits and pieces about him. How do those tidbits color your interpretation?

    Luckily, the audience does a lot of the work; they’ve been living with me for three years, so all I need to do is show up.

    How often do people come up to you and offer their own theories on where Lost is going?

    People always come up to me. Actually, I went in for an audition a few days ago, and the producer said to me, “I’ll let you have the part now if you tell me how Lost ends.”
  5. Cryonics
    Aside from Jacob, you play a lot of sinister guys: Your part on Dexter, then literally the devil on Supernatural. What do you make of that?

    I think casting directors see me in a very particular light. [Laughs] As an actor, you have to get behind the guy you have to play. I never looked at my roles as bad guys. I looked at Paul [from Dexter] as a guy just trying to get his family together. Obviously the story called it inappropriate—and most normal people would too. And Lucifer—I look at it as a human story of a guy who’s been betrayed for a less-virtuous being. Maybe I’m the only guy who thinks Lucifer’s story is justified.

    What about your character in The Big Lebowski as one of Jackie Treehorn’s thugs?

    Well, he was a pot connoisseur—and a surfer. He’s probably just smoked a bong-load, saw Lebowski come home, and he goes, “Let’s do this, dude.”


    End Interview
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