"I f-cked up," said Terry O'Quinn after almost stabbing Matthew Fox on the set of LOST's finale. O'Quinn played John Locke on the ABC show, a character whose face was worn by the show's villain before it was all said and done with, and the final episode called for a showdown between O'Quinn's embodiment of the show's Smoke Monster and Fox's Jack Shephard. A grabbing of the wrong prop knife almost sent Fox home from Hawaii quite differently and that was hardly the only dangerous or scary moment pulled off in the show's grand finale. The cast and crew recently looked back at the finale's production and shared some memories of those wild moments.
"I chiefly remember being injured [during production of the finale]," Michael Emerson, the actor who played the show's Benjamin Linus for five seasons, recalls. "I had torn the meniscus in my left knee on-set. We were shooting a scene, it must have been maybe three or four episodes before the finale. I was just sitting, waiting for the next camera shot, and somebody said, 'Okay, camera's up, let's get going.' And I was sitting cross-legged, and I just, like a young man would, heaved myself up out of that position, but it was more than my knee could take and I heard something snap." Emerson than had a scene in a slippery, rocky set with Jorge Garcia's Hurley which ended up being more difficult than he anticipated.
There were actual death-defying stunts going down on the set, as well. With the show filming its final episode on a cliff overlooking water, Josh Holloway's James "Sawyer" Ford and Evangeline Lilly's Kate Austen would leap from the edge and into the water as a means to escape the impending doom on the island.
"I remember how crazy our stunt guy was. I loved him," Holloway says. "He was my stunt guy all those years and the stunt coordinator at that point: Mike Trisler, ex-fricking Special Forces guy. So he's like, 'Okay, let's do this. I'm going to die.' I'm like, 'Don't die, bro. It's like 70 feet high. Just jump, you know?' He's like, 'No, it's cool. It's cool if I die.' You're f-cking crazy! And he went ahead, 70 feet off that cliff. They have plaques on that cliff of the people who have died. So it's pretty major. I remember being on top of that thing and doing the fake run-up, like you're going to do it. You've got to get pretty close to the edge. Oh, sh-t. That was scary." The stunt man survived the stunt and, as seen in the episode, performed it quite well.
Nothing comes close to the slip of the knife, though.
"There was a big fight [between Locke and Jack] with knives and all that kind of stuff," O'Quinn recalls.
LOST's finale director Jack Bender remembers it vividly. "We had a fake knife and a real knife," Bender explained. "The real knife, like whenever you're doing a movie, is dulled down. But it is a real blade so it won't wobble, because all rubber blades do that a little bit. Terry was working with a real knife and the fake knife. We had shot a number of shots in the sequence and were probably getting toward the end of the shoot. Terry was well rehearsed in when he would have the real knife in his hand, even though it was dull, and when he would drop it and right next to him, an inch away was the fake knife."
O'Quinn and Fox found themselves so immersed in the sequence that they played right through it, to an almost dangerous degree. "We were wrestling and wrestling and the fire hoses were going and there was water and at one point, I had the real knife out. [Matthew] saw me pull it out and then we wrestled with it," O'Quinn recalled. He reached for the rubber knife but picked up the wrong one. "I plunged it into Matthew's side," he remembers. "Well, Matthew had a pad [under his shirt] that was probably about the size of your extended palm, where I'm supposed to stab him. It was just to protect him from where I was supposed to stab him. I don't think I held my hand out to wait for the exchange because we were caught up in the action. So I stabbed him with a real knife."
"The scene ended with Matt rolling off and next thing I know these guys are f-cking laughing," Bender says. "I'm going, 'What's going on?' Terry goes, 'I f-cked up.' I went, 'Oh my God.' Ultimately, O'Quinn says there wasn't "any harm" done on the set but surely enough close calls to make the insurance policies sweat.
The full retrospective piece looking back at the LOST finale with most of the show's cast and crew can be read in its entirety on Vulture!