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Jeff Fahey Talks the Staying Power of Frank Lapidus From ‘Lost’ and Sharks for His Latest Film, ‘Maneater’

Jeff Fahey as Frank Lapidus on Lost

I don’t like sharks. At all. So when the email came through to interview the actor who played one of my all-time favorite television characters, I made it very clear that, unless the interview was approved, I would not like to be sent the shark-based film he was promoting. Luckily, I got to speak with the iconic Jeff Fahey, and so I watched the fun that is Maneater, a movie my shark-phobic self would not have attempted otherwise. But I am but a humble fan of the series Lost, and Frank Lapidus plays an important part in my family’s history, something that I told Fahey as soon as I started our interview.

One of the things about Fahey’s role in Maneater is that he’s not in it that much. He delivers information about great white sharks (and informed me that no one knows how they mate, so that’s terrifying) and then shows up at the end to enlist the help of Harlan (Trace Adkins) to come and kill another shark trying to hunt people. Yes, the sharks in this movie are actively seeking out people to kill them for sport, versus like, you know, the normal shark eating because they’re hungry. So, I asked Fahey what drew him to the project as a whole.

“There are lot of reasons for any given project that I’ve been doing over the years that I have done and will do. But this one in particular, because as you said, my character is a small part of it, but he delivers information to the audience and to the characters within,” he said. “And so we were able to do all of my stuff in between a couple other films and we shot it all in a day. And it was being produced by a friend of mine, Daemon Hillin. We’ve worked together a number of times and Justin Lee was directing and Justin and I have worked together a number of times and Trace Atkins is a friend. So I was able to be part of their little film and be a small part of it and be part of the team and just jump over there and help create this character and support the film.”

He’s also not the kind of actor who acts as if a shark movie of this calibre is going to change the world. He knows what kind of movie he’s in, and that’s why, frankly, his performance works. “It’s not gonna change anyone’s life,” he said. “It’s like going to the amusement park and deciding on what ride you want. Oh, I wanna take the rollercoaster today. And then you ride the rollercoaster and that’s what this film is. This film is pure entertainment and in that genre, there’s an audience for it.”

The power of Frank Lapidus

My favorite part of our interview was getting to tell Fahey about my own history with Frank Lapidus. I was a teenager when Lost was on, and it was a show that I easily fell in love with. My brother and his friends took to Lapidus with love, and when my little cousin watched the show for the first time ten years later, he came to family dinner saying that his favorite character was Lapidus. It’s something that we all joke about but share our love in, so getting to talk to Fahey was amazing.

And when I asked him what he hopes audiences take away from the movie, he shared his hopes and also wished that they’d go and watch Lost after seeing Maneater. “Well, they enjoyed it. They got a kick out of it. They were able to laugh at the absurdity and just let their imagination go for that short period of time. And keep going. And then maybe they’ll go and watch Lost, Rachel,” he said, and when I explained that my brother was going to be jealous, he responded with, “Well, when you talk to him say that Jeff really did finish his interview and said, ‘We’re not going to Guam.'”

Maneater is now available in Theaters, on Demand and Digital.

(featured image: ABC)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.