The first time Doug Hutchison appeared on the hit ABC television series "Lost,” his character died.
That hasn’t stopped Horace Goodspeed, as portrayed by Hutchison, from being one of this season’s key characters.
"It doesn’t matter if you die, you’re going to come back, potentially,” Hutchison said in a recent phone interview. "Or they’re going to flash back, and you’re going to revisit your character.”
Horace is the long-haired leader of the Dharma Initiative in 1977, where the core "Lost” characters now reside after a time-shift. Hutchison was first cast in the series in the season three episode "The Man Behind the Curtain.”
"It seemed intriguing, mostly because it wasn’t a villain,” said Hutchison, known for his villainous role in "The Green Mile,” especially. "I thought, OK, I’ll play this cool hippie dude, the leader of the Dharma Initiative.”
Reading the script on the way to Hawaii to film the episode, Hutchison read that his character died at the end of the script. At the time, he believed that put an end to this "possibly recurring” role.
"You sometimes get that in Hollywood; they say, ‘Oh, it’s a possible recurring,’ and they want to entice you with that bait,” he said. "So, I did the episode. I had a blast. I died, and a year passes and I get a call from my agent.”
It was "Lost,” asking for Hutchison to return for another episode. In that episode, Hutchison’s Horace is a phantom-like character giving direction to John Locke (Terry O’Quinn).
Prior to this season, Hutchison again got a call, that "Lost” would like him to come back, for about five more episodes.
"I said, ‘As a ghost?’ And (my agent) says, ‘I don’t know.’”
When Hutchison got his first script, he realized that the characters have gone back in time, to the era of the Dharma Initiative; now Hutchison plays an "integral part” in this season’s story line — but he still can’t tell fans what’s coming next.
"I can’t tell you a lot about (the future of) ‘Lost,’ not because I’m vowed to secrecy so much as I just don’t have a clue,” he said.
Another recent role for Hutchison was as "Looney Bin Jim” in "Punisher War Zone,” now out on DVD.