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An excerpt with Zuleikha Robinson (Ilana) as featured in issue #29 of The Official Lost Magazine.
When you got the call to read for Lost, were you already watching or was the show a literal mystery for you?
Zuleikha Robinson: I think the reason why I didn't watch it was because all of my friends were obsessed and I didn't want to add another one of those shows to my life. But when I got the job, I started with the third season and moved on. It was actually a very good season to start with because it was a reset moment. At some point I would like to watch the first two, but I just know that when I start watching I won't be able stop!
What did they tell you about Ilana?
They told me a few little things about the type of person she was, but nothing else. I didn't know what she did otherwise. I knew nothing except she had a non-descript European accent in the middle of European and American. She was also very tough. It was interesting coming to work like that. On other jobs I've had a backstory, so on Lost I had to let everything go and trust I could do the job.
Your first episode as a bounty hunter out for Sayid in "He's Our You" was a really dynamic introduction to the show. How was that to shoot?
I think the first scene I did in season five with Sayid was where I had that really lovely bar scene. We get to talk a little bit and we actually have something in common. And even though it's my job, it's still quite nice because we are on the same level. And then of course it was fun afterwards because I got to take Sayid down – and no one has ever taken him down!
In season six, Ilana is revealed as Jacob's emissary and a protector of the candidates. One of our favorite scenes was the Dr. Linus standoff with Ben and Ilana in the woods before he breaks down and then you accept him into your group. How did that shoot go for you?
That Dr. Linus scene was really special. We had a really long day of running through the jungle. We were both really exhausted and spent. It was beautiful to have that slow moment afterwards. Michael Emerson is just such a wonderfully dynamic actor. It was really lovely to have that moment with him.
Like so many, Ilana's time on the island is short, but your character's death is really abrupt. Did you get a heads-up from the producers?
I definitely got a call and they explained everything to me before, thankfully. Damon and Carlton called me and let me know that I had to be the first one.
Any regrets that we didn't get to know Ilana more before the end?
No. I'm glad it worked out that I got to be in it for a couple years. It would have been nice to be in it a little longer because everyone has been so fantastic and working in Hawaii has been such a blast. But all good things come to an end.
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