Matthew Fox underwent a startling physical transformation, dropping down to nearly zero-percent body fat to play the psychotic assassin Picasso in “Alex Cross,” so it’s understandable that he’s been getting a lot of diet and exercise questions. But we wanted to know about some other things — like why he isn’t going back to TV anytime soon and how things are going with the reportedly troubled “World War Z.” On that last topic, in fact, he’d like to clear a few things up.
How tired are you of getting diet and exercise questions?
(laughs) Yeah. I fortunately braced myself for the fact that that was going to be one of the things that people were going to come with as far as questions. So I’m not too tired about it. It was a lot of hard work, man. I don’t watch any playback or rushes or anything like that — I still haven’t seen the movie. I think down the road I always hit a point where I’m like, “OK, now I can watch this.” So I really hadn’t seen myself and what I was setting out to accomplish with that guy until somebody sent me [a promotional photo]. Somebody forwarded it to me and I opened this email, and it’s this image of myself in the cage thing where he’s breaking the guy’s arm. And I was like, “Whoa, dude, that is so intense and disturbing.”
So where are you as far as watching your own stuff? What have you seen?
Well, I mean I’ve seen “Speed Racer” a couple of times. I watched the first half-season of the first year of “Lost.” And I’ve seen “Vantage Point,” I’ve seen “We are Marshal.” I haven’t seen any of the three that are going to be coming out. I haven’t seen “Alex Cross” or “World War Z” or “Emperor.”
I don’t think anyone’s seen “World War Z” yet.
Well, some people that I work with have seen it, and they think it’s bad-ass. I think Paramount must be a little bit bummed by the rumor that’s been blogged on movie sites that just doesn’t have any basis in fact. That’s a trend that’s happening on every level of our pop culture stuff, and for me anyway it’s a little disturbing. I like talking about things that have basis in fact, not complete and total fiction by people who really just don’t have any position to be doing that.
I personally am looking forward to seeing “World War Z.”
I am too, man. I will go see “World War Z” right when it comes out because I’m barely in the movie. If it works and it’s a trilogy, then my character that is set up in the first one will become really a sort of counterpoint for Brad Pitt’s character in movies two and three. I’m so hopeful that it works because I really had a great experience working on that film. It was a great group of people and fun to just kill zombies and play a Navy SEAL and all that stuff, but part of it was just that I wasn’t in it that much so I got to show up to these insane sets — it was such a big production — and not feel like it was all sort of riding on me or anything. I was just playing this role that was kind of in the shadows and was going to come on strong in the end.
Some of your tattoos ended up playing a big part on “Lost” and show up in “Alex Cross” as well. Do you worry about viewers finding that distracting?
Obviously people saw those tattoos so much and so regularly because of the six years [on “Lost”]. Big fans of the show will always see those tattoos if they see them in another character in another film, and go, “Wait a minute…” And so at a certain point I’ll cover some of that stuff. For this one, Rob and I agreed that it wasn’t necessary. And honestly, if people are paying attention to that then I’m not doing my job really well enough. Hopefully I’m bringing enough to the creation of that guy that they’re still going to be caught up in the illusion that we’re trying to tell.
After taking some time off following “Lost” and now doing theater and movies, have you reconsidered doing another TV series?
I’ve been saying for a couple of years now that I won’t do television again and I think that, like many aspects of who I am as a person, that’s been misinterpreted. (laughs) I think people interpreted that like I was saying, “Now I’m going to go off and be a huge movie star, and that’s where the real prestige is. TV is just for peons.” And that’s just the furthest thing from the truth. I think the best stuff is happening on television. It really has nothing to do with that. It has to do with my own personal wanting more flexibility in my life. I’ve done two six-year shows where for six years, eight or nine months of the year I was absolutely committed to — and because I approach my work that way, happily committed to — fulfilling my obligations with work, working really hard, but I knew exactly what story I was part of, exactly what role I was a part of, and by the time I would get to my three-month hiatus, I was so exhausted from the experience that I really didn’t feel like I wanted to go off and be on another movie set somewhere. So for me, the situation I’m in now where I get to do a project and take as much time as I want in between and wait until the next thing really strikes me, that flexibility and that variety — each one of those being a different story and a different role — is just much more suited for me now. I feel it’s really the perfect spot for me to be in.