In his first acting role in seven years, “Lost” star Matthew Fox plays Andy Yeats, a petrochemical scientist who discovers that the world’s oil supply has been deliberately sabotaged, leading to a worldwide crisis where planes fall from the sky and civilization teeters on the brink of collapse in Peacock’s five-part series “Last Light.”
Fox, who previously worked with director/producer Dennie Gordon on the ’90s series “Party of Five,” also steps into the role of executive producer for the first time for the series.
Ahead of its Thursday premiere, TheWrap spoke with Fox and Gordon as well as “Downton Abbey” alum Joanne Froggatt, who plays Fox’s wife, and Amber Rose Revah of “Marvel’s The Punisher,” who plays a British agent who might be an ally or an enemy of Yeats.
TheWrap: The series is very timely with the extreme climate change we’re seeing right now.
Gordon: It was so ripped from the headlines, we couldn’t believe it. We have the petrochemical war in Ukraine. We have this refugee crisis. We just couldn’t believe how it was so current. It’s like, “That’s happening right now, across the globe.” It was both exciting and worrisome. It made it feel all the more important that we get the story.
Froggatt: Yes, absolutely. I remember emailing Matthew news articles from the UK because we were filming in Prague, and there were queues around the block for petrol and all of that sort of stuff. It was scarily apt, and still is.
Revah: In London at the time, there was an actual petrol crisis and everyone was driving to garages and you couldn’t get petrol. It was a bit crazy to be filming this show and then experiencing that, and what the world would be like and how things come to a stop so quickly, without something so fundamental to humans.
Matthew, what was it like returning to acting after such a long absence?
Fox: After taking seven years away from the business and thinking that I was done with acting and then to come back, I really wasn’t sure. It could have been that I’d gotten on set and two weeks into it [decided], “Oh, this is a terrible mistake. I’m not having any fun.” But it was the opposite of that. It was more fun than I remember ever having as an actor. And I was also executive producing, so it kind of vacillated between that and “Oh my God, how do I do this?” I was really excited by how much I enjoyed it.
The series starts off with your character crashing in the desert and being completely disoriented, Matthew. Did you have a bit of “Lost” deja vu?
Fox: I guess maybe a bit. Yeah. Maybe I’m subconsciously drawn to that kind of thing.
What was your biggest challenge in making this?
Gordon: We were in three different countries and we were severely limited financially. But I had brilliant producers and a brilliant crew I handpicked from all over the world. Patrick Murguia, who was my DP on “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” I was able to bring him in. We just had a fantastic team, but we had a tremendous amount to do in a very short amount of time in three different cities, Prague, Paris and the whole country of the United Arab Republic. It was kind of miraculous how it all came together, frankly.
Revah: It’s another level of filming in the desert because it’s so hot there that you start to lose your mind after about six hours. But it also gives you a real chance to be in those characters because the location plays such a part in the show and it really helps you to connect with what’s happening.
Froggatt: The biggest challenge was learning some lines in French, but I got there in the end.
Matthew, I’m guessing you didn’t speak Arabic before this?
Fox: (Laughs) Actually, I’m fluent in Arabic. No, none at all. And yes, I was pretty nervous about that as well. But I had this wonderful coach and she was outstanding. The lucky thing for me was that Andy wouldn’t speak fluently and even his pronunciation, he would be making a mess of things. And so I had a lot of freedom on how well I could speak and could kind of get away with it.
“Last Light” is now streaming on Peacock