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'Lost's' Boone and Locke Become Buddies
LOS ANGELES ( Having grown up in the bayous of Mandeville, Louisiana, Ian Somerhalder has been a bit frustrated in his role as rich-boy Boone on ABC's freshman hit drama "Lost," airing Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, which focuses on survivors of a plane crash on a tropical island.

"All we knew about Boone is he followed his sister a lot," Somerhalder says, "she griped at him a lot, and they were these spoiled rich kids. No one likes a spoiled rich kid, and I thought to myself, 'That's not who they are.' Boone is a guy who's about to learn a lot about life really fast. I almost felt pity for him, because he didn't know the things that I, Ian, knew about surviving.

"I grew up in Louisiana. We had horses and land. You learn how to survive. You understand the way things work in the woods, if you need to build a fire, tie a rope, make a rope out of something else. He didn't know any of these things. He was very fragile in that environment, where I wouldn't have been.

"Do you know how hard it is to stand around and have everybody say, 'Do this, do this,' when I know, Ian knows, that's what you do. Basically there's an arc for Boone. Very soon, there's a big change."

Apparently the agent of that change is John Locke, played by Terry O'Quinn.

Locke was a paraplegic when he got on the plane, but found, after the crash, he could miraculously walk. Since then, the former office worker and game-board warrior has refashioned himself into a hunter and sage philosopher (by the way, John Locke is also the name of a British philosopher of the Enlightenment).

"Locke takes Boone under his wing," O'Quinn says. "He almost becomes a disciple or something, but I don't know if I'm doing Boone justice. He helps Boone out to a little self-realization, which Locke seems to have a tendency to do with people. He helps them realize things about themselves. They start an adventure together that the others don't know about."

As the season has progressed, the histories of different characters, both on the airplane and before, have been revealed in flashbacks. The episode currently scheduled for Jan. 12, "Hearts and Minds," written by Carlton Cuse ("The Legend of Brisco County Jr.") and Javier Grillo-Marxuach ("Jake 2.O"), reveals, as a press release says, "the shocking truth" about Boone and his sister, Shannon (Maggie Grace).

"Locke and Boone find something in the jungle," Somerhalder says, "that's going to change everything. Boone's growing admiration for Locke is going to essentially get him into trouble."

Somerhalder says the episode may also change opinions about Shannon, who thus far has seemed shallow and self-centered, to the point of giving herself a pedicure in the midst of the wreckage on the beach.

"I'm sure most of the public thinks, 'Oh God, there's that yappy blonde and the other dude,'" Somerhalder says. "Hate her all you want, because it only gets better. You start to understand why these two people act like they act, especially toward each other. It's a great thing to have that payoff and that tie-in, and you go from there.

"The island is starting to change people, and I think I'm the first one it's changed. All the things I didn't like about Boone, I now understand, and I'm looking forward to learning more."

But, Somerhalder says, don't expect easy answers. "I will tell you this, every question you have, there are five answers, and that's what's great."

©Kate O'Hare, 01/2005,