Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Hey, did you hear that Eko?

In lieu of commentary on all those shows I haven't seen yet, I give you my long-delayed (mainly because there hasn't been an episode to prominently feature him since January) interview with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje:

Any conversation with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje begins with his names. Not just his triple-decker moniker in real life, which he will helpfully sing to you so you can learn to pronounce it (it's "Ah-day-wah-lay Ah-kin-noy-yay Ahg-bah-zhay"), but the name of Mr. Eko, the stick-swinging pacifist he plays on "Lost" (9 p.m., Ch. 7).

When the "Lost" producers approached the "Oz" alumnus about becoming the series' newest castaway, they didn't have much of a character in mind, and the name they wanted to use was Emeka. As Akinnuoye-Agbaje, who was born and raised in London but has occasionally lived in his mother's native Nigeria, explained to them, Emeka is a name common among a different Nigerian clan from the one his family belongs to. So he proposed Eleko, which translates roughly as "Lord of Lagos." After trimming it down to Eko, he suggested that people refer to him as "Mr. Eko."

"And they objected," he recalls. "They said, 'Nobody has a title on this island,' and I said, 'That's precisely the reason we should do this, to create that.' They wanted the character to be very mysterious, and I said, 'You have that tool to implant whatever you want into the mystery.'"

And with that one decision, Akinnuoye-Agbaje created one of the great character names in TV history (up there with Emma Peel and Napoleon Solo), and a fitting one for arguably the most intriguing man on the "Lost" island.

For the rest, click here.

6 comments:

Cheesesteak said...

I've just become inducted to the Lost-Love group, by watching the first season on dvd this weekend. I haven't watched any of the second season... do you know where I can find out ABC's schedule for the summer? I'd love to watch the 2nd season in reruns, and I thought you might know, being an entertainment journalist.

Thanks

Alan Sepinwall said...

I don't even think ABC knows what its summer schedule is going to be yet, but a good chunk of season two has already been rerun, so you'll either have to wait for the DVD or resort to Torrent downloads to watch the season in order.

dez said...

Great interview, Alan! Mr. Eko is my favorite character on the island and I love Triple A's acting. Now if only LOST would feature him more often!

Todd VanDerWerff said...

I believe ABC is going to offer the whole season as a freeview thing on the Internet starting in May.

It's also available on iTunes.

dez said...

What do you think of that freeview stuff, Alan? Will they be able to encode it so that people with stream-capturing technology can't copy & bootleg it, or have they given up on all that DRM crap? :-)

Alan Sepinwall said...

You're more techno-savvy than I am, Dez. I'm going to give it a shot when they release it, but I leave the troubleshooting to friends like you.