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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.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
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:
Posted by Alan Sepinwall at 7:41 AM