When last we saw Harold Perrineau's character on Lost, Michael was clinging to a raft in the ocean and his young son, Walt, had just been kidnapped by "the Others." TVGuide.com, having talked to Perrineau last season before the raft left shore, decided to check in with the 37-year-old actor to make sure things were going swimmingly. Turns out they are — mostly — except for the fact that he has a pretty strong aversion to water.TVGuide.com: Hi, how are you?
Harold Perrineau: Can you hold on a second? [Puts us on hold for a minute] Sorry, I was just talking to Josh Holloway, TV Guide's favorite person.
TVGuide.com: Well, he is kind of cute, sorry...
Perrineau: Don't be sorry, I'm glad he's cute. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: You're not too shabby yourself!
Perrineau: Actually, it's a good thing. Cute people don't bother me.
TVGuide.com: Now that your character is separated from the rest of the cast, are you filming at different times?
Perrineau: We are. It's almost like a different show right now. We're not with the people we were with originally, and we have new cast members and we're working a lot with them, so it's like a different show. Two days ago was the first time we had a little party where we were all there together. I was like, "Wow, I haven't seen you in forever."
TVGuide.com: The last time I spoke with you, your story line was all fun, but now you're stuck in the water, which I hear is not your favorite place to be!
Perrineau: Not my favorite place to be. We've got reshoots going on now and that's not going to be any fun, either, but you gotta get it done.
TVGuide.com: So are the rumors that you can't swim true?
Perrineau: Here's the deal: At the beginning of last year, I was not a strong swimmer. I took a bunch of lessons. I'm no Greg Louganis or anything like that, but I can swim. I kept myself afloat by treading water — and that was a big deal!
TVGuide.com: I have visions of them cutting away from a scene and then having to carry you out of the water.
Perrineau: [Laughs] No, that was last year! "Quick, get him out! Get him out!" They gave me a call this summer and told me we were starting right back [filming] in the water and to take some swimming lessons. They told me it was for my own security, so I get to act and not just be panicked. I took the advice.
TVGuide.com: What else did you do over your summer vacation?
Perrineau: I actually did a lot of physical training, because I thought this year would be a big, emotional year. Like the fans, I have to try to figure out what's coming next. I knew that we were on the raft, I knew that Walt was gone and I knew that I'd have to go and get him. I just imagined it was not going to be an easy thing, if I pay attention to how the show is going. So I went to this facility in Los Angeles where they train professional athletes, because I wanted to make sure my endurance was up. Even if there wasn't a lot of physical work, just being that emotionally frayed would kind of take its toll.
TVGuide.com: So you're big and buff now?
Perrineau: [Laughs] No, no... I just did biceps curls and stuff, so that my movement and ability to use my energy becomes more efficient. Now if we have a scene where I have to run, I can do that and not get too winded. A lot of the training was cardiovascular stuff and compound movements, so you train all the muscles in your body.
TVGuide.com: Do you think you will be waterlogged all season long?
Perrineau: I'm hoping not! It's not a lot of fun. The filming is always at night, and we've got a bunch of guys out there, guys banging to make sure no sharks come by. We're not in some tank; we're in the ocean.
TVGuide.com: That's some pretty big incentive to get you to learn how to swim.
Perrineau: Not that it really helps, but it's some incentive — at least you've got a shot. We have an excellent team of technical people and they're taking good care of us. We're working really hard out there. It's tough.
TVGuide.com: On Lost, you never know what can happen. Do you worry that they'll off your character?
Perrineau: Not anymore. The first season was really setting up what's going on and what's going to happen. Somewhere in the middle of the season, it occurred to me that it's no different than my life outside the show, as an actor — you get a job one day, you don't get a job another day. You're in New York City drinking at some bar, the next day you're in Bucharest doing a film. Anything can happen at any time, and that's how my actor life is always, so it doesn't make me nervous on this show. As long as I don't settle in and expect that I'll always be here. It's not like a sitcom.
TVGuide.com: It's just that there are so many rumors floating around, and fans get panicked about their favorites.
Perrineau: The only thing I can do is not be too panicked about it and just do my job. Getting too panicked about it doesn't afford me the ability to just do my gig.
Perrineau: Well, I thought a couple of things. I thought this could be a good thing to deal with and it could be fun and dramatic. The other part of me wondered what it meant for Harold and Malcolm David Kelly [the young actor who plays Walt]. Is Malcolm going to be there? Am I going to be there? As excited as I was to do that stuff then, I knew it was going to [bring about] a change in our relationship. Either we weren't going to be together for a while [on the raft], or one of us wasn't going to come back.
TVGuide.com: You seemed like you had so much fun with Malcolm last season....
Perrineau: We did! We had a lot of fun last season.
TVGuide.com: Now he's with all those... scary people...
Perrineau: Hopefully he'll have as much fun with them. Maybe he'll go to their house.
TVGuide.com: Right, maybe the Others have a whole game room inside the hatch or something. Now I know you can't spoil anything — since they don't tell you anything — but do you think this season's going to live up to last?
Perrineau: I certainly hope so! [Laughs] That's my best hope, that it actually does. We're all trying to do the best we can, so we'll see how it goes.