All of his fellow castaways, he says, feel underappreciated by ABC, a network that was in last place before Desperate Housewives and Lost became huge hits in 2004. “The difference between how ABC has treated Lost and how they treated Desperate Housewives has been night and day,” he says, holding the ball under his right arm. “There’s a perception among the guys on the cast that we were busting our ass on the island and we weren’t getting a lot of recognition for that. They feel like we’re the bastard stepchild of the two huge hits on ABC this year. I’ve told them to keep their heads down and keep telling good stories and it will all work out in the end.” Still, he’s annoyed that the Desperate Housewives cast has gotten bonuses and gifts while the Lost actors haven’t. “ABC didn’t want to shower those girls with any more than they had to, but there was crazy shit over there from what I’ve heard. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” The squeaky-wheel adage does not hold true, however, when I try to employ it by whining my way through a game of P-I-G, which lasts just under three minutes.
“He’s a jock and a hard-core tattooed dude, and he’s sensitive, and he’s a dad and the guy you want to get shit-housed with,” says Lost cocreator Damon Lindelof. “It’s all the same guy. You can have man-love with Foxy, and it’s all good.” Matthew Fox is so guy-approved, apparently, that straight men call him Foxy.
After we sit in traffic on our way to a roadside truck that sells boiled shrimp—one Fox has heard is famous on the island and is eager to show off to his date—he decides to bail and instead head to Killer Tacos. As we sit and eat, I can’t understand why no one has noticed him. It’s not like Hawaii is crawling with celebrities. Don Ho can cover only so much ground. “No one really gives a shit about me in Hawaii, which is nice,” he says. “I think everybody is conscious of the fact that Lost shoots here, and they’re just like, ‘That’s part of our island.’” As if to illustrate Fox’s point, a middle-aged guy with a mustache looks over at us. “Excuse me,” he says to Fox. “Are you Jack Johnson?”
That’s exactly what the actor looks like: someone who is just supposed to be famous, whether he wants to be or not. “It’s not just that he’s tall and good-looking. It’s a weird calm intensity he has,” says Steve McPherson, the president of ABC, who cast Fox as Lost’s de facto leader, spinal surgeon Jack Shepard. “Just a stare from him says so much.” And on occasion, he employs it for sport.
“We’ll spot someone in a bar and we’ll use that guy as a target for the evening,” says Dominic Monaghan, who plays rock star Charlie Pace on Lost. “We can both be pretty ornery if we feel like it, especially if we’ve had a hard day at work. It has to be some sort of goober, someone who overstays their welcome. We’ll just turn on this person and keep going at him until he leaves the group. Foxy doesn’t suffer fools too gladly.” Unless, of course, they are writing a magazine profile of him.