Lucire Lucire home page / Fashion / / Volante: travel features and news / Living / Lucire: Insider blog
News headlines / Lucire Reader Forum / Subscribe to the print editions of Lucire
Lucire Community 
Lucire feedback 
Subscribe to the Lucire Insider feed
Subscribe to Lucire

living: our people


Just one of the othersJust one of the others

Elizabeth Mitchell, photographed by Andrew Matusik

While some actresses merely play “the girl next door”, and others try to embody it, Elizabeth Mitchell bends the term every which way to make it her own by Elyse Glickman
photographed by Andrew Matusik
styled by Kevin Watroba/Exclusive Artists
Elizabeth Mitchell appears courtesy of Craig Schneider/Pinnacle Public Relations

Excerpted from issue 23 of Lucire


TALL, BLONDE, BEAUTIFUL, born in Los Angeles and raised in Dallas. In short, Elizabeth Mitchell aptly fits the traditional description of the all-American girl. However, if she based her career and identity on that alone, she would be selling herself short.

Instead, Mitchell picks her roles and projects carefully, taking risks that no doubt challenge this ideal. Today, she’s best known as Juliet, one of the intimidating and mysterious “Others” on the worldwide cult hit Lost. A decade ago, she unwittingly bewitched a passionate Angelina Jolie and then had to confront her own sexuality in the award-winning cable television film Gia. In between, she’s wowed the Brits as Ioan Gruffudd’s love interest on BBC’s Man and Boy, time-travelled with Dennis Quaid in Frequency, co-starred with Rénée Zellweger in Neil La Bute’s edgy comedy Nurse Betty and took a lap on man channel ESPN opposite Barry Pepper in The Dale Earnhardt Story. But let’s just say she’s found herself, or, at least, a compelling side of herself, in Lost.

‘My favourite role to date is Juliet,’ Mitchell muses. ‘Every day and with every script, I feel a certain sense of gratitude that I have a great character and story to work. What I love most [about the show] is the writing and the people. Beyond that, it is wonderful to be excited about going to work every day, and having a very compelling and meaty story. Also, the writers have kept things very consistent in terms of the overall quality of the show and the character I play on the show. Each scene and each twist in the story really surprises me and keeps me on my toes and my skills sharp as an actress.’

Perhaps its those ever-sharp acting chops that helped her build an impressive résumé that has kept her busy and helped rack up the frequent flier miles, as Lost is shot primarily in Hawai’i. And although she was born in Los Angeles and emerged as a successful working actress, she is reassuringly un-Hollywood in terms of her mindset and approach to her career.

She became an actress the old-fashioned way—earning it through education at a performing arts high school, earning a BFA at university, and honing her craft at the regional but very well respected Dallas Theater Company and through such productions as As You Like It, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Chicago. Today, by choice, she calls Washington state home, as she loves the fact that the only agenda her neighbours know about are being good neighbours.

‘It’s nice to not have to get into that whole Hollywood lifestyle where everybody you meet is in the business all the time,’ ponders Mitchell, who was in Los Angeles—on business, naturally, during a break from the Lost set. ‘I prefer being around real people, so it is nice to be surrounded by people going about their daily business and nobody’s trying to hand you a card or a script. Like the best crews I have worked with, everybody around me is happy to be where they are, comfortable in their own skin and enjoying the life they have chosen for themselves.’

While Mitchell has always enjoyed a very consistent career, it was the ground-breaking, controversial and Golden Globe-winning telefilm Gia that put Elizabeth Mitchell into the spotlight. Although star Angelina Jolie used the cautionary role of Gia Carangi (fallen supermodel and one of the first famous American women to die of Aids as a result of persistent drug abuse) to prove that her entrée into acting was not a fluke, Mitchell also garnered kudos for playing Linda, the perfect foil and counterpart to the volatile model. While it opened doors for other roles, Mitchell sees the break as going deeper than winning more auditions.

‘With Gia, the breakthrough for me involved a lot of things—the complexity of the Linda character, playing off Angelina’s interpretation of Gia, Michael Christopher directing—that made it a wonderful, powerful experience for me,’ Mitchell recalls. ‘I was intrigued about Linda herself being a woman in transition. Here is a woman who thinks she has her life and career figured out, and then comes along somebody like Gia who pushes that out of the window. As a viewer and an actress in general, I really enjoy the experience of witnessing a character undergo a major transition and transformation. Furthermore, for a while, Linda is a source of love and strength for Gia, who needed that kind of grounding. Angelina (meanwhile) was intense and engaging, and it was very fulfilling to play off of that.’

Gia is also noteworthy for a rare and strong supporting performance from Hollywood diva Faye Dunaway. Although Mitchell only worked with Dunaway on one day of the shoot (a key transition montage set on an airplane intended to depict the high-flying, fast track and ungrounded nature of Gia’s life at that time), being around the veteran actress and seeing her play off Jolie and director Christopher had a profound impact.

‘There is a certain amount of trust that all of them had with each other and with their work,’ she says. ‘I had to trust them in terms of how they did their work and approached their roles in this film, and that was really nice. It opened things up for me to really delve into the Linda character and my experience with the film’s story in ways I hadn’t done before on other projects. Other than some of my stage roles where I had some meaty characters, to date, that was the first role that really enabled me to work in such a deep thoughtful way.’

On the big screen, the major studio release Frequency brought her even greater visibility, especially in the presence of strong performances from Dennis Quaid, Jim Caviezel and André Braugher. While the time-travel drama won over critics and audiences, Mitchell found that her work in touching family scenes also added depth to the experience. She was also heavily influenced by Braugher’s attitude and professionalism.


Lost's Elizabeth Mitchell in Lucire
Read the remainder of this article, including Elizabeth’s other roles and how she became involved in Lost, complete with a six pp. photo pictorial by Andrew Matusik, in issue 23 of Lucire in print.


Add to | Digg it

‘My favourite role to date is Juliet. Every day and with every script, I feel a certain sense of gratitude … What I love most [about Lost] is the writing and the people. … Each scene and each twist in the story really surprises me and keeps me on my toes and my skills sharp as an actress’





Main image credits: Lace Me Up Scottie dress by Kelly Nishimoto, $649, available at Bleu, Los Angeles 1 323-939-2228; 18 ct yellow gold E initial oval ring by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles, US$2,160; green beryl and imperial topaz 18 ct gold necklace by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles, US$52,800; Goddess yellow beryl earrings by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles, US$35,760; shoes by Charles David, Top: Zambesi Bellini Dress in Old Gold Lace, US$469 and Zambesi Bellini Dress in Pearl Silk, US$359, available at Courtesy of Elizabeth Charles, 639½ Hudson Street, New York, 1 212 243-3201; 25-inch Peridot necklace in 18 ct gold by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles, US$13,440; yellow gold bar bracelet by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles, US$10,320; 18 ct gold heart earrings with green tourmaline by Erica Courtney, Los Angeles, US$12,156; shoes by Christian Louboutin.

Related articles
Lucire 2007 | The Global Fashion Magazine All about Eva
As Eva La Rue ascends to prime-time Hollywood’s A-list via CSI: Miami, she brings with her the wisdom and wit shaped from her years as a working New York-based actress, as Elyse Glickman discovers
photographed by Jon Moe
Expanded from issue 17 of
Lucire 2007 | The Global Fashion Magazine A love of conservation
Actress Jennifer Siebel (The Trouble with Romance) talks about her love for conservation—and what she, in the acting community, is doing about it. It’s beyond lip service
photographed by Charles Thompson
From issue 7 of Lucire