By Darin April 1, 2009
Call it a case of Lost and found. As Dr. Juliet Burke on the ABC hit television series Lost, Elizabeth Mitchell is a bit of a tease, turning heads with her Others-next-door beauty, while at the same time keeping viewers guessing about her next cunning move. On the mysterious island things aren’t always black and white. Rest assured though that back home, in real life, Mitchell is charming, natural and even a little goofy. She’s the type of person who seems like she would be great to have as your neighbor. And if you live in Washington, she just might be. When not filming on location in Hawaii, Mitchell, originally from Texas, welcomely settles into home life with her husband Chris Soldevilla, an acting teacher and improv comedian, and son C.J. in the Puget Sound – it’s a bit ironic, actually; she works on an island, stars on a show about an island and makes her home on an island. It’s fair to say that Elizabeth Mitchell is Washington’s very own island girl.
What originally brought you to Washington?
I work a lot in Vancouver, BC doing different movies and TV shows and I love the Pacific Northwest. My husband Chris and I were trying to figure out where we wanted to live because we didn’t want to live in Los Angeles and didn’t want to go all the way to the East Coast. We were going to visit Chris’s father in Montana and we looked out of the plane window and saw Puget Sound and Seattle and Chris goes, “What is that!? This place is beautiful!” We fell in love with it from the air and about six months later we ended up buying a house here.
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Lost and Found in Bainbridge
As at home as Elizabeth Mitchell seems running through the jungle on the hit series Lost, she’s even more at home with her husband and son in the sustainable community of Bainbridge. Speaking with us from her Washington home, Elizabeth discusses her life as an actress and “greenie” from the start.
Let’s talk a little bit about the Earth: what’s your outlook on the state of the planet?
I think we’re at a crisis point, and anyone who says that we’re not, well, I don’t think they’re paying attention. I go to all these science exhibits with my son because he’s so fascinated by it, and you see the chain of pollution and what we’re doing with our landfills. I worked for New York Public Interest Research Group for awhile, and I’ve pretty much been a greenie since then. So I’m just excited that it’s fashionable – I don’t really care who started it or when they did it or how they did it, I’m just glad that people are doing it.
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For us, Elizabeth Mitchell will always be the girl who made out with a young Angelina Jolie in Gia, but as Juliet on ABC’s Lost, Ms. Mitchell tends to run around the island looking fierce. So we were shocked to find her to be laid-back and giggly — way more bubbly than bad-ass.
Did you feel any pressure coming on board a pop-culture phenomenon like Lost?
I think I probably just refused to feel it too much. I just had a baby like six months before, and I was too sleep-deprived to care.
That kinda works for the character.
Yeah, fairly insane. But I think I was just like, “Well, I’ll do this, then. That sounds great,” not realizing how huge [the show] was.
Tell us about Juliet.
Well, I think she’s very smart, very loyal. She’s trying to figure something out: how to get home, for the most part. But she can’t find any way to click her heels together.
We think she’s one of the more fascinating characters on the show.
A lot of it, of course, is the writing, but I think that I get so excited because there’s actually something real to play.
You don’t often find such complicated characters on network television.
You really don’t, and I didn’t think she was going to be that. I mean, Juliet didn’t start out that way, so I got more and more interested as I was getting scripts. I was like, “Really? They want me to do this?” It was really unexpected and very cool.
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A Chat with Elizabeth Mitchell
Elizabeth Mitchell, costar of ABC’s hit series Lost, is warm and open and laughs easily. Mitchell, it is instantly clear, could be your best friend: She’s a working mom who juggles her family responsibilities with a high-octane career, all the while wishing for a few more hours of sleep and a little more time at home in Seattle, where she lives with her actor husband, Chris, and son, CJ, 3.
Having a baby has absolutely increased what I am capable of doing creatively. When you have a baby, you are so tired, but your heart grows. His whole world becomes magic. As a parent, you realize you are a maker of that magic. That’s one of your jobs besides all of the practical stuff: whether or not your child loves all these things, like singing and music, has a lot to do with the way you present them.
No Sleep, No Problem
I cannot be someone who is not there at all hours. If CJ wakes up in the middle of the night, then I am going to be there, and we are going to figure out how to go back to sleep. For the first year, he just did not sleep, and now he sleeps like a rock. I think this is because I put so much time in with him back then. You stop worrying about dumb things, and you really just start doing the things that are most essential.
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Part of “Old Info And News”
December 3, 2008
If you’re not among the millions of viewers tuning in to watch Elizabeth Mitchell on ABC’s “Lost,” then you may as well be stranded on a desert island. Fierce, relentless, and complicated, Mitchell’s character, Juliet Burke, has women applauding their TV sets and men shaking their heads. But for Mitchell herself, the greatest glory derives from her personal reaction to the role. The free-spirited, Texas-bred actress forgoes the weekly fanfare to wax philosophical with Brilliant on fame, family, and the forces of “Lost.”
Elizabeth Mitchell has just flown from Los Angeles, where she ruled the red carpet at the Emmy Awards, to Hawaii, practically walking off the plane and onto the “Lost” set. The hectic nature of her schedule leaves this writer anticipating a more jetlag-induced languid tone from the actress. Instead, she greets me with an invigorated voice characteristic of a spa regular or at least, a person who has managed a miraculous nine hours of sleep. “You’ll never guess what I’ve been doing today,” Mitchell announces, setting the suspense. “I spent the whole morning with my little boy and we made pancakes and went to the aquarium.” Now that’s a balancing act.
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