Nestor Carbonell gets “lost” in his Ringer role

Nestor Carbonell gets “lost” in his Ringer role

05.02.NestorCarbonell

Even before appearing in the monumental plot-twisting series Lost, Nestor Carbonell has had some great roles in his career. He played the mayor of Gotham City in The Dark Knight, an assassin in the Smokin’ Aces film, and the jealous eldest son in the series Cane. But it was his attention-grabbing role as the lost soul Richard Alpert on Lost that won him a strong fan base.

Now he’s playing an FBI agent, Victor Machado, in the new CW series Ringer, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, but he still reflects on how much his life has changed since Lost.

Carbonell said, “Getting the role on Lost was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever gotten, creatively and personally too. My wife and I were able to move our whole family and put our kids in school in Hawaii, at least for the last season. I’ve fallen in love with Oahu, which is not hard to do. And on top of that, I got to say amazing words in one of the most inventive storylines I’ve ever known.”

Coming off that experience was hard, he admitted, explaining, “It was such a groundbreaking show in so many ways. How do you follow that? I remember on the set of Lost we all would talk about ‘what are we going to do next? We knew it would be really hard to follow.”

But afterward Carbonell was surprised to read a number of pilots that he called “very much out of the box, not typical network fare. This year there were a lot of them. Networks took more chances. Cable has obviously been doing that for awhile, but not the main stream networks.”

Then he got the script for Ringer, when CBS was planning on doing it. “I thought it was really unusual for that network. But then we wound up on the CW, which I think is a fine fit. I was really encouraged by that.”

He loves the storytelling of Ringer, and described it as “a serialized thriller. I love that there are tremendous twists, each character has grave behavior, including mine. I still don’t know what it is, but I’m getting use to not knowing much.”

Even several episodes into the show, Carbonell doesn’t really know if his character is a good guy, or if he can be trusted. He said, “I can’t give much away because I don’t know my own back-story. I suppose I could get something out of the writers, but I’m kinda enjoying not knowing too much. I got use to that on Lost, and also being on the Dark Knight with my part there.”

Not knowing is good for Carbonell, “because I don’t want to judge him one way or another. I just know he’s driven to do something. The dogged determination he has to put this man away, and chase this girl to help him do it. I don’t know his motivation, but I’m sort of enjoying him enjoying the chase. As long as he’s enjoying it, I’m enjoying it.”

What else will he say about his role? Not too much. But Carbonell did report, “I wouldn’t be surprised if this man has some really dark stuff in his past, and I wouldn’t be surprised of what he may be capable of when he goes to the dark side.”

Lost was the best experience of his life, Carbonell said. But working on Ringer is also turning out to be a lucky break for him. “Working with Sarah Michelle Gellar is amazing, she’s wearing so many hats, playing different characters, producing, she does it all,” he praised his co-star and producer.

“I’m just really excited. And you know what it is? After reading each episode, I’m getting the same sort of similar feeling that I had on Lost, that I can’t wait to read the next one. That’s tremendous. I love the psychological thriller vibe it has, and I’m eager to shoot the next episode,” said Carbonell, the former “lost soul.”


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who have written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 30 years.

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