Actor Dominic Monaghan doesn't mean to bring loyal Lost fans straight back to the glory days with his role in the new Syfy movie Atomica. But let it be known: It'll happen anyway. Monaghan, who still has fans' hearts as the loyal, guitar-bearing Charlie on the iconic '00s series, returns to the screen in a futuristic thriller that will likely be a delight to any Lost fan. Monaghan admits that, from props to character traits, there are parallels between the new film (premiering March 17, with digital release March 21) and the series. But the major similarity comes down to specific factors: ambiguous characters and a really freaking intriguing story.
Monaghan stars alongside Riverdale's Sarah Habel in the film, set in a near-future nuclear power plant in the desert. The uncertainty of what unfolds and the setting alone bring back major Lost vibes. But to Monaghan, the entities are completely different. "It’s definitely not intentional. I never thought, ‘This is gonna be like Lost-y type thing,’" the 40-year-old tells me on the phone. "I won’t intentionally choose these films that have close ties to each other," he says. "I just choose projects that appeal to me based on strong stories, strong scripts. Atomica had a strong storyline. The first script of Lost that I read had a very strong storyline." Fair. Still, I can't help but point out the striking similarities.
First one up: His character Robinson plays the guitar. Monaghan swears it's coincidental, though. "That’s just because as a person I like playing the guitar, it’s fun," he says. "They wanted me to have some sort of prop a lot, they thought it would be fun for me to be walking around with certain things since I spend so much time on my own. They gave me a golf club at one point and then they gave me a guitar," he explains. Although it's not on purpose, as a major Lost fan, it still made me really happy to watch. He also does see why elements of the power plant (that it's secluded and creepy) would remind fans of The Hatch. It's all a mystery, and so are its dwellers. Seem familiar?
"All the actors — it’s difficult to find someone you can trust. It’s a futuristic coil," he explains. None of the characters or their motives are truly clear throughout the film — especially Monaghan's. The untrustworthy characters make for "lots of twists and turns," according to the actor. "I always wanted to flip the script one scene to the next, so if he seems trustworthy in one scene, I always try and make him seem a bit dodgy in the next," he says. "That was one of my big challenges. You never really feel like you’re on solid ground." And like Lost, that's what makes watching so addictive.
At the end of the day, Monaghan knows that Lost fans recognize "a good story" when they see one, which he appreciates. And although the actor has fond memories from his time on the show, he feels it should be left in 2010 where it belongs — regardless of reboot chat. "I think there are projects that should be left alone," he explains. "Remaking Game of Thrones or Lost, I think it’s that type of show, it’s big and they should come up with some original idea."
Monaghan speaks to Lost EP Damon Lindelof's recent comments about a possible reboot, agreeing that everything would have to change. "They can’t have anything to do with me [or] with the original cast. And that’s how I feel," he says. "If you’re gonna redo Lost, have new characters, have new writers, have new ideas. But it’ll never be the same. You can’t go back and do it again." As much as I love the series, I have to agree.
And he's more than OK with not being invited back if a reboot were to happen. "It’s something that I’ve done, it’s not something I have any interest in doing again," he says. "It was a great cast and it was a great time in everyone’s lives." He offers advice for fans like me who want more: "I just think if you love Lost a lot, you should just keep watching the original."
Or, you know, Atomica. Neither will disappoint.