Stranger in A Strange Land (Lost) - Production


"Stranger in a Strange Land" was the first episode of the series directed by Paris Barclay. Barclay had previously won two Emmy Awards for directing episodes of NYPD Blue. The episode was written by Elizabeth Sarnoff and Christina M. Kim, the pair had previously worked together on the second season episodes "The Hunting Party", "The Whole Truth", and "Two for the Road".

Although Jack had tattoos on his arm the entire series, their origin had never been explained. Matthew Fox received the tattoos before Lost was even created. The producers considered putting make-up over them, but instead, decided just to keep them and fit it in with the plot. According to Assistant Professor Xinping Zhu of Northeastern University, the tattoo is made up of four Chinese characters from a poem written by Mao Zedong in 1925. Fox's tattoo translates to "Eagles high up, cleaving the space". (In this episode however, one of "the Others" tells Jack that his tattoo translates as: "He walks among us, but he is not one of us." Jack replies, "That's what they say, that's not what they mean.") The number 5 can also be seen on Fox's forearm, he got that one while working on Party of Five, along with another cast member. In an interview, Fox said that for him, getting a tattoo was a "pretty intense experience", and something he would not do in the "spur of the moment". He thought Jack having tattoos was a "really cool idea". Since Fox used tattoos to represent memories or meaningful events in his life, the writers took a similar approach when dealing with Jack's tattoos.

"Stranger in a Strange Land" was shot in various places on the island of Oahu. The scenes with Kate, Sawyer, and Karl on the canoe were shot in Kāne'ohe Bay, while the flashback beach scenes were filmed on Waimanalo Beach. The shots of Jack in a cage were done in Oahu's Paradise Park. The Other's tank and operating room are located in a film studio on the island. Bai Ling, who played Achara, recalled that when shooting the sex scene between her character and Jack, she was "kind of nervous" because she did not know Fox very well. Ling recalls that "we (she and Fox) both had a mutual understanding to just go for it. Sometimes I'm on top of him, sometimes he's on top of me."

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