'Lost' alum Josh Holloway talks his new CBS drama 'Intelligence'
Josh Holloway was Lost for many years, and now he’s found his way back to your TV set. He stars in the CBS drama Intelligence (tonight, 9 p.m.) as Gabriel Vaughn, a former Delta Force who gets a computer chip in his brain courtesy of U.S. Cyber Command, which turns him into an intel-stuffed super agent. You can read our interrogation of Holloway in the Midseason TV preview issue of EW, but in the meantime, check out this bonus Q&A with him.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY:Was the idea of playing a different kind of spy what attracted you most to this show?
JOSH HOLLOWAY: I was looking for something that is very current and wasn’t just the same rehashing of another spy show. Technology is changing daily and not only with the communication but also human enhancement is happening now… They’re able to augment the human mind so that was very interesting to me, [as was] the fact that it wasn’t that he was a tech person — the character was written very raw, very human. He’s a human soldier and he had this mutation that made him available for this experiment and he could not find his wife and was like, ‘I’ll die trying to find my wife, so go ahead, stick this damn chip in my head.’
Would you describe Gabriel as The Six Billion Dollar Man?
The difference, though, is he hasn’t been enhanced in any way physically. Which is very interesting. He can get shot, he can get killed just as easily as you and me. That was appealing to me too — I didn’t want him to be this super human that you can’t hurt or Robocop, who is more machine than human. This is simply a computer chip in his head, so yeah, you have information but that’s it. He’s not physically enhanced and he’s having problems with this chip — he’s going to get hacked, he has viruses, the downside of computers is that we want to Frisbee them against the wall sometimes because they don’t work [laughs], so there’s that element and I was very adamant about that when I took the job. All my questions were around that: What if he’s addicted to, like, polka dancing, and that’s all he streams all the time? What if he can’t control the data flow? What if his dreams go wild? He’s not this super agent that can do everything — no, he’s having problems with this f—er — so it’s good. It makes it real to me and a more interesting dynamic to play.
Gabriel is one of America’s most powerful weapons. But he’s also a loose weapon. Who’s a bigger threat to him: The terrorists or himself?
Well, ultimately the terrorists but he doesn’t make it easy! He doesn’t play by the rules exactly — he’s an instinctual soldier and that’s also what I liked about this character. He’s a soldier more than a computer guy, right? He was taught through Delta, he’s been through all these combat tours pre enhancement so he’s used to making decisions from instinct, making decisions in deep, hardcore operations, he’s used to operating in that way and surviving. So that had to change. He makes field calls on the day that don’t exactly compute with the information that he’s getting per se — it reminds me of that line in Star Wars: “Never tell me the odds.” His brain already tells him the odds. So he just doesn’t listen to it. (laughs) But he definitely uses it to help — he wants to survive but he’s more human than computer.
Gabriel is independent and stubborn, and has bit of a swagger like Sawyer. What do you like most about their differences?
Gabriel has a straight-line code that he lives by. It’s a code of honor. Even though he may be rogue, he may be wild, he’s definitely a patriot and he’s a soldier. Whereas Sawyer had to find his code. [Laughs] He had no code. His code was “F— you. I’m going to win.”
Your first TV gig after Lost was a guest spot on Community. Any talk of a return visit?
I’ve never even thought about it. I still like Community a lot and I loved working with them. If the role was right, it’d be fun, because they’re hilarious.
You shot an action film Sabotage with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Did he give you any action-hero advice?
Not really. I just watched him. He was awesome, I love working with Arnold. It’s just amazing. I met him at the firing range. The first time I ever meet him, I’m walking side-by-side with him blowing off shotguns. That’s when I had my Terminator moment — I’m like, “I’m shooting shotguns with the Terminator! This is crazy!” That was a pretty cool experience. And then they sent us through SWAT school, so I was very tactically trained up for this particular show now so my skill sets are tight!
Several of your Lost castmates — Michael Emerson, Daniel Dae Kim, Jorge Garcia and Terry O’Quinn — have also been popping up on CBS. Is there a chance for the ultimate crossover?
I don’t know where they would do it, but sure! I hope we go to Hawaii and crossover with Daniel Dae Kim so I can sit on the beach and chill! They’d end up throwing me and Dan on some raft so we’d be out in the ocean in the middle of the night. I’m open to it!