EVANGELINE LILLY Life after Lost.
From LOST to FOUND Evangeline Lily opens up about her struggles in the spotlight and finding her happy place
Evangeline Lilly has received dozens of award nominations throughout her 14-year acting career but says the greatest honour she’s ever received is her 7-year-old son Kahekili’s approval. “He thinks it’s cool that his mom slays orcs and that she’s the Wasp,” says Lilly, 38. “He also thinks if a robber broke into our house, I’d be the one to deal with it, not Dad. Dad, by the way, is 6'3" and a big Hawaiian guy.” Although Lilly has made a career of playing characters who kick butt—kate on Lost, warrior elf Tauriel in The Hobbit and the shrinkable superhero Wasp in Ant-man and its sequel Ant-man and the Wasp (out now)— the Canadian native didn’t set out to do so.
In fact, her entire career was somewhat of an accident. While studying international relations at the University of British Columbia she says she fell into acting during an “exercise in self-expression.” Less than two months later she was on a beach in Hawaii shooting the Lost pilot. “It sounds weird but I had no intentions of getting a job,” she says. “But I was dead broke. They said, ‘ We’ll give you a little chunk of change if you’d come and shoot this pilot.’ I was like, ‘Hell yeah, I’ll go!’ ”
While the success of Lost alleviated any financial worry—and she dated co-star Dominic Monaghan for a few years—it saddled her with an unexpected other stress: overnight celebrity. “I was never enamoured by the idea of fame,” she says, admitting she went through “a pretty dark time” coming to terms with being a public figure. In fact she planned on retiring from acting after Lost ended in 2010 and for two years enjoyed life off the grid moving to Hawaii with her partner Norman Kali who worked in film production and is now a stay-at-home dad.
She took up surfing and wrote scripts and
“I was never enamoured by the idea of fame”
children’s books. She also settled into the role of being a mum, having Kahekili in 2011 and a daughter in 2015.
But when Peter Jackson offered her a role in The Hobbit, she couldn’t turn it down. Same with Ant-man. Lilly says she had to find a way to “make peace” with working in Hollywood and “embrace all the things that made me uncomfortable.” She did—and she has her low-key island home life to keep her grounded. “I had to find a place in which I could be happy,” she says. “And now I very much am.”
As Wasp (with Paul Rudd’s Ant-man) Lilly is the first female superhero in the title of a Marvel movie.
Lilly’s Hobbit character, Tauriel, did not feature in the original novels and was created for the film adaptations.
“There’s a rumour every year that they are going to reboot Lost,” Lilly said of the show that rocketed her to fame. “I’ve always been somebody who loves fitness and health and I stay in shape,” Lilly says.