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The Surprising Actor That Almost Played Jack Shephard In Lost

Back in 2004, fans of the TV show Alias were treated to another primetime drama by imaginative creator J.J. Abrams. ABC's Lost garnered over 18 million views for part one of the premiere. The pilot introduced several characters that viewers ended up following throughout the show's six-season run between 2004 and 2010. The survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 had a de facto leader in spinal surgeon Jack Shephard, portrayed by Matthew Fox. With six years to grow into the role, It's hard to imagine anyone else as Jack Shephard — everything from Fox's quizzical looks to his constant struggles to catch his breath became signature parts of the character.

Both Lost and Shephard himself would have looked a little different if Abrams had gotten his original casting choice. During the show's development, Abrams reportedly had a conversation with Beetlejuice star Michael Keaton, and had even offered him the role of Jack Shephard. As Keaton explained in a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, there was a very specific reason he ended up turning down the role.

Creator J.J. Abrams had originally tapped Michael Keaton for the role of Jack Shephard

As it turns out, Jack Shephard was slated to be a very different kind of role when Keaton was in talks. "J.J. and I had a conversation, he told me about this thing ... and I like what he does," Keaton recalled, going on to sum up Abrams' pitch. "He said, 'Here's what happens, the guy that you think is the lead dies in the last ten minutes.'"

The idea of a short but prominent role interested Keaton, who had made a point of being selective with the projects he chose to work on at that time. The former Batman star was spending most of his time on his ranch in Montana, and he wasn't interested in doing an entire series.

"Those kind of things intrigue me ... and I thought, 'Yeah!'" Keaton said of the initial plan to kill off Jack at the end of the pilot. "The idea of doing an hour television show, I'm just too lazy."

When plans changed and Jack Shephard's story became open ended, Keaton turned down the role. Fox, who had originally auditioned for James "Sawyer" Ford, a character ultimately portrayed by Josh Holloway, was recast into the now-leading role of Jack.

As of now, we're still waiting for a collaboration between Keaton and Abrams, but with Keaton reprising his role as Batman in the upcoming DC movie The Flash and Deadline's rumors that Abrams reportedly working with DC on Justice League Dark for HBO Max, the world may be one step closer to this long-awaited partnership.