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Lost star Josh Holloway keeps our pulses pounding with his latest action-packed role.

Don’t worry, Lost fans: Josh Holloway made it off the island. In fact, the man behind smoldering con man Sawyer not only made it to the mainland, he’s now keeping company with the likes of Tom Cruise in this month’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. The 42-year-old from Free Home, Ga., fills us in on how he got the job and where he’ll go from here.

American Way: The plot for M:I4 is very hush-hush. Can you share any info without having to take us out?
Josh Holloway: I can say that I’m an IMS agent. And I can say my part is small but poignant — and action-packed.

AW: So you’ve gone from playing a con man to a covert international­ agent. How did that happen?
JH: Well, it starts with [M:I4 producer and Lost creator] J.J. Abrams. I’d just spent 18 days in Georgia with my family, drinking beers, looking like a redneck. I had to go to New York for meetings, so I cleaned myself up and while I was there, I got a call [from Abrams, who said], “Are you available? Can you fly to Prague in two weeks?” I was, like, “Yeah, I can, actually!”

AW: So, did you go toe-to-toe with Tom Cruise for your stunts?
JH: Oh, I did a lot of stunt work, and it was quite fun. For stunts on Lost, they gave you 10 minutes and basically said: “Now, go!” But that was diving off waterfalls, falling off ladders. Nothing crazy like Mission: Impossible. For this, they bring you out early for weapons and stunt training.

AW: What’s next for you?
JH: I’m kind of playing chess at the moment and waiting and watching. Business never happens as fast as you want it to. That’s the hard part for me: having patience.

AW: We must discuss your hair — it has been chopped off! Do you love it or hate it?
JH: No one recognizes me, and that’s great! I get a haircut and shave my beard, and I get my anonymity back. But since the hair is growing out now …

AW: You’re growing it long again?
JH: [Laughs] Oh, I don’t know what I’m doing.