Do you think somebody who is small but psychologically intimidating is just as scary as someone who is big, brawny, and stupid?
 Yeah. Maybe that's a kind of archetypal fear in American culture, because we've always put such premium on deeds rather than words, on physical strength, being stoic, being the hero, being the cowboy, so we worry about the little guys who talk too much. America has a deep mistrust of being verbal, so we kind of like our villains to be verbal. It reinforces prejudice that we already hold.

You recently were in a movie called Jumping Off Bridges, in which you played a man who'd lost his wife to suicide and his daughter in a car accident. 
It was one I couldn't refuse. A young woman [Kat Candler] I had taught Shakespeare to years ago in Jacksonville, Florida, [became] quite a good screenwriter and director in her own right. She lives in Austin, Texas. She sent the script to my agent. I thought it was so spare and grown-up that it would be really a nice thing to do. I liked the idea that we had completed some kind of circle. It was really different for me to play such a mild, everyday kind of character.

We've been left with a cliff-hanger on Lost. Are there any secrets you can reveal?
 What I should say is that I probably know only slightly more than you do. I only know what I see in the script, so I'm maybe two or three scripts ahead of you. But the drama in the operating room is ongoing, and I think I can also tell you that while Ben is incapacitated, a power struggle will begin to happen within the Others community. There's a new character coming along that may be as scary as Ben. As if Juliet weren't scary enough …

Will I be kidnapped by the Others after this interview? No, no. We still don’t know where the ­Others fall on the scale of good and bad. In the season two finale, Ben said that they were the good guys. Although he’s a bit of an actor, I don’t think he’s a liar, so I think he believes that.

If they’re the good guys, they have a funny way of showing it. Well, we don’t know what their master agenda is, do we? The Others seem to be living in extraordinary circumstances. They seem to be a people at war with a formidable enemy, but we don’t know who that enemy is yet. They seem to have a mission, and maybe all these things they’re doing are important. Maybe they’re trying to save mankind somehow, and we just don’t know how they’re doing it.

You’ve joked that you don’t get pursued by paparazzi. Has that changed? I don’t really get paparazzi. I’ve noticed the last couple of weeks that I get stopped on the street more by viewers, but I don’t have cameramen around. I never see those people. I keep kind of a low profile.

Do you think they’re afraid of you? I hope they are! [Laughs]