Matthew Fox on Why He Returned to TV After 12 Years for Peacock's 'Last Light' (Exclusive)

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Matthew Fox makes his return to television 12 years after the end of Lost in the new Peacock apocalyptic miniseries, Last Light. The 56-year-old actor acknowledged his time away from the spotlight and why he chose this project, which co-stars Downton Abbey'Joanne Froggatt, to be the one that marked his TV return.

"There’s a lot of reasons. It really came down to I had done a bucket list of things that I wanted to accomplish in the business and the one thing that I hadn’t done is I hadn’t done any executive producing and I really wanted to try that," Fox, who serves as an EP on the series, tells ET's Matt Cohen. "I wanted to try my hand at it and and have my hand in more elements of the story than just the role that I was portraying."

"Obviously the story itself, the macro backdrop of the story [is] this oil crisis and this family at the core of it that is separated through this crisis and striving to get back together again and be reunited. All those elements are things that I’m drawn to and I thought was a really interesting story to be a part of. There were many elements that brought me to it," he says. 

The five-episode series is based on Alex Scarrow's best-selling 2007 novel, and kicks off when the world's oil ceases to function correctly and all means of power and communication begin to fail. Fox plays Andy Yeats, an ex-pat living in London, and one of the world’s leading petro-chemical engineers. Froggatt portrays his wife, Elena Yeats, who gave up her professional career after her son is diagnosed with a progressive, degenerative eye disease, and made it her life's mission to find a cure.

"Last Light is an incredibly action-packed thriller-drama," Froggatt teases, also describing it as "dystopian." "We meet our family just before this happens but our family ends up being separated across different countries at the time of this global crisis and travel is stopped. They’re fighting to get back to each other, literally, but also emotionally because they have had some difficulties. Their son is suffering from a degenerative eye disorder and that’s put a strain on their marriage. Ultimately, they find a humanity and find a love and rediscover that they as a family unit are the most important thing."

Peacock's LAST LIGHT
MGM Television/NBCU/Peacock

Fox added that the series is "very timely" with the backdrop being the unraveling of an oil crisis and "what chaos it creates in Europe." "I’m obviously aware of the timeliness of that and I think that’s an important element to Last Light," he observes. "But then at the core of it, to have this family, to have these these characters that I think the audience will root for and want them to be reunited and be able to relate to how important family is and the people that you love, that was a huge draw for me."

Froggatt spoke about her experience working opposite Fox, whom she said she was a big fan of dating back to Party of Five, where he played the eldest Salinger sibling and pseudo father figure on the '90s family soap. "I watched Party of Five and I also watched Lost, so lots of my friends were extremely excited -- possibly more so than anyone I’ve ever worked with -- that I was working with Matthew Fox," the actress shares. "The experience did not disappoint. It was an absolute dream [working with him]."

Though Fox admitted that he wasn't an avid Downton Abbey viewer, his wife, Margherita Ronchi, is and when Froggatt joined Last Light, he said "Margherita just lost her mind."

"She said, 'She’s so amazingly good and you’re gonna love working with her.' That absolutely proved to be true. She’s an exceptional actress and just a wonderful person in every way," Fox praises. "The entire cast was incredible and honestly just the passion and dedication and commitment that everybody brought to the series still moves me just thinking about it."

"Those kinds of experiences is what you wish for and to be away from the business for seven years and to come back into the business and to come back into it with people like Joanne that are that committed that talented, and everybody working towards a common goal and the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, to me that’s a dream," he adds. "I feel very, very, very lucky to have been a part of it and I’m very grateful."

Last Light premieres Sept. 8 on Peacock.

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