Hi guys. I've been acting for more than 18 years.

My latest film is THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE, which is being released tomorrow January 20th on-demand, DVD and Blu-Ray. It's about the only case of demonic possession recognized by the U.S Government.

I'm looking forward to answering your questions, and Victoria will be assisting me with getting started.

Proof: http://imgur.com/Lr3Fto6



Update Thank you so much for joining me on Martin Luther King Day. And for your questions and interests in me and my projects. For further information you can follow me on Twitter @WilliamMapother or on my website, http://williammapother.com

Comments: 200 • Responses: 64  • Date: 

busterroni52 karma

(WARNING: Lost spoilers)

Hey Ethan! For me, the single scariest part of Lost is when you cut off Charlie and Claire in the forest and say "Hello there", specifically because of the face you make.

Two questions:

What was it like being the first villain on the show?

Do you wish you had a larger role on Lost?

WilliamMapother57 karma

Every actor wishes they had a bigger role, but that way, as they say, insanity lies. It's like everything in life: the key is focusing on gratitude. It was a ball playing Ethan. I have a whole defense as to why he wasn't a villain, ie, we never saw him actually hang charlie, he didn't start the fights with charlie and jack, the injections he gave claire turned out to be beneficial, as we learned from Juliet, etc., etc. I beg you, don't get me started!

busterroni9 karma

we never saw him actually hang charlie

Are you saying he hung himself? And he actually did start fights, remember him punching Jack and telling him not to follow him? But I agree, he isn't given enough credit. He did choose to not kill Danielle and to take Alex along with Ben.

WilliamMapother38 karma

we don't know if someone else from the others hanged Charlie. Charlie never says Ethan hanged him. And Jack started the fight. And Charlie swings the club at Ethan first...

Classyconman1 karma

No I definitely agree. The show made it seem like you where a villain but as the show progressed more was revealed that suggested otherwise. The mere fact that Juliet liked Ethan if I remember correctly should be evidence enough that he was a good guy.

WilliamMapother3 karma

I'll call you the next time I need to defend Ethan.

shivan2121 karma

Hi William! What Lost meant to you and your actor's path?

WilliamMapother25 karma

Lost was the biggest bump I've had in my career, and the show I still get recognized for more than any other. I have lots of fond memories of it, some for the benefits it had for my career, and lots of other ones for personal reasons.

shivan2120 karma

Did you know that you were playing a villain from the start in Lost?

WilliamMapother33 karma

No, I had no idea, altho when I wasn't on the manifest and I saw that scary look, I figured I wasn't the #1 hero. : )

nkleszcz14 karma


Loved Hated you in LOST. You were such an effective baddie, and came out of nowhere.

I'm looking thru your imdb movie list, and saw you played bit parts in some of my favorite movies of all time. Can you share an anecdote on a couple of these, such as MI:2 or Magnolia? Any interesting stories?

WilliamMapother19 karma

In Magnolia, Paul Thomas Anderson put me up in the booth over the game show with Robert Downey Jr's dad. He said he envisioned us as the two cranky old men from the Muppets, or the two crows from Song of the South, and he told us to improvise snarky, sarcastic comments about the game show participants. We spent an entire day doing that. What a blast!

gabibust12 karma

What was like working with Emilie de Ravin?

WilliamMapother23 karma

Wonderful, actually. We had a terrific dynamic. She was a lot of fun, and we loved the trailer someone cut to an imaginary romantic movie about Ethan and Claire. I feel fortunate that she was my kidnappee. : )

busterroni5 karma


What was it like kidnapping Emilie de Ravin?

WilliamMapother14 karma

As I just mentioned, she was a blast to work with. As Ethan, I had to justify the kidnapping to myself, so of course I told myself that I was doing it for her own benefit.

KingOfCopenhagen12 karma

Are you related to Tom Cruise in any way?

WilliamMapother52 karma

Yes, we're first cousins. I'm not answering any questions about him because I've learned that unfortunately, nearly anything I write/say about him gets taken out of context. So it's easier and safer to say nothing.

RealLifeFry11 karma

You were great on Lost. I really liked you for a long time until you betrayed everyone but hey, writers not you. How crazy was the secrecy surrounding Lost for you being a cast member? Thanks again!

WilliamMapother16 karma

It was pretty much a lockdown, but it wasn't hard keeping any secrets, b/c i saw how hard everyone was working to make a great show, and I was never tempted to endanger that.

DEzo10 karma

I liked your film World Trade Center...how was it like working with Oliver Stone? Did you ever chat with Nic Cage at all?

WilliamMapother16 karma

I didn't see Nic on the set. Oliver was, well, interesting to work with, as I think most of his actors would tell you. I was a prodn asst on 'Born on the 4th of July' about 20 years earlier, and he was a lot less intense on 'WTC' than he was on 'Born.' Still, that relative. I mean, we're talking about Oliver. He's very smart and gave me about eight separate notes for each takes, eg, 3-4 about emotion and expression, 1-2 about motivation, and 2-3 about blocking or walking through the set. That's one of the best parts of acting--finding a way to work best with the director's needs and personality.

shivan2110 karma

What tv show would you like to join most?

WilliamMapother10 karma

Current or past?

shivan2111 karma

What about one current and one past?

WilliamMapother18 karma

The Wire, Deadwood, All in the Family, Cheers, the Office (US and UK), Girls, Sex and the City... I mean, I could keep going!


I think your best role was In The Bedroom- fantastic acting, absolutely raw movie.

Any stories from the set of that film?

WilliamMapother10 karma

I love that film, thank you. I remember the gorgeous locations of midcoast Maine that we shot in. Sissy didn't want to see me much during the shooting, b/c it would make me harder to hate me on screen if we became good friends. I have a lovely memory of taking a long hike with Marisa before shooting started so we could get to know each other well. My memories of the set are mostly of me staying off to the side, by myself, so I could stay focused once the cameras rolled. I sensed during production that we were doing something special...

Nadyshenz10 karma

What's in your opinion you can play better - good character or bad character?

WilliamMapother12 karma

Good question. I hope that question can't ever be answered -- it's part of what keeps me trying to be better and better in every role..

gabibust9 karma

Do you keep in touch with anyone from LOST cast?

WilliamMapother17 karma

As I mentioned above, I run into them and keep working with them. That show's alumni are everywhere!

Eluveitie9 karma

Hey William! You were great on Lost and Ethan was one of my favourite characters. My question though is about your episode of Criminal Minds. What was it like being terrorized by Wil Wheaton and do you have any funny stories from the set? Thanks!

WilliamMapother35 karma

it was freaky, being terrorized by him. he should play more creepy roles! story: my char was tied to a chair and they told me to really try to break free. me: "really try?" them: "yes." me: "you're sure." them: "yes." so i really tried and pulled the arms off the chair and broke the back of it and stood up. them: "okay, let's shoot this again. this time, just pretend to try."

thekittycommander9 karma

Have you ever played the lottery using the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42?

WilliamMapother13 karma

no, but i probably should!

RosellaWeigand8 karma

Hello, William! What fueled your interest in starting the company Slated?

WilliamMapother11 karma

I saw how hard it was for filmmakers to raise money for worthwhile projects, and I thought there had to be a better way. I'm also one of those who believe that technology can help bring efficiency and transparency to areas it's badly needed..

chooter8 karma

What is Slated?

WilliamMapother11 karma

Slated is a film finance marketplace. We bring together investors and indie filmmakers. On Indiegogo and Kickstarter, the 'investors' only donate, but on Slated, they actually invest in the projects. We have thousands of projects and users, and most of them are with actors and filmmakers you've heard of and/or seen.

ismellliketuna8 karma

What was it like working with John Woo and what was your favorite movie by him ?

WilliamMapother9 karma

Well, my favorite might be 'Mission:Impossible 2,' but that's only b/c I have such great memories of working on it. He was fun to work with. He was very focused on the set. Comparing filmmaking in Hollywood to in Hong Kong, he said, "In Hong Kong, no money and lots of time. In Hollywood, lots of money and no time."

Fistandantalus8 karma

Hey William. Just wanted to say that you were awesome as Ethan. I loved how you went from a caring doctor with a great bedside manner to outright sociopath. It was so intense. An awesome character you just love to hate.

Even though you had guest appearances throughout the series, did you keep in touch with other castmates?

What is your favourite scary movie?

Nutella or peanut butter? (hey, it is important haha)

Anyway, cheers. Thanks for doing the AMA.

WilliamMapother12 karma

Thank you. It was a very fun role with lots of variety. I just did Hawaii 5-0 with Jorge and I did Constantine with Jeremy Davies, so I run into actors from the show everywhere. Fave scary movie? So many to pick from! I'd have to think about that. PB is everyday; nutella for special occasions. : )

apatil48 karma

Hi! I hated you in Lost and The Mentalist, you are a good actor :)

Can you name any sci-fi movies where you would have loved playing the villian?

WilliamMapother6 karma

The original Alien, Nosferatu, Nicholson's role in the Shining...that's a start.

FoghornsLeghorns7 karma

Hey William. You provided the motion capture (and initially the voice) for Agent 47 in Hitman Absolution. Can you tell us about what it was like to work on that?

Was it disappointing to learn they had decided to reinstate the original voice actor (David Bateson) and dub over your vocal performance? Having seen you in other stuff, I can definitely recognise elements of your physical performance, especially with the facial animations - So you definitely left your mark on the character.

WilliamMapother12 karma

That's very kind of you, thank you. Yes, I was disappointed they replaced my voice, esp b/c my voice is the first reason they hired me to do the motion capture at all. However, I also understand their belief that the game's fans were accustomed to David's voice. I was happy just to be a part of it. I had a ball doing the motion capture. It was an entirely different sort of acting, and I think most actors would benefit from incorporating it into their acting training and practice. One of the best parts were the great actors they got to do the other roles.

seismicor6 karma

I understand that The Atticus Institute is based on true events (or so they say). Do you personally believe in supernatural?

WilliamMapother5 karma

There's a wide range of what's considered supernatural, and I think it's fair to say that it's too soon to say that none of it is possible. I think we don't know yet. It seems every week or two science discovers something that was previously considered impossible, right? So, let's just wait and see....

SoltanPill6 karma

Have you worked with Kristen Wiig?

DID you like the ending of LOST?

What were your favourite movies of 2014?

WilliamMapother23 karma

No, but I'd love to! I did like the ending of Lost. I know lots of people weren't satisfied, but the creators had lots of balls in the air, and I think there were few options for an ending that would satisfy all the answers. I asked Damon Lindelhof (a co-creator) about all the mysteries in the show, and he assured me that every mystery/question could be answered by material that was in the show. Grrr! I'd love to look for all of them. Life's too short!

ginacherry705 karma

In Another Earth, how long did it take to practice the musical piece where you are playing the saw? The music was absolutely enchanting & hypnotic. You played John Burrows so beautifully and captured the characters pain and the return of his sense of hope magically.

WilliamMapother10 karma

Thank you. Re. the saw, though: Honestly, I was HOPELESS at it. It is much more difficult than it appears. That, plus my lack of natural saw-playing ability, meant that even after a few hours, I was still in the first 10% or so of what I was supposed to learn. So I just focused on learning the first 10-20%, and fortunately, the director had a montage of images that he could throw in to cover up my sawsome ineptitude.

ProPandaBear5 karma

What was it like being the only blind person on the island?

Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjmKJZKmCJc#t=164

You were amazing on Lost, and this is one of the better AMAs I've seen, considering you've actually been answering questions. Thanks for doing it!

WilliamMapother5 karma

that's a great blooper reel. total brain fart. i was probably thinking about polar bears.. thanks. it was my first AMA. i'm glad you liked it. signing off!

RosellaWeigand5 karma

Are still you writing (scripts, stories, plays)? If so, what genre do you find yourself writing most often & why?

WilliamMapother10 karma

Yes, I do write, and curiously (given what I get cast in), I usually write comedies. I'm a bit of a goofball in life, so my family and friends are amused and mystefied that I get cast in so many dramas. So many of my fave books and movies are comedies. I see humor almost everywhere, so I suppose it's natural that would come out in my writing..

redder235 karma

What would you say is your favourite movie of all time is?

WilliamMapother12 karma

Just one?! So many: Some Like It Hot, Superbad, Grand Illusion, The Lady Eve... I'm a big fan of the screwballs from the 30's. Just one?!?

pietromm4 karma

Did you got lost with Lost too?

WilliamMapother6 karma

Around season 3 or 4, I kind of moved into the back seat mentally. I still watched and really enjoyed it, but with the whole time shifting and whatnot, I decided to just focus on the characters. : )

shivan214 karma

How was the process of shooting of Lost evolving between the blocks of your appearances? At the beginning, were directors rather those who told the actors what to do and at the end the actors already knew better than directors how play they characters?

WilliamMapother8 karma

It's customary in long-running tv shows for the regular actors to know their characters better than the directors, b/c in tv there are some directors who direct several eps, and others are usually brought in for just one ep. I think Lost was no different. But the actors on Lost were very respectful of the directors.

porcazozza3 karma

Hi William! Did you enjoy working with Paul Thomas Anderson?

WilliamMapother4 karma

Yes, I mentioned above about Magnolia. Paul loves loves loves working with actors. He's a blast to work with.

RosellaWeigand3 karma

Now, you can be as brutally honest as you like about this....What's it like working with William Mapother? (yes, you read that correctly) ;)

WilliamMapother5 karma

Very funny. Working with myself.. Hmmm.. Well, it's never boring, that's for sure. I'd say he's fun, committed, annoyed when he makes the same errors more than once, intense, positive, and endlessly optimistic. In short, trying but rewarding!

shivan213 karma

How was locations chosen in Lost? Were they far from each other? Did you do many big set transitions between them?

WilliamMapother5 karma

The locations manager chose the locales and did a great job--I think everything was shot on the island of Oahu. Yes, some of the sets were more than an hour from the soundstages in Honoulu. They tried to avoid too many moves during the day, esp b/c of the traffic. I know, traffic in Hawaii? But there's one main highway b/c the two sides of Oahu, and it gets jammed....

shivan213 karma

How was your cooperation with Mike Cahill?

WilliamMapother8 karma

Great. He was the director of "Another Earth," for those who don't know. A terrific film of a few years ago. I haven't worked with many who have as much open enthusiasm as Mike does. Sometimes he seems to almost bounce with excitement, and he encourages experimentation from his actors. A real joy.

clowndogger3 karma

I LOVED you in FDR American Badass and Darnell Dawkins Mouth Guitar Legend. You're so good in comedies. Any chance we will see in more comedies? We quote you all the time. "You've got the polio Frank."

WilliamMapother3 karma

thank you. i love comedies. ross patterson is my hero. also from 'fdr': "i've had a bad day, too!" [morgue scene]. i had some comic moments in 'another earth' and in my 'mad men' ep, but i'm working on trying to get more comedies, trust me!

Ya-Filthy-Animal2 karma

I just wanted to say that this movie is awesome, and doesn't have nearly the following it deserves!

WilliamMapother2 karma

Thank you.

PeBeFri2 karma

Are/were you under consideration to play Beverly Marsh's father for the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's It?

WilliamMapother3 karma

Not that I'm aware of, but my agents usually don't tell me what they're working on for me, or else I'd go crazy with daydreaming about different roles. : )

NormanBalrog2 karma

Have you been back to Notre Dame recently?

WilliamMapother3 karma

I try to go back to my alma mater for at least one game a season. Last fall I saw us crush Michigan, 31-0. I'm glad I went to that game, before we collapsed in the second half of the season....


What is the best gift you ever received from someone?

WilliamMapother6 karma

Learning something about myself that I could not have without their help.

tculpepper2 karma

Any favorite actors/actresses/directors you have worked with? Anyone you haven't worked with but want to?

WilliamMapother3 karma

lame but true: i've like almost all i've worked with, and i try (to a nearly ridiculous degree) to learn something from each of them. donald sutherland was my first big star i played opposite, so he'll always be on the list. as for those Not-Yetters, the list is long, and you can imagine many (eg, Scorcese, Streep, etc.). Others, off the top of my head: Robert Duvall, Bill Irwin, Joaquin Phoenix, Johnny Depp, the K/Cates (Blanchett and Winslet), Jonah Hill, Kristen Wigg... I mean, how much time do you have?

m4rchu5n00by2 karma

Hi William! How was it working with Matthew Fox? To me he always seemed like a guy who kinda keeps to himself. Did he interact with the other cast members as much as I would expect an actor to do?

WilliamMapother7 karma

He does somewhat keep to himself, but he's also very friendly and a very generous actor. I never saw him withdraw or hold back from interacting, but he does, as they say, keep his own counsel, I think.

SoltanPill2 karma

Who do you think should host the Golden Globes next year? You think Tina and Amy did a good job?

WilliamMapother6 karma

They are terrific. Very funny and very likable.

seismicor2 karma

Why do you think Lost was so popular in your opinion?

WilliamMapother6 karma

If I only knew that! The right idea, at the right time, with the right cast, the right writers, etc., etc. An inexplicable fluke?

SoltanPill2 karma

Were you a strict teacher?

WilliamMapother7 karma

I was only a substitute, so I couldn't be that strict! But I did take over for a chemistry and biology teacher in east LA for a month and designed tests, etc. for the students, and yes, I tried to be pretty strict. Some of the students were behind where they should have been, and I felt that they needed a little extra focus...

SoltanPill2 karma

Did you like working with Catherine Hardwicke and Heath Ledger on Lords of Dogtown?

WilliamMapother2 karma

I didn't work with Heath, but I loved working with Catherine. We run into each other now and then and have become friends. She told me she wrote that part for me, and then still made me come in and audition. Then she made me come in and audition a second time. For a role she wrote for me! : ) But that's her process. She's very, very careful with casting, and who can blame her?

RosellaWeigand2 karma

You named "efficiency" as one of your 2015 resolutions in your update report. What are your other main ones for this year?

WilliamMapother5 karma

Focus. Priorities. Creativity.

KrieghofGames2 karma

The Trailer of your latest film The Atticus Institute looks awesome. Don't get me wrong I like to watch movies in there nativ language, but do you know if there will ever release a german version?

WilliamMapother3 karma

Good question. I don't know. That might depend on how well it does here in the US...

dyanceyfunnie2 karma


WilliamMapother6 karma

You didn't say what your cup of tea actually is, but I have a few to recommend: In the Bedroom (intense drama), Another Earth (smart scifi based around a relationship btw/ a couple damaged people), the Burrowers (unusual combination of a horror and a western). How's that to start?

lmi62 karma

Hi! What was working on The Mentalist like? Thanks!

WilliamMapother5 karma

It was a blast. I've known Simon for years, and it's always fun to work with friends. And the show's producers and directors let me take that character in a offbeat direction that I came up with and never objected. And of course it's always fun to be a part of a show that fans love..

YellowB2 karma

A lot of the Lost characters ended up on ABC's Once Upon A Time. Are there any Disney characters you would like to play on there if given the role?

WilliamMapother3 karma

I'd love to play a Prince. Just once, maybe, a brave, handsome man game for adventures whose pure heart wins him the lovely heroine. Pick a prince, any prince.

helpingfriendlybook1 karma

What was your favorite book at ages 12, 25, and 49?

WilliamMapother2 karma

Argh. Good question, but probably too tough to answer. I've always read a lot and was an English major in college. Guesses: At 12 maybe "Lord of the Rings"; at 25 maybe "Life of Johnson," Gardner's "Grendel" or something on movies; at 49, "Thinking, Fast and Slow" or Montaigne's "Essays."

shivan211 karma

Which from the writers, creators and producers had the most influence on how the series looked like in your opinion?

WilliamMapother2 karma

As an actor, I don't know if I have enough access to the decision-making to answer that, but Lost seems like a pretty good guess, if only b/c it broke the mold of network TV in a number of ways.

i-am-many1 karma

I want to start out by saying that I loved In The Bedroom, I think you did a wonderful job playing Richard.

What is the strangest question you've been asked by a fan? (Hopefully not this one :P )

WilliamMapother1 karma

Good question. I can't recall off the top of my head, but there have been some odd questions. Maybe someone asking me to my face, 'Are you Suri's father?'

AmazingMarv1 karma

Something I've always wondered - how is your last name pronounced?

Mapother or Mapother

WilliamMapother2 karma

I get this a lot. It's pronounced MAY-pah-ther. It'd be easier if it had a 'y' after the 'a.' : )

yellow-hornbill1 karma

Hey, loved you on Lost. Well, kinda hated, but I'm sure you know what I mean. It's cool to think that you aren't actually as scary in real life as you were on that. Did you work much with Jorge Garcia, on Lost or Five-O? Is he as likable as the characters he played/plays? Thanks for the AMA

WilliamMapother2 karma

I saw him around the set on Five-O, but we didn't have any scenes together. Yes, he's a great guy. Very likable.

Beautifulderanged1 karma

Hello. Loved your work in lost, you big creeper. When you discovered your name was Ethan Rom, did you personally figure out it was an anagram for Other Man, or did they tell you, or is it just a coincidence? Once again, loved you on lost, man!

WilliamMapother2 karma

I think I read it online after it aired...

ColonelBabs1 karma

How did you get involved in The Atticus Institute?

WilliamMapother4 karma

The old-fashioned way: I auditioned!

labrev1 karma

Hello! I know I'm a bit late on this, but here goes:

I have never seen LOST and have zero interest in it, but I did happen to fall in love with you through Another Earth so my question relates to that.

I adore the film, and would love to hear any lesser known facts concerning production, Britt Marling (is she not absolutely stunning?), or the film itself.

WilliamMapother2 karma

I'm glad you like it. It was an underdog of a movie. They'd shot a lot of it before I was cast. We shot in mid-NY state (near Bovina, north of the Catskills). My character's house belonged to a friend of Mike and Brit's. The budget was so low that to make snow, the production team ripped open disposable diapers and mixed the filling with water.. Ingenious, but not easy to clean up?

Wiseau_serious1 karma

Hi William, thanks for doing this! Loved you in LOST, and can't wait to see The Atticus Institute.

Do you have a favorite character in LOST, besides your own?

WilliamMapother2 karma

So many to choose from. I like Said's character, among many others.

twoplustwoisyellow1 karma

Do you miss Lost as much as us?????

WilliamMapother1 karma

Only everything about it, that's all.

inkabinka231 karma

Hello. Are you from New Jersey? If so. What's the best place to get a slice of pizza and even better hot dog?

WilliamMapother2 karma

No, I'm from Louisville, KY.

Milfshake23-1 karma

Were you as dissapointed by the Lost finale as I was?

WilliamMapother3 karma

As I mentioned below, I think the creators only had a limited # of choices to try to account for the many, many different strains and mysteries of the show. In trying to do that, I think they did a good job. Let me put it this way: I haven't thought of a better ending that would accomplish what they did..