Twist of Fate
First LOST. Then Home.
By Powell Berger
Annie and Ian Cusick never dreamed they’d call Hawaii home. But for Ian, one of the stars from the fomer TV hit “LOST,” plot twists are part of life. “We never knew if Ian would be killed off, so we figured we’d be in Hawaii for a year, tops,” says Annie as she reflected on their life in Hawaii. But of course, Ian wasn’t killed off. “When the show finally ended, we were rooted and our boys loved their schools and life was so beautifully simple and gorgeous, we thought why leave? Where would we go?”
Seven years after Ian’s character Desmond blew the hatch on “LOST,” the Cusicks have put down roots in Lanikai. They’ve launched Oahu-based Henry Joe Productions, created and released the HIFF award-winning short film “DRESS” (using all local talent), and enriched Honolulu’s children theatre with their talent and their dedication. All of this while Ian commutes wherever the work takes him, which at the moment, is Vancouver, Canada, where he’s starring as Kane, the sketchy guy on the spaceship in the CW’s new drama, “The 100.”
“Ian goes to work on a spaceship now,” Annie laughs. “How fun is that!”
When the filming shifts from the spaceship back down to earth, Ian comes home to Lanikai until the spaceship summons him back to Canada. Those earth-bound breaks created just the window needed for Ian and Annie to fulfill a commitment they had made to each other — to produce a movie project together.
“DRESS,” which debuted at HIFF and won the Audience Favorite award, tells the story of a man’s emotional journey after the death of his wife and his efforts to help his grieving sons cope with bereavement. It’s a story of love and loss and courage in the face of tragedy, exactly the kind of story Annie’s been directing in her work in children’s theatre for years.
“Ian and I’ve worked together for 21 years. We’ve raised three kids together, managed finances together, moved countries together,” Annie says. “But this time, there were 45 other people in the room!”
“It was wonderful, having Annie do this project with me,” Ian says. “I always knew she’d be good at producing but she was phenomenal. Then, at the end of the day, after everyone left and it was just us, we could talk about it all and share that side of it together.”
The New Year brings new projects for the couple. “Auntie Martha and the Nene,” a children’s play written and directed by Annie, opens at HTY in January, telling a sweet story of friendship, hope and opening up. Originally written and produced 13 years ago in her native Scotland, the show has traveled the globe and been produced on some of the most prominent stages of theatre, including Washington DC’s The Kennedy Center. Now it’s come to Hawaii with Annie back in the director’s chair.
Henry Joe Productions, named in memory of Ian’s late father, is cooking up new projects as well, with Ian looking to create more island-based work for the local, talented community. “Hawaii is our home, now,” Ian says. “And working at home is a dream come true.”
Despite their deep roots and commitment to Hawaii, it’s still hard, being so far from family back in Scotland. Annie’s parents have made the trek to Hawaii every two years since the family moved here. “Mum got in the ocean for the first time on Lanikai beach,” Annie says. “She kept saying ‘oh, the sand is moving between my toes!’’