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March 5th, 2013
12:35 PM ET

Actor Matthew Fox goes from 'Lost' to 'Emperor,' explains the appeal of playing a character from history

Matthew Fox is best known for his role as Dr. Jack Shepard on the popular TV show Lost. Now, Fox sits down on "Starting Point" to talk about his role as General Fellers in the new historical drama “Emperor.”

The film takes a look at the time directly following Japan’s surrender that ended World War II, and a 1945 investigation that looked at whether Japan’s Emperor Hirhito should be tried for war crimes, and potentially hanged as a war criminal. General Fellers is MacArthur’s “right hand man, and was with him through a large portion of the South Pacific campaign.”

Fox’s character, “was a Japanese expert, and in our story he had fallen in love with a Japanese woman in 1930, and their love was torn apart by the war breaking out so MacArthur tasks him with the responsibility…of making this determination, and the film focuses on that 1945 investigation.”

While Fellers has no definitive evidence to suggest that the Emperor should not be tried as a war criminal, he still recommends to MaCarthur that the Emperor should not be removed from his position, citing “removing the emperor as the emperor of Japan is going to lead to chaos in Japan.”

Fellers strongly believes that the implications of executing the Japanese Emperor would hinder rebuilding Japan after the war. “He understands more than most Westerners the implications of that, and that the Japanese people look to the Emperor in a way that no Westerner could really understand, and to remove that position would be terrible."

Fox revealed when he took on the role of the general that, “I really knew very little, almost nothing about this moment of our history...and I think that the movie does a great job of reminding us that there are always going to be conflicts, but it’s the way we exit those conflicts that often times determine how we’ll look back at that over history."

Fox says he thought “the US foreign policy decisions made at that time were really a shining moment for US foreign policy, and the recommendations that MacArthur made to Washington after Fellers made recommendations to him, he was looking down the field, looking at the big picture.”

“Emperor” will be released nationwide on Friday, March 8th.

Filed under: A little fun • History • World War II
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