How did I miss this interview, which was given on May 16, 2012? (Well, actually, I know why I missed the interview: I was very ill, fighting for my life. I won!)

Thanks to Jav17 posting about how it was good that Michael Emerson never played in the Blue Jasmine movie (which I agree—the role in Blue Jasmine was not for Michael Emerson).

Michael Emerson in Blue Jasmine
In case someone else is interested in this – Michael Emerson being interviewed by Tavis Smiley where he talks about having a love scene in “Blue Jasmine”.


“I have an opportunity to do a small part in a film coming up in which I have a love scene with a fairly famous actress, and that’s going to give me some sleepless evenings before that happens.”
So, if that love scene is still in the movie I guess by that we can guess which character he would have played. Unless there are countless love scenes in that movie.

sarab2017 replied:
So i watched Blue Jasmine…
And THANK GOD Michael didn’t take that role! It wasn’t a love scene at all, it was a near-rape scene. The part was really small, really terrible, and the guy who played it was terrible. I hated the whole movie. I never wanna see an actor of Emerson-caliber, especially Michael, in a role like that. I’d imagine he only considered it because it was Woody Allen, but he’s way too good to do something like that. So good call, Mike.

And, on the subject of missing interviews, here’s another one I missed that he gave on April 14, 2012:

Michael Emerson uses restraint on ‘Person of Interest

Scripps Howard

The television series “Lost” is where audiences found actor and former illustrator Michael Emerson.

The 57-year-old, an accomplished stage actor and winner of two Emmys, is married to actress Carrie Preston. He is currently starring in the CBS drama “Person of Interest” with Jim Caviezel, which airs Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Excerpts from an interview:

Q Have you ever played a character that you could not stand?

A No, I don’t think that would happen often in an actor’s life because the only way an actor can solve the problem is to find the pleasure of playing the part. Even if you are playing a villain. I’ve played terrible villains, but they’ve had something that, for me, was redeeming, like precision or wit or intellect or courage. I’ve been in some bad plays and some bad TV shows, too, but (laughing) part of my job is to give a character dimension and nuance.

Q So what attracted you to acting?

A It goes back into childhood times, I suppose. The escapism of it? I was a bookish kid. I escaped a lot into books, fantasy worlds and adventure and mystery. I grew up in rural America, where my skill set or my aptitudes were not much valued in the sort of physical world of sports. I just didn’t fit into that world very well. I was kind of a shrimpy little kid with spectacles. I had to find what to do with myself.

Q Your wife is an actor. What’s it like living with another person who understands the skill set?

A There are all kinds of actors and all kinds of actor relationships. We are people who aren’t “on” much, I would say. We are both kind of quiet people when we’re not performing, and it doesn’t intrude much into our lives. We talk about our work some, but we’re not very competitive.

Q How about working with your wife. Is it easy?

A Yes, it’s fun. It’s hard for me to look at her and not see my spouse, you know? So that’s a little tough. But it is very easy, technically. I don’t have a worry in the world when I know my scene partner is my wife because she’s a really great actor and can be counted on for a depth of feeling and a perfection of timing. So I’m always in good hands, even in funny little bits, with her.

Q Your characters on “Lost” and “Person of Interest” seem almost restrained. There can’t be the slightest bit of overacting. Is it difficult?

A Yes, well, the camera asks that of you. I mean, someday in the not-too-distant future, I hope to get in a big noisy comedy onstage where I can be fully extroverted, loud, colorful — you know, over-the-top in a good way.

The roles I’ve been playing don’t allow for that. It’s a much more muted palette. The camera is so close that it won’t bear a lot of strong color.

Q What do you do to relax when you are not acting?

A Well, I’m not one with active hobbies. I don’t ski or boat or travel the world or climb mountains. I read and I dawdle around whatever town I’m living in and see the sights. (Laughs) I’m a great fritterer away of time. I think part of it is that my work is so concentrated. Those long days on the set require a lot of focus and then I like to have no responsibilities when I’m away from the work.

Enjoy these oldies and goodies.

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New photos in the photo gallery:


Larger versions are available here.

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On Sunday, March 30, 2014, Michael Emerson joined Frankie J. Alvarez (HBO’s Looking), John Behlmann (The 39 Steps), Nick Choksi (Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812), Kelli Giddish (Law & Order: SVU), Chad Goodridge (Passing Strange), Allison Guinn (Hair), Greg Hildreth (Cinderella, Peter and the Starcatcher), Autumn Hurlbert (NBC’s The Sound of Music Live!), January LaVoy (Enron), Nicole Lewis (Hair), Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd), Jennifer Mudge (Rocky), Rob Morrison (Avenue Q), Stephen Plunkett (War Horse, The Mend), and Liv Rooth (Beyond Therapy, Venus in Fur) for Three Day Hangover’s Big Boozy Benefit, an event supporting the company’s Season. The event was held at 7pm at Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2, 196 Allen Street (between East Houston and Stanton) in NYC.

Watch Michael Emerson perform “To Be or Not to Be”

Three Day Hangover’s Big Boozy Benefit is generally a starry night of music and a kick-ass party. Michael Emerson performed  Hamlet’s most famous soliloquy (To Be or Not to Be), there was an 80’s power ballad infused in Twelfth Night, a Romeo v. Mercutio rap battle, party games with a tipsy Yelena, a rockstar Duke kicking off the evening, and much more! The event was a created to raise some cash for Three Day Hangover’s 2014 Season, which will include alcohol-infused, innovative productions of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, and a never-before seen, Two-for-One Shakespeare mash-up.

Tickets to Three Day Hangover’s Big Boozy Benefit ranged from $50 to $100 and included drink tickets.

If you, as I, never heard of Three Day Hangover, I just learned that the it is a New York City theater company that produces fresh, unexpected, immersive, joyful productions of classic plays in bars. They tell great stories and celebrate some of the most beautiful language in the world. They meet their audiences on their own turf. They want their audiences to have a beer and relax, then to lean forward, and get swept up in a story told in a way they’ve never seen before. Three Day Hangover’s inaugural productions, enjoyed rave reviews, sold out runs, extensions, and most importantly, some of the feistiest, most engaged audiences midtown has ever seen. So, if you live in the NYC area or plan to visit, this is a good place to go to.

Here is one of the many photos that are also available in larger formats at the photo gallery:

Source: ThreeDayHangover

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Michael Emerson will be a presenter at the 6th Annual Shorty Awards in New York City on Monday, April 7th!

You can tune in and sign up for a reminder at or purchase tickets here.

If you, like me (don’t judge me, please) have not heard of the the Shorty Awards, here’s a writeup explaining what it is all about:

About the Shorty Awards

The Shorty Awards honor the best people and organizations on Twitter and social media.

Go to vote!

This is the bio that Shorty Awards posted:

Michael Emerson is known for his role on ABC’s hit series Lost. Michael is a2009 Emmy winner for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and 2010 Golden Globe Nominee for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television.” Michael is currently starring as the lead in Season 3 of CBS #1 drama “Person of Interest.” Other TV credits: “Parenthood” “The Practice” “Law & Order.” Film credits: “Saw” “The Legend of Zorro” and “The Impostors” among many others. Michael is married to Carrie Preston who stars on HBO’s “True Blood.”

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Source: Popsugar

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I recently posted a link to Carrie Preston’s chat with the people of Super Knocked Up. In the post I had a video of the entire hour-long chat (which I recommend that you watch because it is funny). Michael Emerson makes a cameo appearance in the video. If, however, you do not want to wait till mark 55:29 to see him, Cindy4Ever of Tumblr posted this video for your enjoyment:

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Michael Emerson’s wife, Carrie Preston from True Blood and The Good Wife joined the cast of the Web series Super Knocked Up along with her DARWIN Web series colleagues, Karl Kenzler and Chris Gerson for an online, live-streaming chat. They chatted about what life-coach advice they would give to fictional characters, what Disney characters they would put in other fictional universes, and they played a fun game of ScatterMovies! Michael Emerson made special cameo. If you want to skip a lot of the chitchat, Michael Emerson appears at 55:29 frame. Enjoy.

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CBS announced that they would renew 18 primetime shows for next season. Among those 18 shows was Person of Interest, starring Michael Emerson and Jim Caviezel.


Combined With Two Previously Announced Renewals, Network Has Now Picked Up 20 Returning Series for 2014-2015

Returning Series Will Include the #1 Drama, #1 Comedy, #1 New Comedy and #1 News Program

CBS, America’s most-watched network, today announced pick-ups for 18 series for next season. Combined with its previously announced pick-ups, CBS has now renewed 20 returning series for the 2014-2015 season, encompassing 17 hours of primetime programming.

“The best way to launch new shows in the fall and throughout the season is to surround them with a strong and stable lineup of successful series,” said Nina Tassler, Chairman of CBS Entertainment. “The shows we’re picking up today cut across every night of the week and feature genre leaders, time-period winners and the most-watched shows on broadcast television.”

The 18 series renewed today comprise 15.5 hours of CBS’s weekly primetime schedule and include nine dramas, five comedies, two reality series and two news programs.

The nine dramas picked up are: NCIS, television’s #1 drama/scripted program for the fifth consecutive year; NCIS: LOS ANGELES, the #2 drama for the fourth straight year; time-period winners PERSON OF INTEREST, CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, HAWAII FIVE-0 and BLUE BLOODS; as well as CRIMINAL MINDS, ELEMENTARY and the acclaimed drama THE GOOD WIFE.

The renewed comedies are 2 BROKE GIRLS, THE MILLERS, which is the #1 freshman comedy of the 2013-2014 season, MIKE & MOLLY, MOM and the long-running hit TWO AND A HALF MEN.

In alternative programming, the Network announced pick-ups for its Emmy Award-winning reality series THE AMAZING RACE and UNDERCOVER BOSS.

Finally, in news, CBS will return 60 MINUTES, television’s #1 news program for more than four decades, and 48 HOURS, Saturday’s #1 non-sports program.

In addition to these 18 series, CBS yesterday announced a three-year broadcast deal for THE BIG BANG THEORY. Previously, the Network announced two more editions of the reality series SURVIVOR for next season.

Season-to-date, CBS is television’s #1 network in viewers for the 11th time in 12 years, averaging 10.84 million viewers.

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I found this great interview in Tumblr

Michael Emerson developed a loyal following with his Emmy Award-winning performance as the mysterious and nefarious genius Benjamin Linus on the critically acclaimed series Lost. He is now playing an equally brilliant somewhat mysterious and eccentric billionaire on Person of Interest as Mr. Finch, the mastermind behind the Machine, a computer that uses pattern recognition to help identify victims or perpetrators of future crimes. Mr. Finch has teamed up with Reese, a former CIA agent, played by Jim Caviezel, to stop these crimes before they occur. Person of Interestairs on CBS and has been sold very successfully around the world by Warner Bros. International Television Distribution.

WS: What first appealed to you about Person of Interest and how did you hear about it?
EMERSON: It was among a pile of scripts that were being batted around at Bad Robot [J.J. Abrams’ company that producedLost and is also behind Person of Interest] in the fall of 2010. I was working on a different project that I hoped was going to take off, but it didn’t work out. I still had a relationship with Bad Robot and I said, Surely you’ve got something else around here that’s cool. They showed me this and said, This might interest you, it’s kind of a noir setting, New York City-based, crime fighting, vigilante; it could be fun. I read it and I really liked it. I liked the mood of it and the atmosphere and the setting and it seemed like a good part, so I just went with it. Then you make a pilot and you think that’s that, it may or may not get picked up. And it certainly may or may not ever have success. This one has done well.

WS: It certainly has. Was it a consideration for you, in looking at this project, that your next role after Ben Linus be a different kind of character?
EMERSON: Well, I was thinking about that and it was nice I thought that this character was an all together good guy, even though he was brainy and articulate, I thought that was a nice change.

WS: There are a lot of shows that feature flawed characters, or characters whose moral compass is not pointing true north. Is it more difficult to portray somebody who is basically a decent person or can that be just as satisfying a character to play?
EMERSON: It’s a little harder to make good guys interesting, especially as you say, the general feeling right now is the chase for anti heroes or worse. Villainy or darkness have a few more layers or might be a little more complex. Whether you are playing a good guy or a bad guy, it’s fun if the character is complicated.

WS: Finch has a limp and some previous injuries. Did you add that in and is that a way of bringing complexity to the character?
EMERSON: There was mention in the pilot script about him having been injured and it was up to me to figure out the specifics of that. That was always part of it. It justified him needing a helper; it was why he could not do it alone. It sets everything up. But we explained where those injuries came from at the end of season two.

WS: A prototype of the Machine really did exist, right?
EMERSON: Yes, several different ones in reality, programs that were funded by the American government at one time or another.

WS: Is the Machine starting to have its own intelligence or is it just a computer tracking patterns?
EMERSON: It’s on the cusp of those two things and that is where there is tension. The Machine has been clearly programmed in a sufficiently sophisticated way that it can look out for itself. It can analyze threats to itself or to its team members. It’s smart enough to move around the country. It’s an interesting problem, is Mr. Finch still in control of it? It doesn’t really seem that way in season three. The Machine still does what it was programmed to do but Mr. Finch programmed it more cleverly than he thought.

WS: But The Machine is still on the side of Mr. Finch and Reese?
EMERSON: Yes, but The Machine has new friends like the character Root that it talks to more freely and more regularly. The purview of its activities has expanded. It may be looking at both relevant and irrelevant numbers in a way. The Machine is trying to wrestle with a dilemma and that is: it’s now in situations where its makers and allies are in trouble and are in situations where good and bad are not clear.

WS: That must keep it interesting!
EMERSON: It surely does!

WS: Tell me about the relationship between Mr. Finch and Reese and how it has been evolving.
EMERSON: It’s one of the central relationships of the series. We were fortunate to have good screen chemistry together and that’s not a thing that you can plan for or make happen. It just worked out. Jim and I are completely different actors and have completely different off-screen personalities and yet we work well together. It makes for an interesting and smooth odd couple arrangement. And that relationship has grown. What was very defensive and paranoid and prickly to begin with has settled somewhat and they have become more collegial with one another. And because they are easier with one another, the show can be a little funnier than it may have been when it started.

WS: It’s great to see Bear, the scenes with the dog!
EMERSON: Yes, everyone loves the dog and I think it has partly to do with the fact that it’s both a relief and a release. We know that the dog can be trusted, and the dog is purely good and it takes a little of the tension out of their fairly desperate affairs.

WS: You spent early years not just acting but, having been an illustrator, you were into set design and construction. Tell us about those years—you really did a lot on the stage.
EMERSON: Yes, I did my apprenticeship, I’ll call it, in the theater. I did it in Jacksonville, Florida, because that is where I was living when I got the bright idea that I was going to be an actor after all! So I did as many plays as I could but no one in that community would ever get paid to play a role, but there was a little money rattling around if you could design and build scenery or if you could direct or do the posters, all of those kinds of things. Since I had that background, I had been a magazine illustrator before I was an actor, I was able to piece together about a half of a sensible living by doing all the odds and ends of theater work. It was good experience and like in any other career, it’s good if you understand everybody’s job a little better.

WS: You did a whole lot of Shakespeare and classic theater; did you enjoy that?
EMERSON: In the south, that was my main diet theatrically. I went to graduate school at very advanced age at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and all we did there were many, many Shakespeare plays and other classical works. That is my background and is still what I gravitate towards.

WS: One of the very first plays I saw when I moved to New York was Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde.
EMERSON: That was my break. I have been a working actor since that show. That was the beginning of my professional acting career.

WS: You had a part on The Practice, where you played a serial killer, right?
EMERSON: That was a good part.

WS: So bad guys are often more interesting to play?
EMERSON: Yes, or the troubled.

WS: I can’t not ask you about Lost. There is so much to say but I will only ask this, was the ending of the series satisfying to you and do you think that was a good resolution for your character?
EMERSON: Yes, I was especially pleased with the way they resolved, or should say did not resolve, Benjamin Linus. I thought it was a wonderful flourish out of Beckett to have him sitting on a bench outside the door of whatever you want to call it, heaven or the afterlife, waiting, not yet having sorted things out well enough to pass on through. That seemed to me perfect for my character, but above and beyond that, I thought that the ending to the series was handled as well as it could have been because Lost was a different kind of narrative than other shows. It wasn’t linear, it seemed like it was exploding in all directions, and how do you bring that to a conclusion? The only solution that I could think of and the one that the writers chose was to bring it back to the center. I am so happy that they chose a kind of spiritual ending rather than a device about time or dimension or perception. It was real life and real faith and real grace. I was very pleased but I know I am probably in the minority and I may be in the minority among the cast, I couldn’t say, but I was very pleased.

WS: There are so many series on cable, whether basic or premium, that get a lot of attention. The three big shows that you have done, The PracticeLost and now Person of Interest, have been on broadcast networks. Do you feel in any way that your creative freedom has been limited because you have been working within the broadcast model?
EMERSON: Well it is a model, and the broadcast model is different from the cable model. It governs how the narrative is structured or how it is presented. There is a structure that is demanded by a broadcast network, it’s just the landscape in which you work. You may work brilliantly in that landscape or you may not, but it is the hand you are dealt.

Cable gets to be a little looser, a little freer, but that’s a way to get hung up as well. Yes, they can be more graphic; they can be profane. They don’t feel as much obligation to explain themselves to the audience. There is an assumption of its sophisticated viewership and all of that is probably good except it doesn’t always work out successfully.

WS: I agree, as a viewer sometimes I feel the violence or the language or the sex is used because they don’t know where to go with the plot.
EMERSON: Maybe this is just a sign of me getting older, but I’m feeling a little over-sexed on cable! I like it as much as the next red-blooded person, but there is an awful lot! I’m a little leery of the underlining of sex without feeling. I think we get a fair enough diet of that and I could do with a little less.

WS: Much has been said about the procedural. I think Person of Interest has taken it to another level and made it more interesting.
EMERSON: It’s the format you have to accept if you are going to work on CBS. There is no point in arguing against it, you just need to make a strength of it. And we do that fairly well. Our episodes will stand alone pretty nicely and that makes the show more accessible to a larger audience.

WS: Speaking of the larger audience, the show is doing very well in international sales. What is it about the show that can appeal to people in different countries?
EMERSON: I think it’s just the particularity of the New York setting, those backgrounds and environments that we work in. I think people around the world are interested in New York and they are also interested in these issues of cybernetics and surveillance. And I’ll say it, the acting is fairly strong on our show, they are characters that you want to know more about.


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Michael Emerson is once again giving interviews. Here’s the newest on with CBS News.

The cast members of CBS’ hit drama “Person of Interest” work pretty long hours — many of which are spent outside, and this year they faced an additional obstacle: bad weather.

Filming in and around New York City caused a few hurdles as snow storm after snow storm battered down the East Coast.

“The New York winter, particularly this New York winter, has been rough,” said Michael Emerson who portrays Harold Finch in “Person of Interest,” alongside castmates Jim Caviezel, Taraji P. Henson and Kevin Chapman.

Emerson recalled shooting during a major snow storm in New York City’s Madison Square Park earlier this year. “It was all outdoors — all day. And the snow came earlier than what was expected. So by mid-day…we’re all covered with snow — they have to come with brushes and de-ice us between scenes,” he said.

The show, which is winding down taping for season 3, just got renewed for a fourth season. Emerson said it wasn’t a huge surprise to hear the news because of the show’s solid viewership, but he’s grateful nonetheless.

As for the remainder of the current season, Emerson said story lines that are already in motion will play out even further.

“There is competition to the Machine out there, and the Machine itself is not playing by the rules any longer. So it’s a very scary time for our heroes — whether they’ll get numbers, whether they’ll get the right numbers, or whether they’re being played. There’s a lot of that going on. We continue to crank out episode after episode of social security numbers and people that need our help,” Emerson told CBS News.

Emerson said he hopes that his character — a billionaire software genius — grows more complicated in the seasons to come. “You begin to see the cracks in the veneer that you may have taken for granted at the beginning,” he said.

“Mr. Finch may be more tired and more certain than he was at the beginning of things, and he has more morale dilemma I think now that the Machine has gone rouge in effect and that the forces allied against him — it must make him sleepless. They seem so powerful and so numerous and insurmountable,” said the 59-year-old actor.

In Tuesday’s (March 18) episode, the Machine assigns Root (Amy Acker) to seek out a janitor with a mysterious past, but when her presence puts his life in danger, Finch also receives his number.

Emerson, who’s married to actress Carrie Preston, will sometimes sit down with his family in New York to watch the show.

“If I’ve seen it before and the rest of the family hasn’t, I will sit through it one more time just because it’s fun. You can do commentary as it goes along,” he said.

Like tell the back-story of shooting on that icy-cold day in Manhattan.

For more on “Person of Interest” and Emerson’s interesting career path (he’s worked as a carpenter and magazine illustrator), check out our sit-down interview with him above. It includes a preview of tonight’s episode.

We also asked Emerson to answer some of your Twitter questions — check out his answers in the video above.

“Person of Interest” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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