Archive for the ‘interview’ Category
In an article written by Kate Benz and published by TribLive.com, on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at 9 pm, Michael Emerson personifies his Finch character to that of a superhero. Enjoy.
It’s an ironic existence when it becomes hard to tell whether your life is imitating art or art is imitating your life. For two-time Emmy Award-winner Michael Emerson, one would think that starring on the hit drama “Person of Interest,” in which an enigmatic billionaire and an ex-CIA member use heavy surveillance to intervene in violent crimes before they happen, might resonate with audiences.
But for Emerson, who made an indelible mark with fans during his stint on “Lost,” the likelihood that viewers are drawing parallels between real life and scripted television are slim to none. For him, it seems as though it’s the furthest thing from the minds of the 17 million that tuned in to watch the premiere of Season 3 in September. Maybe it’s the concept of a guardian angel, or the idea of the modern-day vigilante. It might even be the notion that superheroes do indeed exist. If you know where to look for them.
“Person of Interest” airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays on CBS.
Question: Is the concept of “The Machine” striking a particular chord with audiences given concerns with the NSA surveillance program?
Answer: I would guess that it does, but that’s not the thing that people come up and talk to me about, which is surprising. I keep thinking, because our show is so accidentally topical right now, that people would be constantly coming up to me and drawing the parallels between the fictional Machine of our program and the prism system of the NSA. But I don’t know if people go to scripted television to get an airing of current-events issues. More people come to me and ask me about the dog than ask me about The Machine.
Q: People seem hungry to embrace the idea of someone watching over us, protecting us from harm.
A: Maybe it’s universal. I mean, all of literature has the ongoing theme of the avengers, the heroes. That’s an ancient idea, and I guess it is a comfort to live through dangers and violent acts and come out unharmed and right prevailing, all of that. And I think our show, just beneath the surface, is kind of a superhero show. It goes by so fast that you don’t stop and think, “That’s sort of convenient that happened at that moment,” and stuff like that. We are like caped avengers, only without the cape.
Q: When it comes to your Finch character, is he a modern-day vigilante or just some guy with a serious God complex?
A: Well, I suppose that’s in the eyes of the beholder. I think he is an avenger — but a kind of unwilling one. He’s done this, as we’ve seen, as a tribute to a fallen comrade. It’s a way to make his lost friend live on. And also to nurse their dream of justice.
Q: Even when intentions are good, are there consequences to interfering with fate?
A: Sure. Always. One of the themes of our show, I think, is you can never get things right unless you have perfect information, and even in a world of super computers, perfect information is hard to find or hard to identify even if you have it.
Q: Given everything that Finch represents, when it comes to “Ignorance is bliss,” would you say yay or nay on that sentiment?
A: No. It is a low kind of temporary bliss, but not to be wished for anyone. I just think consciousness is important and that it should always be growing.
Kate Benz is the social columnist for Trib Total Media and can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-8515.
The article I’m quoting next is from Modern Dog and is not about Michael Emerson (although, there is some mention of him), but it is about his two great loves: his wife and his dog Chumley. Enjoy.
True Blood’s Carrie Preston on Her True Love
Whether you care to credit Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series for the spawning of all things vampire-crazed or instead believe Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula is responsible, there’s one thing we can all agree on. Blood sucking is alive and well in Hollywood. Since 2008, vampire fans looking to sink their teeth into a high caliber episodic television drama in a more on-going way have flocked to Alan Ball’s True Blood on HBO, based on author Charlaine Harris’ literary series The Southern Vampire Mysteries. In its five-year-thus-far run, viewers have come to feel passionately connected to their much-loved cast favourites. One friend, upon learning I would be chatting with Carrie Preston—the woman who brings True Blood’s waitress and four-time divorcee Arlene Fowler Bellefleur to life—asked if I’d be okay letting Carrie know that True Blood vampire Eric Northman would one day be my friend’s husband. Not having the heart to tell my friend that a) Eric is a fictitious character and that b) he sucks human blood, I nonetheless could appreciate just how close she felt to the believability and authenticity of the hit show’s characters. After all, it didn’t take me long to get a sense of that overall feeling of genuine authenticity when I caught up with Carrie over the phone. True Blood success aside, this Juilliard grad boasts an impressive background which includes thespian credits ranging from Shakespearean plays to guests stints on programs like Desperate Housewives and various Law & Order offshoots to recurring roles on The Good Wife and Person of Interest, not to mention a host of appearances on the big screen as well. Yet, it doesn’t stop there. For as busy as she keeps herself professionally, she always makes time for a lucky little dude called Chumley.
MD: Congratulations on your recent Emmy win for your role as Elsbeth Tascioni in The Good Wife. How rewarding an experience was that?
CP: Well, it was so unexpected. I certainly wasn’t thinking I would be nominated much less win the thing. When you consider every episode of every TV show has at least five or 10 guest actors on it, the category is quite vast. So for it to be narrowed down to six people, it was quite an honour. I felt like I’d already won just by being nominated. Then to actually hear my name called… it was quite extraordinary. I went into an out-of-body experience… and I don’t think my feet have touched the ground since.
MD: Where are you based today, and where are you from originally? CP: I’m originally from Macon, Georgia. I have lived in New York City for 23 years now and I also live in LA. But I still consider myself a southerner. I definitely feel like I’m from there and I’m proud of it.
MD: Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
CP: Yes, I did. I was one of those kids who started doing community theatre when I was very young. My older brother, John Preston, is an actor and he started doing plays and I wanted to be like him. Once I got bitten by the bug, I knew I was hooked.
MD: You’ve appeared in a number of big name films (My Best Friend’s Wedding, Doubt, Vicky Christina Barcelona), and yet you are achieving huge success on the small screen as well. Do you prefer being able to dig into these more regular, on-going roles?
CP: I wouldn’t say I prefer it. I prefer to be working. I don’t have any judgment when it comes to what medium I’m doing it in. I certainly spent a great amount of time on stage. And both in front of the camera and behind it. I’m a filmmaker, so I obviously have a great amount of respect for storytelling and all its avenues. Television is a medium I love to watch and I love having a consistent job—that’s a gift. But yes, I like to create a role and sustain it for a while to see how it evolves…
MD: What do you love most about your character, the very sassy Arlene Fowler Bellefleur?
CP: I love the mixture between the comedy and the drama that the writers give me. It’s always a fun challenge to find that balance and make it work. It’s a necessary alchemy. It’s what makes the show work.
MD: Have you always been an animal lover?
CP: Yes, growing up in the south we spent a lot of time romping around the back woods. We had all kinds of pets growing up. Frogs, hamsters, mice, and even rats at some points, and certainly we had cats. And we had one beloved dog that had the great fortune of living for a long time. That was when I definitely fell in love with dogs.
MD: Who was that dog?
CP: She was Tess. We named her after (the Thomas Hardy novel) Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
MD: Rumour has it that you and your husband, actor Michael Emerson—best known for his roles on Person of Interest and Lost have a pretty special fur-kid. How did Chumley come into your life?
CP: It was something we’d been dreaming about for a long time. We really wanted to get a dog. But we were unable to work it out because Michael was shooting Lost, which shot in Hawaii and is challenging when it comes to travelling with dogs. We’d been planning for it for a long time, logistically. We would talk about it and dream about it. One day we were walking in the West Village, past the old speakeasy called Chumley’s. Michael said: “You know what would be great a name for our dog? Chumley!” I would wake up on various days and randomly ask him: “So, where’s Chumley?” When we knew he was going to be finishing Lost and when we knew his actual end day… well, I would go on PetFinder.com for years and torture myself with all the dogs I wanted to adopt… and then when I knew it was finally going to happen, I knew I needed something small that didn’t shed because I’m slightly allergic. I saw all of these adorable dogs and this picture of this little guy just lifted itself off the page. I wish I had that picture. He had these little squinty eyes. Like a little old man. The description written up by A Dog’s Life Rescue just made it sound like this is the dog for me. I started calling and trying to convince them that I was the one for this dog. When I met him, it was love at first sight. Thanks to A Dog’s Life, we have the love of our life.
MD: A Dogs Life Rescue? They’re based in New York?
CP: No, LA actually. They’re an incredible group.
MD: I love that when you were ready, you adopted a dog rather than bought a dog.
CP: We really wanted to make sure we were adopting a dog that needed a home.
MD: So, what kind of dog is Chumley? And I don’t just mean breed. I mean, personality.
CP: We think he’s a mix of poodle and Maltese. Just by his looks and behaviour. He’s very serious, very smart, very loving and cuddly but also fiercely protective, of me in particular. He sits by the door so I know when anyone is coming. He’s not yappy, thank goodness. And he’s a great traveller, which is good because I take him everywhere with me.
MD: As the baby of a bi-coastal couple, I suppose Chumley has a fair share of his own frequent flyer points. Any tips for people who may be debating whether or not they should fly with their dog?
CP: Get the dog used to the travel case. Make it a place they actually want to go… make it a safe place. We started early—before we took him on the plane—getting him used to the bag. We would put him in and give him a treat then we would drive to a park. So he would know there’s fun to be had. Now, he knows he’s going with us. We put the bag down and he jumps in it. He got it really quickly.
MD: And how old is this little traveller?
CP: We think he’s four. He was around eight or nine months old when we met him.
MD: Given that yours is perhaps a business that can be perceived as being somewhat superficial, how does Chumley help keep you and your husband grounded?
CP: You really nailed it on the head. In our profession there’s a real mercurial nature to everything. A lot of unknowns. It’s very erratic. There’s nothing steady about it. And having a pet is very steadying. It gives our day a focus. He gets four walks a day. And it’s us doing it—well, sometimes a dog walker depending on our schedules. It’s a way to get yourself out of the work and onto the ground. To focus on something that needs your attention…. He gets us out of our heads and into our hearts.
MD: Having two such busy television stars as a mom and dad, is it safe to assume Chumley knows his way around a set?
CP: Yeah, he does. He’s gotten used to the trailer. As long as we bring his bed. Sometimes it’s better for him, if both of us are working, if he’s at home and the dog walker comes. But if we have a light day on set, it’s so wonderful to have him in the trailer. Everyone loves him at work. They all fight over him… “Oh, can I walk him?”
MD: What have you learned about life from Chumley?
CP: I didn’t realize how big my heart could get. I feel it’s expanded tens of thousands of times. It reminds you that there are creatures in the world that need us. And I am pleased to know that I am there for him. It gives me a real sense of pride and love and purpose. We don’t have kids and we understand that he’s not a baby, but he’s a creature who can’t do things for himself and he needs us just the same. I’m glad he chose me.
Here’s an interesting article from EW:
‘Person of Interest’: Michael Emerson teases the mystery of the Machine, what’s next for Finch
By Shirley Li on Nov 12, 2013 at 9:00AM
Michael Emerson is no stranger to being on a successful show with a complicated plot, having spent five seasons as creepy Others leader Ben Linus on Lost. On Person of Interest, Emerson applies his signature air of mystery — along with a limp — to play genius tech billionaire Harold Finch. But unlike Ben, Finch is the hero, using his skills and the Machine, the computer system he built that predicts future crimes, to track down villains with former CIA agent John Reese (Jim Caviezel).
And as the drama continues its third season, Finch is having trouble with the Machine as it begins to reject him and must deal with hacker Root (Amy Acker), who is intent on gaining control of his work.
Emerson talked to EW about what’s ahead for his character, the mystery of the Machine, and how he handles fans who, usually unknowingly, interrupt filming in the streets of New York City:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We’re deep into season 3. Anything you can tease us about what’s ahead? Everything’s been under wraps.
MICHAEL EMERSON: On Lost, there was a great deal of secrecy and serious guarding of narrative secrets, and Person of Interest is now in that same zone of madness. We have big changes coming up in the next few weeks, and the scripts contain camouflaging and other security devices, and made up scenes and stuff, all to keep a certain set of secrets. It’s interesting and exciting, but it also feels like we’re a little bit paranoid right now and living in a security state. So stay tuned, because there’s stuff coming down the line that is so big that the producers are very nervous.
That’s funny — and the paranoia’s kind of ironic, considering Person of Interest‘s subject matter. But the show got to the surveillance state idea before the NSA news broke this year. Did the real-life case with the NSA affect the feel of the show?
I’m sure it’s affected the writers, who are no longer spinning out a make believe story and suddenly have to contend with the notion that what they’re writing is representative of something real. I think it’s opened new avenues for writers, so it’s good. It must be stimulating and exciting now that it’s more explicit, the connection between our narrative and the public one. Although it’s possible to overrate the political topicality of a scripted TV show — I keep thinking people are going to stop me in the street and go, “Oh my god, it’s so timely that you’re dealing with this thing that looks exactly like PRISM and the NSA and all of that,” but what people actually talk to me about on the street is the dog. (See video.) So I don’t think it’s as much on the viewers’ minds as it is on ours.
The nature of the Machine has been a constant mystery. Do you know at all what it’s up to, or what it wants?
What does the Machine want? I don’t know what it wants, I don’t know what it’s doing, I don’t know where it is. You’ll see in the next few episodes that it’s starting to be a problem and wearing on our team, because the machine is now choosing who it talks to.
And Finch feels left out.
Yeah, but how can he fight it? What’s to be done? His creation, his child, is freezing him out a little bit.
Then let’s talk about Finch. He’s always delivering massive amounts of dialogue to keep the audience up to speed with a complicated show. How do you manage that?
I don’t try to overthink what my business is in terms of playing this character. Sometimes I think we’re a kind of live action comic book, because it’s many small frames that make up the one hour program we present. I think about that while we’re working, I try to envision how this scene will be cut, and which bits or microbits will be used and to what effect. The net result for me, as the actor, I try to keep things moving along, and if I have a long line, I try to rattle it off in such a way that it can’t be surgically shortened. The clock is always ticking on Person of Interest – that’s the one thing to be mindful of. It is sort of my job to be the teller of the exposition, so that’s a particular kind of acting challenge.
And how has his dynamic with Reese evolved?
There’s an easiness between them now. We want the audience to feel like this is a partnership, and it’s important to the story that they’re so familiar with one another that they can predict each other’s behavior. At the same time, you want to hang on to a sense of uneasiness, like the fact that their mission is probably suicidal, and they’re probably up against fearful adversaries and fearful odds.
The show films on location in New York. Do people often stop you in the middle of takes?
Oh, constantly. Fans will come up and interrupt a take of a scene. I think people like seeing us on the real streets of New York, and some of those people in the shots are citizens of the city who aren’t connected with our project. Sometimes, if we’re walking around, the cameraman may be a block away shooting with a long lens, so we’ll be doing dialogue, and people think we’re off duty. Why I would be limping and wearing those clothes off duty, I guess, doesn’t register with them, so we constantly have to start over. People come up going, “Hey, we love your show!” Well, actually, you’re in it! You’re in the show right now, you’re in the scene. See way down there, the camera? You’re in the frame.
You actually tell them that?
Yeah. [Laughs] I mean, what else can you do? We’re always coming home with crazy stories of things that happened on location.
Person of Interest airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
Here’s a wonderful interview that Michael Emerson gave Parade Magazine:
Parade Rewind With Michael Emerson: Secrecy on Person of Interest, Why He’s Glad He Married an Actress, and His Archeologist Dreams
by Erin Hill
Person of Interest star Michael Emerson stopped by to chat with Parade about growing up in a small town in Iowa, his Lost legacy, his days as a magazine illustrator in New York City, the benefits of being married to a fellow actor (Carrie Preston), and more.
You play Harold Finch on Person of Interest. What do you enjoy most about this role?
I like that Harold Finch is a language role. That he speaks well and has a particular way of speaking and I like the challenge of the technical material, the jargon that he uses. I think it’s funny.
Finch is a software genius. Are you much of a tech guy in real life?
No I’m not. It’s a shameful confession that I have to make, but I don’t do well with electronics. In our house, my wife Carrie is the electronics genius and needs to help me almost on a daily basis with simple things like email and going online shopping!
Have you picked up any tricks and tips along the way as Finch?
Well, I’ve picked up some paranoia along the way. I’m very conscience now of surveillance cameras. I’m very conscious of where my cellphone is at all times and the ease with which it can be hacked or bluejacked and that your whereabouts your habits your location can be in the hands of someone else.
You’ve played some intense characters over the years. How do you come up with your character’s delivery?
I tend to think of the character’s I play musically, like they are an instrument and there is a score to be played and I’m allowed to determine the grace notes or I’m allowed to determine pitch and melody on my own. I think of what is the most possible unexpected delivery of a line or tone of a line. And sometimes that has interesting results.
Does that stem from your theater career?
I think I would have no success in front of the camera had I not been on the stage for so many years because the stage is even more about language than the camera world is, and your job as a craftsperson is to find interesting ways to deliver lines that may or not be beautifully written. It helps if they are.
Where did your love of theater come from?
I suppose like every little kid, I liked make-believe and dressing up. Luckily, I never set it aside. And then when I was 10 or 11, I saw some kids at the local high school do a play and I was dazzled by how funny and glamorous they were. God only knows what it was like if we saw a video tape of it now — we might be horrified — but there was a boy that went to my church and he played the insane uncle in Arsenic and Old Lace and I became his fan for life. I thought if it was possible to be that cool and funny and glamorous doing anything that I wanted to do that as well.
What were you like in high school?
I was a skinny, little loud mouth with glasses!
What was it like growing up in a small town in Iowa?
I grew up in a tiny little farm town in Iowa. Toledo, Iowa. And I had a good upbringing. It was a quiet, safe place. Middle America. It really was. My parents still live in Iowa, I make it back there.
What was it like making the transition from Iowa to New York City?
I went to undergraduate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and that was a great culture shock. Moving from my little town to the big city of Des Moines. I was so homesick and anxious about it all. Eventually, you get caught up in your work at college and you forget about that, but then it did kind of knock the wind out of me when I moved from Des Moines to New York City in the middle ‘70s when it was a tougher, grittier town. I didn’t know how to begin an acting career. I had been taught how to act, but not how to engage in the business of acting, so it was all I could do to get a roof over my head, so I lost track of that dream for many years. I became a magazine illustrator until my mid-thirties when I found my way back to the stage.
What did you want to be when you were little?
I don’t think I thought about being an actor until I was 15 or so. I think before that I used to read a lot of books about ancient civilization and I think I thought I wanted to be an archeologist. I think I do still want to be an archeologist! I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to make the break properly, but I always thought that would be so great to dig around under the pyramids or go into the jungles or look for lost civilizations.
What do you remember most about being on Lost?
Working on Lost was kind of like being a character on that show. The characters were on a remote island in the middle of the sea and I as an actor was on a remote island in the middle of the sea, cut off from the life I had on the mainland. It was rare that I got to see Carrie and a kind of lonesome undertaking, kind of solitary, so there I was. There was a lot of overlap between the fictional character I played and the life I was leading in the playing of it. You know, running around in the jungle and standing on the beach looking at those sunsets and you think this doesn’t seem like my real life at all! Its kind of wonderful, but where is everybody?
If I ever missed an episode of Lost, I was lost! Did the show ever confuse you?
Oh sure, constantly! In between takes, I would sit around with Jorge [Garcia] and Terry [O’Quinn] and try to figure out what the heck was going on and where could it possibly lead. As if the writers were sending us coded messages that we couldn’t quite decipher!
Tell me about your years as a magazine illustrator.
Being a freelance magazine illustrator in New York in the ‘70s was a fun undertaking. It had a certain low glamour about it, living in Brooklyn and coming into town with your portfolio every day, like they did in the those days before electronic things. We’d come in and drop off our portfolios and magazines would have one day a week at lunch where they’d look at portfolios, and if they saw something they’d like they might call you up to draw a picture for them. I did that for many years and it was fun. But then after awhile, some of the novelty and glamour wears off and then you’re left with this solitary, time-consuming grind at home making these pictures and it didn’t pay all that well, so eventually I thought there must be a better way.
Do you still draw?
No, it’s funny. People seem shocked and disappointed when I say I haven’t touched a pencil to paper to draw in many years. I guess whatever satisfactions I got from illustrating on paper; I now get that same kick by illustrating characters personally.
Your wife Carrie Preston is also an actress. Is it helpful to have a spouse who is also in the entertainment business?
The conventional wisdom in showbiz is that you should not marry another actor, but who are you going to meet and fall in love with? I mean, most of the crushes your ever going to have as an actor are on other actors because you think they’re so damn good. I had such a crush on my wife and we have a happy marriage and I think there are many things to be said for your spouse being in the same line of work. They fully understand the big events, the traumas, the disappointments, the insecurities. They know what it means to have an opening night, to be rejected at an audition, to have things fall through and also conversely to win an award or something like that. So it’s good, we are compatible in that way and can support one another.
What are some of your favorite shows right now?
We watch The Good Wife, partly because it’s a really good show and partly because my wife has this crazy good recurring character on it. We like moody, violent mysteries like The Killing. And we are big fans of Elementary. We watch my show, not that I enjoy watching my own face or hearing my voice coming out of the tube, but I need to keep up on it, it’s a good refresher. That way, people don’t stop me in the street and say, ‘What the heck were you doing in that episode?’ and I don’t even know what episode they’re talking about!
What can you share about what’s in store on Person of Interest?
Right now, there is more Lost-ian paranoia then there ever has been, and I hope it will pass, but we have big stuff coming. The kind of earth shattering developments in character narratives that have to be guarded like state secrets! There’s a lot of high security protocols with the handling of the scripts and certain scenes are given to you on the day that they shoot and scripts are being printed with faked characters and events in them now, so that God forbid anyone should get a hold of one they would be confused as to what’s really going on. I’m hoping that I’ll get it all figured out because obviously my security clearance is not high enough for me to be on top of everything coming down!
Michael Emerson and his wife Carrie Preston not only are they great actors, they are great people as well. Both of them believe in giving back. Mr. Emerson, in his biography at Person of Interest ABC website is quoted to be a supporter of Off-Broadway theater and theater community charities (Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Gay Men’s Health Crisis), as well as publicly-supported radio stations. By perusing Tumblr, I found that Mr. Emerson and his wife are also benefactors, members of the board, and supporters of The Project Solution. Both Emerson and his wife are mentioned as members of the advisory board.
Giancita Pace has a nice article about Carrie Preston in Causeceleb.newsvine.com.
Actress Carrie Preston has landed numerous roles in everything from stage to screen. Preston’s breakout performance was her Outer Critics Award nominated turn as “Miranda” in George C. Woolf’s Broadway production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest with Patrick Stewart. She currently stars as Arlene Fowler, the red-headed sassy waitress in the Golden Globe nominated HBO series True Blood, which is now in its 6th season. Simultaneously, the hard-working entertainer also has recurring roles on two hit CBS shows: The Good Wife and Person of Interest.
The Project Solution is a non-profit organization that works with a community of individual donors in the U.S. to fund vital projects overseas for communities in need of help. Some projects include a rainwater catchment tank in Uganda, a toilet facility for children in India and a roof on an orphanage in Haiti.
Founded by Joe Gonzalez and Tara Bracco in 2009, this group pools small donations – from $10 to $100 – and donors are placed on a “donation team” where they work together to fund life-changing projects. The Project Solution gives everyday people the chance to be a part of the answer.
Interview Conducted Via Email By: Giacinta Pace
Q: What is your cause?
Carrie: I’m on the advisory board of The Project Solution, an organization that funds small scale projects all over the world every year. Every cent of the money raised goes directly to these very specific, very trackable projects. So as a donor, you can actually see exactly what your money is helping to do.
Q: What is the most memorable moment you have had while working with this organization?
Carrie: It’s the community aspect of the cause that’s so moving to me. Groups of people (even school kids) gather together and create a collection of funds and then watch those funds turn into something tangible that impacts a community. And they do that TOGETHER under the guidance of Project Solution. I thought, “Why not have a couple or a family do a project together?” So, my husband Michael and I helped to fund the rebuilding of a community youth center in Kenya. For a relatively small amount of money, we were able to impact the 5,000 people who use the center. We got updates of the project along the way, but the most memorable moment was seeing the final photo of the finished structure and getting the letter from the director of the center thanking us for impacting their lives.
Q: What is the nicest thing someone has done for you?
Carrie: Well, my Mother gave birth to me and sacrificed a lot to give me a childhood full of love, passion, curiosity and gratitude, which I carry with me throughout my life. That’s a pretty nice thing to do for someone!
Here are some new photos that were added to the gallery:
The larger versions are available here.
Michael Emerson Previews Person of Interest Season 3: A Distracted Machine, a Bigger Team, and More
September 23rd, 2013 12:08 PM by Jim Halterman
Thanks to TV Fanatic’s exclusive interview with new Person of Interest regular Sarah Shahi last week, we learned a lot about what Samantha Shaw will be up to this fall, beginning with tomorrow night’s Season 3 premiere.
But what about Finch?
One of the highlights of my recent set visit in New York City was sitting on a park bench with Michael Emerson and talking about what the new season holds for Finch, the Machine and why Finch is so connected to Root. Read on for a revealing primer regarding this character and the hit drama in general…
TV Fanatic: Going into Season 3, how would you describe that new chapter in terms of Finch’s journey?
Michael Emerson: I would say that Season 3 offers us a new plateau of complication. One of the givens in the show up until this point was that the Machine was somewhere and was under someone’s control. Now we have to contend with a little bit different landscape. Now the Machine appears to be mobile, appears to be, to an extent, sentient or independent.
It’s an independent operator with many human qualities, and the worst of it is, or the best, is that the Machine now seems to have decided that it has a list of friends. A list of friends that Mr. Finch did not draw up. A list of friends that he might not approve. So we don’t have the Machine’s undivided attention. I don’t know what that’s going to mean. That could make things a little tricky.
TVF: It’s like the Machine’s gone rogue, in a way.
ME: It has, kind of. It’s become unmoored or untethered.
By Emma Bazilian
September 20, 2013, 12:06 AM EDT
Who Michael Emerson
Accomplishments Stars as Harold Finch on CBS’ Person of Interest (Season 3 premieres Tuesday, Sept. 24); Emmy Award winner for his roles on Lost and The Practice
Base New York
What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
As soon as I get out of bed, I turn on WNYC on the radio. The second thing I do is go to the door and see if The New York Times is laying there. I look at the front page to see if there’s anything shocking or anything I need to make calls about.
So you’re a print reader?
Yes. I think it has to do with my background as an illustrator and graphic designer. I am so accustomed to having that size sheet in my hand. I have more trouble when I try to read the Times online. It’s all there, the same words and the same photos, but I can’t quite warm up to the format as much as the paper. Someday they’ll stop printing the actual paper, and then I guess I’ll make the transition.
Which magazines do you read?
I used to subscribe to more magazines than I do now, but I found that they nagged at me if I didn’t read them. So now it’s just The New Yorker and Poetry magazine. The latter isn’t too time-sensitive, so if I let a couple stack up, it’s all right.
What are your favorite titles from a design standpoint?
The New Yorker is so wonderful and old school. Those fonts, those page layouts, those interstitial little line drawings—it has a look that is its own and always will be. But then there are some more cutting-edge magazines like Wired where people are playing around with digital and typefaces and collages and letting things bleed into the margins.
Are you involved in social media?
No. You know what? As a guy who plays the fictional inventor of those things on TV, I’m less inclined to do them now. I’ve done so many storylines on Person of Interest that have to do with transparency and the lack of privacy once you’ve put yourself out there.
Are you a TV junkie?
My wife [actress Carrie Preston] watches everything. We watch Breaking Bad, Nurse Jackie, The Americans, Elementary … all kinds of shows, the shows we have friends in and the shows we think are gripping.
Do you and Carrie watch your own shows?
We do. It’s a way to get craftsman-like feedback—what’s working, what isn’t, have I fallen into any ruts, that sort of thing—but also to see the finished product of this thing we labor over so intensely. It’s usually pleasing.
Do you carry any media with you when you’re traveling around the city?
I like to carry a small, portable something to read with me, like the [Times] Book Review. That folds up nicely. And I have a little Kindle, so if I’m really gripped by a book I’ll carry it around. But I don’t listen to music in public—I don’t want to be any more cut off from the events around me, like a careening automobile. Maybe I’m just paranoid. I probably get that from the shows that I do.
What’s your biggest digital indulgence?
I’m such a radio-holic. I have these wonderful radio apps. I get KCRW from L.A. streaming digitally so I can listen to it night and day, and a thing called TuneIn radio where you can get any radio station on the planet that streams digitally. I could waste hours just dialing around, listening to what’s playing on the radio in Rio de Janeiro or Cape Town at this moment. It delights me.
Michael Emerson is an extremely polite person, and even when surrounded by annoying paparazzi, he is able to convey his annoyance without being. Watch how he handles the situation while walking in San Diego and answering questions about Comic Con:
Michel Ausellio of TV Guide interviewed Michael Emerson, Jim Caviezel, Kevin Chapman, and Amy Acker about their character’s future in Person of Interest. Naturally, they know nothing. However, it is wonderful listening to Michael Emerson’s extensive vocabulary: