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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.

Click on the photo to view a wonderful video of Michael Emerson’s interview with Parade Magazine.

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!

In the new CBS drama Person of Interest, two vigilantes fight New York City crime with the help of a revolutionary post-9/11 surveillance system. Michael Emerson plays the system’s architect, Finch — a rogue with enough money to fund these expeditions. James Caviezel (Passion of the Christ) is the depressed ex-CIA hit man who carries them out. Each man’s past is a mystery, and given Emerson’s turn as the impenetrable Benjamin Linus on Lost, it’s impossible not to suspect something sinister’s afoot. Emerson called Vulture to discuss his new show, created by Jonathan Nolan and produced by J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot, and began by saying, “Hello, this is Michael Emerson, calling from New York.”

Do you always start conversations like that?
[Laughs.] I realized that as it came out of my mouth, since you’re in New York too. I got in the habit of saying I was calling from Honolulu back when I worked on Lost, just so that people would be conscious of, I guess, the time difference — and I don’t know, just as a novelty.

After Lost ended, you spoke to Vulture about how you wanted to surprise people with your next role. Do you think Person of Interest will surprise people?
I don’t think it’s as big a change of taste as I probably had in mind when I gave that interview. Of course we were tired, and I thought, I’m going to let some time past before I get on the schedule of television again. I had it in my head I was gonna do stage work until the right part came along, but that didn’t work out either. I can’t very well account for the last year of my life — well, I can. Terry O’Quinn [Lost's John Locke] and I were trying to cook something up with Bad Robot that fell under the heading of “completely different,” and it just didn’t get to the place where it could be made. We were struggling to get it written, and at some point it got put on a back burner. It was actually picked up by a certain network, and then un-picked up, and so we came to a point this February where we thought, We are really not going to work, and I don’t know when we’ll work. I would rather work than not work, so since I had a relationship with Bad Robot, I went to them and I said, “I know you have scripts — what else do you have around that you’re developing?” And they said they had this show set in New York City, sort of stylish and dark,” and I perked up when I heard that. Because who doesn’t wanna work with Jonah Nolan or stay with the Bad Robot family and work at home? This is partly a reaction having been in Hawaii for five years. To work at home and sleep in my own bed — that seemed so dreamy to me. I thought I better take a look at it. And then I ended up liking the script. So here we are.

Ben Linus was so immersive a character. Even watching the pilot for Person of Interest and seeing your character, I couldn’t help but make comparisons.
I understand. Even though we know he’s a good guy, it’s hard not to listen to ambiguities in his line readings. [Laughs.]

So do you think he’s a good guy? He’s operating independent of the police. He’s a renegade with a grand conspiracy theory.
Yeah, but he’s in that vein of vigilantism, so his motives and his mission are all aimed at justice. But I guess there’s always the question with avengers and vigilantes of whether it’s cool to operate outside the law. But that’s what gives [the show] its edge and thrill. That’s why we watched Clint Eastwood movies — a lot of that “taking the law into your own hands” methodology we appear to be very fond of in our culture.

A lot of your experience prior to TV was on the stage, where you know the entire arc of your character before you perform. And on Lost, it was the complete opposite: You knew so little about your character going in. How do you shift gears from the stage to TV? Do you write entire character bios and backstories?
I learned from Lost to turn off doing that actor homework. It never helped much, and sometimes would get in the way. If I don’t know where the thing is going, it’s better if I take it scene by scene, and let the character reveal himself to me in time. It’s funny to talk about [Person of Interest] in the same conversation where I was talking about Ben Linus — there were 90 episodes that I did [on Lost], and after a while, I wore him like a well-tailored coat. This time, I’m on the ground floor. So mainly what I’m trying to do now is be a sensitive reader of the scripts and try to predict the places they’re going. I think every actor who has ever made a pilot has some cause to regret certain choices or nuances, because they see it doesn’t hold up over time. So I’m not making wholesale decisions at this point. I’m feeling my way.

It’s interesting that you worked as an illustrator for many years before acting. Do you still draw?
No, I haven’t touched pencil to paper in years.

How do you feel about that?
I feel fine. I know it’s a thing that saddens others much more than it saddens me. I think whatever is pleasurable or satisfying to me about being an illustrator, I still get — in an even better form — by being an actor. Or you might say, “an illustrator of living characters.”

But I assume at one point, you enjoyed literally putting a thing in your hand and drawing with it.
Sometimes I’ll see something and think, There’s a fine subject for a drawing. And there was a time when I’d come back and sit down and draw it, or taken a picture so I could mess withit when I got home. I sort of miss that. You’re right, I shouldn’t be too glib about the loss of that.

Source: Vulture—NYMag

Drawing Donated by Michael Emerson

A gallery of donated artwork by “Lost” actors, representing their time here over six seasons filming the hit ABC series, is up for auction at eBay.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, the actors/artists include Terry O’Quinn (John Locke), who fashioned a bracelet from shells he collected on the North Shore; Ken Leung (Miles), who did a sketch of actress Evangeline Lilly (Kate); Jorge Garcia (Hurley), who rendered a painting of himself dive-bombing into the water (with butt crack showing!); and Josh Holloway (Sawyer), who did a watercolor painting of himself fishing on a boat.

Additionally, Michael Emerson (Ben), a former graphic artist, donated a work he did a while back. …

You can see a larger version of his drawing here.

Additionally, Michael Emerson (Ben), a former graphic artist, donated a work he did a while back. …

A gallery of donated artwork by “Lost” actors, representing their time here over six seasons filming the hit ABC series, will be exhibited for the first time at a Honolulu Theatre for Youth fundraising kickoff party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Tenney Theatre.

The works, commissioned by HTY trustee Annie Cusick Wood (spouse of “Lost” actor Ian Cusick, who played Desmond), eventually will be auctioned but will highlight the HTY’s Actors & Artists Fund-Launching event.

The actors/artists include Terry O’Quinn (John Locke), who fashioned a bracelet from shells he collected on the North Shore; Ken Leung (Miles), who did a sketch of actress Evangeline Lilly (Kate); Jorge Garcia (Hurley), who rendered a painting of himself dive-bombing into the water (with butt crack showing!); and Josh Holloway (Sawyer), who did a watercolor painting of himself fishing on a boat.

Additionally, Michael Emerson (Ben), a former graphic artist, donated a work he did a while back. …

Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser

By Jen Chaney
Michael Emerson: How much do we all miss Ben Linus? Well, we can get a little taste, perhaps, when Emerson guest stars next month on “Parenthood,” as a birthday party entertainer with Asperger’s Syndrome. Emerson — he’s always got to play someone complicated, doesn’t he?
LOST Cast
The “Lost” line-up.(ABC)

We all know what today is. And no, I don’t mean Groundhog Day.

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Those of us who’re still in mourning over the end of Lost will be pleased to hear that three of its biggest stars will soon be back on our screens…

NBC are said to be developing a new show that’ll star Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn – who of course played Ben Linus and John Locke respectively in Lost – and Jorge Garcia – Hurley – has been lined up to guest star in How I Met Your Mother.

Few details have yet been reported on Michael and Terry’s news show, other than hints that it’s to be about former special ops soldiers and has the working titled, ‘Odd Jobs’.

The show will be produced by Lost co-creator JJ Abrams. However, it’s understood that a pilot show is being created now.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Michael spoke of how pleased he was that he and some of the Lost alum would be involved with the new show…

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Kristin dos Santos of E-Online was given this great video clip from the upcoming LOST Season 6 DVD and Blue-Ray disc.

This was shown in Rome, Italy at the Roma Fiction Festival, 2010:

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