Acting is my second career. I used to be a magazine illustrator and came to acting late in life. I'm here with Victoria from reddit. I used to be a stage actor, and I assumed that my dream had arrived and I was going to be a live stage actor for the rest of my life, so it's been strange to end up on television for as much as I have been. But it's been nice.

Ask me anything!

This has been great, and I look forward to doing it again. But now it's time for me to call Carrie, who has tried to call me 3 times in the last half an hour. I think she forgot what I was doing this evening. Thank you!

Comments: 660 • Responses: 58  • Date: 

ParanoidAndroids205 karma

Can you please get Terry O'Quinn on Person of Interest so that I can enjoy some more alternate universe adventures of Ben and Locke?

Also, is Jim Caviezel as serious on set as Reese when the cameras aren't rolling?

MichaelEmerson222 karma

You should know that I'm anxious to work with Terry as soon as possible. But he's a big deal actor and I don't know if they can find a part large enough for him!

Jim is sometimes serious, but he's very often silly also. So you get a little of everything. He does a lot of funny voices, sings songs, he does a crazy good impression of Christopher Walken.

Cyrusk4162 karma

Hey Michael, your character on "Lost" was more misunderstood than evil, and very complex. Do these types of characters appeal to you?

MichaelEmerson200 karma

Oh yes, those are always the best. It's always best to bring ambiguity into play, because an audience will not tolerate you long if you have no mystery. Even if you're playing a pack character like the Sheriff, your job as an actor is to mix that up a bit. Let's say you are the good guy. The actor should find some bad habits in that character, something that makes the audience a little uneasy and keeps them watching.

Quilled114 karma

I'm a huuuuuge fan of your work, Mr. Emerson!

What attracted you to Person of Interest? Is there a role that you really wanted but in the end did not get?

MichaelEmerson184 karma

Well, Mr Finch was the role I wanted. And what attracted me was not so much the character but the tone and setting of the show, it had a noir feeling, that kind of late night in New York City, dangerous, paranoid scenario. I liked that.

vinsontm91 karma

Who was a better partner, Hurley or Mr. Reese?

MichaelEmerson139 karma

That is so much apples and oranges. They are both lovely partners in their own way, but my relationship with Mr Reese is far more nuanced and complicated.

Catifan90 karma

My roommates and I are just finishing watching the whole Lost series(their first time, my third), and your character has been one of my favorites each time. Any thoughts on how the series ended?

That being said, what's your favorite piece(or maybe what you think Ben's would be) to use when playing Monopoly?

MichaelEmerson172 karma

Well I know that lots of people were disappointed, but I was not. I thought it was a beautiful ending, and a satisfying one. And I can't imagine how else they could have wrapped it up. I can defend that proposition at more length, but I imagine that's enough for right now.

Benjamin Linus - let's say the iron. For me personally, when I was a boy I always wanted the race car. But now I might choose the top hat.

Stoltz377 karma

What's one thing about yourself that people don't know about you that you wish they did?

MichaelEmerson208 karma

I am a good drawer of pictures, and I'm proud of it. I made my living as a magazine illustrator for ten or fifteen years. I worked for the Times, and all the Dow Jones publications, Psychology Today, Barrons, Business Week, The Atlantic Monthly, The Boston Globe, all sorts of things.

giraffenoggin186 karma

Yeah that map you gave Ana Lucia was top notch.

MichaelEmerson149 karma


adventurrre39 karma

how do you feel when people do fan art of YOU? does it feel strange to be immortalized in people's drawings?

MichaelEmerson84 karma

No, I think it's flattering, and it's interesting because I used to draw pictures for a living. So I look at them both as a fellow artist and also as a drawing teacher, so sometimes I will look at a pencil portrait they sent me and I will say something like "oh, they're just on the verge of a breakthrough!"

alexandra_c68 karma

Hello, Michael!

Your characters often make literary references, so I was just wondering:

-Do you ever read the books that they reference in the script?

-Who is your favorite author?


MichaelEmerson129 karma

Both on Lost and Person of Interest, the writers have intuited that I'm a big reader. So they always give me interesting books to put on the table or in my hand. And there have been some that I've though "oh, I should probably read this book." Like they gave me Ulysses on Lost once. And just in the course of a day's work, with a good book as your prop, during the time between shots you start skimming through it, you start reading through it. And the set for Person of Interest that I'm at most often is a library, and it's full of books that I'm sure they bought by the ton, and there are a lot of great titles and I'm sure some first editions.

vrexza66 karma

When I first started watching Person of Interest, I thought it just another was run of the mill episodic series. The way it evolved into what it is today and one of my favorite shows, did you ever think it would become something so much more, especially in the beginning? You know, not only plot wise but character development as well.

MichaelEmerson78 karma

I know what you mean, and I'm surprised that it has as much uber-story as it does now. I was happy with it being a standalone episode procedural because you expect that with CBS, they are experts at it, and it's really satisfying and it's available and hospitable to viewers - new, old and occasional. But now I think we have the best of both worlds in a way. There is so much backstory on our show now, and so many themes and problems and dangers that are present episode after episode. Which is a nice way to pay people back for their attention, I think, to make the narrative feel larger. And I hope it still is as accessible as it was to begin with.

Stoltz362 karma

Do you still keep in touch with your fellow cast members from Lost?

MichaelEmerson162 karma

Yes, I'm in touch regularly with Terry O'Quinn and with Jorge Garcia also.

anji200062 karma

I know you aren't a big fan of going to comic con so thank you as its been the highlight for me the last 2 years. I was wondering if you would consider doing Zachary Levi's Nerd HQ this year. A much more laid back affair and all for a great cause. Operation smile.

MichaelEmerson69 karma

That sounds like fun!

ksajaN53 karma

Do you miss working in Hawaii? Did you see and talk with J.J. Abrams a lot or was he already not around so much anymore?

MichaelEmerson133 karma

I have lately felt some nostalgia for Hawaii. I had had enough of it I think when LOST was over, and I thought "this has been lovely, and I don't need to come back again" but then you make attachments there, people and places that you love, certain restaurants and attractions and hiking trails and beaches, and there is nothing quite like having a Mai Tai at Sunset on Waikiki. I think Carrie and I will steal a weekend sometime soon and relive those days.

I really like J.J., it's not like we run into each other very often though, maybe 3 or 4 times when we were working together. And he was very nice to my mom. When he left the table my mom said "is that your agent?" and I said "no mom, that's my boss, not my agent!"

ZacharyEvanMedley48 karma

Is it difficult to act so stiff and walk with a limp as Finch?

MichaelEmerson99 karma

No, it's second nature to me now. It's more difficult to do the scenes in flashback where I don't have the limp. It's harder to remember to do it right.

therealbaws42 karma

Hi big fan from the UK, when i wear a suit... ITS ALL BUSINESS

Q) what was the biggest prank pulled off from set?

MichaelEmerson89 karma

I don't remember any! I'm so the wrong actor to ask this question. I hate pranks on set. I hate practical jokes. And so I never indulge in them and if other people indulge in them, I'm trying to focus on staying in the scene. I like to stay in the work I guess.

martin_zh39 karma

Good day Mr. Emerson! It's very wonderful that you are doing this AMA and big thanks for that! Just yesterday I checked the episode of Law & Order:SVU where you starred, do you remember that one?

The main question is - I noticed narrated some books. Do you have passion for reading (a.k.a big library of Harold Finch)? If yes, then where this passion comes from? And what are you reading right now?

MichaelEmerson73 karma

Yes, I've been a reader all my life. I'm reading a non-fiction book called The Drunken Botanist, it's about fermentation, distillation, and all the herbs, berries, barks and spices that go into making alcoholic beverages around the world. Sort of a compendium of lore about alcoholic beverages around the world. And I am just beginning The Goldfinch.

And I do remember that episode. The thing I most remember about it - this is funny - at that stage, I never got anything without auditioning for it, so I thought 'this is great! but I should ask at least what kind of character it is' and the casting director said "oh it's an academic with a secret." "Great!" i thought! But it turns out his secret is ordering mail-order Nigerian children and killing them. Oh he was a terrible villain.

thesu137 karma

If Ben and Finch had a battle of the wits, who'd win?

MichaelEmerson56 karma

Good question. I think maybe Harold Finch might win, because his education is deeper and broader. Ben Linus is more desperate and driven, and maybe that balances that out. I don't know, this is a good one!

jleiak33 karma

As an amateur female actor, I find myself frequently jealous of the meaty theater roles for men. Are there any female parts you'd love to play?

MichaelEmerson56 karma

I would want to play the character of Lady Wishfort in The Way of the World. I played it once in Graduate School, I shaved off my eyebrows and my chest hair to do it, but I was too young to do it. I hope I get another chance at it. It may be the funniest role in English ever.

MONKSFTW29 karma

Hey Micheal Emerson! I'm a huge fan and I hope you get to answer my questions, thank you for doing this AMA!

  • What was it like voicing The Joker in the Dark Knight Retunrs?

  • Do you see yourself voicing The Joker again or even portraying him in a film?

Thank you again for this AMA, on behalf of this AMA I'd like to commend you on your amazing talent and wish you luck on your current and future projects.

MichaelEmerson50 karma

Well it was really hard work. That is very demanding work, doing those big animated voice characterizations. And it was made the more daunting when I realized what a following a genre franchise like Batman has behind it. A lot of fans who have very definite opinions about it. I'm happy that it went as well as it did.

Oh, to play the Joker in front of a camera, I don't know anyone with any sense who would attempt that for a long time, because it's going to take a long time to forget Heath Ledger. But I would voice him again, it was good work and I think it's fairly successful. Hard work though I must say.

vinsontm29 karma

I saw that you and Terry O'Quinn were in line to star in a show called "Odd Jobs" several years ago. Could you tell me a little more about it and why it didn't happen?

MichaelEmerson46 karma

Well, it was a thing we spent a lot of time talking about, and it was a great idea, and it's still a great idea, and maybe someday it will see the light of day. The kernel of the idea for it was that we had both played on LOST guys who had sort of a supernatural power, we could get hit and stand up again, we could get hurt really badly and one episode later and be fine. So we thought what if we told the real story about men in their 50s, how hard it would be to get back up again. We wanted to tell a story of human frailty, of guys who couldn't really do it anymore. We sort of thought it would be a little bit of a comedy, but ultimately it would be a serious show, and we didn't really know. But the more they bought in writers to work on the show, the more "super" we became - "oh look we kicked down a door, oh look we fought 20 men in hand-to-hand combat" - exactly the opposite of what we wanted the show to be. Then I guess it got put on the back burner is the best way to characterize it, but who knows? Someday Terry and I may be sitting in the office at Bad Robot and we may try to fire that thing up again.

NotMikeLitoris28 karma

Hello Mr. Emerson, and welcome to reddit! I'm so excited that you're here.

  1. How do you spend your free time?
  2. What do you think about Mr. Finch? Is there any insight you'd like to give us about the way you play him?
  3. How is it like to work with Jesus Jim Caviezel?
  4. Why are you so awesome?

MichaelEmerson59 karma

1) Well, it's embarrassing to say, but I do kind of fritter it away. I like to wander the streets of New York and look in windows and go in galleries, I like to take the dog to the park. I like to space out, possibly because the work I do is so focused or requires a lot of focus, it's intense work so I like to have some time to vegetate and sort of reboot.

2) I don't know, I've been playing the part so long I don't even know what I'm doing anymore! My insight into how I play him is to put on those clothes and affect a limp. I guess I do have some sense in real life of what it is to be bookish, or smart, or articulate. And he is those things. but the science of it, I'm not good at computers but I'm happy to read about computer science.

3) You know, it doesn't come up. I don't think about that, I look at him and think "oh he couldn't have possibly played that part, because who could have possibly survived playing the role so dark and physically punishing." I do know that Jim and I both have Catholic backgrounds, and I think it has served as actors to a certain extent. It has given us a taste for or understanding of suffering, and I probably shouldn't have explore that further.

4) Oh goodness. I think I'm doing okay.

siahbabedblsiah27 karma

Junior/senior high band teacher here. Did you play an instrument in school? Also, if Ben were to play an instrument other than the piano, what do you think it would be and why?

MichaelEmerson59 karma

Yes. Oh this is terrible. In the orchestra, I played the oboe. Believe it or not. I was first chair, but then I was the only chair. In the marching band I played percussion. Started out on cymbals, worked my way up through glockenspiel to tenor drum, finally.

Oh, it would be something obscure and ancient, an old English instrument like a sackbutt, or a shawm, a double reeded instrument.

hiruchus25 karma

Do you ever catch yourself acting Harold Finch's limp in real life?

MichaelEmerson56 karma

Only if - and this happened once - if I'm running a scene in my head as I'm walking down the street. And then I think "what are you doing? everyone is probably looking at you as the cuckoo guy from POI."

liamquane24 karma

did you pick Finch's Glasses yourself?

MichaelEmerson56 karma

Actually, we did. I went with John Glazer, who was designing when we first started the series. The viewer will notice that the glasses are different after the pilot. The show got kind of redesigned between the pilot and the second episode, so I went with the designer to a high-end eyeglasses place and we picked the ones we thought were Mr. Finch, and they have become him. And I went out and bought a new pair of glasses for myself personally that look like his, and I thought "oh that's stupid, now I'm asking for people to recognize me." But it's useful on days when we might forget my prop glasses, in which case I can use mind and the audience won't notice most likely.

poifan123421 karma

Hi Mr. Emerson. No question, I just wanted to tell you how much I love POI. Keep up the incredible work.

MichaelEmerson21 karma

Thanks very much!

meerca21 karma

Hi Michael, big fan of your work on PoI and Lost!

What's the most recent memory you have of experiencing pure happiness? And what's your most memorable happy moment? :)

MichaelEmerson52 karma

Pure happiness… that's kind of hard to define. I have great happiness at family gatherings, events when our nephews are present and our dog is present, it's hilarious and heartwarming and you feel like "this is what it's all about." You have private life happiness, you know, the day that your wife agreed to marry you, that's a happy day. Those landmarks in your life together, finding that first apartment, or getting a dog, or winning awards. When Carrie won the Emmy last september, I was delirious and stupefied from happiness.

CindyLuo21 karma

Hey Michael, please let your wife know I am also her fan on True Blood, the Good Wife and the Following! Please ask her to do an AmA soon!

MichaelEmerson28 karma

Oh ok! I'm sure she's up for it. I will pass that along.

randy__randerson18 karma

Hello Mr. Emerson! Thanks for doing this AmA.

Big fan! First of all your work on Lost and POI is brilliant! Lost especially.

Can i ask:

  • did you know Ben was who he was since the beginning or did you also have to ponder if he was indeed Henry the ballooner guy?

  • how fun is it to work with Jim Caviezel, Nolan and Sarah?

MichaelEmerson53 karma

I did not know where they were going, but I figured it out before anybody else told me. About 4-5 episodes into it, I was given some strange directions, and I thought "that's an odd direction if I'm this innocent from Minnesota, why are you making me be so sinister? unless I'm the head of the bad guys." And I went to a director, can't remember which one, and said "Wouldn't it be a kick if I was the head of the Others?" and he blinked twice and said "I can't talk about it."

It's good fun, for many different reasons. Sarah is a great shot in the arm on our show because she is lively, and funny, and she is just a kick and very well-prepared. We have a lot of fun. Nolan is great. Our show could not be in better hands, I think. I wish I saw more of him because he is in Los Angeles and we film in New York. I'm always happy to see him when I can. And he has given us all a great opportunity to do some lovely work. Jim is also great. We have always gotten along, which is funny because we are such different people. I suppose at the end of the day we have real empathy for one another. We look at each other and see how hard the other is working, and how earnest our wish is for the quality of the show. I like to honor his investments, and the care he brings to his work with me, and that I hope to my work with him. It's a good team, and a delicate thing, and like all relationships both personal and professional, you want to handle it gently.

korealovesME18 karma

Hi Michael, #1 Korean fan here. :) You have a great voice. Have you been to Karaoke? If you did, what is your favorite song to sing?

MichaelEmerson39 karma

No, I don't do Karaoke because I have a terror of it. I never do it. It makes me really nervous. For the same reason I won't do improvisation.

poetrification16 karma

Hello Mr Emerson. I am a huge fan of yours from India. Just keep up your good work. Been following you since LOST!

MichaelEmerson23 karma

Hello back at you! That's the first I've heard of having viewers in India. I wonder if it's dubbed or subtitled there...

CanuckChick7115 karma

Good afternoon Mr. Emerson. How enjoyable was it for you to work with your wonderful wife Carrie Preston on Person of Interest? What were the pros and cons of working with your significant other?

Thank you in advance. :)

MichaelEmerson50 karma

well, the Pros of working with your spouse are that it's fun, and sweet, and strange to see your actress wife on your set. Maybe in the trailer next to you, it's cute and unreal. The acting part is tricky, I have to say. It's easy and we're comfortable with one another, but people say "it must be so easy to play a romantic scene with your wife." It is easy in some ways, but in acting, you have a two-tiered problem. First I have to erase her "Wife-ness" before I can replace it with her character. So you have to tune out all that easiness and familiarity, and you have to make her the stranger that she would be in the world of the narrative.

Carrie says I'm a little spooky at work.

Herrenvolk4114 karma

Hi! Thank you for doing an AMA. Ben Linus was one of the best characters on Lost, especially because of how much his character changed from the beginning to the end.

What was your most memorable experience as a cast member on Lost? Or, how has your life changed from Lost? Thanks again!

MichaelEmerson43 karma

There were so many. The most memorable dramatic event in the show was Ben witnessing the assassination of his daughter. As a cast member, I think just working in that beautiful and unreal landscape, day after day, beautiful beaches, mountaintops, jungles, sunsets, it's incredible and one of the most beautiful places a show was set scenically. My life changed in so many big and little ways. The biggest thing I noticed was that people recognize me on the street. They know who I am, and I don't know who they are.

The_Machine2213 karma


MichaelEmerson23 karma


AlessaMK13 karma

Hi, Michael! Greetings from Ecuador! Love POI, so my question goes this way: It's very sad and also very brave that Finch had to renounce his lover.

So, for you, what would be the hardest to give up to if you had to make a similar choice?

Thanks! :)

MichaelEmerson35 karma

No one should have to make those choices. I'm not sure Mr. Finch made the right choice.

song_bird13 karma

Hi! I loved you in Lost and am so excited I may have caught you in time to answer a question! What was your favorite episode of Lost to film, and if you could have been cast as any other character than Ben Linus, who would it be?

MichaelEmerson26 karma

It would have been great to play Richard Alpert, which was played by Nestor Carbonell, because he was a great, mysterious, time-traveling question mark. Favorite episode to film: we would often shoot out on these lava cliffs on the south side of Oahu. They were barren, they were so swept by the surf and it was always very windy out there. It was a highly dramatic and dangerous setting. There was also an episode where I made a fancy dinner where I had a lot of dialogue and food to prepare in the scene. It was a great acting challenge, with a lot of props.

Kknowsbest12 karma

What actor would you like to work with that you haven't worked with already?

MichaelEmerson43 karma

I would say to be careful what you wish for, because an actor you adore might not be so much fun, but I do admire Ben Kingsley. So if I looked at a call sheet and saw that it had Ben Kingsley on it, I think that would be a lot of fun.

regularpixel12 karma

Hi Michael, just want to say as a fan of you on lost and person of interest you sir have played 2 of the coolest roles ive seen. So i only have one question which is more fun playing a good guy or a bad guy?

MichaelEmerson36 karma

On average, it's more fun to be a villain. I think. That's because the villain is usually a little more complicated than the good guy. But if the good guy is complex, like Mr. Finch is, then that's pretty great too.

supergalacticcaptain12 karma

What's your favourite kind of tea?

MichaelEmerson32 karma

I like it as weak as possible, so usually white tea. The strength of tea goes with its color. The darker the tea, the more caffeine it will have, so white tea is the weakest in terms of caffeine. Then you go through green to gray and brown and black. But I'm a real lightweight.

My_Little_Absol9 karma

What was it like building chemistry with Jim Caviezel, seeing is your characters are so different?

Also, What was your favorite "Ben" related moment from LOST?

MichaelEmerson45 karma

Well I think we've been fortunate that we are really different actors, and that by some magic, the different-ness of us, the Odd Couple of us, has worked out because you can't calculate that, or buy it, or make it happen. It's a thing to be hoped for, and we have a good kind of odd chemistry.

Favorite Ben related moment? I tend to gravitate towards the more humorous moments, and he said some great one-liners. In answer to a question from Locke once, he said "if you're talking about time-traveling bunnies, then yes." But he has one more famous line which is "you guys got any milk?" That is maybe his most immortal line.

garwyn8 karma

Mr. Emerson, thank you for bringing an intriging personality to the roles you have played. I'd like to ask 3 Qs:

1) What is it that makes your 2 noteable roles so magnetic (in your opinion)? Is it the character, what you bring to the role or perhaps a crazy mix of both?

2) In both roles you deal with very "deep" matters... some of which are theoretical, others fictional. From a subject matter point of view, how did you prepare for those roles and the immense detail in sertain issues (POI being a very high end technical/coding background)? Perhaps you find some of this enjoyable outside of acting?

3) On a more personal note, what (if any) project would you like to be involved in more outside of acting?

Thank you for your time.

MichaelEmerson19 karma

1) I don't know why my roles worked! They probably don't work for everyone. Maybe I'm getting out of the way of the writing enough so that the writing is clear. And I'm thinking about the voice of the character.

2) I have to say because I do read a lot, that there aren't many issues that come up on the show that I don't have the beginning of an opinion about. So it seems to me that the character I play in Mr. Finch is just having a conversation with the world just as I would.

3) I have my charitable inclinations that I am happy I can do more about in my life. I wish I could do more of the legwork of it, though, rather than writing a check, that there was a night a week where I could read aloud to someone who cares to listen. I have my other interests and hobbies that I look forward to someday having time for.

CarrotCollector8 karma

Would you consider you to have a similar personality to Finch? Also, what can we look forward to on Person Of Interest?

MichaelEmerson28 karma

A little bit, maybe. There's always some overlap. For an actor, some part of him always leaks in around the edges. I'm a lot more fun than Harold Finch, but he's a fair amount of fun himself. If he didn't have these damn suicidal missions he was on, he'd be a riot at a party.

You can look forward to more independent behavior from machines…

whitewater28 karma

Thanks for being so kind to my wounded warrior buddies and I on set in OCT. Was truly one of the best experiences I have had.

Michael you admit your not a tech person, has POI influenced you to be more technical or less with all the surveillance issues that the show and real life NSA scandal have brought to life ?

ps. Did you end up ever watching the outtakes from season 2 that we discussed where it has you screaming at the truck driver for honking ? Lol

Thanks for doing this !!!

MichaelEmerson19 karma

I don't think there is anything that could make me better at it, but I am more conscious of it now. And I see cameras everywhere.

I_regularly_lurk8 karma

I saw you on the subway once and you were reading a book. I didn't want to interrupt you since you seemed very interested in what you were reading. I was wondering what book, if any, you are reading right now? Also if there is a book that you've always wanted to read but have not gotten around to it.

MichaelEmerson13 karma

I want someday to read Middlemarch. And I want to read Ulysses someday. But whether I will get to them, I don't know. I want to read more greek & roman classical texts too.

Serdontos8 karma

Hi Michael I love the show my question is would you ever be involved in a comic book movie if you had a choice what character would you play?

MichaelEmerson23 karma

Sure. Never say never. but I sometimes think that we are secretly comic book characters on Person of Interest. We're just pretty sophisticated ones, and we're not wearing capes and masks. There's a lot we have in common with graphic novels.

liamquane8 karma

what has been your favorite feature of The Machine?

MichaelEmerson24 karma

well, there was an episode at the end of season 2 where the Machine was scrambling to protect itself and it seems childlike, that the Machine was caught out with a problem it was not programmed to solve so it tried to defend itself the only ways it knew how. And I felt tenderly about the Machine, and about the idea of a Machine being like that. It's complicated. This AI stuff. It brings up a lot of questions.

davidnagel7 karma

Hey Mr Emerson! David from the UK here, and a huge fan of POI! You're doing an excellent job and do not look your age whatsoever. I hope I'm this sexy in specs when I get to your age sir.

Anyway! In POI you have your character's younger counterparts, have you had the opportunity to meet these lads and if so did you feel like imparting advice to encapsulate what you created as Harold?

MichaelEmerson17 karma

What you're not thinking is that I'm never in scenes with those guys, so generally, once in a great while I will see some other iteration of Harold Finch, maybe at lunch or something. But all you can do then is say "hi, hope you're having fun, keep up the good work."

salazarb7 karma

Hi Michael! Big fan of all your characters! I have two questions:

What is one country that you haven't been to but really want to?

What is your eyewear prescription?

MichaelEmerson24 karma

The country I think I'd most like to visit next is Scotland, particularly the Hebrides, those wind-swept islands off the coast.

And my prescription is really strong, I think it's eight and a half if that means anything to you.

siahbabedblsiah6 karma

I can't thank you enough for doing this, as I'm a huge fan of yours. I was hoping you could tell me if you are as addicted to Lost as we all are? Or is it rather just a job for you?

MichaelEmerson20 karma

I found it gripping. Carrie my wife was always a huge fan. But I wasn't as taken with season 1 as she was. That all changed when I got to Hawaii.

liamquane6 karma

what has been your favorite film this year?

MichaelEmerson14 karma

I actually don't go to the movies very often. I am so far behind on movies. One of the best things I watched last night was a movie from 1973, a treatment of the play The Homecoming, from the American Theater Film Series, with a fabulous mysterious script.

monsus6 karma

is there one thing in your life and/or career that you just wish you could say to people? (whether it has to do with your job or your status as a popular person people are listening to right encouragement to people following your footsteps or someone going the other way...anything really you want to say about this business)

*edited because of weird grammar

MichaelEmerson17 karma

That thing of being patient with yourself. If you have a deadline, there is enough pressure. It's not a race, again. What I say to young actors is that I never made a living as an actor until I was 50. Could you stand to wait that long?

Almondcats5 karma

I live in Scotland, just outside the capital Edinburgh. We would absolutely love a visit from you! Anyhow, on POI we are beginning to see Harold's character develop through flashbacks of his childhood and how he became involved with technology ect. Have you got a preference or an idea as to how his character develops further as the series progresses? Also, I'm very interested in illustration as I love to draw. Any hints as to how to break into the industry? Thanks!

MichaelEmerson12 karma

I would love to visit Scotland someday! I think it's such a wild and beautiful place. I think the writers are very close to having filled in most of the blanks in the Harold Finch backstory. Except for a big blank space when he was at college, and what he did professionally post-graduation. But that's good, they want to dole that stuff out slowly.

I think the most important thing for anyone who works in graphics is to draw from life, and to draw for accuracy, not trying to express yourself but trying to capture the world around you accurately. I used to teach drawing.

marcomeneghello5 karma

Hi Michael, I'm from Italy. Have you ever listened to your character dubbed in another language? Did you like it? Thanks for the AMA, greetings from Italy!

MichaelEmerson19 karma

I'm anxious to hear me dubbed in any language I can get. I think it would be so funny and so interesting. And I'm hoping someday that somebody at maybe WB or CBS international will get me a little clip of what it sounds like in Italy.

ClickClackClank5 karma

What's your favorite stage production that you've ever done and do you see yourself going back to being a stage actor for an extended period of time in the future?

MichaelEmerson20 karma

I sure would like to get back on the stage. I have a number of favorites, but I should always mention Gross Indecency, which is the play that began my career, when I played Oscar Wilde in New York. That was my break. I fondly remember my Broadway debut as well in The Iceman Cometh.

izabela21114 karma

Hello Michael .What is your favorite artist and why ?

MichaelEmerson20 karma

I am floored by Vermeer, and at the other end of the scale, I'm floored by Paul Klee. But I'm most drawn at this stage of my life to third world handicrafts and design, folk art.

Girl-in-the-Suit4 karma

Hello Mr Emerson. I'm a huge admirer of your work. How do you think or hope Person of Interest will end in the series finale? Also, the characters in person of interest break the law to help others. Would you ever break the law to save someone you love?

MichaelEmerson14 karma

I would hope that there's a way for Reese and Finch to set down their burdens and walk away from it. Yes, if it didn't mean harm for someone else, or if it was not to gain an advantage over others. But there are many rules and statutes and customs that should be challenged, I think.

cheryloreo3 karma

Hello, Mr. Emerson, I'm your big fan~ First I want to say is that there are lots of fans of you in China, and we all obsessed with your acting and personality.
Then there are some questions I'm going to ask. 1. Do you think the relationship between Finch and Reese will be different from the old days? 2. Do you have any plan to shoot films? We really look forward to enjoying your acting in the cinema!!! 3. Do you prefer to play a badass or a good guy? Actually, be honest, some of us do love you being a bad guy, like William Hinks and Marty Manning, they are very attractive.

MichaelEmerson5 karma

1) well, that's the thing that the writers have to balance out. That relationship has to evolve and change, and yes, there has to be a kind of constancy in that relationship for the viewers.

2) Someday it would be nice. I don't really have time for that work now, but maybe someday.

3) Well, I think villains have a slight edge over heroes.

Cleverology3 karma

How do you handle intense scenes? It seems like it would be awkward to act in scenes where one character has been kidnapped or is being tortured.

Also, of the Lost cast, who is the most like their character, and who is the least?

Ben was my favorite character from Lost, especially after we saw his backstory. Thank you for being a phenomenal actor!

MichaelEmerson25 karma

I do what every actor does, I just try to imagine myself in those circumstances. I don't mean to be coy, mostly what I depend on is that I will find the language moving, that the script will take me there.

Gosh, you know, I have to say (and maybe it's just because everyone was doing their roles for so long), but everyone ended up being a great deal like their character (*I thought). And it would be nice to see them again to see if they were still acting like themselves, or if their pre-LOST selves had reclaimed their personalities.

VideoCT3 karma

did you and the other main actors on Lost have any idea what story you were telling or was it as much of a mystery to you as it was to the viewers?

MichaelEmerson13 karma

It was always a mystery to us as well. We never knew anything beyond the scenes we were shooting. We would tear into each new script with interest because we were trying to figure out where it was going too!