Michael Emerson

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About
is an American film and television character actor who is perhaps best known for his roles as serial killer William Hinks in The Practice, Benjamin Linus on Lost, and as Harold Finch on the CBS series Person of Interest.

Hosted AMAs


Highest Rated Comments


MichaelEmerson509 karma

The challenge of Ben Linus is the same challenge you have with any long-running television role. We're always fighting to keep your stamina up and keep the character interesting.

I have loads of fantastic memories from playing Ben Linus. Some of them have to do with locations where we shot on beaches at night or at sunrise, when it was so breathtaking we would just set down the cameras and look at where we are. Also had many great scenes with Terry O'Quinn, who played John Locke. There's a great scene were Benjamin Linus convinces John Locke not to hang himself, gets the information he needs, then strangles John Locke. It was very dark. Terry O'Quinn was never greater than that day. I'm sure on that day he was the greatest actor on the planet.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

MichaelEmerson169 karma

They're both easy on the eyes, I must say. Josh has a kind of southern charm, a twinkle in his eye, that I find is attractive. Jim is funnier than people would guess, and that's a great trait of his, and it makes him a very dear person.

MichaelEmerson162 karma

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

MichaelEmerson160 karma

They all have something to recommend them. But maybe season 2, because that's when my character was introduced, and there was so much mystery surrounding him, and he seemed so scary, haha. There were great episodes and fantastic development in every scene.

MichaelEmerson149 karma

Okay!