michael emerson

'Person Of Interest' Michael Emerson & Kevin Chapman Talk Season 5 Premiere On CBS! INTERVIEW

CBS recently started airing the Season 5 premiere of Person of Interest. MStars News interviewed actors Michael Emerson and Kevin Chapman and they talked about the return of Harold Finch and Lionel Fusco in the war between The Machine and Samaritan.

Person of Interest's story arc, from the beginning, is about the former billionaire Harold Finch (Emerson) and ex-CIA operative John Reese (Jim Caviezel) racing against the clock to prevent violent crimes before they could happen. With the help of the artificial intelligence known as The Machine, they manage to save innocent lives right up to when their numbers popped up. But they never expected to go up against an even greater threat known as Samaritan.

In the fourth season finale, YHWH, concluded with Team Machine fighting for their lives. With no gun whatsoever, Finch walked out in slow motion alongside Reese and Root as they started shooting down Samaritan's agents. Finch had a briefcase with a blinking light, signifying the Machine's fading heartbeat.

Enjoy the interview:

MStars News: Fusco had a close call when Elias (Enrico Colantoni) and Dominic (Winston Duke) were shot down by Samaritan.Kevin Chapman: Fusco has a lot of unanswered questions. He kinda goes rogue a little bit. He's conducting his own kind of investigations. He knows that there is something going on. But he's not sure what it is. But he intends to find out.

MStars News: What is Harold Finch's mindset now when the show returns?

Michael Emerson: He's in full improvised mode. It's a mad scramble. They're all doomed! [Laughs] They're all doomed because Samaritan is in charge. They have to go even deeper underground. Priority one is to reboot The Machine. Without The Machine, there's nothing they can do.

MS: The role of Fusco has allowed you to show off your dramatic and comedic side. Do you prefer when the tone of the episode turns lighter or more serious?

KC: The comedic side is my personality. It's me being a clown! [Laughs] It's always great to play a character with a sense of duality. Is he a good guy doing bad things? Or is he a bad guy doing good things? It goes from performance to performance. You try not to judge the characters. You leave that up to the viewership; how they see the character. It's always nice to play someone on the dark side.

MS: Last season, Reese attempted to teach Harold how to use a gun. Will Finch have to change his stance on guns after the fourth season finale?

ME: As the threats surrounding them, dire and terrifying, Mr. Finch might have to make some adjustments to certain ethical decisions. He might have to think of the possibility of violence.

MS: How is Finch's relationship with Reese at this point?

ME: Mr. Finch is depressed I guess you can say. Things are not going well. He's not sure that the thing he's built is doing what it should be doing. Was it all possible for not? He and men like him have seen the world and wonder if it's doing mankind any good. I do think he needs something. It's a crisis of faith. Maybe he needs a little bucking up.

MS: Do you feel the pacing of the show has changed because the season came down to 13 episodes?

KC: I don't think our pacing has increased at all. I think we've maintained that. I think the writing has gone to a new level. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised. We're a show that does 9 million live. And then another 3 to 4 million. It's a very unique situation. You have roughly 13 million people watching you every week.

MS: In the fourth season finale, The Machine called Finch its "Father." Will we see more of that relationship develop in the remaining episodes?

ME: I thought that was an important scene. I'm really attached to that business of that relationship. Mr. Finch tries to put a show of no personal feelings for the Machine. And yet, you see that the Machine is so human. Now he's just confused. His parental instincts have stuck. He has feelings for the thing he has made. It's sad and wonderful at the same time.

MS: Because this is the final season, what strikes your mind when you look back on Person of Interest?

KC: We talked a lot about topics that the world really didn't address. You look at the Eric Snowden stuff. We were talking about that stuff 2 years prior to that stuff. That's really cool to me to be a part of something like that. It makes people look and go and, "Whoa! Maybe there is something!"

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Michael Emerson talks about Harold Finch

According to Parade Magazine, Dr. Nancy Berk, Ph.D. a clinical psychologist, author, comic, entertainment analyst, and the host of the showbiz podcast Whine At 9. interviewed Michael Emerson:

I could close my eyes and still pick Person of Interest actor Michael Emerson’s voice out of a crowd. It doesn’t hurt that he has been hanging around primetime in my house for years (Lost, The Practice). And DVR hasn’t hurt. My husband binge-watches POI every 5 seconds (despite watching it unfold at its regularly scheduled time). So I was thrilled to catch up with the Emmy Award-winning Emerson on my podcast before the premiere of the final season of Person of Interest.

Michael Emerson may be a familiar face in the acting world, but compared to his peers, he was a little late to the game. The man who scared us to death as serial killer William Hinks in The Practice and kept us tuned in to watch cold-blooded island dweller Ben Linus on Lost, didn’t hit his full professional acting stride until 30.

Explains Emerson, who always wanted to be an actor, “I moved from small town Iowa to New York City. And it just knocked the wind out of me. I could not—I had not been prepared to figure out how to make a business of it—how to find an agent, or do auditions, or anything like that. By the time I was able to collect myself and get an apartment and a job, I guess I just set it aside. I put it on a back burner. And I worked retail for a couple of years. And then I was taking weekend illustration courses at The New School…I’d always been able to draw pictures. And I fell into that line of work and I did that for about 10 years. And you know, it’s not really an easier racket than acting is. For some reason, I guess the rejection of an illustrator’s life is less penetrating than the rejection of an actor’s life. So I was able to manage that.”

Listen to the interview with Michael Emerson on iTunes.

Fortunately, Emerson didn’t ignore his dream vocation. “I still nursed that old dream of being an actor—so much so that I found it hard to go see plays and stuff in New York. When I found myself high and dry in North Florida in my middle 30s, I thought, ‘Well, now I have to start over. I might as well do what I want to do.’ So I worked day jobs…I was a housepainter, and a landscape nursery man, and all these various odd jobs I had, and started doing community theater…I wasn’t a kid anymore—so it was starting late,” Emerson says.

In many ways, being a seasoned adult may have given him an edge in show business.

“As an actor, I’m not sure what I had to offer the world of tragedy and comedy when I was 21. I hadn’t lived a whole lot. By my middle 30s, you know, I had been knocked around a little bit,” admits Emerson. “You know, I’d had some tribulations and some exaltations and I knew what they felt like and what they looked like on a human face…so I was much better prepared.”

And jumping into a field without any guarantees didn’t fluster Emerson. “When I settled on what I knew I was supposed to be doing, it was the best realization, the most relief I think I ever had in my life. I thought, ‘Well now, come what may, I’ll be fine. I don’t care if I make money. I don’t care if I’m famous’…my calling became clear to me. And it was such a relief.”

Emerson has enjoyed a career that has included plenty of fascinating roles including his Person of Interest alter ego—billionaire and brilliant software geek Harold Finch. POI and CBS seem to have ticked all of the boxes for Emerson when it comes to taking on a role that includes great teams, tension and cool locations.  “I like the things every actor likes—I like great, intense duet scenes with good actors,” he says. “I like being in a confined space with someone very dangerous, and having a conversation that could blow up at any minute. I like shooting on location in New York City. I love being on the top of tall buildings, and being out on piers on the Hudson River at dawn, and Chinatown in the evening…you know, we go everywhere.”

He may love his acting partners, but Emerson says he wouldn’t have jumped to play John Reese (portrayed by Jim Caviezel). “It’s too non-verbal. I hardly know what to do if I can’t talk. But also, I think I’m past the age where I want to do combat that much. I had enough combat on Lost. I was five years on Lost and I think I got beaten by somebody every second episode….I want the role where you dress up and you drink a martini and you talk to people. That’s the kind of drama I want to do,” laughs Emerson.

Emerson will now be bidding farewell to Harold Finch after five seasons playingPOI’s mysterious billionaire. While goodbyes on great shows may be bittersweet, the actor seems satisfied with how the show wraps. “I have to say I’m happy with the ending. And I think Harold is, or would be, happy with the ending.” Emerson believes few fans will be able to predict the outcome. “I’d be surprised if many of them come up with what the writers have come up with.”

Will Michael Emerson be taking a little bit of Harold Finch with him as he exits POI— maybe the ability to troubleshoot high-tech home and office problems? Emerson doesn’t even pause. “I’m the worst at a computer. I need to ask my wife (actress Carrie Preston) to help me solve really simple computer operations. I’m terrible with tech. But I’m good with jargon. I can sound like I know what I’m doing,” chuckles Emerson. Of course he can— which is a big reason why we’re going to miss that lovable, billionaire computer geek.

Listen to Nancy’s interview with Michael Emerson on iTunes

Person of Interest premiered Tuesday, May 3 on CBS 10 p.m. ET.

Nancy Berk, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, comic and entertainment analyst. The host of the showbiz podcast Whine At 9, Nancy digs a little deeper as she chats with fascinating celebrities and industry insiders. Her book College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind can be seen in the feature film Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

michael emerson

Interview: Michael Emerson previews final season of 'Person of Interest'

Michael Emerson said the following about the end of Person Interest series:

"I had always thought it was a possibility. Other people in the company seemed to think it would go on forever. I wasn't super-surprised."

Here's his interview in Examiner.com:

CBS's Person of Interest begins its final season on May 3, which means that Michael Emerson will be walking away from the role of Harold Finch that he's portrayed so brilliantly since 2011. LA Fan Cultures Examiner caught up with Emerson recently to discuss saying goodbye to the reclusive genius and what fans can expect from the remaining 13 episodes.

Was he surprised that Season 5 will be the last season? "I had always thought it was a possibility," he told us of the conclusion. "Other people in the company seemed to think it would go on forever. I wasn't super-surprised.

"I'm glad they gave us the opportunity to do something to wrap it up," he continued. "I'm glad now they announced they are going to broadcast it because I was getting a little bit worried there. I thought it could be that it somehow makes sense for someone to just stick it on a dusty shelf in the basement. I'm happy to have it air. I think they are really good episodes. I think the writers figured out a cool and dramatically satisfying way to wrap things up."

Person of Interest will be leaving with its head held high; five seasons and more than 100 episodes is a good run for any show, particularly in today's ultra-competitive TV climate where some series don't even make it to 10 episodes. We asked Michael if he ever thought the show would last as long as it has.

"I didn't know," he said. "When you do a pilot, I knew this one was kind of dark in tone and a little farfetched and very expensive, I thought we'll see if anybody wants to really tackle this thing.

"I guess it's done fairly well [commercially]. I chalk that up to good writing," he added. "We will have 103 episodes when the fifth season airs; that's enough to syndicate. I think already you can catch lots of episodes of our show on WGN and you can stream all of them on Netflix. So it's out there."

While naturally he's not going to spill any of The Machine's final secrets, he did tell us some of what fans will be coming back to whenPerson of Interest roars back tomorrow night.

"The new season, as you could have predicted, begins a heartbeat after the end of Season 4," he explained. "Mid-flight and grave danger and the early part of the season has to do with them trying to find safety, regroup and reboot The Machine. All of those things are complicated, occasionally funny, mostly deadly.

"Then the ultimate face off between the two artificial intelligence groups [The Machine and Samaritan] - that has to be resolved, and it does get resolved in a way that I didn't see coming," he said. "I think it's satisfying. There is a great deal of destruction, and the world is upset, but at least it is still the world."

There are even a few surprises for Finch. "There are some things I didn't see coming through the years and a couple of them are in this upcoming season," Michael teased. "Things that were more wacky or more funny than I would have ever dreamed I'd be playing in a show like this. I think it's there to counter-balance and season the sort of dire circumstances [of] it all being a suicide mission.

"As far as evolution of the character, I'm not sure I figured out different ways to play it over the years," he continued, when we asked about Finch's overall arc. "Maybe we all just got a little more comfortable with our roles, and also I do think that sense of friendliness among the heroes. The sense of some gallows humor, a little bit of teasing, a little family feeling that crept in there. That probably has much to do with us as it does the writers getting comfortable."

Something interesting about the series is that its key relationship - between Finch and his operator John Reese - has remained intact throughout. Emerson and co-stars Jim Caviezel and Kevin Chapman (who plays Detective Lionel Fusco) will have been regulars for all five seasons. That's something else not many shows can claim. What is it like for an actor to have seen a character's journey through from beginning to end?

"It's a nice opportunity to leave your mark on something and frankly to be regularly employed," Michael told us, but it also was a sizeable commitment. "This was a heavy load. I got spoiled on Lost where I wasn't needed in every episode. I just had juicy scenes occasionally and a lot of attention.

"This was a much smaller cast and I had many more responsibilities, both as an actor and if you are high up on the call sheet you have to be a leadership role in the company. It was a step up in every kind of responsibility," he continued. "I was fairly worn out by the time we wrapped in December. I'm happy I've had a little time to just chill out and do nothing and recharge the battery a little bit."

While Michael isn't sure what he's going to do next, don't expect it to be another regular role on network TV. After five seasons of being a co-lead, he's understandably ready for something less intensive. "I'm not sure if I ever will be ready to shoot 22 episodes of anything ever again on a seasonal basis," he said. "I'm looking for shorter term jobs. A little more variety. Maybe a chance to go on the stage in New York. Maybe some little parts in film projects, if such things can be had."

But he's not necessarily aiming for anything in particular. "All of the good parts I've ever had have come out of left field," he reflected. "Something I had never heard of, or new material or something like that. I could name some roles in Shakespeare that would be fun to play, but everyone has a list of that sort. I will say this: I would like to play something funny or silly. Something more eccentric maybe; that would be fun. I don't know what that would be."

It might take some time to figure out where he'll land next, but wherever that may be fans know that Michael is one of those actors who always delivers a unique performance. The material might be different yet even so he always finds a direction to take it that audiences would never have figured. For five seasons, we've gotten to enjoy his inventiveness and depth of character on a weekly basis.

So while it's sad to say goodbye to Person of Interest and Harold Finch after so many numbers, we can also look back on the series as a blessing for having given us the opportunity to better appreciate the talent of one of TV's most reliable performers.

The Person of Interest season premiere is Tuesday, May 3 at 10 p.m. on CBS.

michael emerson

Carrie Preston Talks about Michael Emerson

HNGN.com has a nice interview with Carrie Preston. She talks about her new sitcom on NBC: Crowded. She also talks about Michael Emerson, which I'm including that part in this blog. I f you are interested in reading the entire interview, just click here.

The shooting schedule for "Crowded" allowed you to fly home to New York often. Does that flexibility help you maintain a strong relationship with your husband, Michael Emerson?

I think for sure. Plus, we enjoy each other's company, that's number one. We've been together for 21 years. We've been married for 17 and we just keep growing and learning from each other and enjoying each other. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, I think, so we enjoy our time together because we know inevitably we're going to have some time apart. It really does make you take advantage of the time that you have at hand. So we've gotten really good at that. We also don't have children so it's made it easier for us to move between things. I think that is helpful to the relationship for us. We have a little dog that we share and we love and he completes our little family.

A few of the shows your husband starred on have cast you as his wife. Is that casting natural?

Yeah, it does come up. For example, in "Person of Interest," they asked Michael first, "Hey, do you mind if we offer this role to your wife." Michael was like, "Go ahead. See if her schedule will allow it." We kind of stay out of each other's business in a way, so it was fun to work with him on that and we've had other times where people have wanted us to work together on something and we've gone, "You know what, no. I think I'm just going to let that be yours." And other times we're like, "No, let's do that! That sounds fun." It really does depend on many factors. It definitely works. I don't know if they would have thought of me for that role if I wasn't married to him, but I know they thought it would be something that the fans would enjoy and they definitely have. And so have we.

michael emerson

Michael Emerson Attends Opening Night for “The Woodsman”

Michael Emerson attended the opening night of The Woodsman. The new play performed silently and with human and puppet characters. The play is a prequel to the Wizard of Oz story of the Tin Man. Here's a wonderfulreview written by Marilyn Stasio for Variety:

After limited runs at Ars Nova and 59E59 Theaters, Strangemen & Co.’s production of “The Woodsman” is back on the boards. There’s a haunting beauty about this dark puppet show, created by James Ortiz, the writer, co-director, puppet master and star of the current production at New World Stages. This eerie prequel to “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” reveals how the Tin Woodman (as he’s known in L. Frank Baum’s Oz books) lost his heart — not to mention all his body parts — when the Wicked Witch of the East put a curse on his ax.

Although most of the show is in wordless puppet-speak, a narrator (Ortiz, who owns this show) addresses the audience long enough to put the story in perspective. The wicked witch who rules over the eastern provinces of Oz, he informs us, has made a sad and sorry place of her kingdom. The woods are inhabited by monsters, the witch’s spies are everywhere, and people are afraid to speak their thoughts out loud.

Words have literally become dangerous in the kingdom, so everyone stops talking and now communicate in non-verbal grunts, groans, squeaks, squeals and whistles. They laugh, they cry, they clap their hands, and make all kinds of weird noises — but they truly do not speak. The only other sound is the expressive but rather hectic violin playing of musician Naomi Florin. The music is not unpleasant, just relentless.

Even at 70 minutes, this cacophony of non-speech could drive a person crazy, a reminder that one of the joys of puppetry is its eloquent silences.

Despite the dangers, a brave woodsman named Nick Chopper (Ortiz again, carrying an ax) and his bride, Nimmee (Eliza Martin Simpson), make their escape through the haunted woods and into a happy place where Nick can chop down trees and build a home.

The malevolent witch is not to be outwitted, however. She puts a curse on the woodsman’s ax, directing it to (here comes the good part) chop off his limbs, one by one. But as fast as the ax shears off a limb, a clever tinker (Amanda A. Lederer) fashions a prosthesis made of tin. The woodsman’s head is the last to go, but when it does, the transformation is complete and the Woodsman has become the Tin Man.

The puppeteers are proficient and the effects are exquisite. The witch flies in on a bad wind, always in the company of the evil-looking crows that serve as her eyes and ears. But the life-sized tin puppet of the woodsman (tenderly manipulated by Ortiz) is heartbreaking.

Off Broadway Review: Oz Backstory 'The Woodsman'
New World Stages; 199 seats; $85 top. Opened Feb. 8, 2016. Reviewed Feb. 5. Running time: 1 HOUR, 10 MIN.
A presentation by Robb Nanus, Rachel Sussman, Ryan Bogner, Adam Silberman, and Leo Mizuhara and Brian Stuart Murphy, in association with RJ Brown & Joe Carroll, Rebecca Black, and Ellen Myers, originally produced and developed by Strangemen & Co., of a play in one act by James Ortiz, adapted from the books of L. Frank Baum, with music by Edward W. Hardy and lyrics by Jen Loring.
Directed by James Ortiz & Claire Karpen. Sets & puppet design, James Ortiz; costumes, Molly Seidel; original costumes, Carol Uraneck; lighting, Catherine Clark & Jamie Roderick; movement coordinator, Will Gallacher; fight director, Aaron McDaniel; music director & violinist, Naomi Florin; production stage manager, CJ LaRoche.
Benjamin Bass, Devin Dunne Cannon, Will Gallacher, Alex J. Gould, Amanda A. Lederer, Aaron McDaniel, Lauren Nordvig, James Ortiz, Eliza Martin Simpson, Meghan St. Thomas, Sophia Zukoski.

Larger and additional photos are available here.