Remember a while back when we pegged PRIVATE PRACTICE’s Amy Brenneman as a reporter’s worst nightmare? Well, today we’d like you to meet the actor who could give Brenneman a run for her money: Michael Emerson.
Not surprisingly, Emerson — better known as LOST’s morally-ambiguous, chillingly-creepy Benjamin Linus — held his cards close to his chest when asked by this TV Addict what fans can expect from tonight’s highly-anticipated two-hour season finale. “We have two gangs of heroes on two seperate and highly dangerous missions, the outcome of either one I think can alter the landscape of the entire story,” he previews cryptically.
How did he react upon first reading the script for tonight’s jaw-dropping finale? “My reaction was to wonder, ‘How are we going to shoot that?’ and ‘What is the show after that then?’” he admits. “I will be waiting with baited breath to see that first script [of season six],” he adds. “That is assuming, maybe naively, that I have a part in it!”
The actor’s modesty aside, we suspect it’s fairly safe to assume his alter ego will be around come fall. After all, way back when Oceanic flight 815 had yet to take off, let alone crash, Emerson was signed on for what was originally slated to be three short episodes. “A three-episode arc is a good TV job for a working actor like myself,” he shares. “And it involved travel to a remote island, which seemed kind of good in the middle of the New York winter!”
Flash-forward to the present day and that short-term gig has morphed into one of televisions’s most unforgettable characters. In fact, some actors might worry that such playing such a memorable character on a show which has become a pop-culture touchstone might leave some casting directors thinking “Oh, no, he can never be seen as anything but Benjamin Linus.” Certainly, it’s something the bad boy’s portrayer has pondered.
“I suppose i have a little anxiety, purely because it will be a new and unknown situation for me,” he says of his post-LOST career. “I’ve never come off a long series before in my life. But I’m not overly worried about the being pigeon-holed. Everyone worries about that on my behalf, but I have to tell you that everytime I’ve done a role really well, people have warned me that I’ll be trapped. And you’re only really trapped as long as you let yourself be. You just have to get out there, do the next thing and let the next thing be entirely different.”
Now whether that means Emerson should next tackle the role of a bad guy or good guy has yet to be determined, seeing as it’s not entirely clear which side of the fence Ben resides upon. “I think that’s one of the best mysteries of the show,” admits Emerson of his complex island persona. “For me, the actor, I comfort myself in thinking that Ben will one day be revealed to be a man who has good reasons for the things he does.”
Ben, a good guy? A hero even? Hey, it is LOST. And if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past five seasons, it’s that on that island, anything is possible.
You can catch the two-hour season finale of LOST on Wednesday May 13 at 9PM on ABC (“A” in Canada)