Michael Emerson: Ben's about to form a dangerous new alliance
I'm not one of those people who believes actors are their characters. I've never slapped Dominic Monaghan for Charlie's attack on Sun and I wouldn't hold Harold Perrineau responsible for Michael's murderous actions. But there were a couple moments during my chat with Michael Emerson where Ben Linus came through so clearly, I experienced a chill.
Part of what makes the "Lost" creation so creepy is the cadence with which Michael delivers those deliciously diabolical lines. And that unmistakable voice exists 24/7, so when he talked about their May 23 series finale being something audiences will have to "chew on," I shivered.
In addition to inducing chills, Michael also gave me goosebumps while talking about "Lost's" final few episodes. Not only because he admits to still be figuring out the epic finale, but because his flash-sideways admission has me rethinking everything I believed to be true.
PopWrap: This must be a weird time for you all -- you've filmed the finale, but no one's seen it yet. Michael Emerson: Yeah, it is a kind of limbo, which is ironic given the show [laughs].
PopWrap: Currently Ben is off with Alpert and Miles -- what exactly are they doing and when will we see Ben again? Michael: They have gone to get explosives and Alpert is determined to blow up the plane because he feels like the man in black must never leave the island. [He's back] next week and Ben has a lot to do in the subsequent episodes.
PW: Does that mean we'll see Ben with Alex again? Michael: I’m not even trying to be coy, but you will see them together again, however, not in the shape you expect it.
PW: What else can you tease about the final few episodes? Michael: Well, we're almost done with Ben’s flash-sideways journey. Most of what we have with Ben from now on will be in the present island narrative. And in the coming weeks Ben ends up in a new and dangerous alliance that has a surprising outcome.
PW: The flash-sideways added another incarnation of Ben to your repertoire -- do you have a particular favorite version of Ben to play? Michael: I haven’t consciously played any different Bens until the flash-sideways in season six. I know that he looks, talks and is a great deal like island-Ben, but the recipe is completely recalculated. He has many of the same qualities but they’re in a different part of the spectrum of human traits. It was an exciting opportunity to create another character -- like, what would Ben have been if he were more like us. Those qualities were fun to try and flesh out.
PW: A lot of fans have wondered what the actual purpose for the flash-sideways is -- will it eventually be explained? Michael: Yes, but they’re not going to spoon feed it to you. For me, the ending of the series required some analysis. It’s not given to you on a dish, neatly organized with a fancy bow put on the end of it. What it does have is a great soulfulness and the ending is human scale.
PW: You mention that Ben's off-island journey is almost done, how so? Michael: You won’t realize this until the series is done, but more than anyone else’s flash-sideways – his [episode, "Dr. Linus"] resolved Ben’s character. You may not feel that way yet, but it brought us very close to wrapping things up his arc. What I mean is, if you never saw Ben again in the series, you could look back after the finale and think, “oh, OK – I’m at peace with the way he wrapped up.”
Click on the link to read the rest of the interview.