Lost: Ben Extols Lost Lineage

By Joel D. Amos
Lost’s Michael Emerson was excited to check back in with us about how the iconic television show Lost made its exit.

As Lost season six and Lost: The Complete Collection become available on DVD and Blu-ray, Emerson phoned to discuss the Lost legacy as well as the extra material that fans will devour. The Lost season six and Lost: The Complete Collection DVD and Blu-ray include a new 12-minute sequence with Emerson’s Ben Linus and Jorge Garcia’s Hurley, that is an epilogue to the series-ending closing of the Lost journey.

Lost complete series available on DVD and Blu-ray starring Michael Emerson

Lost and found!

SheKnows: How are you feeling about Lost being over, now that we’re talking about the season six and complete series DVD and Blu-ray debuting in stores, as opposed to when it first concluded when you shot it months ago?

Lost on DVD

Michael Emerson: We knew the end was coming all season. We were alternating between nostalgia and high spirits all the time. The last day of shooting was actually so difficult, so long and rough and dangerous. There wasn’t that moment of closure where they said, “That’s a wrap” and everybody hugged. It was more like crawling back to your trailer in the middle of the night [laughs]. We were really just glad we survived it. I still haven’t fully absorbed it that it is altogether over. Because every year we take the summer off. So, it still feels like in a week or two, I’ll pack up again and head to Hawaii. When the time comes — I won’t — and as the fall progresses it will begin to sink in.

SheKnows: What do you make of the idea that, as you said, this fall, there is the absence of Lost on the television landscape? A lot of fans are feeling the way that you are — we haven’t fully digested the fact that Lost is gone.

Michael Emerson: The only way I’ll deal is to take a trip down memory lane and start watching the DVDs from season one.

SheKnows: On a show like Lost, the actors cannot have any idea where their characters are going. Is that a difficult task?

Michael Emerson: You don’t think about it much. When you’ve done as many guest-starring roles as I have done, you just show up and try not to get in the way. You deliver the goods as best you can. This was perfect in a way.

SheKnows: One of the prices you had to pay for being on the show, of course fictionally, it’s hard not to notice that your character was one of the most roughed up. Did any of those scenes ever get a little too close, violence-wise? Did you get hurt?

Michael Emerson is Ben Linus

Michael Emerson: Oh yeah, in the next to the last episode where Desmond punches out teacher Ben in the sideways world, the blow you see on the show is a real blow. We got out of distance, a little off the choreography and he completely clocked me. I had the only full-on shiner of my adult life [laughs]. In a way, it’s great the cameras were rolling.

SheKnows: As somebody who is integral into the Lost world portraying Ben Linus, having that sideways world, creatively, that must have been really fascinating to wrap your head around.

Michael Emerson: I thought it was the greatest pleasure of season six, at least in my case, I got the opportunity to play two characters. They are the same person, but, it was a nice actor’s challenge because pitch-wise, they played on such different keys. It was a lot of fun, kind of a great way to cleanse the palate, which was refreshing. It kept me really focused during that final season.

A kinder, gentler Ben

SheKnows: In the sideways world, it was a kinder, gentler Ben. It must have been nice to not have your bad guy hat on.

Michael Emerson, Matthew Fox and Terry O'Quinn in Lost

Michael Emerson: It was. It was nice to figure out how he would be in a kinder, gentler narrative — or a more everyday narrative. The traces of ambition and manipulation were still there, but so much more muted. It was not dominating his personality.

SheKnows: Then, there’s the connection with your on-screen daughter that as an audience member, it just felt good to see after she died because of Ben’s lack of action, honestly.

Michael Emerson: Such a nice variation on the original theme of their original relationship.

SheKnows: Now Lost creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have such infinite imaginations. As an actor, what was the experience like being a part of their world?

Michael Emerson: One of the real bonuses of the work was to have a symbiotic relationship with brilliant writers. It wasn’t like we talked often. I never spoke to them on the phone. We never had character meetings. We seemed to communicate by way of script and me by way of performances. It became a kind of dialogue in an interesting way. It was nothing like I’ve ever experienced before. I could tell they were paying attention to me and customizing the role to suit whatever they thought were my strengths or weaknesses. It was nice to see how much attention they were paying to me, without anything ever being said.

Michael Emerson’s Lost dish: The extra 12 minutes!

Matthew Fox is Jack on LostSheKnows: For you as the actor behind Ben, what was your reaction to having to film an additional 12 minutes that would land on this DVD that we are about to see?

Michael Emerson: I was thrilled. I had heard rumors there was going to be an extra scene. I hoped that I would be in it. Then, to find out I was in it in such a significant way, I was delighted. I think I was as excited to shoot the extra as I was the finale.

SheKnows: Working with Hurley, Jorge Garcia, on this particular part, was it nice for the two of you to connect? You rarely shared scenes with Jorge.

Michael Emerson: It was relaxing. It was a spoonful of sorbet. It was this nifty little dessert at the end of this great, long meal. I had not done much scene work with Jorge over the years, you’re right. It was nice. Our friendship had blossomed near the end of the series, so it was nice to spend some more time with him filming the extra for the DVD.

SheKnows: Also, you’re so personally vested in the character of Ben. When you found out your character would stay on the island, obviously off screen after the show ended, as Hurley’s second in command — what did you think of that fact that Ben would remain on the island that he adored so much?

Michael Emerson: I thought it was perfect. It was a nice character evolution that the writers were offering us, that he was learning things about life and about himself. He was transforming into a more serene and less tortured character that might yet have potential to do great good.

SheKnows: In the final scene of Lost, Ben was waiting outside the church. He didn’t go in the church. Why do you think he wasn’t ready to go in there with everyone else?

Michael Emerson: Because Ben had done more wrong in his life than the others, I think. He shouldn’t be let off the hook so easily. I thought it was nice, he knows he has work to do. I don’t know what that work is exactly, but it is the work of redeeming himself. He has to stay in whatever you want to call it — purgatory of a sorts — until he feels he has the right to pass into death for eternity that everyone else was heading for. It may also be that he was waiting, because if you notice, people could only pass into eternity two-by-two. They have to go in the company of their mirror redeemer. I’m not sure Ben had found that yet.

Lost fans rejoice, the complete series DVD and Blu-ray has arrived

SheKnows: Perhaps someday he’ll walk in there with his daughter…

Michael Emerson: Yeah, I like that!

SheKnows: There were a lot of themes and profound ways of thinking on the show Lost. What were the ones that touched you the most?

Michael Emerson: I like the non-religious spirituality of the show — especially the ending. I like the sense of timelessness in the show. I thought, instead of thinking time travel or movement in time in science fiction ways, the writers thought about it in more esoteric or poetic ways that I thought were fascinating.

Source: SheKnows


Michael Emerson on Lost Season 6 and Complete Series DVD and Blu-ray

Although he didn’t appear until the second season, Michael Emerson‘s Ben Linus proved to be an integral part of the hit series Lost throughout its magnificent six-season run, which just ended in May. Lost fans will get a chance to relive the final season with the upcoming Lost: The Complete Sixth Season DVD and Blu-ray sets which will be available on August 24. Also available on that date are the massive Lost: The Complete Series sets, which will be available in a 37-disc DVD set and a 36-disc Blu-ray set. Earlier today, Emerson took part in a “virtual junket” online and answered several questions from members of the press. Take a look at what he had to say below:

Are you satisfied with Ben’s overall character arc throughout the course of the series? Is there anything you wish Damon and Carlton did differently with the character of Ben Linus?

Michael Emerson: Yes, I loved the entire arc and was especially delighted with Ben’s end in the finale. It was finer and more satisfying than anything I could have imagined.

Drama often offers closure, life itself does not. Are there moments of closure on Lost that speak to you deeply?

Michael Emerson: I’m actually more interested in moments of un-closure like Ben’s end in the finale.

They are going to have the Lost auction this weekend. Is there any one prop that you wish you could have taken home with you?

Michael Emerson: I wish I knew the whereabouts of the little wooden doll that Annie gave to young Ben.

What’ are some of your favorite scenes during the final season?

Michael Emerson: I especially liked shooting the scenes where I was “teacher” Ben – because it gave me a chance to play a new character in a different key.

Benjamin Linus has an amazing character arc. He started out as the obvious villain, yet as time went on the line between good and bad got really blurry. Do you see him leaning more to one side then the other?

Michael Emerson: I think what’s perfect about the Ben storyline is that we are never certain where he falls on the scale of good and evil. It’s a tribute to the skill of the writers that the audience could never be certain about Ben, even to the very end.

What were you thinking when you joined Lost in season two? Did you think it was going to become as big as it did?

Michael Emerson: I thought of it as a work assignment, one of many guest spots I’ve done on shows over the years. Glad I had no idea what it would turn into or I would have been very nervous.

If you could have played any other role on Lost, major or minor, who would it be and why?

Michael Emerson: I couldn’t have played it, but I was always fascinated by the character of Mr. Eko. There was a gravity and mystery about the character that captured my imagination.

What was your favorite fantasy element of the show?

Michael Emerson: I didn’t think of the show as having fantasy elements – however, I did like the magic in the show (smoke monster, ghosts, supernatural events), which seemed based in reality.

In your opinion, will Ben ever join the other characters in the afterlife?

Michael Emerson: I think Ben, like all humans, is eligible for the afterlife – it may just take him more time to get there.

In the bonus feature “Letting Go” the location had an impact on the cast. What did you take away from Hawaii as an actor and a person?

Michael Emerson: Well there’s nothing like working on a location that so perfectly mirrors the setting of the show. You don’t have to imagine you’re in a rainforest – you’re really there. I’ll never forget working in the mountain jungles.

You play evil Ben: Do you favor jobs where you have to play mean people? Did people on the street ever treated you as if they thought you might be like Ben (i.e. scream at you in public or similar)?

Michael Emerson: I favor jobs that are well written – on average, I find villains to be interesting. Fans on the street enjoy being “afraid” but I know that they know it’s fiction.

Without a doubt, Ben is one of the most complex characters on the series. What was the most difficult thing or moment about playing Ben in all the series?

Michael Emerson: Ben was very good at being chilly or dispassionate. What was more difficult were scenes of emotion – so Alex’s death was challenging.

What season was the most difficult for you as an actor?

Michael Emerson: Season Two – I was new to the show, and most of my scenework was fairly violent. As the years went by, I began to see more humor in Ben and enjoyed playing him more.

What has been your favorite or funniest fan encounter. (Other than the crazy New Zealand lady story.)

Michael Emerson: I’ll never forget a Japanese tourist couple in Honolulu who presented their baby to me and announced they had named him Ben, after my character. Yikes!

Which are your next projects?

Michael Emerson: I really don’t have anything lined up – I’m lying low for a while and looking for a stage project.

Now you are more visible. It´s change something when you are pursuing new roles? and are you afraid that your next roles could be compared with Linus?

Michael Emerson: One of my new responsibilities is to make sure I’m not trapped in this role forever. I’m looking for a real change of pace.

Were you pleased to be able to answer some more of the fan’s questions with ‘The New Man In Charge’?

Michael Emerson: Yes, I think the chapter is a nice addition to the Lost narrative – nice to have some of the more particular or practical questions answered since the finale took a more spiritual tone.

Do you still stay in contact with the cast?

Michael Emerson: I’m always in touch with Terry O’Quinn and Jorge Garcia is staying in our house in LA even as we speak. I’m looking forward to seeing more of my Lost family at the Emmys.

Any shows you’d particularly like to guest star on? True Blood? Would you like to work with your wife (Carrie Preston) on the show?

Michael Emerson: The time is soon approaching when I will need work whether I like it or not. HA. It would be a real pleasure to play a part on True Blood no matter how small. I am an admirer of Alan Ball and I could share a dressing room with my wife!

Was there anything you wished Ben could’ve done before the series wrapped?

Michael Emerson: I’m completely satisfied with Ben’s adventure. Of course, there are always the “paths not followed” which are tantalizing. It would have been interesting to explore the relationship between Ben and Annie.

How do you think it will effect you if you get a role on another project that’s shot in Hawaii?

Michael Emerson: It will have a strong effect on me since my wife will kill me!

Is Lost something you’d watch now? Do you mind watching yourself?

Michael Emerson: I intend to watch the entire series again soon. At first, I was uncomfortable watching myself but I’m somewhat more at peace with it now. I think of Ben as a character disconnected from myself.

Have you heard anything or is there talk of a Lost movie in the works?

Michael Emerson: Probably impossible.

How emotional is the process of Letting Go of the show for you?

Michael Emerson: It hasn’t really soaked in yet – I don’t feel that it is over!

Do you have a favorite episode?

Michael Emerson: I have a number of favorite episodes in different categories, but an episode that captures much of what it was like to shoot Lost in Hawaii was the one where Ben and Sawyer stand on a cliff looking at an island in the distance and trade quotes from Steinbeck.

While it appears everyone on the cast and crew have fond memories of ther time shooting in Hawaii, what was the biggest challenge for you on the series?

Michael Emerson: Loneliness.

What will you remember most about the entire Lost expierience?

Michael Emerson: Landscape, camaraderie, rainbows and taking some beatings.

Michael, do you have any final thoughts as we wrap up this fantastic time with you on the virtual roundtable?

Michael Emerson: I’m still trying to absorb this adventure that I’ve been on. I don’t expect it will ever be duplicated in my life. The almost accidental way I got the role and the unbelievable reach of the series are reminders to me that you can never know where a job will lead you. I will treasure this experience even as I move on into my post-Lost life…

Source: MovieWeb

Michael on Red Carpet at Lost Season 6 Premiere (Thanks Jo!)

A huge Lost fan who was even invited to interview the cast on the red carpet at the season 6 premiere, Jo Garfein, sent us some pics she recently took of our Michael. If you enjoy Lost as well as Michael, which I am sure you do, please be sure to visit her blog (click on the image above). Also you can follow her on Twitter as JOpinionated. Enjoy the pictures. Thank you Jo!