…he was an art teacher? That’s right.
Dateline: 1980’s- Big hair, Pac-man, Rubik’s Cube, and the birth of MTV.
Place: Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.
Imagine sitting down in your drawing class. You feel pretty proud of yourself for not ditching class and going to the beach… and in strolls Professor Emerson. Of course you wouldn’t know that he was that Micheal Emerson unless you had time jumped from the future…
In between acting jobs, Emerson worked as a freelance magazine illustrator in New York City where he met his ex-wife. She convinced him to move to Florida for the milder climate and he ended up living there for several years. While there, Emerson was offered an entry-level drawing class for two or three semesters at Flagler College.
In Tom Iacuzio’s article he discusses Emerson’s jump from actor- turned magazine illustrator-turned art-instructor- turned actor.
Q: What do you remember about your time at Flagler?
I remember the facility. Such a fabulous bunch of buildings. I mean what other college looks like Flagler? I remember for me that it was a revelation how educational teaching is for the teacher. I know it sounds trite. I’m sure every other teacher says the same thing, but it’s perfectly true. It’s one thing to do a “thing.” It’s another to be forced to articulate it to others. I found it to be very exciting.
Q: You’ve played Zep Hindle in “Saw,” won an Emmy as serial killer William Hinks on “The Practice” and now Ben Linus. Are you drawn to these bad-guy roles?
No, but somebody is drawn to the idea of me playing them. I don’t know who that is and I’m not sure whether to thank them or give them a smack. In my life on the stage, I’m usually in funny plays. It’s a little bit of a mystery to me. That seems to be what’s so interesting about the character, that there is that manipulative genius angle, but also a bit of vulnerability and compassion. Yeah, I think as season four progressed, Ben (was) being moved inch by inch towards the more sympathetic end of the scale. Something’s going on there. I’ve always maintained, sort of half in jest, that eventually Ben would be the good guy.
He also gives a few mild spoilers/teasers for us LOST fans to discuss:
Q: And she[Emerson’s wife, Carrie Preston] wound up playing your character’s mother in your flashback episode.
That was kooky. It’s great to have your spouse on the set with you, although we didn’t have any scenes together, and now she’s a bona fide member of the “Lost” family. And I’m thinking maybe that’s not the last time we see her. Something has to be revisited there in Ben’s childhood.
Q: What lengths do producers go to prevent spoilers on a show like “Lost”?
Sometimes they go to crazy lengths. The script in last season’s finale had a secret scene. There usually is at the end of the season. But they went a step better last year. When they filmed the secret scene, they filmed three different versions of a moment in it so that even the people that were on the set didn’t know how the season would end.
Q: This past season, the show has seemed to ditch the straight flash format and has moved on to something else.
I think everything is flash now. Flash forward, flash back, flash present, flash other present. Other time zone, other geographical zone. They’ve done what they do every year, which is crank it one more notch in terms of narrative device. Every year they invent a device to tell the story they want to tell. It’s chaotic, but stimulating.
Full article: here.