Celebrity Q&A, Featured ArticleBy Paulette Cohn on September 24, 2012
Is the actor who plays Finch on “Person of Interest” disabled in real life?
—Jeannette Harris, Hastings, Neb.
Michael Emerson, who plays the role of the computer genius on “POI,” is not handicapped in real life, but he says it has been interesting to play a character with that kind of disability.
“Getting that to be second nature and then trying sometimes to forget to do it, all of that is an interesting head game,” the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-born actor says. “When we do flashbacks where Finch is younger and perfectly healthy, I find it really hard to turn off the handicap. It’s like Pavlov’s dog, as soon as they say, ‘Action,’ I know that I have to be Mr. Stiff. It’s hard to leave that behind. It’s funny that your body gets so trained, it remembers that so well.”
Emerson, 58, who is best known for his role as Benjamin Linus on “Lost,” began his career in theater in New York City with roles in “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde,” “Le Misanthrope,” “The Iceman Cometh,” “Give Me Your Answer, Do!” and “Hedda Gabler.”
So for him one of the perks of starring in “Person of Interest” is the return to the East Coast after years of shooting “Lost” in Hawaii. “It’s great,” Emerson says. “I’m so happy to be home in the town that I know and love, and at the same time, constantly running into blocks of neighborhoods and buildings that I never saw before. It’s exciting to see it all.”