June 9th, 2009
08:32 PM ET
(WARNING: Spoilers ahead.)
I caught up with Michael Emerson, who plays the mysterious “Ben Linus” on “Lost,” at a premiere recently. And yes, he does have eyelashes (I lost that bet with my camera guy Rick). The show has one last season to go and a lot of loose ends to tie up. I asked Emerson what he’d like to see “Ben” do in the remaining episodes.
“I would like him to do a lot. I would like him to find out - I would like ME to find out - what the heck is going on. You know, it will be exciting. I don't know any more than the viewers of the show know at this moment. But I'll get a script for the first episode in August and I hope it will be revealing.” Shooting resumes mid-August in Hawaii.
As for life after “Lost,” what’s in store for him? “I wonder. I mean it will be interesting to see. It will be not be “Lost” for sure. And I assume I will play something different.” But after leaving so indelible a mark as “Ben” is there the danger of being typecast? “Well there's, yeah there's always that danger, you know, once you play someone sinister, so I’ll just have to do something goofy, I guess, or something. A change of pace. Maybe I will get to do a play. I would like to go back on stage.”
Before we parted company, I asked jokingly, “Why did you have to stab poor Jacob like that in the finale?” Diehard “Lost” fans know the scene well, but for those who don’t, a quick recap: At long last, “Ben” comes face to face with the mysterious “Jacob,” a character often spoken about but never seen till that episode. “Ben” follows every order given to him by the enigmatic “Jacob” over the years and wasn’t allowed to ever see him in person. He finally gets to meet him, but only because he’s tagging along with another character who’s been granted an audience. Angry about “Jacob’s” lack of respect and why the other character got to see him so quickly, he asks, “What about me?” Jacob just looks at him and says, “What about you?” And then, Ben stabs him.
“That's what he had to do. Jacob was so mean,” Emerson says, “Ben was looking for a father.” And then of course there was “Jacob’s” agonizingly vague answer to “Ben’s” question, “What about you?”
“What kind of answer is that?” I asked. “That's a good question. Does Jacob wish to be killed on some level and transform or move on to the next stage?” Emerson wonders, “I don't know what's going on.”
Speaking of “Lost,” seasons one and two are out on Blu Ray June 16th. I got my hands on some advance copies and decided to watch the pilot episode just to see what struck me, lo, these many years later. Something did - one exchange in particular had added interest seen through the lens of the season five finale. Young “Walt” comes across “Locke” on the beach playing Backgammon:
Locke: “Backgammon is the oldest game in the world. Archaeologists found sets when they excavated the ruins of ancient Mesopotamia. Five thousand years old. That's older than Jesus Christ.”
Walt: “Did they have dice and stuff?”
Locke: [nods] “But theirs weren't made of plastic. Their dice were made of bones.”
Locke: “Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark.”
Hmm… Are Jacob and a character some fans call “Loophole Guy” light and dark forces from ancient Mesopotamia playing some cosmic contest with human lives on the island?
I agree with Emerson, I don’t know what’s going on.
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