The final Special Edition of LOST: The Official Magazine is now available on newsstands.
Preview the 148-page special edition, as well as classic back issues.
An excerpt with Michael Emerson, (Ben Linus), featured in issue #24 of The Official Lost Magazine.
First of all, flashing back to the season four finale, what did the Ben/Keamy arc allow you to explore?
Michael Emerson: It established more sympathy for Ben because he had to endure some losses that touched people. As an actor, I was required to dig a little deeper. To have Ben live through a loss like that, that level of pain and grief he hadn't lived through before, there were some challenges in that.
Viewers are constantly questioning Ben's motives and true colors, so when he didn't show any remorse for blowing up the freighter and everyone on it, did that alter or reinforce any of your perceptions of him?
It seems every season they give me one line that is so cold blooded it's unbelievable. For season four, it was "So." I never quite know what to make of it; I leave that in the hands of the writers and just try to find a place a person might be where they say something like that. It's conceivable a person would say a thing like that in the heat of the moment and then think about it later. But Ben isn't always a cool head when in an extreme emotional state. He reverts to an angry adolescent state where he's liable to say or do anything.
At the beginning of the fifth season, we once again find Ben and Jack reluctantly teaming up together. What has been so compelling about their conflict?
It's always interesting when people that have a clear personal distaste for one another are forced to become intimate teammates. That makes for a lot of nice subtext and things simmering below the surface.
In your gut, did Ben know the island would revive Locke?
I thought, "Oh, well they're certainly not done with John Locke. There's life in it somehow in another dimension or in another form." If Ben went to the trouble of killing him, then Ben meant for him to be dead. I don't think he was counting on some miraculous revival anywhere down the line. He said to Sun that he had seen the island do many things, but dead was dead and you don't get to come back from that. If John Locke is walking around, Ben is worried. That episode was very strong.
Do you believe that with everything Ben has done that he will simply walk away unscathed at the end of the series? Meaning he will survive?
I don't know. Currently he seems like a man riding a hellbound train or on the road to perdition. He has great survival instincts, so I suppose that depends on Ben's real station in the scheme of things.
In a recent Entertainment Weekly poll, Benjamin Linus landed at #6 of the top villains of all time rated by readers. Obviously, your performance has resonated with viewers so how does that recognition feel?
That feels good. I would suggest to the readers who voted that we're not even sure he's the villain yet. What if he's not a villain at all? That's cool, and I do take that as a testimony to me and the good fit I am for the part.
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