You might not recognize Michael Emerson's name, but there is a good
chance you're a little bit scared of him. By Bryan
While the seemingly mild-mannered Michael Emerson has spent his
life working in the theater, first in the South and then on
Broadway, he has recently become widely recognized through his
sinister film and television roles. The man with the unnerving
stare won an Emmy for his portrayal of the alleged serial killer
William Hinks on The Practice in 2001; then
he landed a pivotal role as one of Jigsaw's pawns in the original
Saw and nabbed a humorous villain part in
The Legend of Zorro. But his portrayal of
Ben Linus (a.k.a. Henry Gale), the creepy leader of the
Others on the hit ABC series
Lost, has made Emerson a household
face, if not a household name. We caught up with TV's most
unlikely bad guy.
When people stop you on the street, what are their
reactions? People are funny. They have mixed-up feelings
about me and the character. They like to make a great show of fear
or terror, but it's sort of mixed up with a case of the giggles.
They just don't know what their reaction is. They discover that
they have been delighted to be frightened by me all this time, and
now suddenly they have to decide whether it's the character or the
actor that they're confronted with.