Michael Emerson Takes On Henry Gale In 3rd Season Of "Lost"

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HONOLULU,Hawaii(September 27, 2006) — Henry Gale wasn’t supposed to survive this long. The cunning, bug-eyed character on ABC’s castaway drama “Lost,” played by Michael Emerson, was hired for three episodes midway through Season 2. But once producers saw Emerson in action, he was made into a key character and is now leading The Others in the highly anticipated third season.

“The reason The Others seem so frightening is like everything in the real world — it’s frightening when it’s unknown,” Emerson told The Associated Press. “Their agenda is unknown to us; therefore we fill it up with terrible imaginings.”

The former Broadway actor is best known to TV audiences for his Emmy-winning performance as a serial killer in “The Practice.”

Damon Lindelof, co-creator and executive producer of “Lost” (season premiere Wednesday at 9 p.m. EST), said the original plan was to have Henry escape after the three episodes. But Season 2 ended with Henry and his armed cadre on a dock, holding plane crash survivors Jack, Kate and Sawyer captive.

“Who are you people?” asked Michael, who had betrayed his fellow castaways in exchange for his son.

“We’re the good guys,” Henry replies. “I think he means it,” Emerson said of his character (actors are typically kept in the dark about future plot developments). “We may not agree with him, but I think he believes it.”

Season 3 opens with Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lily) and Sawyer (Josh Holloway) in captivity. This season will explore why they were targeted; whether Sun’s baby is really Jin’s; Charlie trying to gain Claire’s trust, a new woman catching Jack’s attention; Locke and Sayid leading a group to rescue the three captives; and Desmond’s wealthy lover trying to locate the island.

“In Season 3, the show moves geographically and spiritually to another place,” Emerson said. “We will be with The Others more.

They will become more three-dimensional.” He said viewers may even come to sympathize with The Others, who were on island long before the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815.

“Who’s really the intruder? Who’s the bad guys? Who’s upsetting who? Who has the right to be there?” Emerson said.

Despite most of his scenes occurring in a small cell, Henry Gale has become one of the most compelling figures on “Lost.” With a piercing stare, he transitions from victim to villain, keeping viewers guessing whether they should be sympathetic or scared.

And while Locke was pushing buttons to save the world, Henry was busy pushing Locke’s buttons. Could Henry be a psychologist, or just well read?

“He seems to have a strong background in psychology, I would say,” Emerson said. “He’s beyond well read. He’s really well read. That psychology stuff? That sounds good to me. He’s not playing around when it comes to behavior.”

Like his character, Emerson is articulate and intelligent. Unlike Henry, Emerson is personable and warm. While honing his skills on stage, he held several odd jobs as a landscaper, teacher, carpenter and illustrator while honing his skills on stage.

“You know those Social Security statements that tell you what you made every year? I look back on that and think, ‘This is insanely little money,”’ Emerson said. “But I don’t remember feeling very desperate about it. … Despite my poverty, I was always sort of doing what I wanted to do.”

Emerson, 52, grew up in the small farming town of Toledo, Iowa, where he spent a lot of his unstructured childhood reading, drawing and day dreaming. He majored in theater at Drake University and quickly became known as the small guy with a big voice.

He then moved to New York City. “I thought Des Moines (Iowa) was this crazy big town. New York just knocked the wind out of me,” he said. “I was looking for a big challenge and I found it.”

He moved to the South and eventually met his future wife, actress Carrie Preston, during a production of “Hamlet” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. He followed her to New York and got his first major break as the lead in Moises Kaufman’s “Gross Indecency.”

The name “Henry Gale” is as puzzling as Emerson’s character. It’s not even the character’s real name. He at first presents himself as a rich businessman who crash landed on the island on a hot air balloon with his wife, who allegedly died.

Henry Gale was Dorothy Gale’s uncle in the film “The Wizard of Oz.” In the 1938 classic, a hot air balloon was the mode of transportation for the Wizard and supposed to return Dorothy home to Kansas.

“What does all that mean? Is it just fun or is it a clue?” Emerson asked. “Dorothy is sort of shipwrecked in a strange place far from home, but hers was a fantasy. It wasn’t real. “It was a place where the moral order was sort of turned upside down or seen from a different perspective. On some level, it was a test of her as a person.”

The real Henry Gale on “Lost” is a dead black man who is buried near the damaged hot air balloon.

That leaves even Emerson perplexed about who his character is.

“I’m not sure how that’s going to work out,” he said. “It seems everybody kind of knows him as Henry now, but sooner or later, we’re going to have to put a real name on him, aren’t we?”

=================================================After a confusing second season, ‘Lost’ fans will (finally) get some questions answered.

Those “Lost” writer-producers are a secretive bunch. How difficult could it be to give a hint about to expect next season? Apparently, very. A little digging, however, turned up some clues on the gripping ABC drama.

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WHO ARE THE OTHERS?

They’re creepy, wear fake beards and have captured Kate, Jack and Sawyer. Are they “the good guys,” as one high-ranking Other said, or are they up to no good? Finally — finally! — that enigma will be addressed this season, producers have teased. They better deliver.

Also, expect to see much more of bug-eyed Other/hatch escapee Henry Gale, played by new series regular Michael Emerson.

WHO WILL KATE FALL FOR?

It’s about time, Kate. The freckled tough girl (Evangeline Lilly) will finally make a choice between doctor-leader Jack

(Matthew Fox) and con man Sawyer (Josh Holloway). Early intel suggests Cupid’s arrow is pointing at a Kate-Sawyer hookup — they ARE a couple of good-lookin’ outlaws. Why that coupling? According to an ABC press release, “Romance looms on the horizon as Jack’s interests veer towards a mysterious woman, whose motives may be questionable.”

WHY WAS LOCKE IN A WHEELCHAIR?

John Locke (Terry O’Quinn) lost of a bit of his faith last season, thanks to his frustration with entering that numbered sequence (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) on the keyboard every 108 minutes.

Still, he can’t deny the island’s mysterious healing powers, which apparently cured his four-year paralysis and allowed him to walk again after Oceanic flight 815 crash-landed. Those powers — and why exactly Locke was bound to a wheelchair in the first place — will be explored this season, “Lost” experts say. One theory: Locke, who helped his deadbeat father withdraw stolen money from a bank, was handicapped by angry victims of the crime.

WHO IS THE FATHER OF SUN’S UNBORN BABY?

Pre-crash, a doctor said Sun’s loving husband, Jin (Daniel Dae Kim), was infertile. There are three possible explanations for Sun’s pregnancy: The island healed Jin’s infertility (worked for Locke, leg-wise); the zygote formed inside Sun (YunJin Kim) but is neither hers nor Jin’s (creepy!); or Jin is not the baby-daddy.

That guy could be Jae Lee, who gave Sun secret English lessons. She was unhappy in her marriage, and planned to leave Jin and go to America.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE HATCH?

In the season 2 finale, Locke, Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) were all in the hatch when Desmond turned the fail-safe key to diffuse whatever electromagnetic energy was quaking the island (yes, that button-pushing chore actually meant something). An explosion ensued. The hatch door landed on the beach. Survival seems like a long shot — but Eko and Locke are under contract. And Cusick is now a series regular. They gotta come out of this alive, if not somewhat — somehow — changed. Plus, ABC says Locke will team up with Sayid (Naveen Andrews) and others to try and rescue their comrades.

DID MICHAEL AND WALT ESCAPE?

The father-son duo, given a motor boat by Henry Gale, were last seen fleeing the island to destinations unknown. Desperate dad Michael (Harold Perrineau) betrayed his friends to save himself and his son, Walt (Malcolm David Kelley), who was kidnapped at the end of the first season by the Others. But don’t be surprised if they return — those “Lost”-ies aren’t the luckiest group. Note that Perrineau is not a regular cast member this season, but could be back as a guest star. And Walt is way too intriguing to make a permanent getaway.

WHAT IS DHARMA DOING WITH THE KIDS?

The Others snatched Walt, Frenchwoman Rousseau’s daughter, Alex, and a very pregnant Claire (Emilie de Ravin). In memories of her abduction, Claire was taken to a hospital-like hatch and given a shot in the belly. A teen girl, who might be a grown-up Alex, warned her that higher-ups planned to kill her and take her baby.

That’s pretty freaky, and so is another theory: That the Others — those “good guys,” remember? — are a social utopian experiment by the scientist-led Dharma Initiative. This could explain why they steal innocent children who haven’t been tainted by society.

WHO IS LIBBY?

Michael shot and killed her last season, but viewers haven’t seen the last of Libby (Cynthia Watros). She’ll keep appearing in characters’ flashbacks, producers said, yet her back story — she claimed to be a clinical psychologist and was supposedly among the plane’s tail-section survivors — is shrouded in mystery. In

flashbacks, it was revealed that she lived in the same mental hospital as an unknowing Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and gave Desmond her late husband’s doomed sailboat. Fan speculation has it that she might be a member of the Hanso Foundation, which funded the shady Dharma Initiative, or a private detective.

IS CLAIRE JACK’S HALF-SISTER?

That’s the buzz — and it appears to be so. After losing his medical license for operating while drunk, Christian (Jack’s surgeon-father, played by John Terry) fled to Australia, where he drank himself to death after attempting to visit his secret daughter. It went down like this: He showed up at the house of a curly-haired, blonde Aussie — Claire’s lookalike mother? — and boozily demanded to see the girl. The woman refused. Jack arrived Down Under to bring Christian’s body back to the U.S. and, in a made-for-television twist, wound up on the same ill-fated flight as Claire.

CAN THE SHOW KEEP IT UP?

As many fans complain, “Lost” is more about the questions than the answers. It’s confusing and captivating. At least some things were (sorta) cleared up in the finale of the dark and hatch-centric second season, which runneth over with sci-fi mysteries that had viewers scratching their heads. Thankfully, the Powers That Be

heard the fan feedback — and they’re doing something about it. In a recent podcast posted on the show’s Web site, a producer revealed he was influenced by complaints that season 2 was “too mythologically dense.” Expect to see a lot about relationships in future episodes, including a dose of much-needed romance.

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