Michael Emerson vies for his third Emmy

Actor won first trophy in 2001 for 'The Practice' guest role

A winner in this category last year, Michael Emerson has proved that he knows how to be a supporting player. (A really, really creepy one, at that.) On the eve of his final nomination for ABC's "Lost," Emerson chats with THR's Stacey Wilson about saying farewell to the epic drama, a possible reunion with fellow nominee Terry O'Quinn and his reaction to the much-buzzed-about finale.

The Hollywood Reporter: Congratulations on another supporting actor Emmy nomination for "Lost," a category you also won last year. How does it feel to be honored for the show's final season?

Michael Emerson: I keep waiting for the moment that all of this is over, but it keeps not coming. I can't tell you how many people I've talked to this summer who've said, "You're Ben! We just watched the entire series in the last four weeks."

THR: What has been the most common response you have received from fans about the finale?

Emerson: I think people are looking back on it favorably. Not every show goes out as strong as our show did. Even if you didn't like the show, you have to acknowledge that it was a bit of a phenomenon. It's bittersweet.

THR: Have you encountered many who were disappointed with the ending?

Emerson: I get both ends of the spectrum. I get, "Mr. Emerson, I'm so delighted with the end of the series." But an equal number of people are going, "OK, can you explain the finale to me?" James Gandolfini probably still gets that about "The Sopranos."

THR: How much did you know in advance about how Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were planning to end the show?

Emerson: Nothing at all. I don't think most of the cast did. Matthew (Fox) always claimed he knew how things were going to end, but I'm not sure he wasn't putting us on. But for my part, I didn't know how the series ended until I watched the broadcast. I read nine-tenths of the script, but I never knew about the scene between Jack and his father in the afterlife until I watched it that night on ABC.

THR: Will you miss the freedom of being constantly filthy on the set?

Emerson: The island was really a glamour-free zone. I marvel at how badly gooped up my hair was or the vile, greasy rags I was wearing. I don't know how many people in wardrobe were in charge of distressing the clothes. There's definitely an art to it.

THR: There are reports of a project in development that would reunite you with co-star and fellow Emmy nominee Terry O'Quinn. Can you confirm whether this is real or rumor?

Emerson: It's real. Real people and real writers are batting it around. But they may not come up with something that we're excited about.

THR: How about a modern reboot of the "The Odd Couple"?

Emerson: OK, but they would have to have some supernatural powers.

THR: Have you given any thought to what you're going to wear on Emmy night?

Emerson: I think I'm going to wear the same Oxford tux I wore last year. It's the tuxedo of my dreams. It doesn't have a contrasting lapel. It doesn't have piping. It's the most simple, elegant black suit. I know it must aggravate the hell out of the girls who have to jump through hoops of fire for their dresses. But how many tuxes is a person supposed to have in their closet?

Emerson's deadly roles:

William Hinks: Emerson earned his first Emmy for channeling a serial killer who stalks Lindsay Dole (Kelli Williams) on ABC's "The Practice" in 2001.

Gerry Rankin: Appearing as a mysterious man suspected of trying to murder his children, Emerson guest starred in 2002 on NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

Oliver Martin:
Also that year, Emerson was a murder suspect with a deadly obsession with "The Brady Bunch" on Fox's "The X-Files."

Allan Shaye: In 2004, Emerson played a history professor-turned-murder suspect on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."

Zep Hindle:
Later that year, Emerson took a turn as a hospital orderly who contemplates murder in James Wan's film "Saw."

Leslie Bruce and Ally Gnesin contributed to this report.
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