“Person of Interest” made a return trip to Comic-Con this year, coming in after a very successful first season on CBS. Taking over the very competitive Thursday at 9pm time slot, it’s emerged as the time slot leader and one of the networks strongest shows on a network full of very strong shows. Among the people I got to talk in the press room for the show were series stars Michael Emerson (Finch) and Jim Caviezel (Reese).
Michael and Jim seemed low key but in good spirits as they came to the table. Probably because they were shooting late on “Person of Interest’s” season two opener and then flew into Comic-Con for this session. Jim especially was in a borderline slap-happy mood. You’ll see why in the upcoming interview. The following is a full transcript of that interview, since video was not allowed for the session.
Jim: It’s pretty simple, he’s the smart one, I just shoot people.
Michael: Thanks for coming!
Regarding the next season, are there any teasers or spoilers?
Michael: I thought when we started the show, there would be a typical network show and there would be standalone episodes. But actually we’re developing quite a long story arc, kind of an uber story. Not a lot to add about it, we’re very concerned with backgrounds and flashbacks and all this business of the ongoing with “root” affair. Even though do we have a person of interest every episode.
What more are we going to learn about Mr. Finch this season?
Michael: I don’t know, I wish I knew. I’m assuming at some point we’ll learn how he got injured.
Jim: You should go to that table over there, Jon Nolan’s.
Michael: I don’t know, they dole those things out in drips and drabs as you know, which is good policy I suppose for the storytellers. Maybe this year we’ll dig into that.
Let’s talk a little a bit about your relationship. Sometimes you guys are almost like an old married couple. What’s that like to play?
Jim: I think a lot of the brilliance of it is the writers picking up our mannerisms. It just seems it started happening.
Michael: It’s true, they notice some of the things about how we are together when we’re not on the set. They’ll incorporate that stuff. They’ve gotten to know us each better as actors so they can write toward our strengths. They watch carefully the things we bring or interpretations we bring to scenes and they’ll write toward it. It’s good that way but it is a balancing act too. At the end of the day they’re men on a long drawn-out suicide mission, but do they like to temper it with a baby episode, an ecstasy episode, those sorts of things.
Off camera, do you guys have a similar “odd couple” relationship?
Jim: I love this guy. If there’s anyone I’m the odd one. What I love about the show is I came in at only having the twenty years of film experience shooting movies. Coming into this was Jonah (Jonathan Nolan) who also came in and said ‘Look do you want to bring film to television?’ Now the show did 80 setups and now we do 140 setups in an episode. The coverage is extraordinary, it’s a challenge. People come up and say “That’s amazing you did,” and I said “Well amazing things happen, I’m embarrassed.”
Michael: They’re long days.
Is there any additional training you’ve had to do for season two?
Jim: Yes, I gone down to Coronado quite a bit and with Seal Team 3. A lot of the different things you’re seeing filmed is my extra time I spend in CQC, close quarter combat scenarios, studying their ways and also sharing them with the writers and then writers picking that up and using a lot of that. I use a lot of right to left, left to right weaponry the same way they do. Going in a room if I’m on my right and the enemy is there and do this and switch to the opposite end. Most of those elite guys are well equipped.
When do you start shooting season two?
Michael: We have. We started, I guess cameras rolled Tuesday morning (July 10th).
Any good guest stars?
Michael: Always good guest stars.
Jim: I always consider myself a guest star. I like to say I never worked for a living. We finished late last night and got on the plane here, so pardon me if I start speaking Aramaic or something.
Michael: A good friend of mine who used to be on “Lost” is our first person of interest and could not be more perfectly cast.
(My question) What do you think about the big popularity of the show, especially in the first season?
Michael: It took a long time for it to dawn on me that the show was a success. I never know how to interpret numbers anyway. It seems to have done alright, well enough for them to get a second season.
(Me) I think you guys have done really well actually (a few of us laugh).
Michael: They seem delighted, the people at Warner Brothers and CBS. They always have big smiles and hugs for us. It’s nice when Les Mooves comes up.
Jim (noticing the Simpsons t-shirt I have on): I just hope that we’re in the same ballpark with “The Simpsons.” I love that show, my favorite show. (Goes into Homer Simpson voice) I do a good impersonation of Homer Simpson you know. D’oh Bart, what do you think you’re doing! (everyone laughs, especially Michael Emerson).
In the finale, it looks like you’re partnering with the machine to get Finch back. Can you talk about where that goes in the first episode?
Jim: No way. I’ll just tell you the whole episode. Everything I’ve got, this guy is hell bent, he’s going all in. If he (Finch) doesn’t get rescued, I’m done. This is (for) his own purposes. It’s his friend.
Michael: That is a whole new deal if Reese partners up with the machine.
The machine is almost like a character.
Jim and Michael: Yes.
Jim: It’s huge in this, it’s huge. There’s this brilliant thing that happens in the episode where I basically throw a moral question out to the machine and the machine has to think, “What do I do?” He had programmed it so efficiently and I said, “Okay, fine, that’s the deal. And here we go.” Brilliant scene.