PaleyFest Made in NY
October 3, 2013
Person of Interest Event
In person: Jonathan Nolan, Creative/Executive Producer; Jim Caviezel, John; Michael Emerson, Finch; Amy Acker, Root; Sarah Shahi, Shaw; Kevin Chapman, Fusco
A celebration of New York City’s media industry, PaleyFest brought together the cast and creator of Person of Interest to give fans a sneak peek of the episode “Lady Killer” and answer questions. The episode featured Taraji P. Henson, Sarah Shahi, and Paige Turco as Carter, Shaw and Zoe.
Matt Roush from TV Guide moderated the panel after the screening. Following are some of the high points of the evening’s discussion.
Jonathan Nolan is called ‘Jonah’ by the cast.
Regarding working with Bear (Finch’s German Shepherd), Amy Acker said she was the only one who hadn’t worked with Bear so far. Kevin Chapman reminded everyone that he was the first to meet with Bear.
When asked about working with the new characters on the show, Michael Emerson said Finch is scared of Shaw. Jim Caviezel chimed in that everyone was scared of Finch’s house rules. Sarah Shahi mentioned she was happy to be part of the regular cast. She said she was in Texas with her mom and kept calling Jonah to see what had been decided until her mom told her to stop bothering him. Shahi went on to say she really enjoys the story lines and stunts, she loves being the Terminator. When asked whether Shaw has a soft side, she answered, “No.”
Acker said she is not a computer person and when she was cast she could barely check her email, but she has read up on computers to help understand the dialog, which she now finds scary instead of just confusing.
Asked about whether the machine is a “She” (Root calls the machine She), Nolan said he sees the machine as a higher intelligence, and said we have no idea how a machine might have a relationship, would it have the same relationship as a human? That’s what he’s hoping to explore.
They all agree that New York is like a character in the show. Regarding, working in New York City, Acker said she was riding the subway from Brooklyn to the Upper West Side and this guy was staring at her. He came over and said, “Don’t you be ironing me!” in reference to the scene between Shaw and Root in the episode, “Relevance”. Emerson mentioned that every time he is approached by a fan on the street, they always say, “Love the show! You’re keeping the dog, right?”
While discussing the machine being ‘freed’ last season, Emerson sees the machine as a teenager, not quite fully grown.
Questions from audience
With current events with the NSA (National Security Agency) and other things, do they still see the show as sci-fi? Nolan said the show was conceived as a sci-fi show but is fast approaching reality. He said the machine is growing as a character on the show and it is talking to more people versus first season where the machine only talked with Finch. The end of last season was a literal and figurative reboot of the machine, and the machine is changing as a character as a result.
Emerson was asked if we’ll see Grace again (Finch’s girlfriend) who is played by Carrie Preston, Emerson’s real life wife? He was also asked to pass on congratulations to Preston on her recent Emmy win (guest role on the Good Wife).
Emerson said for all the flashbacks we’ve seen there are still a lot of holes in his history. This prompted him to mention that there are lots of flashback scenes that have been filmed but not aired. They are pieces of the puzzle that will be revealed. Caviezel said they have done flashbacks early because “we’re not getting any younger.”
Coincidentally, Taraji P. Henson did not attend the event that night because she is filming a flashback scene. They spoke briefly about Taraji’s role, Carter being back in uniform this season, and her and Fusco’s relationship. Chapman said a lot has changed for the cops throughout the show. HR is in an alliance with the Russians and Lionel and Carter’s relationship is evolving. He said Fusco can’t escape his past, and the past is coming full circle.
Nolan said he likes exploring opposites. As a character, Fusco started the show dark and over time the character is rising. Carter is the moral center of the show, the heart. He enjoys seeing where that character goes as her faith and morals are shaken by things like being set up to take the fall last season and being demoted.
The group was asked about filming in NYC and the strangest fan moment they’ve had. Chapman told a story about filming on the upper east side, on Lexington Avenue. He said he and Caviezel were positioned close to each other and talking, while the crew was across the street filming when an old lady walked right between the two of them, ignoring everything going on around her.
Shahi said that being from Texas she is not fond of the cold, it “makes her nervous.” She told a story of filming on a rooftop in a hoodie in January. She said Nolan halted the scene (he was directing) because her lips were turning blue. Nolan explained that when he was planning out the episode as a director he was busy with the writing team and other things on the show and didn’t realize he had scheduled filming for a week in January when it’s freezing out. Emerson said his favorite New York filming moment was when they filmed in the main branch of the New York Public Library at night. He said having the building to themselves was mysterious and a little spooky.
Asked about whether they would film in other places (not NY), Nolan said “if New Jersey provides tax credits we’d be there in a minute.” Then he said the people of NYC have been very welcoming and gracious.
Emerson was asked about the way he is portraying Finch’s disability — is it hard to remember to move stiffly? Caviezel jokingly interjected that Emerson uses his chiropractor. Emerson said he knew the show might be picked up when he did the pilot and made a conscious decision to select a movement for his disability that would not be harmful long term. He said it’s actually harder now to do the flashbacks where he is not disabled. He must remember to move with ease because it is supposed to be before his accident.
Watch Person of Interest Tuesdays @ 10pm on CBS. (Check your local listings)