PERSON OF INTEREST: Carrie Preston Interview (2013)

"Person Of Interest"
“Person Of Interest”

Bringing romance to the drama series PERSON OF INTEREST, Carrie Preston and her real life husband Michael Emerson are lovebirds both on screen and off.  In fact, many would be surprised to find out that it was not Michael’s idea to bring Carrie onto the show; instead it was the producers who broached the idea of bringing Carrie in to portray Harold Finch’s love interest.  Naturally, both Carrie and Michael were delighted with this proposal; and so the epic love-story of Harold and Grace was brought to life – with the aid of The Machine, who clearly had matchmaking on the brain.  In a recent exclusive interview, Carrie shared what it is like working with her illustrious husband on PERSON OF INTEREST, as well as teasing a bit about the upcoming season of TRUE BLOOD.

Were you surprised how much Grace was eventually featured on PERSON OF INTEREST?
CARRIE:  You never know what’s going to happen until we get the script, and I was just so pleased to see how she folded in and how she illuminated a side of Harold Finch that no one had seen yet.  To see that intimate, personal, vulnerable side. So that was a real treat.

"Person of Interest"
“Person of Interest”

In last week’s episode, they showed us the Harold/Grace proposal.  What was it like to film a proposal scene like that with your husband?
CARRIE:  I know, it was so sweet!  We had to shoot all of our scenes last November, right before I went back to work on TRUE BLOOD.  So they were very much stand-alone scenes.  In a way, we were just sort of a separate little storyline, like it’s own one-act play or mini-short film.  So we were out shooting that in Washington Square Park, and it was quite cold that day, and to be there standing with your husband with people standing around watching as he proposed, it was quite sweet. I really loved the way they edited it in, just from The Machine’s point of view because that was who played matchmaker.  The Machine is the one who put them together in the first place, so I loved it that they honored that and had the proposal from The Machine’s point of view.  It’s almost as if The Machine was very happy or proud of this moment and this match that it had made.

When you’re doing those kinds of scenes, do you have the temptation to have a giggles fit just because it seems so absurd, like you’re thinking, “Wait, this is my husband and he’s proposing?!”
CARRIE:  (Laughs) Oh yes! We did. We giggled quite a bit and got a bit gooey-eyed like little school kids. But when we really got the most giggly was when we were sitting on the couch watching, for example, there was the scene where we went to the Guggenheim, and we were on the couch watching ourselves playing other people kissing each other. It was so strange and hilarious at the same time.  We just turned to each other and started laughing.  It was so hilarious and weird and wonderful. So it was fun, and definitely an experience I’d never had before.

"Person of Interest"
“Person of Interest”

Sounds like working with Michael on this show has brought a little bit of comedy to your relationship.
CARRIE:  Yeah, it’s gotten us back in touch with those little feelings that you have when you first fall in love.

What have you enjoyed the most about working on PERSON OF INTEREST?
CARRIE:  It’s being able to work with Michael. To be able to walk on that set, a set he’s been on for two seasons, to be there and see what he does every day, all day long.  We’re actors that don’t visit each others’ sets very much.  We kind of let the other person concentrate on the work. So I had only visited him maybe once or twice and did not even stay very long. So to be there to see how much the crew appreciates him and values him and how much they clearly have such affection for him, it made me very proud.  Then to be a part of his storyline, and not just a guest-star playing some person of interest – I’m playing a character who is wholly attached to him. So that was definitely a fun and rewarding part of that job.

Then what do you enjoy most about portraying Grace?
CARRIE:  She seems to have a real artist’s mind and soul. She’s a painter. She seems to get excited about the world of the arts and the creativity of her career as an illustrator, and also as an art appreciator.  That’s nice. My mother is an artist. We grew up with a real appreciation for the fine arts; not just theater, but painting and culture.  So I really connected with that part of her.

Do you think Grace suspects that Harold’s still alive somewhere out there?
CARRIE:  No, I don’t. I don’t think she does. I think in her mind he’s gone.  She’s clearly not found anybody else that we’ve seen and she’s still very much mourning him. She’s just happy that she has a career that she can focus on — though little does she know that it is probably Harold that is getting her all these gigs to keep her going. But she seems to be genuinely sad about them not being together as he is.

What do you think would be Grace’s reaction to finding out that (a) Harold is still alive and (b) doing all these altruistic things?
CARRIE:  Obviously, she would be shocked and thrilled to find that he was alive.  I don’t think it would surprise her to see that he was trying to do good in the world with this technology that he built.  I think she would be very proud of him for doing that. But she would worry though that he would be putting himself in harm’s way everyday. If she were to get him again after losing him once already, I’m sure she would be holding on tight.

The producers kind of hinted that there may be something tragic happening with Grace in this next episode. Is there anything you can share about that?
CARRIE:  It was very interesting, ‘cause like I said, we had to shoot those scenes separately without the context of a script.  They hadn’t finished the finale in November when we were preparing to shoot these scenes.  So I can’t wait to see how it does turn out and how those scenes fold in to the rest of the storyline.  There’s in particular a very mysterious scene that we shot and I’m still not quite sure how it folds in with the bigger picture.  Of course Michael knows, but I don’t like being told. As someone who is a bit of a purist about not watching previews, I like to have that experience of seeing it and feeling it and taking it in for the first time in the way that the writers and producers intended it to be.  So I’m excited to see it too.

"Person of Interest"
“Person of Interest”

You have been quite busy. You’ve also been working on TRUE BLOOD full-time and guest-starring on THE GOOD WIFE. How does it feel to be working on three very popular series right now?
CARRIE:  I feel extremely fortunate.  Being a woman in this business and, just statistically there just are not as many roles for women as there are for men, so the fact that I’m able to be a part of these three shows – which I would be watching even if I weren’t on them and I’d definitely be a fan of all three of those shows – is something that I feel very blessed to be able to experience.  The hard work has paid off in a really wonderful and humbling way.  So I’m excited.

What would you say is your favorite thing about working on all three shows?
CARRIE: TRUE BLOOD is definitely the one I’ve been doing the longest. It is really fun to be able to play a character that I’m so comfortable with; that I’ve been learning about and experiencing for coming up on 6 years. To see her grow and my understanding of her grow, that has been a wonderful thing.  Plus, it has been such a rare and wonderful thing to have a steady job for this long.  I had never had any television or film gigs that were this long before, so I am obviously very grateful for that.  Then THE GOOD WIFE gets to be this wonderful, completely different change of energy where I get to go into the mind of a woman whose brain works so much faster than anybody around her (and certainly my own brain). So to figure out how to map out the twists and turns of how she navigates the world is quite delightful. Also that show shoots in New York, which is our home base. Plus, everybody on THE GOOD WIFE from the PA’s all the way up to the executive producers are pretty wonderful and extraordinary. That is sometimes a rare thing, so I really relish the time that I spend on that show. And PERSON OF INTEREST, obviously, just getting to go work with my husband is this wonderful bonus.  It’s an experience that I don’t get to have very much and working with him is really, really great.

How far along has TRUE BLOOD filmed into the new season?
CARRIE:  We’re getting ready to do a read through of episodes 8 and 9. We’re only doing 10 episodes this year, so we’re closing in on the last three episodes.

Are there any teasers you can offer to get fans excited about the new season of TRUE BLOOD?
CARRIE:  We’re going to be picking up right where we left off in TRUE BLOOD fashion.  In my storyline, we’re going to see the ramifications of what Arlene and Terry did when Terry killed Patrick. So we’re going to pick up with that and see how that effects them.

Having been on TRUE BLOOD for six seasons, has there been a storyline that shocked you or are you just taking it all as wide roller-coaster ride?
CARRIE:  (Laughs) Right!  Well, I didn’t see the smoke-monster thing coming from last season.  That was definitely a surprise for us all.  I had never even heard of an Ifrit, which is the fire monster, so that was definitely the most surprising, as far as my storyline goes.

Did you and Michael just sit back and laugh, and go, “Oh my god, we both worked on shows with smoke-monsters”?
CARRIE:  (Laughs) Yeah, we did.  We even made jokes that it was the same actor playing the smoke-monster.

Finally, do you have any other projects that you’re working on or do you even have time for other projects?
CARRIE:  I am a filmmaker and I have a production company. My most recent film that I direct is “She Said,” and not only it is out in the world on iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon, it’s just this week premiering on Showtime. So we’re very excited about the journey that the  film has taken.  Then I shot three episodes of a webseries, and when those are all edited together we’re going to start a Kickstarter campaign to shoot the rest of it. Then I’m also starring and co-producing a film that’s going to be shooting in North Carolina called “Your Ass is Grass.”  So I’ll be doing that as soon as we wrap TRUE BLOOD. I’ve got a lot of irons on the fire, so to speak.

To see what exactly is revealed in the mysterious scene that Carrie filmed in the second season finale of PERSON OF INTEREST, be sure to tune in on Thursday, May 9th at 9:00 p.m. on CBS.

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