PERSON OF INTEREST: Amy Acker on the Machine and Samaritan Showdown, and What Comes Next | Give Me My Remote

PERSON OF INTEREST: Amy Acker on the Machine and Samaritan Showdown, and What Comes Next

December 19, 2014 by  

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PERSON OF INTEREST took the Samaritan/Machine war to the next step in the final episode of 2014, as the duo sat down to have a chat (using Root and a small child as their mouthpieces), and then Samaritan set to take out arguably its biggest target: the stock exchange.

With a move that big, the war between the machines can’t stay quiet for much longer. To get a hint of what’s to come, I spoke with PERSON OF INTEREST star Amy Acker (Root) about the fallout from the machines’ showdown, and what the heck comes next…

What was it like filming that sit-down between the Machine and Samaritan?
Amy Acker: [Laughs] First of all, we were all gathered around him, and couldn’t believe how smart he was. I have a nine-year-old son as well, and I was imaging trying to get him to learn all those lines. [Laughs] I didn’t see it going that smoothly.

[Oakes Fegley] was just so great and smart, and holding conversations on set. And leading conversations, where it was like, I don’t even know what he’s talking about. But he was incredible. And when we went in to do the scene, he just nailed it. I think both of his parents are actors — theater actors — in New York. And I think he, and maybe one of his brothers or sisters are actors as well, so it must be genetic!

PERSON OF INTEREST showrunners Greg Plageman and Jonah Nolan had been vaguely teasing the voice of Samaritan for a bit. What was your reaction when you saw it was going to be a child?
AA: The whole episode was exciting to me. That was probably my favorite episode we’ve shot. The whole experience of shooting that episode was so fun. We had a wonderful director, Michael Offer, who hadn’t directed for us before. It was such a nice [one]. Something about it seemed really special.

And then when they brought Oakes Fegley in and he read the lines, everyone was like, OK, that’s the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. [Laughs] For me, it was kind of hard, because he was so good, and he was Samaritan, and I was like, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, because I’m Root, but I’m speaking for the Machine, but do I have the opinions Root has? And he’s so good! [Laughs]

It was a great scene. Given how things ended, what comes next?
AA: It definitely sets up this major battle, major wars of the gods that’s about to go down. I think reading it all, all of us on Team Machine were a little bit nervous, because it seems like the young boy seems to have all of the power, and he seems to be confident that he’ll be able to take down the Machine, and the Machine doesn’t seem to have a great plan to fight back at this point. After we read that episode, I think we were all very nervous we might all be dying very soon. [Laughs]

The next episode, it’s really –Denise [Thé], who wrote the next episode, I think people are going to be really excited when they see it. It’s so different. It’s really different than any TV episode I’ve ever seen, and definitely different than a PERSON OF INTEREST episode. It was really fun, and really hard to shoot, but from what I’ve heard, people have said it’s their favorite episode of what we’ve done. So I’m really excited to see it.

Originally, Root’s focus was finding Shaw, but as viewers saw, the stock exchange has now been compromised, so how has Root’s plan changed?
AA: Obviously, she’s looking for Shaw and she wants to make sure Shaw is safe, and Samaritan doesn’t have Shaw is probably her biggest motive in her heart. But I think overall, the [fact] that Samaritan is taking over everything [is the biggest concern], because if they don’t stop Samaritan, it won’t matter if it has Shaw or if it has anyone — it’s going to destroy everything.

Taking on the stock exchange isn’t a small move. How will the outside world be reacting to that?
AA: That actually is something that’s going to start coming up in the next few episodes: you’ll start to see how much of an impact Samaritan is having globally and outside of New York City. I think that’s an important part of the switch and seeing what’s happening with Samaritan and how much power it has.

It’s interesting, in the next couple of episodes, you see how the stock exchange was viewed from other people’s perspectives. It’s going to be…I wish I could tell you more! [Laughs] But it’s going to be exciting to reveal all of these pieces coming together in different ways and different people’s perspectives.

You touched on how after you read the last episode there was a concern about how safe the characters were, and this show, arguably more so than any other broadcast show, really doesn’t play it safe; the show makes drastic shifts, and doesn’t instantly back down from them. How is that for you as an actress?
AA: I really love it. For me, I feel like we read the scripts in the same way the audience looks forward to watching them. Because we really don’t know what’s going to happen from episode to episode. All of the writers are so great, and they’re able to switch tones and switch formats. Week to week, it feels like a different shows at some point, but all within the realm of PERSON OF INTEREST. But getting to wear the bear costume and getting to play around with Bear is not something I ever ended up foreseeing happening for my character. [Laughs]

Somehow, they’ve gotten the freedom to do, like you’re saying, what most network shows don’t get to do. I think it’s exciting that they do that and they really go outside of the boundaries of what people think or what people thought the show was. I’ve heard so many people say, “Oh, I don’t really watch procedurals.” And it’s like, “Yeah, well that’s not what the show is.” [Laughs]

Absolutely. You’ve gotten to do some really amazing action stuff this season. Are there any other action sequences coming up that you can tease?
AA: Everyone gets to do pretty amazing stuff in the next episode. There’s a lot of action, a lot of guns, and a lot of shooting, and a lot of danger. Every character gets to do some really cool stuff. I think [the] January 6th [episode] will be really fun for everyone to see.

And this is the second part of a three-parter?
AA: Yeah. After that, there’s still more to come. And, I mean, judging by what we’re still shooting, it’s all part of what’s happening in these three episodes; that’s going to flavor what happens in the rest of the season.

Is the Brotherhood getting looped into this war?
AA: I don’t know if I’m allowed to say! But most of the episodes’ major guest [characters] for the next few are Greer and Martine. So it’s definitely leaning more towards Samaritan/Machine war than the Brotherhood at this point.

Are there any other episodes you can tease?
AA: Well, [the next episode,] “If-Then-Else” will be really cool. And then the next few after that are packed…they’re all really good! [Laughs] But the next few are super exciting.

And I like the one after that, because I get to team up with Reese again. I haven’t gotten to do stuff with him [a lot]; usually we’re not teamed up for an episode. So it was fun. That’s one I’m looking forward to seeing. Jim [Caviezel (Reese)] and I had a lot of fun doing that. It’s pretty fun!

PERSON OF INTEREST airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on CBS.

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