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'Arrow' Villain Michael Emerson Recalls His Most Memorable 'Saw' Fan Encounter

Russ Burlingame


Onscreen, Lost and Arrow star Michael Emerson has a habit of playing characters who are the most menacing person in the room -- but during a recent interview with, he recalled a story about being startled by a group of menacing strangers -- only to learn that they were big fans of his work.

While discussing the perils of fandom (among other things) last month, Emerson told about the surprising encounter, in which a group of young men approached Emerson when he was out with his wife, actress and producer Carrie Preston.

“One time, Carrie and I were at the food court of a mall in Los Angeles or somewhere,” Emerson recalled. “It was kind of late and we were the only ones there. And there was this whole group of kind of dangerous-looking teenage boys came toward us from a couple of different directions. I thought ‘Uh-oh, what’s this going to be?’ And the kid that was the leader of the group, apparently, says ‘Hey, man — I liked you in Saw. That was cool.’”

The group dispersed without incident after a few cordial words with the actor, who can recall being glad that the young men were interested in him for his work -- but the experience was memorable enough that he can still remember (and laugh about) it years later.

“I’m always surprised when people remember that particular performance,” he said. “I guess who wouldn’t remember it? It was kind of a classic movie. I guess I’ve just tried to put it out of my head because it was so damn violent and such a hard shoot….I was glad to get through that shoot with my life and all my limbs. It was shot fast and rough. I had an epic fight sequence in there with Danny Glover, of all people. I was glad to survive that!”

Of course, as a franchise, Saw has never gone away. There were seven of them made -- one per year -- between 2004 and 2010, with a franchise revival (more a long-delayed sequel than a reboot) launching in 2017.

Emerson has a guest role coming up on Amazon's Mozart in the Jungle, or you can catch him when Arrow returns on January 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT following the 2018 premiere of Supernatural.

ArrowWednesday at 8 PM ET on CW

ArrowWednesday at 8 PM ET on CW

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