EMERSON BROOKS INTERVIEW 2018

Season five of THE LAST SHIP has been a series of punches to the gut, with the shocking losses of several characters right from the get-go, and this past week’s episode (5×08 ‘Honor’) was no exception. In an incredible act of self-sacrifice, Admiral Joe Meylan, played by Emerson Brooks, gave his life to save President Joshua Reiss, even though – at least in the eyes of the viewer – Reiss had done nothing to deserve that kind of loyalty.

That Meylan was willing to put his own life on the line to protect his Commander-in-Chief should come as no surprise; all throughout the episode, he displayed an astonishing level of courage and selflessness, which led to Meylan committing the ultimate act of bravery. This left fans’ hearts in their mouths once more, in what has become a season where everything is on the line, and the consequences of war seem incredibly real.

Emerson recently took the time to answer some questions for us about his experience playing Joseph Meylan, and talk about his final story arc.

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TheLastShipTV: Meylan has been promoted to Admiral, what new challenges did that bring for you, as an actor, if any?

Emerson Brooks:There is a greater level of responsibility for the Meylan in this season. As an admiral, he is tasked with more responsibility and more people, more lives under his command. Any decision he makes or action he takes has the potential to affect thousands of lives. As an actor, it’s important to recognize that awesome responsibility, and translate it through the character.”

TLS.TV: What was the biggest challenge for you this season?

EB: As an actor, the biggest challenge was keeping up with all of the moving parts and converging storylines within the season. Season five is truly jam packed, and Meylan’s storyline is sort of a lynchpin, or a hub for almost all of them. Usually, unless information is pertinent to your role, you can focus on your independent storyline and how it affects you, while casually following the story points that don’t affect your character. In season five, all the storylines affect Meylan.

TLS.TV: We first saw Meylan, almost as a sort of bad guy, in season three, but he has since become an invaluable and well respected member of the team. How do you feel Meylan developed throughout your time on the show?

EB: It’s important to remember that Meylan never saw himself as a bad guy. Just a guy in a bad situation, trying to the right thing. If he had to do what happened in season three all over again, I don’t think he would have any regrets and wouldn’t change a thing. And yes, that means taking command of Nathan James from Capt. Chandler again! In season four, he was given XO of Nathan James, which gave everyone an opportunity to get used to him and for him to become part of the team. However, in season five Meylan has a new job, but his principles are the same. Do the right thing; honor his family, country, and the Navy with his actions, in that order. With that compass, what could go wrong?

TLS.TV: How and when did you find out that Meylan was going to die?

EB: About a week before we were to shoot the episode in which Meylan dies, I received a call from the showrunner, Steven Kane letting me know of Meylan’s eventual demise. I had a feeling it was going to happen and was quietly hoping that was the case. At that point I knew we were on our final season and loved the idea of Meylan going out with a “bang”, so to speak. With that said, if it wasn’t the final season, I would have loved to do the show for another three years. It really was the most amazing experience. The only bad part about getting the call was that I was on vacation, halfway through a round of golf. Even though I expected the news, my golf game went south, fast, for the rest of the day.

TLS.TV: How did you feel when you read the script?

EB: I felt it was going to be messy… I was right.

TLS.TV: All throughout season five, despite adversity, Meylan never faltered in his duty. Do you think this steadfastness played into his death? It felt as though he had little time for the president, but was still prepared to lay his life on the line for him. Having spent time in the Army, is this typical?

EB: In the military, your oath in never to The President, a flag, or to any group. It’s to protect and defend the constitution and obey the orders of officers appointed over me and The President of The United States. Within that, sometimes you protect the symbols that help maintain our democracy and the constitution. In Meylan’s case, it was the President. That’s just Meylan’s DNA. He is always prepared to die to defend his nation, and at that time the President was the symbol of that nation.

TLS.TV: What was the most difficult thing about filming Meylan’s death?

EB: For an actor, filming a death is always hard. Some harder than others. It is difficult to truly live within that experience if it is a drawn out scene. Also, all of the fake blood. Takes forever to wash off.

TLS.TV: Describe what it was like to shoot your final scene, and say goodbye to the show and the character.

EB: Honestly the final scene was exciting and fun. It was action packed, bullets flying,  on top of a building, with a helicopter preparing to lift off. Couldn’t ask for a cooler set-up. It’s not the first time one of my characters have died on screen. It’s something I have been through a half dozen times or so. I guess you can say, it’s part of the job.

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While we say a sad farewell to Meylan, Emerson himself has been keeping busy, and you can keep an eye out for him in upcoming episodes of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT on Netflix and another up-coming guest appearance on CBS’s MACGYVER

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