Image of Jonathan Nolan and Michael Emerson sitting in director chairs during a virtual press junket. Nolan is a white man with chin-length wavy brown hair and a thin beard wearing a black buttondown and jeans. Emerson is an older white man with closely cropped black hair that sticks straight up wearing black-rimmed glasses and a maroon suit with a black buttondown shirt.

Jonathan Nolan and Michael Emerson on How ‘Fallout’ Went From a ‘Summer Vacation Lark’ to a Limb-Exploding Adventure

Yesterday, we shared my interview with Fallout stars Ella Purnell and Aaron Moten as they discussed the upcoming Prime Video series from the point of view of their characters. Today, our Fallout coverage continues with a mini Person of Interest reunion.

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I got to chat with Fallout executive producer Jonathan Nolan and cast member Michael Emerson, who’ve worked together before on Nolan’s first TV series, Person of Interest, where Emerson played Harold Finch for five seasons.

In Fallout, Emerson plays a mysterious character known only as “Wilzig,” a man being pursued by several entities in the Wasteland, who has a connection to a prominent organization in Fallout lore.

It’s well known that Nolan is a huge fan of the Fallout series. For some creators, it’s daunting to try to adapt something they love so much, and so they prefer “not to touch it.” So, I asked Nolan what it was about his experience of playing this series of games that made him feel like he had to be the one to bring this world to live action.

“I don’t know that it was about feeling that it had to be me, but I certainly had never experienced anything like the tone of the games,” Nolan says. “The retro-futurism of it. The violence of it. The political commentary of it, and the humor of it. I’d never felt all of those things brought together. So that, for me, felt like something I would be excited to share with, I’m not going to say a ‘larger audience,’ but maybe the audience including people who hadn’t had the opportunity to play the games and people who had and wanted to see another chapter in this story.”

Staying firmly in spoiler-free territory, I had to ask Emerson what drew him to this project and the role of Wilzig, especially since his participation in the story is … interesting, to say the least.

Of course, Emerson was drawn to “the pedigree of the project” and the fact that it was being put together by people he loved working with. “It looked like it might be kind of a summer vacation lark. It was a little more than that when push came to shove, but it was an adventure! And it was good fun. And technically amazing!”

Emerson seemed like a kid describing a great summer vacation when he went on to say, “And I got my foot blown off! And other indignities!”

“Not just your foot! Not just your foot, sadly,” Nolan chimed in.

Seriously, y’all. Wilzig’s whole deal is bananas. We can expect his presence to be “felt through the season.”

While both Nolan and Emerson hope that those who have no experience with the Fallout games might be inspired to try the games by watching this show, they are very clear that this is not a show “for the whole family.”

“Leave the kids at home,” Nolan says. Considering how many body parts explode on this show? That’s probably for the best.

Fallout arrives on Prime Video on April 11. Check out my full interview with Nolan and Emerson at our TMS YouTube channel:

(featured image: screencap/Prime Video)


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Author
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.