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30 August 2008   Comments Off on Went talking about PB, LA and new cast

Even though some of the storylines have been a bit far-fetched over the seasons, the strength of the Fox television series “Prison Break” comes from its highly talented actors, especially series star Wentworth Miller. The British-born, Brooklyn-raised, 6’1″ hottie is a self-proclaimed workaholic, who likes to just veg out on the couch when he’s not devoting his time to thinking about his character, Michael Scofield.

To catch you up, after successfully breaking his older brother, Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), out of Fox River Penitentiary for a murder he did not commit (Season One), Michael, Lincoln and several other convicts were the targets of a nationwide manhunt that eventually led them to tropical Panama (Season Two). Despite Lincoln’s exoneration for his alleged crimes, the brothers’ freedom and happiness were short-lived as Michael was framed and sent to Sona Prison by “The Company” (Season Three), the same government conspiracy that originally put Lincoln behind bars.

Now out for blood, Season Four will see Michael and Lincoln teamed up with Michael’s true love, the not-really-dead Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies), fellow Fox River escapee Fernando Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), renegade FBI Agent Alex Mahone (William Fichtner) and former Fox River prison-guard-turned-hapless-bounty-hunter Brad Bellick (Wade Williams), to take down The Company, once and for all.

Wentworth recently spoke to us about what he thinks of his character, working in Los Angeles this season, and that pesky full-body tattoo.

TeenTelevision: With Season Four shooting in L.A., are you happy to be there?
Wentworth: I am. We’re working on the Fox lot, and we’re also taking as much advantage as we can of Los Angeles, in terms of the very schizophrenic terrain. You’ve got the ocean, you’ve got downtown, you’ve got the mountains, you’ve got the desert. Our environment and our backdrop, has always been critical to the show’s look and success. Our number one priority is to keep that going in the 4th season.

TeenTelevision: With the move back to L.A., do you notice the paparazzi more?
Wentworth: For the first episode, yes. And then, I guess they got bored, which is fine with us.

TeenTelevision: Do you ever have women follow you down the street in L.A.?
Wentworth: Very recently, I had a fan who was waiting for me at this particular coffee shop that I go to pretty frequently. She had a queen size pillow for me because she heard somewhere that I like naps and she wanted me to have a comfortable place to rest my head. And, she had a big ring of skeleton keys, which she said was so that, if Michael gets himself into another jam, he’d have a way out. And then, she finished off with a pair of handcuffs. So, cut to me walking down the street with a pillow, skeleton keys and handcuffs, and then cue the paparazzi. Those pictures are actually out there somewhere.

TeenTelevision: Hilarious! Did that freak you out?
Wentworth: It was certainly a surprise, but it was very sweet. Obviously, someone put a lot of time, thought and preparation into that kind of gift. To know that someone’s making that kind of room for you in their lives is priceless.

TeenTelevision: Are you involved with the development of your character, or do you just learn the lines that you’re given in the script?
Wentworth: At this point, it’s safe to say that “Prison Break” is very much a collaborative process. That grew out of us being separated from the writers for the first, second and third seasons. They were in Los Angeles, in their little air conditioned room, and we were behind bars at Joliet Prison, sweating it out. The writers have a lot to think about. This is a very complicated show. There are a lot of balls that they have to keep in the air. Sometimes what they have crafted on the page, once you put it on its feet, doesn’t quite work the way you know it needs to work, so the cast has all taken a serious degree of ownership in the execution of this show. We’ve come far enough, and the writers trust us enough, that the actors have really become the watchdogs. I now see the scenes as a blueprint and, within that, I’m allowed to color my character, pretty much as I see fit.

TeenTelevision: In the off season, do you keep up with the training, so that you stay in good shape?
Wentworth: Not particularly. “Prison Break” keeps me so active that I collapse, once the season’s over. I just look forward to sitting on my couch, and maybe take an occasional hike, but that’s pretty much it. I’m not very ambitious. I’d rather sit on the couch, watching episodes of The Closer, back to back.

TeenTelevision: Was your character’s ultra-short hairstyle imposed on you, or was it your choice?
Wentworth: No, I actually had this hairstyle before I was cast in the part. And then, they made Dominic shave his head. I’m glad they did because it really goes a long way toward selling these two characters as brothers.

TeenTelevision: The moment that you’re no longer on the show, are you going to grow out?
Wentworth: We’ll see. I kind of like it this short. It’s pretty low-maintenance. The good news is, if I ever had any concerns about being typecast as Michael Scofield, only identified with this character forever after because the shaved head is such an iconic part of the character, distancing myself from it might be easier than it might be otherwise. All I’d have to do is let my hair grow out.

TeenTelevision: Do you watch your own show?
Wentworth: I haven’t seen the show in awhile, but I do sometimes. I get so close to it, so wrapped up in it, that it’s all I’m thinking about 24/7, so I force myself to take breaks from it to look for other things. It’s very important, creatively, to have several different pots on the stove, as opposed to just that one.

TeenTelevision: In the new season, you guys are out of prison and you’re working for the F.B.I., but you have to do what they say or they will put you back in prison?
Wentworth: The 4th season of “Prison Break” is about Michael and Lincoln, standing and taking on The Company, taking on the conspiracy, and being pro-active in a way that we haven’t seen them be before, but that’s not to say they aren’t still under the gun. It is still life and death. It’s more of the same, and yet reinvented, at the same time.

TeenTelevision: This season looks almost like an Ocean’s Eleven type of thing. How would you describe the feel of the show this time around?
Wentworth: It’s feeling a little bit lighter and a little bit more like a caper. My joke on set is that it’s the A-Team 2008. We have a bunch of different individuals, and some of them love each other, some of them hate each other, and everyone’s got their separate, but very important, skill set that they’re bringing to the table. Only together can they actually achieve what they’ve set out to achieve, which has actually been our formula from the beginning — seven guys in a room, all of whom are at odds with competing agendas, but we have to work together to achieve our goals.

TeenTelevision: Who are the new cast additions this season?
Wentworth: We have Michael Rapaport, playing Agent Don Self. He’s the “Charlie” to our “Angels,” if you will. James Liao plays a character named Roland, who is part of our A-Team. And, Cress Williams, plays a character named Wyatt, who is something of a deadly assassin, tracking down the brothers, Mahone and Sara. We see the return of some old favorites, like Padman/the General, in particular, who is the head of the company conspiracy and whom we’ve seen flashes of for the last couple of seasons. We’ll be seeing a lot more of him, this time around. I dearly hope that he and Michael come face-to-face, at some point.

TeenTelevision: Each season the show has pretty much re-booted its premise, to some degree. As an actor, what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing a show that?
Wentworth: It keeps it interesting. Most other TV shows are in the habit of figuring out their winning formula and then beating it into the ground, whereas we take what we already know works and toss it out the window, at the start of every season, which I think is very bold and ambitious, and it certainly provides a new playground for the actors.

TeenTelevision: What brings out the best in Michael’s character this season?
Wentworth: It’s finally time to take on the puppet master. At this point, we’ve battled many serious adversaries, like Gretchen B. (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) and Agent Kellerman (Paul Adelstein). In Season Two, Michael had that great face-to-face with the President of the United States, and you really thought that was going to be the end of the journey. It turns out someone else was pulling the strings. In many ways, they had to go back to square one. What Michael, Lincoln and Sara realize is that they can no longer flee. It’s time to stand and fight, and really put this whole conspiracy thing to bed, if possible.

TeenTelevision: What personality trait do you like most about Michael?
Wentworth: His sense of loyalty. At the start of Season Three, I told the writers, “Please do not make this about Michael fighting to survive because Michael’s not particularly interested in his own survival.” Michael is interested in self-sacrifice. Michael has a touch of the martyr about him, and he’s only motivated to act aggressively when other people’s lives are on the line, and when those that he loves have guns to their heads.

TeenTelevision: How will the relationship between Lincoln and Michael evolve this season?
Wentworth: There’s been a lot of push-pull between these characters, and a lot of swinging of the pendulum, where the little brother is suddenly the big brother. This season is about settling their mutual debts. At the top of the season, we see Lincoln in Panama. He has a potential love interest. He’s reunited with his son, for the first time. It’s possible that he can make a life for himself. But, he knows that his brother, who sacrificed everything so that he could go free in Season One, is back in the States on this revenge quest. Out of allegiance and a sense of indebtedness, Lincoln follows his brother to the States, so that they can stand together and take on The Company. But, when all is said and done, the brothers will be able to part as equals.

TeenTelevision: Sarah was killed in the middle of Season Three, but now she’s back. What was it like to find out that she’d be returning?
Wentworth: It was difficult to say goodbye, and it was a happy day when I found out that she was returning. There are a lot of chefs in this particular kitchen, so to say that one person was responsible for whatever decision was made, when it was made, would be false. I will say that Sarah is a model of grace and integrity, and behaved as one would hope, throughout the whole situation. She came back because there was such overwhelming fan support for Michael and Sarah. There was a real outcry when her character disappeared. At the end of the day, it’s all about making the fans happy.

TeenTelevision: Throughout the series, you’ve had a lot of characters come and go. If you could bring back one character, who would it be and why?
Wentworth: I’d bring back Paul Adelstein. He was a fantastic Agent Kellerman, and he was symbolic of the kind of character that the show does best, which is someone living within the shades of gray — not entirely black, not entirely white, not entirely good, not entirely evil, but someone who is as complicated as we all are, in real life. Paul really did a beautiful job of defining a character, who could be vicious one minute and entirely sympathetic the next. He’s very much missed.

TeenTelevision: Did you have any say in having the tattoo lasered off of Michael?
Wentworth: The good news is that characters on “Prison Break” tend to heal very, very quickly. It’s quite possible to be shot in one scene, and be sprinting across a cornfield the very next. The precedent has been established. But, I did have my concerns about the tattoo. It was a laborious process, putting that thing on, throughout Season One and parts of Season Two. It was a fan favorite the first season, but then Michael escaped and his mission was accomplished. Suddenly, it was just something that had to be worn rather than something that could be used as a plot device. That resulted in me, in Dallas in 120 degree heat, wearing long sleeve shirts because we were still pretending that Michael had the damn thing on. I knew that it probably wouldn’t really fit into the plot, at this point. So, I went to the writers and said, “How can we really address this issue in a way that feels satisfying and give some closure to people who were constantly on the look out for it?” I am looking forward to getting to roll my sleeves up.

TeenTelevision: Do you get to do the stunts yourself?
Wentworth: One of the best parts is that we get to execute 90% of the stunts ourselves. It’s always in the safest, most rehearsed environment. To be hoisted up on a rope, attached to a helicopter and dangled above the prison yard, like we were in Season Three, is a thrill. It’s one of the reasons I got into this business to begin with.

TeenTelevision: Are there ever any injuries?
Wentworth: We all get scrapes, pulled shoulders, bruises and bloody noses, but that’s just the small price you pay.

TeenTelevision: Do you see “Prison Break” becoming a feature film or TV movie, like 24 did in South Africa?
Wentworth: I don’t think so, unless it was some sort of epilogue, where we picked up with these characters in five years. The story, the plot and the characters are so complex and multi-layered that I don’t think we could do justice to it in a two-hour movie.

TeenTelevision: Do you feel like it’s time for you to make the transition to film?
Wentworth: I’m not someone who believes that TV is a stepping stone to the world of feature film. That kind of bias was once quite prevalent, but for me, doing the show is enough. If the show ends, and I don’t have a big feature film career, that’s fine with me. If I go on and do another TV show or some theater, that will also be fine. As long as I get paid to do what I love, I’ll consider myself to be a success.

TeenTelevision: You seem to keep your distance with fame and success. Could you easily let go of the business, move on and do something else?
Wentworth: I enjoy acting, tremendously. I can’t think of anything else that gives me that kind of buzz. But, I believe that the future hopefully holds other things for me, like writing, directing and producing. That’s still within the context of the business. But, who’s to say? I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.

Source: http://www.teentelevision.com

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