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7 September 2008   Comments Off on Wentworth talks about ‘Prison Break’

“Prison Break” was one of the first shows to return this fall, with a two-hour Labor Day premiere that not only raised questions about the rest of the fourth season, but whether or not the series was beginning a push toward an actual conclusion.

As the Fox show prepares to make its regular time slot debut at 9 p.m. Monday, we caught up with its star Wentworth Miller, who plays protagonist Michael Scofield, to see if we could get a few answers during a conference call from the Los Angeles set.

Q: This show has proven it can be something completely different from one season to the next. As an actor, what are the advantages or disadvantages of the premise?
WM: Well, 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.

That said, I’ve been more comfortable with some seasons than others. My favorites so far has been one and three because I actually think that my character works best behind bars with very real, physical, deadly obstacles to surmount. … But it’s most important for a show that’s running 67 episodes at this point to keep it as fresh and as exciting for the actors as possible.

Q: The season three finale set up the whole scenario of Michael being on a quest for revenge. At what point did you realize that Sarah Wayne might be coming back as Dr. Sara Tancredi?
WM: I think it was at some point during the strike that I started hearing rumors that Sarah was returning, that the fans were organizing write-ins and petitions. It’s very much a back and forth conversation between the fans and the writers, between the writers and the powers that be. Their opinions, especially when expressed online or via correspondence, are important and are taken into consideration.

Q: The first scene where Michael reunites with Sara, was it everything you hoped it would be?
WM: Absolutely. I was just happy to see Sarah back. I really felt her absence in season three. I felt that her return was important not only to my character, but also to the show in general.

Q: What can you tell us about the relationship between Michael and his brother Lincoln and how it will continue to evolve?
WM: I think there’s been a lot of push-pull between these characters, a lot of swinging of the pendulum where the little brother is suddenly the big brother and the big brother is suddenly the little brother. I think this season is about kind of settling their mutual debts. In that first episode we saw Lincoln in Panama. He has a potential love interest. He’s reunited with his son for the first time. I think 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 conspiracy. But I think when all is said and done the brothers will be able to part as equals.

Q: Let’s go through some of the other characters as well. What about Michael and Mahone?
WM: Well, in a strange way, I feel like they kind of resolved their issues throughout the course of season three because they did in fact have to work together. Yes, Mahone is still the man who killed Michael’s father. But in a way, I think Mahone is the latest in a series of surrogate fathers for Michael. The first season we had the character of Westmoreland. We also have the Warden and I think Mahone is a reflection, whether Michael realizes it or not, of what he could one day be. If he continues to walk down this very dark road, Michael might wind up very much the man that Mahone is today; someone who started out as a good man doing good things and then became a good man doing questionable things and then became a questionable man doing evil things.

Q: Michael Rapaport seemed to really fit in during the season opener. How about his role?
WM: Yes, Michael is great. I mean he oozes character. There’s character to spare where he’s concerned. His role is a pivotal one this season because he is upper boss, in effect; he is sympathetic and yet, there is supposed to be something a little bit off about him. That, of course, comes to a head, I think, later in the season. I think he pulls that off beautifully.

Q: So Michael is really going after The Company?
WM: It’s finally time to take on the puppet master. I think at this point, we’ve battled may serious advisories — Gretchen, Agent Kellerman, etc., etc. Michael in season two had that great face-to-face with the President and you really thought that this 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. I think what the team realizes, Michael, Lincoln and Sara, etc., is that they can no longer flee. It’s time to stand and fight. It’s time to really put this whole conspiracy thing to bed if possible.

Q: Is it possible? Is there talk that this may be about as far as the show can take it?
WM: Well, it’s not “CSI.” It’s not “Law & Order.” It can’t run forever. I do feel as though we may be on one of our final laps around the track. It is something that weighs on my mind from time-to-time. Telling a story correctly necessitates knowing when to end it. At this point in the series, Michael and Lincoln, between them, have intentionally or unintentionally killed so many people and yet, they’re still running around with T-Bag. It’s really a testament to Robert Knepper that his character has survived through four whole seasons, but the man is a maniac, a psychopath and a child killer and a rapist. And yet, he and the boys are still digging ditches together. Eventually, you have to wonder when is enough enough because it really makes my character look bad. These are the questions that I think eventually we have to answer or else suffer a fall off in terms of believability and quality.

Q: There has been some talk that the series might end with Michael dying. Is that something you’d be comfortable with?
WM: I think that there’s definitely a price to be paid for this little adventure. Michael’s hands are pretty fifthly at this point in the series. It’s become harder and harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys and the question becomes, can there be any sort of redemption for Michael? What would that look like? What would that take? Perhaps laying down his life so that someone else can live might be one answer to that question.

Q: Do you think it’s possible for Michael to be happy? Do you feel that he’s worthy of redemption?
WM: I think the interesting wrinkle that Sara’s return signifies is when Michael thought she was dead he crossed certain lines that he might not otherwise have crossed. At the end of season three, he was actively involved in arranging the death of another inmate, the henchman, who was killed in the cave in that Michael manipulated. So when Sara suddenly reappears, Michael is a very much changed man, perhaps one that she doesn’t recognize, perhaps one that’s not really worthy of the relationship that she has to offer.

I think that Michael is still a good man. But at this point, I think it would take something quite extreme for him to really even the score because in order for his brother to go free, so many people have died in the process and I think that weighs terribly on Michael’s conscience.

Once this experience is over, once say they successfully destroy the conspiracy, there is no returning to his white collar existence as a structural engineer. I mean I think the only thing that Michael is kind of fit for at this point is as a hired gun, which actually dovetails quite nicely with the directions he takes.

Source: http://www.southbendtribune.com

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