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6 February 2016   Comments Off on Wentworth Miller on Captain Cold’s Evolution and His Own, and on ‘DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’

Some characters die hard. For some TV viewers, Wentworth Miller will forever be Michael J. Scofield of “Prison Break,” a structural engineer determined to spring his brother, Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), from a penitentiary with the help of blueprints tattooed on his own upper body.

Later Mr. Miller broke free from one indelible character by playing another: Captain Cold, the DC Comics master thief on CW’s “The Flash.” “Playing Captain Cold is probably the most fun I’ve had as an actor because not only is he a bad guy, but he’s got edge, a sense of humor,” Mr. Miller said. “He’s not responsible for doing the expositional heavy lifting. He’s kind of a spice character: he comes in, does a little dance and then exits.”

Now comes “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” in which Mr. Miller’s baddie has been co-opted — along with characters like the Canary, the Atom, Hawkgirl and Heat Wave, played by Mr. Purcell — to prevent Vandal Savage from annihilating the Earth.

“So the question becomes, now that we’re spending more time with Captain Cold, what else is there?” Mr. Miller said of his character.

Viewers will learn more in Thursday’s episode, which unfurls the frozen-hearted villain’s back story. On a recent visit to The New York Times, Mr. Miller discussed his own evolution, including his creative partnership with Mr. Purcell and plans for a “Prison Break” revival. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

Q. So, is Captain Cold on his way to becoming a hero?

A. He’s probably a legend in his own mind already, but hero status — he probably perceives that as something out of his reach, because he’s been a villain, he’s done some not so great things. But through the course of this adventure, with the stakes being what they are — saving mankind — it’s conceivable that redemption and wiping the slate clean are possible, even for someone like Captain Cold.

You and Dominic Purcell are partners in “Legends,” but you interacted on “The Flash” as well. How did that happen?

My first episode of “The Flash,” the producers came to me and said, “We’re trying to hire another actor to play this character Heat Wave, and you two are like Frick and Frack, Mutt and Jeff. He’s the brawn to your brains. And we’re looking for someone who’s a force of nature, a real presence.”

And Dominic Purcell was the first — and only — name out of my mouth. We’re like salt and pepper shakers, we’re like a matched set. When I’m working with Dominic, there’s an ease and understanding because I know what he wants from a scene, and I know that he knows what I want from a scene. So we’ll tend to work a lot faster than another pair of actors.

After “Prison Break” ended in 2009, you stopped acting for a while and wrote the screenplay for “Stoker.” Why the hiatus from acting?

Working on a one-hour drama is probably one of the more challenging jobs in the business. And at the end of “Prison Break,” I was exhausted. I needed a timeout for personal and professional reasons, and I started writing and discovered that I had a facility for it. That was my focus for three or four years, but there’s a certain bond that happens when you’re in the trenches with the cast and crew, grinding out great TV week in, week out, that I found I missed.

You’ll be shooting a “Prison Break” reboot soon. How did that come about?

When Dominic and I got together again for “The Flash,” I hadn’t seen him for five years, but it was like no time had passed. And out of that experience came the idea to approach Fox and see what their level of interest might be in a where-are-they-now limited series. They were on board.

I think everyone involved is really committed to respecting the existing mythology and making sure this new chapter deepens that, up to and including answering some of the questions left at the end of the original series that I know I have and I know the audience has. Like, is Michael still alive, and if so, how?

Can you give us a hint?

[Laughs.] I can’t confirm or deny.

A lot of people in the building are craning their necks today as you walk by. What are some of the pressures associated with becoming — and staying — a sex symbol?

I try not to feed that particular fire. I am all for the salt and pepper in my hair. I am all about stepping into my inner elder and honoring the fact that I’m a man of a certain age with all that experience behind me, and that shows up in my walk and my talk and my face. And that’s something to be embraced.

You’ve spoken and written about your experience with depression and, when you were younger, feelings of suicide, and subsequent coping mechanisms.

It is something that is near and dear to me. I’ve walked a long road and have struggled with depression on and off for decades, and making sure that I continue to vibrate at the right frequency is my priority. And that looks like having a self-care routine in place that includes meditation and exercise and prayer and a good night’s sleep and diet and writing and sitting in a circle with a group of men like the Mankind Project.

Culturally, there’s a wall of silence that we create because we don’t know how to have that conversation yet, because that requires building a vocabulary we don’t have. Meanwhile, people are suffering and people are dying. It’s within our best interest to figure out what that conversation looks like and to have it openly and publicly without shame as quickly as possible — because if it’s not you, it’s someone you know.

You also publicly came out as gay in 2013. Why did you wait so long?

It felt like I was doing what I had to do at the time. I don’t think I could have done it any differently. There is a part of me that at 43 looks back at the window of opportunity and thinks, gee, wouldn’t it have been great if you’d been able to come out while “Prison Break” was on the air and at the height of the show’s popularity? But I wasn’t ready emotionally, spiritually. When I was a younger man, my career was very important to me, my life as an artist was very important to me. I had visions of things I wanted to have and do and achieve.

Now I put community first and family first and friends first. And I had an epiphany before the “Legends” opportunity came about, which was, when I die and I’m seated at the foot of my maker, whoever he or she may be, you know what we’re not going to be talking about? Ratings, my IMDB page, magazine covers, award shows. What we’ll be talking about, I imagine, is my growth as a man and a soul, and my career is a part of that, but it’s just a piece of the puzzle. It’s not the puzzle itself.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com

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