An article that even The Church had never seen! Holy Shit! The link came from wheelygirl of The Church by way of kameleon falcon over on the Wentworth Yahoo Group. Enjoy!
showUSloc=(checkLocale(‘uk’)||checkLocale(‘au’));document.writeln(showUSloc ? ‘US, ‘ : ”);US, September 1, 2006 – Getting his start in the industry working in development for a production company, Wentworth Miller soon made the successful switch to acting, and quickly was scoring guest star roles on series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Popular, E.R. and Joan of Arcadia, along with a notable role as the young version of the character played by Anthony Hopkins in The Human Stain.
Miller’s career got another major boost last year, when he nabbed the role of Michael Scofield on Prison Break, in which his character was the driving force behind the action and the season long quest for he and his brother Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) to escape from captivity. The second season of Prison Break has taken a dramatic new turn, with Michael, Lincoln and several fellow inmates actually succeeding in their goal, only to find themselves the subject of a huge manhunt led by FBI Agent Mahone (Bill Fichtner).
Recently I spoke to Miller for an exclusive interview with IGN TV, in which we talked about the new direction of Prison Break and his thoughts on what’s going on for Michael Scofield and his brother.
IGN TV: The second season is such a new direction for the show. When you first joined the show, did you talk about it with the producers and know that this is where it was going to go?
Wentworth Miller: Yeah, we talk about it all the time, especially since it’s kind of a revolving door show. The story we’re trying to tell is a compelling one, a frightening one, and that means there’s a body count. It’s just the nature of the beast. And everyone is curious to know when and if their number’s up. So as soon as we get a new script, we’re all flipping through it to see who makes it to the final page. And in retrospect, I had some concerns about where the show was gonna go once we got over the wall. I mean it’s called Prison Break. The prison loomed large first season, but in retrospect, I think it was just a really cool launching pad.
Now we’re getting into the meat of who these characters are, what they want, what the dynamics are between them. The stakes are only getting higher and there’s a lot more meat on the bone as far as character work, especially for my character in particular. That’s why I told the writers first season; I said, Michael is vulnerable, he’s afraid and frustrated and angry, upset, etc., etc, but there’s a lot I can’t show, when I’m standing next to someone who wants me dead. Now that we’re outside and I’m with my brother, who knows me better then anyone in the world, I can get into all those colors in a way I couldn’t first season.
IGN TV: Even when you’re doing a great TV show, I’d imagine it must get at least slightly stale, simply because you’re filming it so many months of the year. But here, it’s almost like you’re doing a new show; you’ve moved from Chicago to Dallas for production and you’re outdoors so much more now. Has it been revitalizing for you in a way?
Miller: Yeah. It’s totally reinvigorated us as far as I’m concerned. We have an entirely new crew. We’re not in the prison anymore, which is where we shot the majority of the first season. We’re down at the lake and in the woods, and we’re wearing civilian clothes and walking around city streets, and it’s a very, very different experience. And the juicy thing to tackle as an actor is, who are these guys outside of prison?
IGN TV: Michael had his first face to face moment with Bill Fichtner’s character, on the elevator, in the second episode. I’m not sure how much you can tell us about any other scenes you might have together after that, but how is it working with him?
Miller: Bill, he’s got a resume as long as your arm. He’s got this really intense vibe, where you look at him and initially you think, okay, boy next door, All American, etc. But there’s something going on just beneath the surface which makes him riveting. And we’re so fortunate to have him onboard, because he is holding up a really critical end of the story. Now that we’re outside of the prison, the government conspiracy, the FBI manhunt, matters so much more then it did first season. Because the first season, the obstacles that our heroes had to overcome episode to episode were physical. They were the C.O.’s, the walls of the prison, the barbed wire… But now, it’s about Michael and Lincoln vs. the government. And Bill has become the face of that conspiracy, to a large degree, and he’s phenomenal, and I think adds the flipside of the coin to my character. He’s just like Michael, but working for much more sinister motives.
IGN TV: At this point, Michael and Lincoln have split off from everyone else they escaped with. On one hand, it’s probably strange to not be working with the other actors, but is it also fun to explore this different dynamic with just the two of you?
Miller: Yeah, I’ve been looking forward to more screen time with Dominic. Just a chance to really get into that brother relationship. I’ve been looking forward to seeing the end of Dominic’s leisurely run. [Laughs] We all knew first season, he had the best job on the show. The average episode takes 8 days to shoot; he’d be around for two. The rest of the time, he was surfing in Los Angeles. So he’s seen his work time quadruple, which is nice. And, you know, the relationship between the two brothers is at the core of the story; it’s why everything happened to begin with. And now is our chance to address those issues and get into the good, the bad and the ugly, because it’s not just love, it’s not just loyalty, there’s also brotherly competition. Who’s the alpha dog, now that Michael’s been the older brother with the plan for all of first season? But now they’re on the outside… Is he going to be willing to relinquish that role so easily? Is there some resentment because he had to throw away his entire life to save his brother, who’s been screwing up and self-destructing for years? So there’s a lot of stuff there for us to explore.
IGN TV: The other thing your character has to deal with is his betrayals, whether real or perceived, of the warden and Dr. Sara. How is he processing that and are you going to be able to have any interaction with those characters?
Miller: We’ll see. I think a couple of the storylines have been wrapped up, at least for the time being. And some are simply on hold for the foreseeable future. Because it’s a difficult balance, where you’ve got all this plot, all this action, all these goals, that the heroes have to accomplish, and you’ve got the emotional components of the story that require time and coaxing and finessing as well. And that’s always been our challenge in this universe that we’ve established. The writers have their very clever, crafty plot driven ideas and the actors are concerned with stuff that’s more about who these people are; questions of character. And out of those two, sometimes competing, conflicting agendas, you hopefully have something worth watching.
Michael has a lot to accomplish as far as getting his brother safely to Mexico, getting a slice of that five million dollars buried in Utah. But psychologically, emotionally, he’s still very much back at the prison. There’s Westmoreland, [and] there’s the warden; two surrogate father figures that he lost at the very end of the first season. He’s feeling a world of guilt and responsibility for what went down there. He fatally, perhaps, compromised Dr. Sara, someone that he needed in order to execute the plan, but also developed feelings for at the same time. So I think Michael’s going to find it much more difficult then he anticipated to simply shut the door on all of that and skip over the border to Mexico, if not impossible.
IGN TV: You started on the other side of things in production development. What made you make the switch to acting or how did it come about?
Miller: You know, the truth is, I moved to Los Angeles to act… I just wasn’t willing to admit it. I was too scared. I wanted to be involved in TV and film in some capacity, so a compromise, because acting seemed unrealistic, and so risky, was to get into the production side. And it was a really fortunate, smart move looking back on it, because it gave me perspective on another side of the business. I know what it takes to go from the point where someone’s looking at a newspaper article, and thinking, “Oh, this would make a great TV series,” to the point where you’re actually on a set and there’s a camera aimed at someone. I know a lot about that process, and it keeps me, I think, grateful, because there’s some actors I’ve met who have been given the world at 18, and haven’t heard “No” in a very long time, and has a result aren’t, I think, properly appreciative of how much hard work goes into making them look good.
IGN TV: I have to reveal that I’m a huge Buffy fan. Was that episode [“Go Fish”] your first job as an actor?
Miller: Very first paid gig. Very first union gig.
IGN TV: What are your memories of working on Buffy?
Miller: I remember being scared witless the entire time, because I’d never been on a set before and I didn’t know what a mark was, and suddenly I’m doing fight choreography with David Boreanaz on the backlot at three in the morning. I was just waiting for that knock on my trailer door for five days… You know, someone from production telling me kindly that I’d been fired. But it was a great experience. Everyone involved – Sarah Michelle Gellar, David – were total professionals and made me feel right at home. And oddly enough, as these things work, the casting director who gave me that first gig was also one of the casting directors on Prison Break. So six, seven years later, those connections in this very small town bare fruit.
IGN TV: You must also see David Boreanaz at Fox functions, right? Your shows [Prison Break and Bones] debuted on the network at the same time.
Miller: I do, I do. It’s kind of strange the way the world works.
IGN TV: On Prison Break, you also get some new clothing this season and now are wearing that distinctive suit. Was it nice to finally get out of those prison clothes?
Miller: Yeah, it was. And I was faced with a really interesting choice: What is Michael going to wear now? Is he going to be a man of a 1000 disguises all season long, or are we going to come up with something else? And you know, I decided to go for the khaki traveling suit. Because A: I thought it was reminiscent of movies Steve McQueen might have done back in the ’70’s.
IGN TV: Yeah, that’s definitely what it feels like.
Miller: Prison Break owes a lot to that legacy. But I also wanted to make him instantly recognizable to the audience, in the way that he was in his blue pants and gray long sleeve shirt and blue short sleeve overshirt in the first season. That became Michael’s suit of armor that he put on every morning to go out and do battle, and I wanted something that would be a surrogate suit of armor second season… The only drawback of course is that it’s 110 degrees in Dallas, and I’m running around in a suit! But the fact that we’re sweating and struggling only adds to the story.
IGN TV: The producers gave you the choice of what you could wear?
Miller: I brought it to them and I said, “These are my reasons why, and do you have any strong objections?” And they didn’t. In fact, they were all for it, because [executive producer] Paul Scheuring is obsessed with Steve McQueen and the world of Prison Break that he created is inspired by that genre. And I love the fact that you have me in the traveling suit and then you pan down to my prison boots, which I had to keep for the story, because the stash of clothing I had for me and Lincoln I divided up and gave to the other convicts; even people that I don’t necessarily like. It’s in Michael’s nature to help when he can, so he gives away the shoes that he was intending to wear, which means I have to keep the prison boots, which is a potential tip off to anyone who knows anything about these things, somewhere down the line. But it also meant, as an actor, that I was able to hold on to a very concrete piece to the character I’d created in the first season. I’d spent all of the first season in those boots, and I felt like the character, I felt like Michael Scofield, walking and talking in those shoes specifically. So it was important to me that I was able to keep the continuity, as far as wardrobe, second season, because it made me feel like I was still connected to the character.
IGN TV: Have you talked to Paul about the future of the show and where it might go past the second season?
Miller: Everyone on the show picks at the writers at every opportunity. Everyone’s curious as to where the story’s going and how long they’ll be around. There’s only so much they’re willing to tell us, and I think that’s probably the way to play it. Because one of the most challenging things and rewarding things about being an actor on a TV show is, you decide for yourself, “Okay, this is who my character is.” And then you get the next script, and there’s something in there that you hadn’t factored in; you hadn’t counted on. That may in fact contradict everything you’d already decided, and you have to find a way of matching that up. And it’s made for a very complex, multidimensional character. I mean there’s certain things about Michael Scofield that don’t add up, or seem to contradict each other, and it’s just made for a richer acting experience that I have to balance all of these different elements and components.