When is the last time we got anything remotely new to come out of Wentworth Miller’s mouth? Not very recently so today is your lucky day. Let’s play Where’s Waldo with the new information.
French Interview from Cine Revue (1 – 7 June, 2007)
Interview by Nicolas Roelens
Lately, you seem more comfortable when it comes to talking about yourself. Why is that?
It’s strange, for an actor, to spend so much time in drama classes or at Julliard without ever bringing up the question of what happens beyond the set. We’re not prepared to enter what is, ultimately, a real business. We don’t immediately understand the importance of being able to talk about a product, to market it well, to sell it. Nor the fact that that influences the success or failure of a series. Because the audience depends on the way in which we present the project. (DBN)
Are you better at that part of your job now than you were before?
Yes, actually. At first, it was strange. I really had to learn to manage the success of Prison Break. All of a sudden, you’re not just an actor. You become a diplomat, a politician, a businessman, a salesman… But ultimately, the fact that I’m in the show makes me as qualified as anyone to share my passion for the show with the public. (DBN)
Your “Prison Break” cast mates describe you as reserved and a bit of a loner…
I really am very reserved, so some people believe that I am hiding some dark secrets. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, I admit to not being very sociable. I am a quiet boy. When journalists ask me about my favourite nightclubs, often I have to stop myself from bursting into laughter. I am the furthest thing from a trendy guy. What do I prefer? Playing Scrabble or watching “The Simpsons” with my friends. And no…before you ask, I don’t have a girlfriend.
Between filming the two seasons, you decided to travel. Were you in need of a break?
Yes, it was time to get out of the Prison Break bubble. The first season was filmed entirely behind bars, outside of Chicago. It was our universe. But so many things had changed outside of it. This trip across the US, from Chicago to LA, was a sort of transition. It was like I was leaving the first season behind me and was starting something new. It was an opportunity to get outside of myself… I found myself in places I’d never been before, around people I didn’t know. It allowed me to internalize their experiences. An actor is never as good as when he enriches himself with experiences, when he amasses chance encounters. It was important to look all over and to think about what I could incorporate into the second season. I had to bring something new. (DBN)
People recognised you?
More often than I would ever have imagined. It was really stupid on my part, seeing how everyone in the world has a TV! (Laughs) What’s amazing is that our fans come from all backgrounds: young and old, professionals and people who work at McDonalds…they all watch us! You could say that there isn’t any distinction by race, sex or social class. And they’re from all over the world! Our success in the States is modest, but it’s caught like wildfire abroad, where shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost”, which do really well here, are less successful.
You’re coming to the end of filming for Season 2. What are your plans?
I would really like to try a change of role, of storyline, to step out of the skin of Michael Scofield for a few weeks. But I’m afraid that won’t happen anytime soon… Nothing has particularly attracted me. In fact, it’s a bit of a strange time for movies: you put forward to the public what they want to see…but the catch is that they’ve already seen it before, and, ultimately, they don’t want it anymore. I believe that’s one of the reasons for “Prison Break’s” success: we’ve tried to bring people something new and ambitious.
Why are you so picky? Is it because the series is so successful that you don’t want to throw yourself into a lower calibre project?
I didn’t get into acting to get on the covers of magazines or for the paycheque! I want above all to act in something that touches people, inspires them, moves them. “Prison Break” takes huge amounts of my time and energy. For now, I have the choice between lying on the beach for a few months or throwing myself into a film that would pay well but that would bring nothing to me or to the public. I chose the beach! From among the projects that are brought to me, I long to work on something that is mainly a character piece. Perhaps to provide some balance to “Prison Break”, which exists mainly thanks to the strength of its plotline.
How was life in the prison? Depressing?
Depressing and oppressing! Some people would cry in their cars after a day’s work, for reasons even they couldn’t explain. The conditions were so bad that they ended up acquiring a negative energy. Everything reminded us that we were working where a lot of men lived and died in horrible ways for 150 years. It was a place that was haunted, sacred, but not in a religious way. Filming there was a bit like going for a picnic in a graveyard. I have an enormous respect for that place, but I wasn’t sad to leave it. (DBN)
Have you received a lot of messages from prisoners?
We have a lot of fans in prison, where they’re allowed to watch us. I’ve heard talk of prisoners who change their work hours so that they can watch the show in their cells. I like to think that that gives them a bit of entertainment in their difficult situation.
Does it strike you as strange that you’re in a show called ‘Prison Break’ when in the second season you’re a fugitive? Will you go back to prison?
It’s true that the series is evolving. In the second season, we take on the government conspiracy. After that… Heading for the third season, in a show called ‘Prison Break’, you might think that we’re returning to the point of origin. But you can also expect a lot of surprises. For example, a new prison… where the prisoners are not necessarily the ones you would expect. (DBN)
When will the show finish?
When we don’t have any more story to tell! It’s the type of show that has a beginning, a middle and an end. Not like “Law & Order” or “CSI”, which can last for 8 to 10 seasons.
A last word to ask about your work modelling for Gap. Was it for fun?
No, they’d simply asked me to do it. That’s where I buy my boxers, so I said to myself… why not?
Oh and one more!
“Heads or Tails” Interview with Wentworth Miller – “I’m sent a lot of scripts!”
Perhaps you’ve already noticed him in “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” or Mariah Carey’s videos where he made brief appearances, but thanks to his role on “Prison Break” Wentworth Miller has become a worldwide star. As his character is always having to make incredibly difficult decisions, we asked him in turn to make some choices. So, Fan of or Fan of?1 (By Nathaniel Brendel)
Television or Film?
That depends on the quality of the script. In my opinion, it would be difficult to change the format of “Prison Break” and make it a movie. It’s more interesting to play Michael Scofield over the course of several seasons. On the other hand, I confess that I would really like to slip into the skin of other characters more often, and films allow that.
“Prison Break” or “Superman Returns”?
If some people thought that I had a chance of landing the role of Superman in the latest film adaptation, that wasn’t the case. It’s true that I went on a casting call during the period when Brett Ratner (the director of the Mariah Carey videos and one of the producers of “Prison Break”) was supposed to be directing the film, but I was never put forward. On the other hand, he suggested me for the role in “Prison Break”!
In Prison or On the Run?
In the initial episodes of the second season, even if the prisoners have escaped, and are being hunted by the police, it is beyond question that they are in a new sort of prison. They’ll quickly realise that they’re safer in their cells, that prison life is a reassuring routine, and that freedom is a lot more dangerous. As an actor, the filming of this season has been a lot more demanding.
The original “Prison Break” theme or Faf Larage’s version?
Faf Larage! I love his single! I’m sorry that the original American version wasn’t done by him. However, I certainly wouldn’t sing that song! It would be a disaster.
Brett Ratner (“Prison Break” producer) or Mariah Carey?
I can’t answer that question. I owe them both a lot. I hope that I’d never have to choose.
Wentworth Miller or Michael Scofield?
Michael Scofield! Unfortunately, in real life, no one writes the script for us. We all play roles depending on who we’re dealing with. It’s so much easier when great writers write good dialogue for us and tell us what we have to do.
A day of filming or a day off?
Both! When I’m on set, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, and, when I’m not filming, I take advantage of it.
Tattoo or piercing?
Neither, that’s not my thing. I’m generally not in favour of needles or suffering.
With hair or shaved?
Having a shaved head didn’t bother me. That said, I had to use the hair clippers every couple of days. So because, in the second season, my character’s on the run, I’m able to let my hair grow. I really like my new cut.
Your nickname, Went or Stinky?
Stinky (“someone who smells bad”, in French2) is a nickname that my college friends gave me. I’d like to make it clear that it had nothing to do with hygiene! Today I don’t know anyone who’d call me that, so it’s Went.
Official website or fansites?
There’s no official website except the one from Fox. So there are some fansites dedicated to the show. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to contribute.
“Prison Break”, Season 10, or other projects?
Other projects. The show will be successful as long as the writers come up with good ideas. That said, I don’t believe we’ll do ten seasons. These days I get a lot of film scripts and when I have the time, I read them.3
1 Originally, “… Fan 2 or Fan 2?”, a word play in French, as the number 2 is ‘deux’ and pronounced the same as ‘de’, which means ‘of’. (DBN)
2 LMAO! (Mink)
Once again, thanks to Mink and DBN for the translation!
I love it when he talks! Squee!