Interview with Went, Robert, Jodi, Dom and Sarah
Interview with Wentworth Miller
IGN TV: Your show really changes up every season, which I imagine is nice as an actor.
Wentworth Miller: Yeah, I think that’s one of our strengths. It’s one of the things we’re noted for, is that we’re not afraid to take what we know works and throw it out and start from scratch every season. And the fourth season’s really no different, in that it’s not really about breaking out anymore, it’s about breaking in.
IGN: The dynamic between the brothers keeps changing too.
Miller: Yeah, it’s a really interesting balance between Michael and Lincoln – kind of which one is the older brother and when? I feel like in the first season, even though Michael is the younger brother, he was the one with the plan; he was the one kind of giving orders. And then in the second season, as Michael dealt with the sort of emotional and psychological fallout of that escape and all the lives that were damaged or ruined, so that Lincoln could go free, Lincoln was the one who was literally behind the wheel and being there for his brother.
IGN: Last season ended with your character having some major motivation.
Miller: [Laughs] Yeah, yeah. On this mission to avenge Sara’s death! …Now wait a minute!
IGN: [Laughs] Now wait a second…! Can you talk at all about how Season 4 picks up?
Miller: The new season picks up a month after the third season left off, so we wrap up a lot of different storylines and loose ends really quickly and then hit the ground running. So Sara comes back – that seems to be everywhere, so it’s not a spoiler I guess. And she’s back in the first episode, and we have this A-Team assembled – Michael, Lincoln, Sara and a bunch of old friends and foes, and they decide to stay and fight – to take on The Company and the conspiracy, as opposed to running for the rest of our lives. They see that that’s no longer a viable option. So in a way they go to work for the government, to take on this [threat].
IGN: Jodi’s character was the target you were after, but it turns out she didn’t do what you thought she did. How does he perceive her now?
Miller: That’s an interesting shift. I think at this point, with Agent Kellerman and Gretchen, they’ve all been kind of deadly and menacing in their own right, but they’ve been puppets. Someone else has been pulling the strings all along. I think this is the season where Michael and Lincoln decide it’s time to go after the puppet master.
IGN: What did you think when you heard about bringing Sara back? It seemed pretty permanent how they’d written her off!
Miller: [Laughs] They seemed to deal with that rather definitively! But I thought it made sense. I thought she’s such an important part of the story and I thought it was a mistake to let her go, because she really, at least for my character, kind of brought his heart to the surface. And without her, he was walking a very dark road or starting to walk it. At the end of Season 3, Michael manipulates that tunnel so that it collapses on a fellow inmate, so in essence he has killed somebody. The interesting question now that Sara comes back is, is he still the man that she fell in love with? Is she someone that she can still recognize? Is he worthy of what she has to offer? So I’m excited for those possibilities and I love working with Sarah, so it’s a plus in my book.
IGN: You’ve not only changed the dynamic of the show but also where you film several times. Has that helped keep the series fresh?
Miller: Absolutely. Environment, locale, has always been key to our success. First season was when we had the luxury of working in Joliet State Penn outside of Chicago, a place that was rich in history and atmosphere and I think gave us a kind of legitimacy and credibility that allowed us to be sort of comic book on top of that. Because the show is fantastic – we get away with all kinds of crap, but at the same time, it felt real, because we were shooting in a real place, not some sound stage in Burbank. And then in the second and third season, with Dallas, that offered us a relatively harsh landscape. The wide open road and the heat and the dust and the flies. It made life outside of Fox River seem even worse than life back in prison. And all that helps in terms of selling the characters’ struggle and their fight to survive. And the fourth season, I’m just excited to be in LA, because it’s home. [Laughs] It’s nice to crawl into your own bed at night. You can’t put a price on that.
IGN: Your producers talked early on by having a three-year plan of sorts. The strike obviously changed things considerably, cutting Season 3 short. Where do you see Prison Break going in the future? It’s survived through a lot of iterations. Do you think it’s a show that could continue past this coming season and would you like to see a wrap up to Michael’s story?
Miller: We’ll see. I always thought there was a beginning and a middle and an end to a show like Prison Break, but I’ve always said that what they wanted to do — because it’s TV and when you find something that works, they want to keep running with it — What they want to do is figure out a way to get us all in a van, moving town to town, solving crimes. [Laughs]. And the fourth season feels a little like they’ve accomplished that, which means it could potentially go on for another season or two. I personally feel as though I’d like to see things wrapped up for my character sooner rather than later. I love the show very much, but there are other things that I want to do and I don’t want to run the risk of getting pigeonholed as Michael Scofield and having to kind of work against that for five to ten years, post-show.
IGN: Well, one can only wear so many variations on prison garb.
Miller: Yeah, it’s nice to switch it up a little bit. Wear a suit from time to time – doctor’s garb, whatever. [Laughs].
Interview with Robert Knepper and Jodi Lyn O’Keefe
IGN TV: So is it true that it’s more fun to be the bad guy?
Robert Knepper: Absolutely.
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe: Yeah. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had. We get the zingers. We get all the good things to do. I don’t care what anyone tells you, it’s way better to be the bad guy.
IGN: Robert, your character does such awful things, yet the audience – I don’t know if I want to say likes him, but…
O’Keefe: They don’t like him, they love him!
Knepper: What’s he gonna do next? There’s nothing greater than playing a character like that, good or bad. It’s just that bad people tend to change more than good people. Good people are like, ‘I want my house. I want a fence around it and 2.5 kids and let’s just not change, because I’m scared.’ Bad guys are like, ‘Whatever! Throw something at me! I’m ready for anything!’
IGN: T-Bag really revels in his badness, while we know Gretchen has a bit of a tragic back story.
O’Keefe: It’s interesting. I think that last year a lot of the times she did revel in it too and she’s good at what she does. She takes pleasure in her work. [Laughs] I think this year things are changing, because I’m no longer going to work for the company and it’s going to be more about survival and of course I get to work with the fabulous Robert Knepper! Things are going to be different.
IGN: Ah, so you’ll work together! When last we saw T-Bag, he was still back in prison, though the clips make it clear he will get out.
Knepper: Tending the fort with none of my boys around me. If anybody can get her vulnerable and me vulnerable it would be the other characters. Any time you can go vulnerable in a story, you got gold. When I say vulnerable, I don’t mean that they become good. I mean you open the basement door and you go deeper and deeper. You show more colors. What happened in their childhood? Let’s go all the way back.
O’Keefe: Hell, there might even be some redemption!
Knepper: Now don’t push your luck!
IGN: Have you begun filming scenes together?
O’Keefe: We finished our first episode together and there’s more to come. We can’t tell you what, but it’s all happening.
IGN: What’s the dynamic between the two of you?
Knepper: Well, what do you think? You’ve got the two bad-asses on the show. They’re not going home and reading the bible!
IGN: [Laughs] Well, I could see them either being amazingly attracted to each other or fighting over the alpha dog status, as it were.
Knepper: But isn’t that sort of an attraction in its way? It’s like people watching a train wreck. You don’t want to watch, because somebody’s going to get hurt, but you can’t help but watch it. I think that’s going to be a little bit of us.
IGN: Do you like seeing the show get reinvented each season?
O’Keefe: It’s great. I give the writers a lot of credit. They’re able to pull it out of their hat every season and make a different show. I didn’t know how they were going to do it past Season 1 to be honest with you. I was a big fan of the show in the beginning and I said, ‘Okay, well, they’re breaking out of prison. Now what?’ And I think they pulled it off. It’s a whole new show every single year, so kudos to our writing team.
IGN: So you guys are apparently working with some of your enemies. It’s the fact that they’ve all been screwed over by The Company that fuels them, correct?
O’Keefe: Yeah, for sure. I’d say that 100%. We’ve all felt the slap across the face of The Company.Knepper: I think T-Bag doesn’t really know anything at all about this Company, but when there’s an opportunity, he sees it. He’s like, ‘Let’s get involved with this! There’s some money involved!’
IGN: Do you think Michael or Lincoln are like, “Oh my god, we’re still stuck with T-Bag,” or do they think he can be useful in certain situations?
Knepper: No, trust your [first] instincts. You were right. [Laughs] That’s what they’re thinking.
IGN: Last we saw Jodi, Michael was gunning for your character, seeking revenge for Sara. Of course, considering Sara’s return, are you screaming, “Wait!”?
O’Keefe: “Psych!” I have a little explaining to do, and the cat’s out of the bag, because Sarah’s here, and I’m here. We’ll see. I’m not going to ruin anything for you, but I did not kill Sara!
Interview with Dominic Purcell
IGN TV: Is it nice for you as an actor to be on a show that switches things up so much each year and never stays stagnant?
Dominic Purcell: Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean I couldn’t do House or Without a Trace or CSI. I just f**king couldn’t do it. Not to say that House, CSI and all these other shows are not interesting – they are. But they’re just not for me. Because primarily, Prison Break is a long, huge road movie. We’re always out at locations. We’re in the studio maybe a couple of days a week out of an eight day shooting schedule. So, Prison Break facilitates my restless nature. I’m blessed and fortunate and humbled by being a part of the show.
IGN: Michael and Lincoln were split up again through most of Season 3, not to mention their initial roles were reversed. Do they have to rediscover that brother dynamic again this year?
Purcell: I don’t think they’re rediscovering the brother dynamic. I think that’s kind of been established. I think we’re kind of past that point of going too far into the character stuff. I think it’s more entertainment these days; I don’t think we’re trying to hide that. Obviously, there’s going to be an explanation and an exploration into Michael and Sara’s journey.
I think Lincoln is what he is. He’s the anchor of the show; the muscle; the guy that keeps things in line. He’s fallen in love with Sofia, but at the end of the day, his loyalty is split. Is it Sofia or is it his son or Michael? We’ve seen that he has to help Michael. In saying that, he’s left Sofia and LJ in good care and safety, but that’s also part of the show.
IGN: What was your reaction hearing Sara was coming back?
Purcell: Initially, I was like, “How the f**k are you going to do that?! She’s dead! Her f**king head is cut off.” And then it was pointed out to me that we never actually saw the head. We never actually saw it – it was implied. So, then I had to do a back flip in my [mind]. “Well, obviously Lincoln just saw the hair and the blood everywhere.” And he was told by Gretchen that it was Sara.
IGN: From what Wentworth told me, it sounds like Lincoln and Michael are going to be working alongside some people they have serious reason to dislike.
Purcell: I think that’s what’s going to make it interesting – seeing all these guys working together, considering that they don’t want to be anywhere near each other. I think that’s an interesting dynamic, and I’m actually looking forward to the Gretchen/T-Bag department this season. I think that’s going to be classic TV, seeing the two evil guys working together and maybe getting it on. Who knows? Anything is possible!
IGN: The show has reinvented itself each year, but do you see your character going into the home stretch?
Purcell: I don’t know. I can’t answer that. This year is the kind of show that someone can tune into and not have to have watched the first episode. I think it’s becoming procedural rather than serial in a way, so it will be interesting to see. I think this year will decide if the show is going to last for a long time or it’s going to be the end this year.
IGN: You get to do some pretty kick ass action on the show sometimes. Do you think to yourself on set, “This is pretty cool.”?
Purcell: All the time. I love my character and I love his physicality. I’m very surprised that I ever got an opportunity like this in the TV landscape. I count my blessings and realize how amazing this journey has been for me.
Interview with Sarah Wayne Callies
IGN TV: What was your reaction when you got the call offering you the opportunity to return to Prison Break?Sarah Wayne Callies: I thought it was a joke. [Laughs] And then the very next thought was, “How?!” And we had a long series of creative discussions before we solidified our plans to come back.
IGN: Without giving away what the plan to bring you back became, when you heard it all, did it quickly make sense?
Callies: It did and part of what I found really compelling about it was that, obviously, if Sara isn’t dead, something happened to her during the third season and we don’t know what it was. But what we learn pretty quickly is that it was horrific. So the exploration became one that sort of skirts the edges of PTSD. It becomes a story about a woman who’s gone through extreme trauma and then is trying to figure out how to love someone and that’s a story that I think is very worth telling. I know a lot of men and women who served overseas and are serving overseas and watching them do what they need to do to survive and then come back and try and love people and try and be human again is heartbreaking and terrifying to watch. So while, obviously, in some stupid television show there’s nothing that I could possibly do that is in any way approaching their experience, to me this is a little bit about her trying to explore that and learn from that, so I can be a better a friend.
IGN: Is it nice to get this chance at a sort of do-over with Sara? You played the character for a couple of years, so I imagine it must have been a bit odd to hear, “Oh, she’s been killed off,” and you hadn’t even done a death scene.
Callies: Hmm, interesting. I hadn’t thought about it from that perspective before. But I think what’s exciting to me about it is — having really said my goodbyes to Dr. Sara — as I’m coming back to her, I find that because of what’s happened to her during the third season, she’s a different character. And so, when you talk about it as a do-over, there is an aspect to this work in the fourth season that is a revision of things. It’s not the same character that we left. It’s someone very different. And that’s exciting to me.
IGN: How are she and Michael interacting, having dealt with so much?
Callies: They’re both people who have blood on their hands – a lot of blood on their hands. They’re people who’ve made very compromised decisions and they’re people who are now motivated not only by loyalty and love but are also motivated, in part, by rage and vengeance. They’re more flawed than they’ve ever been. So I think that means that there are still things that are keeping them apart. Even if those things aren’t rock and steel, they’re every bit as powerful.
IGN: Wentworth told me this season has almost an A-Team type dynamic.
Callies: I wonder who that makes me? Am I the muscle? Am I the Mr. T of the bunch?
IGN: [Laughs] Yes, gold chains included.
Callies: I pity the fool. This season is certainly more about breaking in than breaking out and it’s more about coming up with a plan on the fly than having something laid out well in advance. You get a lot of people working together who’ve never even had scenes together before, which is very fun for us as actors. I’m finally getting to work with some of these guys that have been friends of mine now for four years! It’s a lot of fun.