Robert Knepper Talks About the End of Prison Break
Back-stabbing, fence-hopping, bar-breaking: there was only one Prison Break! Six weeks on from the iconic show’s demise, we were feeling a little nostalgic. Who doesn’t miss Scofield, Burrows, Mahone and the gang? Ready to reminisce, we gave Robert Knepper a call to talk T-Bag, his lusting fans, being deemed a racist and that creepy tongue-flick.
Were you happy with the way the show ended?
“We talked about so many different possibilities, but I thought the show was a whole as a great book-end. We all agreed that purgatory was the best end for my character. If not, there would have been a lot of people saying, ‘Oh my God – T-Bag’s out!’ I’m very happy with it, especially the reference to the pocket-grabbing thing. We actually had the same costumes from the first season, too. It was a great way to end the whole thing for me.”
What sort of a reaction did you get from fans over the course of the series?
“I remember getting letters from people in the beginning saying, ‘I hate you. I hate you so much I wanna kill you!’ and then they would say, ‘I wanna hate you, but I feel for you!’ Then people would tell me I’m funny, or sexy – ‘Oh my God, I wanna rip that tight white t-shirt off your chest!'”
What was the best part about being on the show?
“The humour of T-Bag. I loved being this kind of guy who attacked every frickin’ race on the planet! When I did the first episode, it wasn’t funny – he wanted to start a riot against the blacks. I was so worried when that episode aired – being in Chicago – that I would need security. I thought the black population would think I was a racist and beat me up or something! But they were the most vocal about it – they thought it was great! Any time that T-Bag got to shock the hell out of someone, those were my favourite moments.”
Did you always know that T-Bag would survive until the very end?
“I never worried that he would be killed off – I never thought ahead. I wanted to do the best job I could do. I jumped through all the hoops that you do as an actor and I signed a seven-year contract. I had a friend once who said, ‘T-Bag put the prison in Prison Break’. Once the show hit, I had a good feeling that T-Bag was gonna be in for a long ride.”
What about T-Bag’s iconic tongue-flicking – was that your idea?
“I’ll tell you how that happened: it was the first part I played where I had facial hair – the crumb catcher – and it tickled me because I was just getting used to it. If you look at it from the beginning, it was really just me feeling my little whiskers! And then I kind of ran with it and it stuck.”
Do you take fond memories away with you?
“The show was a labour of love – it was really hard work, but it was a love-fest from beginning to end. It did take its toll on me in the end though, I have to admit. It was a wonderfully exhausting show. It was four years of my life – more than half of a child’s life. People asked if I was sad when it was over, but I did everything I could ever imagine doing with this part and more. I don’t think think there’s one actor that you could talk to from the show that didn’t feel that way.”
Source: Digital Spy