Interview by Raeanne Rubenstein
It was a very hot July evening when I met Dominic Purcell, at a press party organized by Fox, to promote their very successful (and Dish favorite) show “Prison Break.” All the actors were there, Wentworth, Amaury, Peter Stormare, Wade Williams, even Stacy Keach was there, as was creator Paul Scheuring. Fortunately, interviews were allowed, so when I noticed Dominic Purcell (miraculously) standing alone, I grabbed him, dragged him off, (just kidding!) for a little one-on-one of the verbal kind. Here’s what he had to say….
What’s changed the most since “Prison Break”?
I can buy a lobster now. (laughs) It’s a beautiful thing to be noticed in a few places and being able to get these perks that we are getting and a few toys—I just bought myself a car. It’s a nice … Mercedes Benz 500 CLS, it’s beautiful! I said ‘I’ve worked hard, why not? Let me just treat myself with one of these.’ I bought my mom a car too, I bought her this beautiful SUV. It’s in Puerto Rico. Brand new, she’s loving it. It was for Mother’s Day. What’s the whole point of me having all this money and not spending it on people I love?
After 22 episodes, did you start to get tired of being in the prison?
Towards the end I got frustrated. Creatively, my imagination started to dry up. But I always knew that we were breaking out, and we’ve broken out, and now it’s good times ahead.
So what’s next for Lincoln?
There’s a lot of changes [that are] going to happen to my character right now. He loosens up a bit. Sure, he’s the guy with the plan, he’s the strong guy, the action kind of guy. We get to see different flavors for him. We get to see a lot more charisma. People are going to be fascinated with Lincoln, in that ‘Wow! this is a different guy,’ which is great because in Season One I was playing him in a semi one-dimensional manner—I’m depressed, I’m going to die. This year, I don’t have that. It’s very exciting.
What’s going to happen with all of D.B. Cooper’s money?Lincoln doesn’t care two ways about the money. It’s more about, first of all—saving himself, getting away from the chair. And then dealing with…the damage that he created before incarceration, the relationship with L.J. (his son Lincoln Burrows, Jr.), and with trying to work out who took out his ex-wife. There’s a lot of stuff going on in Lincoln’s mind, before he can escape with Michael across the border.
Do you ever get a say in the direction your character goes?
The majority of it is on the page. But as actors, we get on the set and we flesh out stuff. The great thing about this show is that the writers aren’t married to the words. They trust us in that…we live within the character, we know these guys more now than the writers. The writers are obviously all about objectives and the structure of the story. If I read a scene or a line, and I’m like ‘No, no, no. The wording’s wrong, Lincoln wouldn’t say it like this.’ I have the liberty to go to the writers or on the day [of filming] change it without them knowing, as long as I don’t change the intent of what the writer wants me to say.
How is working with Wentworth?
He’s right there with you, even off camera, he gives it all. He prepares, he just slices his character. He knows this character more than anybody else does, we all do. But, as an actor, he doesn’t want to compromise any results by getting greedy, and taking any other movie roles that he’s been offered. My buddy Wentworth, he’s just amazing—as a cast member, as a friend. We have a great time on set. I’ve learned so much from him, how he’s been able to handle all this notoriety and all these things that just jump at him. For me, it’s been easier little by little. I wouldn’t be able to do it the way he’s done it.
Is there any competition between you two?Everybody knows their place, and where they’re at. Of course, it is a hit show, an ensemble cast. Of course the driving force is Wentworth. And, I applaud him, I support him. In my case, I know where I stand and things are happening for me and that’s good. There’s no competition at all. We’re all one and we actually support each other.
Why do you think “Prison Break” is an international success?
I think primarily the rest of the world, for some reason, is quite interested in American drama. There’s something there that they love. We’re talking about a show that is unique, it’s refreshing, it’s different. Obviously, you’ve got your hunky guys, great stories, and we’re dealing with prison, convicts. You’ve got a great guy in Wentworth in the first season, a fresh new face. You had all the elements of doing very well.
How do you feel about the show moving to Dallas?
I love Dallas…everything’s clean and well put together and I’m really enjoying my time there.
Is it hard being so far away from your family?Some actors get lucky—they do shows and it’s always at home. For me, I haven’t done one yet. I’m just everywhere. It’s hard. We’ve got four kids, and I have to do that commute thing. The kids are in school and what have you, we’ll just see. Obviously next year, if and when the show moves to a different location, they’re going to have to come with me. We’ll just see what happens.
Didn’t you used to cut grass for a living?
Yeah, I was a landscape gardener. I left school and didn’t really know what I wanted to do and I got into landscape gardening. Thankfully I’m not digging holes anymore.
I read that you were having a wild time then.
I was pretty wild, silly and stupid. I haven’t had a drink now in 15 months. I’ve been sober for a while. I’ve managed to clean up my ways. It’s the best thing I ever did.
What motivated you to do that?
It was time. It was time to grow up.
What do you do in between takes?
I’m a big reader. On my days off, I like to read in the mornings. I hang by the pool because it’s so hot. I swim a lot. On a working day, usually I’m really tired, because it’s pretty exhausting.
What’s next on the plate?
I just did a movie with Spielberg and Michael Bay, it’s called “Transformers”. The movie comes out on July 4, (2007) we’re just shooting it right now. We’ve been shooting all summer and now I’m going back from “Prison Break” to L.A., Dallas to L.A. “Transformers”, It’s going to be a huge blockbuster. I play one of the special operation officers with Josh Duhamel, Tyrese (Gibson), and Zack Ward. Of course, in the movie as well, Jon Voight.
Now that you have had some success, do you work with any charities?
I got a group of kids in Puerto Rico who are orphans or being either molested or beaten, so I take care of them. Every year, I go and do this huge party for them—a benefit, but no press, just me. It is my birthday on December 24, so what we do, it is used to celebrate my birthday. I do a party for them, and buy them whatever they need. Just try to support them. God has given me so much, I just have to give it all back.
Check out Season Two of “Prison Break” on Monday's at 8/7c on FOX! Don’t miss it!
Read what Wentworth Miller has to say! CLICK HERE!