With Season One such a success, the mastermind behind the “Prison Break” is back! Hottie Wentworth Miller sat down with Dish in an exclusive interview to tell us about his hiatus, international popularity, and of course, Season Two! Read on, and be sure to check out the season premiere of “Prison Break” on Monday August 21 at 8/7c only on FOX!
After last season's filming ended, I heard you took a cross-country trip back home. How’d it go?
Just me, and a box of Munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts riding shotgun. I stopped off in Santa Fe, which is a beautiful little city, and apparently where hippies go to die.
What did you do during your hiatus? Film any movies?
Prison Break is an international hit now, so for what it’s worth, my name is on the list or at the very bottom, of the list of actor’s whose name’s “matter”. The show has opened a lot of doors for me, but as far as my hiatus, I chose to walk through none of them, because the show is my priority, and I wanted to make sure I’d give just as much energy and enthusiasm second season, as I did first season.
Are you surprised at the show’s popularity?
What did surprise me is how powerful a medium television is. Everyone’s got TV sets. We’ve got fans all over the country. It’s a real pleasure talking to them because what they’re telling you when they say, ‘I don’t miss an episode’ is ‘I make time for you and your story and your work in my life every week’, and it’s the highest compliment.
What about your popularity?
It’s a double-edged sword. Obviously, I have a calling card that works quite well in certain situations. I was at the mall the other week and a woman came up to me, very polite, very respectful, a fan of the show. She wanted to take my picture, and she had her camera cell phone as they all do. She wanted to take the picture herself, so she kind of sidled up to me, and I put my arm around her. But [she] couldn’t take the picture because it was shaking like a maraca—she was that nervous. I could feel her vibrating next to me, and it was making me nervous. She had to ask a complete stranger to take the picture for her, and as soon as the picture was taken, as soon as she had the image in her camera, she stopped looking at me. She continued interacting with me, but she looked at the image on her camera. She said goodbye to the image on her camera. I could probably write an essay on the disconnect between perception and image and reality. It was a very strange moment to stand there and realize that someone who, five seconds ago, wanted nothing more than to come up and acknowledge you and your work, now very much wanted the experience to be over with because it was almost as though she couldn’t handle the real me standing there.
Does being popular bother you?
We were talking about this on set the other day, me and Dominic, and what we determined is that they don’t pay us to act. They pay us to act as Diplomats, and Ambassadors, and Politicians, and Publicists and all of those other things that go along with being an actor on a successful TV show.
But don’t you miss your privacy?
You don’t want to embarrass yourself, you think twice about picking your nose in public. There is a small sacrifice in terms of anonymity and privacy, but you never know what you’re going to be asked to sacrifice until it’s already been sacrificed. There’s so many pros to the job, so many perks, so many doors that have opened for me, that I really can’t complain.
Have any actual prisoners contacted you?
I have gotten a few letters from inmates, apparently a “Prison Break” headshot will get you a pack of smokes behind bars. But the truth is, in a number of state pens they aren’t allowed to watch the show, because those in charge fear that they will be encouraged, excited to get up to tricks.
What’s going on with Season 2?
While Michael is now literally free, physically free, I think his mind and heart are still very much back at the prison. You get to see other things that I couldn’t or wouldn’t show you first season. I think that Michael walks that very fine line between brilliance and someone with very serious issues and what excites me, whereas, initially, when I first read the script, I thought this is the story of a man sacrificing his entire life to save his brother, but now, on the other end of 22 episodes, I’m wondering if that life was worth holding on to. Because every scene we’ve seen in the flashbacks, Michael’s seemed driven and lonely and isolated and unhappy. I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t Michael’s quest, if this isn’t his calling. It’s not a question of him sacrificing his entire life, it’s more of a question of - he’s never been more alive than right now.
Any love interests this year?
My wife. We may be seeing Nika again. She’s too valuable of a character and the potential love triangle between Michael, Nika, and Doctor Sara is too juicy and has too much potential to leave it by the wayside. I think if Michael and Sara do have a future together, the next time they see each other, it will not be ‘they fall into each other’s arms…tasteful fade to black…’ I think, if anything, they have more obstacles between them now than they did before. Michael did persuade her to help him, but she didn’t know that she was also helping four or five other hardened cons and serial killers get in on the escape. And for that betrayal, I’m not sure if she can ever forgive him.
What about Michael’s relationship with Lincoln?
There may be some interesting conflict between the brothers as far as who’s going to be alpha dog when, but the truth is: Michael has the book smarts, Lincoln has the street smarts. Each of them has something unique and vital to offer depending on the circumstances, and if they’re smart enough they’ll get out of the other’s way and let that happen.
How is working with Dominic Purcell?
Dominic actually is a real cut up and has a great, dry sense of humor, which is a surprise given the brooding, intense, very serious character he plays on the show. Dom is a role model in every sense. He’s a devoted family man. He’s so serious about the work, has a real respect for the craft, is classically trained. Comes up with the most intuitive, on the spot ideas. It’s a real pleasure to work with him and model myself after him as an actor and a man.
What about the other actors?
The great thing about "Prison Break" is that you have all these character actors who have been working for years, but didn’t find just the right job to showcase their amazing abilities, and are now really coming into their own in a fantastic way. I’m so pleased when Wade Williams and Robert Knepper, among others, get their due, their much deserved due.
“Prison Break” moved from Chicago to Dallas this year. How are you liking it?
Dallas has a lot to offer. It’s very much Los Angeles in many respects minus the water and the mountains, plus chiggers. We miss Chicago, because Chicago was very good to us and we worked very hard to root the show in Chicago. But the reality was for the second season in terms of the cons being on escape in the Midwest, we’d have to travel a good two hours outside of Chicago to find the locations that we needed. Whereas, Dallas has a very schizophrenic feel to its neighborhoods—some look East Coast, some look a bit Midwest. One of the virtues of the show is that we are willing to go anywhere for the sake of authenticity and integrity.
Do you have any free time down there?
My workout routine right now involves eating less. Chicago was a dangerous place to be, because the food was so good, the portions were so large, and it was difficult to establish an exercise routine, working five days, 14 hour days, every week. Now that we are in Dallas, I’m happy to say I have a little more free time, because there’s so many stories. Michael’s not in every scene, driving the plot forward. I can actually hit the pool every once in a while.
Do you have a beauty regimen?
In Dallas, it’s basically sweating. It’s like a daylong spa treatment that you don’t pay for.
What advice would you offer Dishmag readers?
My father would always say to me “Run through the tape.” It’s not enough in the race to simply run to the finish line. You have to aim for 5-10-20 yards behind it. What I tell people is it’s not enough to be talented and creative. You have to have discipline and follow through and all those pedestrian boring qualities that at the end of the day guarantee that you’re making those small, incremental steps that are necessary in this business.
Any plans for the future? Will you ever go after a movie role?
If "Prison Break" runs for seven years and I never do another movie and that’s the end of my career—great, I’ll have enjoyed a tremendous ride, one that many people have not enjoyed. But if I can balance TV and film, that would be great as well.
Be sure to check out “Prison Break” on Monday's at 8/7c only on FOX!
Read more about the hot, hot, hot Dominic Purcell! CLICK HERE