PRISON BREAK Scoop Direct from the 2007 Paley Festival

Captain Brad Bellick (Wade Williams) uncharectistically smiles while posing with theTVaddict himself. But honestly, who wouldn’t smile given the opportunity to take a photo with ‘THE’ TV Addict? That said, Brad Bellick was possibly the nicest actor I’ve ever met. He truly was thrilled to be part of the PRISON BREAK family.

The Museum of Radio and Television managed to do what America’s Law Enforcement couldn’t accomplish in almost two years — get the Fox River Boys in a room together. Guards… Guards! Unfortunately, two stars still managed to allude capture, namely Wentworth Miller (Michael Scofield) and William Fichtner (FBI Special Agent Alexander Mahone) who had prior shooting commitments.

Yet any disappointment PRISON BREAK fans may have felt due to the absence of stars Miller and Fichtner were quickly forgotten thanks to an overall fantastic panel at the 2007 Paley Festival. The cast that did make an appearance — including Dominic Purcell (Lincoln Burrows), a very pregnant Sarah Wayne Callies (Sara Tancredi), Robert Knepper (T-Bag), Wade Williams (Captain Brad Bellick), Rockmond Dunbar (C-Note), Amaury Nolasco (Sucre) along with executive producers Marty Adelstein, Dawn Parouse and Paul Scheuring more than made up for the lack of everybody’s favourite tattooed inmate. Here’s what the panel had to share with regards to the evolution of the series, being cast as an inmate and the somewhat violent nature of the show. Be sure to read down to the end for some season three spoilers.

Paul Scheuring:
The idea of for PRISON BREAK actually came out of desperation. I had recently split with my writing partner of ten years and in Hollywood, when a writing partnership dissolves, nobody wants to hire your for fear that you weren’t the ‘writer’ in the partnership. People were unwilling to take a chance and I was getting desperate. I wasn’t looking to get involved with television, but Dawn Parouse (Executive Producer) actually came up with this interesting idea revolving around a prison escape. I owe her a great debt to her for that.

Added Dawn: It was Paul’s idea to make them brothers.

Paul: Initially it wasn’t going to be a television series, FOX wanted to turn it into a movie, or mini-series.

Dawn Parouse: They say that with all good things.

Paul: Initially Speilberg wanted to be involved. I did an entire song and dance for him, having to answer where exactly does the series go — I thought I would collapse. He said he’d love to be involved, but invariably had to pull out because of his commitment to WAR OF THE WORLDS.

In September, LOST premiered to huge numbers. The studio called the next day and said we’re making the pilot. All the hoops had disappeared. They wanted a series and we’d figure everything out.

Robert Knepper (T-BAG) made a unexpected appearance at the event, showing off two healthy hands to a cheering crowd.

Wade Williams (Captain Brad Bellick):
I was trying to get a job and I got this audition and read it and though my character was horrible and despicable. I didn’t want to do it, being the father of a four year old daughter. I called my manager who said that if I didn’t go to the audition I’m going to kill you. The Gods smiled on me and I was able to be apart of this great group. My four year old daughter seems me sometimes on the previews when my wife’s watching AMERICAN IDOL… she says “You’re a bad man Daddy…”

Rockmond Dunbar (C-Note): I had just finished the feature film KISS KISS BANG BANG and I was just so happy to have had a job, having not worked in a year. Went I left the audition I told my manager I ripped it, I killed it, it was the best audition ever. My manager said I didn’t get it — but fortunately I got the job anyways and I immediately flew out to Chicago.

Robert Knepper (T-Bag): While I had some great opportunities in low playing jobs, like CARNIVALE and GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK I all of a sudden realized that I was part of this middle class group of actors that were being squeezed out. Right before I auditioned, I thought about what I would love to do with my love. I love acting and nature. I decided to apply for a job at UCLA teaching as well as apply to be a park ranger at Will Rogers Park. The day I got PRISON BREAK was the day Michael Jackson was acquitted of ‘some stuff’ I actually used it… if MJ could get away with it, for sure T-Bag could as well. I eventually heard from Will Rogers Park, they called me in November, right when PRISON BREAK was taking off. They called and said we don’t think you’re going to need the job anymore. It was a lesson for me, even when you’re down — I went from begging to scrub toilets to being able to tell the park that when I get back to LA maybe I can help them fundraise.

Amaury Nolasco (Sucre): I didn’t want a pilot in November. When I got the script I figured it was one of those failed pilots that the network didn’t really want. Keep in mind, I’m a bad reader — I take comics and imagine what they’re saying. In order for a script to grab me, it’s got to be a huge page turner. The PRISON BREAK script was a huge pager turner and I couldn’t put it down. On my very last audition for the network I was so nervous. I drank so many bottles of water I had to go to the bathroom right before they called me in. Paul Scheuring walks up to the stall beside me and says “You’re our Favourite,” and I’m like great, more pressure!

Sarah Wayne Callies (Sara Tancredi): I was on the FOX lot for my final audition and I closed the door to my car and realized I left my keys in the ignition. I went in, did the audition, I got out and called AAA. They said don’t move so I went and sat on a bench in the FOX lot. Time passes and the entire group I just auditioned for ends up walking by me. Paul Scheuring walks by the bench and says, “Do you really need the job?” I was practically crying, embarrassed, I locked my keys in the car. I felt like the girl from DIRTY DANCING, “I’m carrying a water-melon.” Four hours later, AAA came by, but during that time my agent called and told me I got the job. The good news was that I got the job, the bad news is that they may have hired me out of pity.

Dominic Purcell (Lincoln Burrows): I had a great relationship with FOX since JOHN DOE in 2000. They gave me a development deal and wanted to find something for me. I was in the middle of working on NORTH SHORE when they sent me the pilot script. It compelled me and I really wanted the job.

Rockmond Dunbar (C-Note) talks to fans.

Wade Williams:
In the world we’ve created, where a brother is sacrificing himself to save another brother, the violence really is inline with the stakes.

Paul Scheuring: When you watch a show like this, you always feel like the hero will inevitably save the world and never get hurt. When that happens you start to lose interest. You can only watch the same chase scene so many times before you realize that nothing will happen. We wanted to give a sense that there are ramifications, a great deal of violence and death to keep the show fresh and the audience interested.

Matt Olmstead (Executive Producer): We keep a body count and I think in two years forty-four people have died. But the biggest reaction we’ve got was when Bellick killed that cat. My mom will never forgive me for that.

Robert Knepper: If I was playing this character in a movie, I’d be done in two months. But with TV it goes on and on. The great equalizer is kids, when you go home and see your kids, you have no choice but to forget about work and be a father.

With the violence, the deal the writers have given us is that not one character has committed a violent act that wasn’t justified. For me, T-Bag is not a guy who kills people, he only kills people because he wants to stay alive.

Dominc Purcell: A lot of the characters on PRISON BREAK are very redeemable. The audience would lost interest if you were playing characters that can’t be redeemed. All these guys have is a goal and that’s one of the things that make for great drama.

Paul Scheuring: Just to give you an idea of Robert’s method acting… this is when we knew we had a keeper. In the show’s first episode (following the pilot) Robert walks by as I was talking to Wentworth Miller about a scene. He opens his mouth and on his tongue is a real razor-blade. it wasn’t part of the scene, it was just in his head and he was getting into character.

While the original plan for PRISON BREAK was for it to last forty-four episodes (two seasons), plans changed when the show became a hit (FOX wasn’t about to kill its international cash cow so soon!). Scheuring promises that the second season will end as was originally planned, while leaving enough connective tissue out there to ensure a fantastic third season.

Season three will provide some of our favourite characters with redeeming moments.

Michael Scofield’s tatoo still has one more important role to play before the second season ends.

Not everyone on stage [at the Paley Festival Event] will survive to see season three.

The show will continue to shoot in Dallas for season three, with secondary units covering Florida and Lousiana.

Check back later this weekend for’s full report on the NIP/TUCK Paley Festival Panel.

For’s DEXTER Paley Festival Recap, click here.

For all the latest TV news and reviews

  • AJ

    Obvious question from my website address:

    Was William Fichtner there?

  • William Fichtner was unfortunately not in attendance.

  • Common Sense

    I LOVE PRISON BREAK! So implausibly inane, and yet so much happens, I can’t stop watching. I’ve been hooked since Episode One.

  • The title of the third season has it communicated?

  • LBchaba,

    A question was asked to that effect, and showrunner Paul Scheuring was unfortunately tight-lipped about it!

  • I actually stopped watching PB in November, only due to the fact that there’s only so much I can watch. But last night’s panel was so much fun, and re-watching the pilot reminded me how cool aspects of the show are. I’m ready to jump back on the bandwagon – (are Sucre and C-Note dead yet? really nice actors, can’t stand their storylines!)

  • I’m afraid I gave up on Prison Break earlier this season because… well, it kinda seemed pointless. Season one had a definite point: Will they or won’t they escape? Who’ll get out and who won’t? But now, it just sort of seems endless. There’s no big cliffhanger for me on the horizon. They didn’t play up the presidential conspiracy connection enough and I just decided that with such great storytelling going on where Heroes is concerned, this was certainly an easy show to cut from my overstuffed viewing list.

  • Tricia

    WOW, Prison Break is my favorite show, I’ve been watching it from the beginning and I’ve never missed an episode. I think the cast, the plot, the suspense, the cliffhangers, the music and effects-all of it is just PERFECT. Many people stopped watching season 2 because they broke out in season 1 but the way I see it is “breaking out is just the beginning”. After season 1. you’ve come to really care about the characters and you keep watching to see where their journey leads them. They’re all being chased after and yet they are all chasing “something”. I’m really looking forward to season 2:)

    Oh and I had to say this: I loooooove Robert Knepper so much! What an awesome actor, T-Bag is by far my fav character on Prison Break.

    I love the way Rob said : “For me, T-Bag is not a guy who kills people, he only kills people because he wants to stay alive”.

    I’ve always saw T-Bag as a survivor so I’m glad Rob thinks the same.

  • Hi from Slovakia :)

    Thank you for your reports from Paley Fest!!! Good luck!

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  • Common Sense

    C-Note and Sucre are indeed still alive, although Sucre was just collared by fugitive-bulldog Bellick. However, Sucre has the “key” to what Bellick really wants, since T-Bone’s in town.

    TVA, you will NOT be disappointed in rejoining Prison Break. The last episode, with the lady President’s TOTALLY SHOCKING, AND I MEAN….SHOCKING!!!!!…secret was phenomenal!! Patricia Wettig is so great in everything she does.

  • Harry Bridges

    prison break is by far the most compelling tv show ive ever witnessed… anything i say about i feel i cant say enough or didnt say it right!
    unfortunately i accidentally read something that i didnt want to read about what happens in prison break before the end of season 2! its now at episode 19 in season 2, im waiting for 20, and the thing i read of hasnt happened yet! starting to question whether its true, but damn it all to hell if it is!
    i aint gonna be an ass and reveal what i read incase any of yas dont wanna know! (this is the way i found out. 🙁 ) ITS BIG!!!

    so many questions there is,,,

    WHAT are schofield and linc gonna do now that that BITCH prezz done that?
    whats gonna happen with the sucre/bellick/tbag in mexico situation?
    whats going on in mahones head?
    what’ll happen to c-note?

    ROLL ON SEASON 3!!!!!!!!!!! But for the love o god do it justice to the other two seasons, (preferably the first one) 🙂

  • Teo

    Prison Break got an incredible rating here in Italy even if it was broadcasted at 11 p.m.
    Obiouvsly after the last episode of season 1 i started watching the 2nd season from Fox Usa and like everyone else who is addicted i’m waiting for the next episode (Panama).
    My family became addicted too…so PB’s new episode on the DVD player every tuesday night is a tradition.
    The cast is simply great…Knepper rules.


  • WentBabe

    Where is Went TVaddict? Love your site! Thanks for the low down!

  • The best part of the night was, as the moderator was doing introductions, there was only one chair left, and the audience quickly realized that Wentworth wasn’t showing up. The moderator said he had shooting commitments, but fans were pretty disappointed.

    Personally, I would think that if your tv show was being singled out by the Paley Festival, you could make an effort to show up.

    But hey, I don’t star in my own TV show… at least not yet.

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  • zara

    hey ppl i love prison break to bits especially my hubby wentworth miller hes sooooooo chooooooooong!!! n sara pretty

  • mr__scofield_

    how many seasons plz there are??

  • The guy who plays “Tbag”‘s teeth look allot cleaner.

  • Madde

    OMG! Prison break and Robert Knepper is so great! I agree with Tricia, you and I almost think exactly like eachother haha 😛 I think alike as rob too i guess =) He’s the best actor alive! My god! 😀 Sorry i couldn’t make it to Eriksberg when you were here, rob. :/ Another time, or i’ll go see you in LA! 😉 Or maybe we will work together when I’m older, i want to be an actress u see. 🙂 His voice, looks the way he is, everything! 😀 Love it! =) And come on, make atleast one 4th season! I have to see robert haha xD. Keep up the good work! Im glad u didn’t become a park ranger! 😉

    Lots of Love


  • Maddie

    I love prison break and I love Robert Knepper! 😀 His voice, his humor, the way he is, his looks and everything! 😀 Im sorry i couldn’t make it to Eriksberg when you were in Sweden! :/ Really wanted to meet you. But i hope i’ll meet you in LA or you’ll come back to Sweden 😉 Or maybe we will be colleagues some day? Im really interested in acting too u see. 🙂 We’re thinking a lot the same, i think that’s really cool.

    Keep up the great work! And SURVIVE, as you said! 😉 And make prison break shoot atleast 4 seasons! 😛 I just gotta see u haha ;P

    Good luck in the future and hope i’ll meet you soon! 🙂

    Greetings from Sweden


  • Rawan

    I love you Robert Knepper !!!

  • T-Bag was my always my favorite character on Prison Break. That guy rules!

  • this is Masihullah Arsalan
    i like this serial v much .i have seen all seasons.
    its great….
    i like all the charecters

  • I loved this show!