The first thing one notices when sitting down to interview actress Jodi Lyn O’Keefe is that she certainly knows how to dress the part.
Clad in a gorgeous dark pantsuit with stiletto heels that look as lethal as they are sexy, It’s not hard to imagine — as this TV Addict enters the interview room of Los Angeles’ Intercontinental Hotel — how O’Keefe slips into her latest starring role.
Joining FOX’s hit show PRISON BREAK for its third season, O’Keefe plays the mysterious and deadly Susan B. Anthony. The newest operative of the ultra-secretive organization known simply as ‘The Company.’
Her singular goal, to ensure Michael Scoffield helps break fellow inmate James Whistler out of Sona prison. Elaborates O’Keefe, “Simply put, I’m there to get a job done. I need a man broken out of Sona Prison and I’ll be bending these men until I get the job done.”
Of course, the ‘men’ she’s referring to are none other than PRISON BREAK protagonists Michael Scoffield and Lincoln Burrows. A position millions of woman [and undoubtedly quite a few men] around the globe wouldn’t mind having themselves. “I don’t know how I ever got so lucky,” says O’Keefe. “But I did and here I am. The whole thing’s been a blessing.”
That said, a quick perusal of O’Keefe’s IMDB page shows that blessings may have little to do with her success in Hollywood. Since the age of eight when she began a career modeling after watching her eldest sister get into the business, O’Keefe has quite literally not stopped working.
Yet even with a resume a mile long, nothing could prepare her for joining a show with such worldwide notoriety as PRISON BREAK.
“It’s been quite a whirlwind,” admits O’Keefe. “I was recently in Panama to promote the show and fans came up to me speaking perfect English, asking me to sign DVDs of season two [a season she didn't even take part in]. It was incredible, I felt like the Pied Piper, leading a group of fans.”
Which naturally begs the question, where exactly will the mysterious Susan B. Anthony leading us? Don’t ask O’Keefe. “Prior to joining the show I got a basic character outline,” explains O’Keefe, “but as the series progresses [the production is currently shooting episode nine] I’m like the audience, really on a need to know basis.”
What O’Keefe can discuss is how big a fan of the show she was prior to joining the cast and how nervous she was on her first day, “I watched PRISON BREAK, my entire family watched PRISON BREAK, it’s their favorite show.” continues O’Keefe, ” You want to talk about being intimidated on day one. My first scene was with Dominic Purcell. I was shaking so much it might as well have been with Lincoln Burrows.”
Luckily for O’Keefe, Purcell , along with the entire PRISON BREAK family, are nothing like the characters they portray. “Everybody’s been so welcoming, so much so that I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop,” O’Keefe indicates, as she jokes. “Last week I said to someone on the set that someone better start being crappy to me or I won’t believe this is real.”
Of course, after meeting O’Keefe, one can only assume that it wouldn’t be a good idea to cross her. She’s clearly in incredible shape and is quick to point out when asked about how difficult it is to shoot the show in the sweltering heat of Texas that, “I do all of my own stunt work, and I’m quite comfortable handling weapons”
None of which comes as a surprise, considering O’Keefe’s big break on the small screen started with a six year stint on the action adventure NASH BRIDGES followed by a starring role in the hit feature film HALLOWEEN H20. Two projects synonymous with fighting the bad guy.
Yet after years of playing the victim, how much fun is it playing the bad guy? “The back story’s been surprising really,” admits O’Keefe, “It’s taken nine episodes, but bit by bit we’re learning more about my character and why she does what she does.”
Is it possible Susan B. Anthony isn’t as evil as we think she is? “She’s bad, but only because of what she’s been through,” assures O’Keefe. “She was in the military, a prisoner of war and has been tortured. A lot. Nothing she does matters anymore. The good person she once was is no more. When you’ve been hurt the way she was, morality and ethics aren’t too important.”