Since this TV Addict won’t be publishing his very own exclusive one-on-one with Wentworth Miller until Monday, I thought I’d parse some interesting tidbits I gleaned while taking part on a recent conference call that Wentworth Miller was kind enough to take part in to help promote the upcoming two-hour season premiere on September 1, 2008.
1. Was Michael’s reunion with Sara everything you hoped it would be?
Wentworth Miller: Absolutely. I was just happy to see Sara back. I really felt her absence Season Three. I felt that her return was important not only to my character, but also to the show in general. What can I say; the fans have spoken. Sara returns.
2. At what point did you realize that Sarah Wayne Callies might be coming back?
I think it was at some point during the strike that I started hearing rumors that Sarah was returning, that the fans were organizing write-ins and petitions and I think that’s emblematic of where we are in terms of television and the media. It’s very much a back and forth conversation between the fans and the writers, between the writers and the powers that be. Their opinions, especially when expressed online or via correspondence, are important and are taken into consideration.
3. Obviously reattaching someone’s head is a bit of a tall order. What can you tell us about how this comes off in the first couple of episodes?
I think that we address it as plausibly as possible. It helps that the show is kind of fantastic and I feel like we’ve gotten away with worse. But at the same time, we do provide an explanation and we don’t tease the audience. It’s not a flash of Sara’s ponytail disappearing down an ally for the first episodes, everyone wondering when she’ll actually make a face-to-face with Michael. She’s back first episode. Michael and Sara reunited, and then the gang hits the ground running because there’s work to do.
4. This is the fourth season and each of the seasons, the show has pretty much rebooted its premise to some degree. For you as an actor, what are sort of the advantages and disadvantages of doing a show that from one season to the next can be something completely different?
Well, it keeps it interesting. First and foremost, most other TV shows are in the habit of figuring out their winning formula and then beating it into the ground whereas we take what we already know works and toss it out the window at the start of every season, which I think is very bold and ambitious and it certainly provides a new playground for the actors.
That said, I’ve been more comfortable with some seasons than others. My favorites so far has been one and three because I actually think that my character works best behind bars with very real, physical, deadly obstacles to surmount whereas second season was a total change of pace and a real downshift for me and was one of my least favorite seasons because it felt as though my character was literally and figuratively riding shotgun, much more reactive than active. That can be frustrating.
But like I said, it’s most important for a show that’s running 67 episodes at this point to keep it as fresh and as exciting for the actors as possible.
5. At the end of the day, do you think it’s possible for Michael to be happy and do you feel that he’s worthy of redemption?
That’s a very good question. I think the interesting wrinkle that Sara’s return signifies is when Michael thought she was dead he crossed certain lines that he might not otherwise have crossed. At the end of Season Three, he was actively involved in arranging the death of another inmate, the henchman, who was killed in the cave in that Michael manipulated. So when Sara suddenly reappears, Michael is a very much changed man, perhaps one that she doesn’t recognize, perhaps one that’s not really worthy of the relationship that she has to offer.
I think that Michael is still a good man. But at this point, I think it would take something quite extreme for him to really even the score because in order for his brother to go free, so many people have died in the process and I think that weighs terribly on Michael’s conscience. Once this experience is over, once say they successfully destroy the conspiracy, there is no returning to his white collar existence as a structural engineer. I mean I think the only thing that Michael is kind of fit for at this point is as a hired gun, which actually dovetails quite nicely with the directions he takes.
6. What personality trait do you like most about Michael?
His sense of loyalty, that it’s always about others. What I told the writers at the start of Season Three was please do not make this about Michael fighting to survive because Michael’s not particularly interested in his own survival. Michael is interested in self sacrifice. I think Michael has a touch of the martyr about him and he’s only motivated to act and act aggressively when other people’s lives are on the lines, when those that he loves have guns to their heads.
7. I was wondering how the relationship between Lincoln and Michael evolved this season.
That’s a great question. I think there’s been a lot of push-pull between these characters, a lot of swinging of the pendulum where the little brother is suddenly the big brother and the big brother is suddenly the little brother, so on and so forth.
I think this season is about kind of settling their mutual debts. At the top of the season, we see Lincoln in Panama. He has a potential love interest. He’s reunited with his son for the first time. It’s possible that he can make a life for himself, but he knows that his brother, who sacrificed everything so that Lincoln could go free, Season One, is back in the States on this revenge quest. I think out of allegiance and a sense of indebtedness, Lincoln follows his brother to the States so that they can stand together and take on the conspiracy. But I think when all is said and done the brothers will be able to part as equals.
8. Now that Sara is returning, I was just wondering is there a chance that we’ll see C-Note coming back again.
C-Note, the one character in PRISON BREAK who got a happy ending. I wouldn’t be surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised. We do love the unexpected twist and turns on this show and I think Rodman would be a great addition. I always thought that his contribution to the show was a very cool one.
9. You’ve had a lot of characters come and go. If you could bring back one character, who would it be and why?
I think I’d bring back Paul Adelstein. I thought he was a fantastic Agent Kellerman and I thought was symbolic of the kind of character that the show does best, which is someone living within the shades of gray. Not entirely black, not entirely white, not entirely good, not entirely evil, but someone who is complicated as we all are in real live. I think Paul really did a beautiful job of defining a character who could be vicious one minute and entirely sympathetic the next. He’s very much missed.
10. Your role is consistently so intense. How do you balance that out like on your hiatus or your other jobs outside of PRISON BREAK? Are you always looking for something lighter, or is this kind of what you love doing?
I have loved doing it. I think once PRISON BREAK comes to an end, I’m not going to jump into the next Bourne Supremacy franchise, and I should be so lucky actually. It is important to kind of balance out the intensity of the work that we do with some humor and we try to keep the mood on the set as light as possible. I’ve also become a big fan of the Family Guy and American Dad, Reno 911, The Office, the British version and the American version just because at the end of the day, after shooting all these scenes where I literally have a gun pointed at my head, it’s important to come home and unwind with something that is the polar opposite of where you’ve just come from.
As far as projects post-PRISON BREAK, I’d love to be involved in like a romantic comedy or something, really change it up if possible.