Exclusive: Wentworth Miller on Losing the Tattoo

wentworth miller
The TV Addict and Wentworth Miller in Los Angeles, August 2008

If three seasons of PRISON BREAK have taught this TV Addict anything, it’s that there’s always a price to be paid when something good happens to one of your favorite characters. Well, that and surgically re-applying body parts such as hands and heads isn’t nearly as complicated as one might assume.

That said, watching yesterday’s fourth season premiere, even I didn’t expect that Michael would lose the one thing that’s been with him from day one. Which is why I posed the following questions to star Wentworth Miller when I recently had the opportunity to interview him in Los Angeles.

The whole tattoo removal came as quite a surprise when I watched the show’s season premiere. What led to the decision and are you happy that it’s gone?
Wentworth Miller:
I am. The tattoo became for me kind of burdensome after awhile. Even when we didn’t have to apply it we had to pretend as though it was there. Which meant wearing long sleeve shirts in Dallas where it’s 120 degrees and you’re squatting on your knees in the Sona Prison Yard. All the sweat on my forehead in those scenes was my own. It wasn’t me with a spritz bottle before every take.

It took it’s toll and in the end I’m glad we dealt with it in the way that we did. We made it clear that this experience has taken its toll on Michael and he’s paid a price both inside and out. The tattoo is really a physical signifier of his journey that has left a mark on him.

The image of yourself and the tattoo was a brilliant marketing tool that helped launch the series. But take us back to the start of the show. How many episodes in did it take for you to realize, “Oh Sh*t, We’re going to have to apply this tattoo on me for every single episodes for seven years!”
[Laughs] I think it was early on. I remember when we shot the pilot for the first time I was like “WOW, this is awesome.” But then a couple episodes in, after four or five sessions of me staying two hours after everyone went home to scrub it off at night… the reality of the process became more apparent and my respect level for people who spent their time on STAR TREK grew enormously. Because to go through that process everyday, wearing some sort of plastic prosthetic headpiece for twelve hours at a time, that’s pretty intense. So hats of to them.

Missed the full interview? Click here to check out our entire conversation with PRISON BREAK star Wentworth Miller.

  • Nick

    Is it just me, or has Wenty gained a whole lotta weight?

  • It’s not just you, Nick – I thought the same thing!!!

  • Kristen

    Haha! I knew it!

  • Tarn

    I think he might have to carry on with the long sleeves for a while – laser tattoo removal would probably cause blisters & scabbing (sexay!)
    If he takes his shirt off next week, and there’s no sign, I call shenanigans… 😉

  • he was and still is handsome but my friend you need to shed some of the pounds go for the turbo jam and be trim and sexy again

  • the tattoo was sexy but he still is sexy without it

  • that removal of the tattoo must some horrible pain hope you make a good recovery and feel good

  • Lucia

    Why do you need him to lose pounds? Are you yourselves so perfect and slim and handsome to say so???
    why would it be painful to remove the tattoo? It’s not done with laser it’s not a permanent tattoo…
    did you guys actually read the inteview???

  • Yo

    They killed the tatoo so that he wouldnt have to take his shirt off this season. I am far from perfect. But, then again, I dont get paid to be.