Fox’s Prison Break returns on April 4, 2017 with Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell reprising their roles as Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows. The new nine-part event series also finds Sarah Wayne Callies, Amaury Nolasco, Robert Knepper, and Rockmond Dunbar returning for the long-awaited, much-anticipated fifth season of the dramatic series which aired the season four finale back in May 2009.
Teamed up together at the 2017 WonderCon in Anaheim, CA, Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell provided a little insight into what’s in store. Miller says that reprising their roles felt both familiar and unfamiliar. “Michael Scofield is in me; he’s never going to go away, but I have changed as a man,” explained Miller. “I’m 10 years older than when we started the original series. So when I put those shoes on, the shoes may be the same but the man standing in them – he’s different.”
“That’s a very good point. I would say that going into it I had no reservations. I thought I was very familiar with Lincoln but as the words were slipping out of my mouth, I realized that I was a lot older than the last time I played him and he was slightly more grounded, different, bigger, a lot more weight just as the result of getting older and the stuff I’ve gone through personally,” added Purcell.
Miller says that with this event series, he let Michael drift farther toward the dark side. “He’d always hung out, for me, in the grayscale. He’s a good man up to something good, but a lot of people died so that [Lincoln] could go free. So by the end of the original series, it made sense to me that he laid down his life. That he paid the ultimate price to kind of make things balanced and even. When the reboot picks up it’s seven years later, he’s in this prison in Yemen and he’s almost unrecognizable. So there is kind of a pleasure, I think, in the fans anticipating these reunions but will the characters even recognize each other is the question underneath all of that.”
Asked if this is the most emotional Michael we’ve ever seen, Miller replied, “I’d like to think so. It is one of the challenges of this character is that everything is life and death. Every scene is high stakes, but Michael is the guy with the plan. He’s the guy who’s constantly MacGyver-ing some bit of business and everyone else is watching, waiting for him to hurry it up. But, he has feelings so to find moments alone where he can express what’s really going on under the surface driving all of this action is important as far as the story. It’s so satisfying as an actor to play because every once in a while you have to lose control to show control.”
Does Dominic Purcell feel like the series has come full circle now that Lincoln’s on the outside trying to get Michael out? “No, I don’t think it’s full circle.” replied Purcell. “There’s still some more to explore with the character and I think the storyline as well.”
As for where we pick up with Lincoln, Purcell says Lincoln’s always struggled with life and that intensified once Michael died. “He was lost. He couldn’t get his bearings. Michael is his compass, if you will, in life and once he lost his brother that was it. He doesn’t have the self-discipline and that tenacity, that will to … he’s a survivor but he’s a tragic survivor. Once he realized that Michael was alive, the hope was restored. That’s what I mean by there’s still more to explore with Lincoln,” explained Purcell.
Since this is the fourth prison he’s been in, is Michael so used to prison that any prison is manageable? “I think it has become familiar, which is tragic,” said Miller. “Dominic made a great point about there are literal prisons and then there is the prison that is your mind. And Michael’s been in this Yemen prison for four years now. He’s spent the majority of his adult life on the run. Can you ever really leave that behind? What’s waiting for you on the other side of the wall when he’s finally reunited with Sara (played by Sarah Wayne Callies) and his son? How can he be with them in the same way? Is it better off if he maybe leaves them alone?”
On a lighter note, Miller and Purcell were asked who among the cast would be the most likely to escape prison in real life. “I think we’re all screwed,” replied Miller, laughing.
Watch the full Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell Prison Break interview:
[Interview by Fred Topel. Article by Rebecca Murray.]