Prison Break delivered the promise of
its title when the cast of convicts escaped over the wall in the season
one finale. For season two, the challenge is to keep the story of convicts
on the run as engrossing as the breakout plot of last year. Wentworth Miller
and Dominic Purcell are back as Michael Scofield and his brother Lincoln
Burrows respectively. Now on the lam, things won’t be as simple as
just fleeing the country.
Miller Talks Prison Break s2
“At the end of last season, [Michael] lost
two surrogate father figures in the space of one episode, the Warden and
Westmoreland,” Miller said. “Then, he also, fatally, compromised
his love interest, Dr. Sara. So, I think skipping off to Mexico with his
brother, Lincoln, is not going to be as easy as he anticipated.”
Still, even with the weight of his actions on his mind, season two’s
Scofield will get to show more range than the tough guy persona he adopted
for his prison stint. “I’m excited,” Miller continued.
“He’s going to have some lighter, more colorful shades. I told
the writers, ‘When Michael is in prison, he’s a man with a mission.
He’s facing down enemies at every turn. It’s not a place to
be vulnerable. It’s not really a place to have light, unguarded moments.
But, now that he’s off with his brother, around whom I think Michael
is willing to show a side of himself that he’s not with others, there’s
a lot more that I can explore.’ I hope to have a few light moments
with Lincoln, speeding down the highway, but by and large, I think Michael’s
task is only getting more difficult as things go on.”
The brothers still have to prove Lincoln innocent in the conspiracy to frame
him for the president’s brother’s murder. Now the FBI has sent
an agent (William Fichtner) after the escaped cons, and they’ve got
ex-guard Bellick (Wade Williams) on their trail too. The other escapees
are also looking for the Westmoreland’s $5 million.
Season Two is slightly easier on Miller because he no longer has
to be the primary, central protagonist. It’s still the Lincoln and
Michael story, but there are enough subplots with the other escaped cons
to give him some days off.
“We have so many storylines, and Michael is not driving forward that
plot about the Allen wrenches and the toilets and the escape hatches, and
so on and so forth,” Miller said. “Now that the prisoners have
temporarily gone their separate ways to pursue their separate agendas, and
I’m not in scenes with Sucre or Abruzzi, I get that time off. I’d
like to think that the brothers, their story, their dynamic, will remain
very much on the front of the stove.”
Filming of Season Two moves from Chicago and the area surrounding Joliet
prison to Dallas, Texas. Though it is still meant to represent the Midwest,
Dallas afforded enough diverse settings to allow the show to tell stories
of vast scope in one location.
“Dallas has a very schizophrenic feel to it,” Miller reflected.
“There are sections that look east coast, Southwest, Midwest, etc.
We spent so much time and effort grounding the show in Chicago last year,
referencing landmarks and restaurants and so on, that we’ll continue
to honor that, at least for the first few episodes, while the cons are still
on foot, until they can feasibly be moved somewhere else, to different parts
of the country.”
Whether the show’s romance will continue remains to be seen, even
for the actors who have shot the first two episodes. “I think if Michael
and Sara do have a future together, the next time they see each other, it
will not be, ‘They fall into each other’s arms, tasteful fade
to black,’” Miller said. “I think, if anything, they have
more obstacles between them now than they did before because Michael did
persuade her to help him, but she didn’t know that she was also helping
four or five other hardened cons and serial killers get in on the escape.
For that betrayal, I’m not sure she can ever forgive him.”
Though the show is still titled Prison Break, Miller is happy to
leave the walls behind. “It’s a total re-invention of the show
as we know it,” Miller said. “I’m relieved because it
means we’re not shooting in the prison. I have a great deal of respect
for Joliet. I thought it added something significant to the show. But, it
was oppressive and, psychologically, it took its toll, working on a spot
where men lived, suffered and died by the hundreds. So, I love the fact
that we’re shooting out in the woods, and we’re down by the
lake and by the train tracks. It feels like a totally different environment
with the same set of heightened stakes, but transported to a fresh vista,
and that’s reinvigorated the experience for me.”
Adding new cast members like Fichtner adds a new dimension as well. “I
think it was important to find a substitute for the prison because the prison
was our physical, very real, very formidable obstacle in the first season,”
said Miller. “Now, we’re past that, so what stands in our way?
We’ve got Bellick operating as a bounty hunter, we’ve got the
government conspiracy that put my brother behind bars, and we also have
Bill Fichtner’s character heading up the FBI investigation. And, I’m
personally excited because I’ve always perceived his character as
Michael’s doppelganger, just as ruthless, just as brilliant, just
as relentless, but working from darker purposes. He’s the darker side
of Michael’s coin, if you will.”
For all the changes to Prison Break, fans can still expect the
same level of drama that kept them addicted last year. “I think the
core relationships, hopefully, between the characters will not remain exactly
the same, they’ll have to evolve, but Michael and Sucre will still
have that great Odd Couple dynamic,” Miller said. “Michael and
T-Bag will still be sworn enemies. The stakes will be just as high and the
body count even higher. In that sense, I think we’ll stay true to
what we were up to with the first season, which was a willingness to get
rid of character, if and when it’s necessary.”
So don’t get too attached to any of your favorite characters. “I
think in the world of Prison Break everyone has a number, it’s
just a question of when it’s up.”
Prison Break returns August 21 on Fox.
Stay tuned for updates.