It’s official. Michael Scofield isn’t dead. You might even say, he’s done a Moriarty. As the TV drama Prison Break is set to be revived with a fifth
season, in a sequel to the original series, Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell reprise their roles as Michael and Lincoln Burrows respectively, with Paul Scheuring back in the saddle as director.
The story picks up years after the series finale, where Michael ostensibly sacrificed his own life, allowing Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) to escape. Fox CEO Dana Walden has promised “a believable explanation to why the characters are alive”. Michael and Sarah speak of how all of it feels like yesterday.
Can you talk about where Sara is? Last we saw her, she’d lost Michael, and she had a baby. Where’s she at, when this series opens?
Sarah Wayne Callies: The short version of the last seven years of her life is that she went down a dark hole of grieving. It’s probably a hole she wouldn’t have come out of, except, she had a son. At a certain point, she realised her grief was a luxury her son couldn’t afford. So she pulls herself together and decides to raise the sh*t out of him. A part of that included trying to give him a stable home. So she remarries. But it’s not like this is the love of her life. It’s comfortable and friendly, and he’s a wonderful guy. Everything’s okay. And then, because it’s Prison Break, it isn’t.
What’s the dynamic like between Sara and Lincoln, now that seven years have passed?
SWC: Sara and Lincoln were all that each of them had. Especially for the years that they were on the run,
living in Panama, off the radar. I imagine that he was really the one who helped her with her son, and yet, eventually, he went off on his own. Lincoln seems allergic to happiness sometimes. So he found a way of getting back into trouble. But there’s a lot of love and trust between the two, partly because there aren’t that many people alive who know the story.
So how does it feel to be Michael Scofield again?
Wentworth Miller: A bit like riding a bike. I didn’t have any time before the start of production to go back and watch all 81 episodes of the series, so I just had to trust that Michael was in me somewhere, and turns out, he was.
What was it like, the first day on the set, when you were together again?
WM: The first day was hectic. It’s a prison set, a lot of extras, three cameras swirling around. I was on one side of the prison bars, and Dominic was on the other. That served me, because all I had to do was look into his eyes, hear his voice, and it anchored me in this relationship,
as it has all these years.
Narratively, does it capture that same tone in the series, or is this something you see standing alone, as it’s a limited series?
WM: I think it can stand alone, in the sense that you can potentially appreciate it without having seen the original. But it’s meant to feel like a continuation. It’s the same in terms of themes of brotherhood, and sacrifice, and family, loyalty, all the stuff the fans appreciated. It’s also meant to feel present-day, like the action could be happening out there in the world right now.
Do you feel like it’s a current show?
WM: I do. I meet fans every day who are watching the show right now (on Netflix). For them, it’s present tense. It’s like, it’s still airing.
What do you think made Prison Break so timeless?
WM: There are any number of answers. Universal themes that people vibe with, no matter what the language or culture. There’s the government conspiracy hook. And the prison hook. The show mastered that ‘hook in the mouth, stay tuned, see what happens next week’ tease element. Fans are not going to be able to download all nine episodes and watch them at once. They have to wait week to week, and that might require a degree of patience.
Prison Break Season 1 – 3 airs on Star World and Star World HD Monday to Friday, 8 pm. Season 5 is expected to premiere later this April.