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SDCC 2016: ‘Prison Break’ Star Dominic Purcell on the Reboot: “It’s a Very Special Part of My Life”

Nora Dominick ’17/ Emertainment Monthly Co-Executive Stage Editor

It has been seven years since the fan-favorite FOX drama, Prison Break, ended its original run, but not a day goes by that fans don’t miss Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller), Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell), Sara Tancredi (Sarah Wayne Callies) and the whole gang.  Earlier this year, FOX announced that they would be bringing the fan-favorite TV show Prison Break back for nine episodes.

Prison Break follows Michael Scofield (Miller) as he tries to break his brother, Lincoln Burrows (Purcell) out of prison when he is sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. Michael devises an elaborate plan to help Lincoln escape prison by getting incarcerated himself and breaking him out from the inside. Little do the brothers know that breaking out is just the beginning.

At SDCC 2016, Prison Break star Dominic Purcell sat down to talk about his brotherhood with Wentworth Miller, an emotional scene in the new reboot and much more!

Check out the full interview below!

So, what has Lincoln been up to the last seven years?

Dominic Purcell: A lot of trouble. Lincoln’s that kind of guy that can’t keep out of trouble. He tries to go straight for a while and it’s working then it kind of just fell off the wheels and he started hitting the streets again. He started pushing things from A to B and gets himself in debt. All that kind of stuff.

How does it feel for you to be back on Prison Break both on emotional and personal levels?

Dominic Purcell: For me, it’s brilliant. I love Prison Break. I’m indebted to the show. It’s a very special part of my life. I’ve formed great friendships, I know a lot of actors say that, but this is actually true. A lot of these guys are my friends, especially Wentworth. It was interesting coming back to see how we had all matured in the last eight years. I think because of that our choices as actors have changed as well. I think you’ll notice a different tone to our performances somewhat. I think that has a lot to do with maturity and life experience.

Did you and the cast keep in touch a lot over the last seven years?

Dominic Purcell: Wentworth and I were always in touch via email. You know, we kept bumping into each other here and there with the guys. Again, we are all friends.

Dominic Purcell in Prison Break reboot. Photo Credit: FOX
Dominic Purcell in Prison Break reboot. Photo Credit: FOX

How did the Prison Break reboot come together?

Dominic Purcell: Well, Wentworth and I were working on The Flash together and we just started talking about Prison Break, the good ol’ days, that type of thing. Then we started thinking, ‘Why don’t we try to bring it back?’ I mean it’s been a long time we thought. So, Wentworth and I approached the studio, met with them and they loved the idea and jumped on board. We had to get Paul Scheuring involved and he got involved. Once he got involved that was it. The show couldn’t have happened without Paul. So, he was the final piece of the puzzle.

You and Wentworth just worked together on Legends of Tomorrow, but how was it returning to Lincoln and Michael?

Dominic Purcell: It was emotional. It was a bit kind of, freaky, at first. Again, because we know each other so well it was just boom, straight into it. It was really right there. It wasn’t awkward.

What do you hope this limited series does for the legacy of Prison Break?

Dominic Purcell: I think Prison Break was one of those shows that set a bar when it first came out. Hopefully the reboot will set another bar. I think it will. I think people are going to be very blown away by the fact that we made this show and it looks like it’s just on par. I’ve seen the first two episodes, it’s on par with anything Jason Bourne would do or Zero Dark Thirty. The Middle Eastern kind of thing, that vibe. There’s no difference so, it’s just incredible storytelling.

A lot has changed on TV since Prison Break ended. Especially with what you can and cannot show on TV. Did you guys feel like you could push the envelope a little more this time?

Dominic Purcell: Yeah! I mean we are dealing with ISIS and with that comes devastation, tragedy, death. There’s a scene in Prison Break where people are hanging out in the street hanging from wherever. I mean, it’s heavy.

As an actor I don’t really get emotional when I’m acting because I know it’s acting, it’s make believe, but there’s one scene that really had me very upset and that’s never happened to me before. I was in a car and we were going through a street in Morocco and a terrorist explosion happens and so we have all these extras and people who live there in the Middle East who are obviously very aware of this kind of devastation. These were extras and they were all screaming and crying like real sh*t coming out. They had the bodies everywhere, the white and red blankets over them and I was moved man. It didn’t feel like a performance. These people these normal people were channeling what the whole Middle East is about. It just felt really real and tense.

Check out Dominic Purcell in Prison Break, which premieres mid-season on FOX.

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