‘Prison Break’: Wentworth Miller Almost Didn’t Play Michael

Prison Break is one of the most enduring dramas on television. Although other shows may have longer runs, fans keep coming back to the series. The show began in 2005, and although it only ran for four seasons, it came back for a fifth in 2017, more than 10 years after its original air date. The on-screen drama is rivaled by the show’s off-screen issues, including casting debacles, legal troubles, and union woes. And evidently, the main character — played by Wentworth Miller — almost didn’t make it on Prison Break.

Michael Schofield and his brother, Lincoln Burrows, have their fair share of legal issues. Lincoln is on death row after all, and both are in prison. But the cast of Prison Break has their own legal issues. One of the former cast members was even convicted of killing a person. The actor who played Tweener, Lane Garrison, was killed off in season 2. The reason for the untimely death of his character had to do with Garrison’s own legal issues. He pled guilty to charges that resulted from an accident in which a 17-year-old died. Garrison, the driver, was drunk. 

Garrison likely won’t be coming back to Prison Break, but legal trouble didn’t preclude actors from participating in the show. In fact, it was helpful for character development in at least one case. The actor who played the warden, Stacy Keach, had done a stint in prison himself. Keach used his experience in prison to inform his character. 

Wentworth Miller was cast in “Prison Break’ at the last minute 

Wentworth Miller filming Madam Secretary
Wentworth Miller | Mark Schafer/CBS via Getty Images

The producers of Prison Break were lucky to find Keach. How many working actors have been to prison and know how a warden should act? But that wasn’t their only stroke of good luck when it came to casting. Wentworth Miller, who played the main character, was found at the last minute. 

Casting for Prison Break was unreasonably difficult. According to the show’s creator, Miller was cast with literally one week to go, and only after they had auditioned basically every other actor in LA. The creator claims that none of the other actors had the air of mystery he was looking for. 

Still, Miller wasn’t the last actor to be cast. Although producers had their eye on Dominic Purcell for the role of Lincoln, there were reservations. Purcell wasn’t actually officially cast until three days before the show began filming. He was the last actor cast on the show. 

Will there be a season 6 of ‘Prison Break’?

Prison Break obviously had casting down, despite how long it took them to find the right people. With one season coming out almost 10 years after the last, fans wonder if there will be a sixth installment at some point. Fox didn’t rule out a sixth season, and the network even said one was forthcoming after the fifth season ended. Yet fans have been waiting for years, with no sixth season in sight. There have been spinoffs and attempted spinoffs of Prison Break, and some of the rumors indicate that the sixth season may be more of a spinoff. 

Some sources say that the sixth season will have an entirely new cast. But Purcell has actually said that although a sixth season is in the works, it takes finesse and time to get it right. The fact that Purcell is commenting suggests that the new installment will have at least some of the original cast. Purcell didn’t say if Miller would be coming back, or when a sixth season might drop. 

RELATED: ‘Prison Break’ Was Banned in Many Actual Prisons