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A (long) Biographical Article on 'Wentworth MIller'

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    A Biographical Article on Wentworth Miller [Go to fullsize image]
    Message 1 of 1 , May 25, 2007

      A Biographical Article on Wentworth Miller  

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      On June 2 1972 Wentworth Earl Miller III was
      born in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire , UK .

      Wentworth was given his name by his grandmother.
      The decision to name both his father and
      Wentworth with this name was inspired by
      the Jane Austen character Captain Wentworth.
      Wentworth is in fact a surname so
      Wentworth has two surnames for his name.
      Wentworth means; `Went' = a river in
      Northumberland , England and `worth' = place.

      The green eyed young Miller spent his early
      years in Oxfordshire where his father was
      a Rhodes scholar continuing his law studies.
      On completion of his studies they moved
      back to New York , Prospect park.

      Once back in New York his father worked as
      an assistant district attorney and his mother
      worked as a Special education teacher.

      In a recent interview Wentworth recalled how
      "I was raised with a certain work ethic.
      If you're going to do a job, do it well
      and no half-(way) measures…."...

      I remember my father saying one word to me
      -- as I would walk out to school every day:


      ... [e]very test, every quiz, every
      conversation with the teacher, it all
      added up to the final grade, which
      would affect where you went off
      to college and the rest of your life.

      All those little bits and pieces
      added up to something larger,"

      Influenced by this work ethic and his first
      acting experience his future career choice
      was sealed, unbeknown to his father who
      unwittingly assisted in inspiring him to be an actor…

      Throughout his schooling he would act in stage
      productions whenever his parents would allow.

      He attended Midwood Highschool in Flatbush, Brooklyn
      where his heart would be broken for the first time.

      In sixth grade for a school assignment Wentworth
      decided to talk about his family tree in class.

      His girlfriend at the time did not realize that Wentworth
      was mixed race (African-American, Jamaican, English,
      German, French, Dutch, Syrian and Lebanese) and when
      she found out she said "go back to the plantation, nigger".

      This would not be the first or last time [response
      to] his racial-identity would cause him heartache.

      Moving on

      While studying at Midwood high school he lived in
      " Prospect Park (which) was my universe".

      Also during this time his parents had two more daughters
      which sparked a sudden change for Wentworth.

      He recalls how in Brooklyn
      "We had all kinds of people.
      You're rubbing elbows with just about
      every race, creed, religion on the subway".

      Then his family moved to Sewickley
      before Miller's senior year.

      "My parents had been looking for
      a while to move out of the city.
      I have two little sisters, and there were concerns
      about raising children in an urban environment.
      There is a certain pace of life in New York City
      that can be exhausting, and we'd
      been there for 13 years.
      They'd heard great things about Pittsburgh and asked
      me if I would mind leaving high school, and I didn't.
      I wanted to have the experience of
      a year in a suburban high school."

      The difference between Midwood with its
      Multi-Cultural students and Quaker Valley
      Senior High School in Leetsdale , Pennsylvania
      (outside of Pittsburgh ) were very different.

      "My school in Brooklyn had 3,000 kids.
      It was, of course, overwhelming by
      sheer numbers but beautifully diverse.

      Quaker Valley was only about 400 students, tops.
      So my class rank shot up, which was great.
      Sewickley was an entire town operating as a
      community, and I found that a very powerful
      and supportive kind of experience."

      While at Quaker Valley his father started
      developing LEEWS (legal essay exam writing
      system -
      http://www.leews.com/) which has
      helped many anxious law students through the
      difficult process of studying for their law exams.

      After graduating from Quaker Valley he then
      enrolled in Princeton University because
      "I grew up in a very nurturing but conservative
      environment and it was always expected that I would
      go to college and follow along a certain career path,"

      Wentworth before enrolling was concerned about
      whether his classmates / room mates would accept him.

      How would he explain the fact that he was Mixed-Race?

      Would it mean that every time he met
      someone he would have to tell them?

      His parents suggested that he should put pictures of his
      family all over his dorm room so if his friends come
      to visit they would see and will know immediately.

      No explanations necessary.

      It would appear that his experiences of racism and
      identity crisis would result in him earning a bad
      reputation … which followed him from Midwood
      high school all the way through to Princeton.

      "I used to have a bad attitude, but l am
      a good boy now" Wentworth recalls.

      This bad boy attitude got him into trouble
      at Princeton while in his junior year in 1994.

      The incident would later be dragged up during
      the promotion of The Human Stain, here is
      The New Yorker's report of the incident;

      `… [H]e (Wentworth) published, in the Daily
      Princetonian, a cartoon featuring Cornel West,
      who was then a Professor of African-American studies
      there but who had just been hired away by Harvard.

      The cartoon depicted Muffy, a white Harvard student,
      imagining her first class with West, who is saying,

      "Today's lecture is entitled, `Rhythm—Why None
      of You Have It, and How You Can Get It.' "

      It also described West as "newly purchased,"
      which is academe-speak for a new hire.

      This did not go over well—"newly purchased" was
      taken to be a reference to slavery—and within days
      the paper had run angry letters signed by dozens of
      students and faculty members, including the novelist
      Toni Morrison, symposia had been convened,
      and the school had been plunged into one of those
      predictable convulsions of recrimination and argument.

      The story made the Times, and Wentworth Miller, who
      everyone assumed was White, was transformed
      into a controversial figure: the campus bigot.

      At no point did he bring up his background,
      choosing instead to mutter some sentences about
      n attempt to lampoon racial-stereotypes.

      His own race card went unplayed'.

      Wentworth recalls these troubling times while at university.

      "Instead of stepping forward and explaining what
      I'd meant by the cartoon and positing my own
      'racial background' as evidence that I'd really
      meant no harm, I chose to remain silent.

      My attitude was …

      'If they don't get it, I don't have to explain it,
      which was my way of saying that if they
      don't get me, I don't have to explain me.'

      The people who knew me on campus
      and knew my background knew where

      I was coming from, but I think for most
      people I was just a name in the paper, and
      they probably assumed I was White."

      Retreating into his studies while all of this
      was happening he also went on tour with the
      Princeton Tiger-Tones an Scapula singing group.

      Wentworth spent time
      "..tour(ing) around the country during the
      year, and we went to Europe in the summer.
      On a dime we would throw down a hat in every piazza
      and plaza we could find to get a little lunch money.
      It was just the best way to see the world."
      In his final year Wentworth decided
      to do his English literature major on
      "the idea of doubling and the gender
      identity construct in Jane Eyre and
      The Wide Sargasso Sea--which, I guess,
      is also about identifying yourself;
      perceiving yourself through the eyes
      of the dominant White male hierarchy".

      A theme which would later influence his work as an
      actor going through the `casting-system' in Hollywood .
      Graduating in 1995 with a degree in English
      literature Wentworth was faced with a
      difficult decision about `what to do'.

      "Princeton was such a conservative environment-
      a third of the class was going to med school,
      a third to law school or Wall Street or whatever-
      and acting seemed like a really risky proposition."

      Regardless of what was expected of him he
      decided to move from New York to L.A so
      he can enter the entertainment industry .

      His plan – to be an entertainment development executive.

      Working behind the scenes he would
      be able to secure a steady pay check.

      Concerns about the financially risky life of an
      actor had finally influenced his choice of career.

      A new beginning

      In Los Angeles he found the culture
      and environment different.

      None of the scenes appealed to him and
      he is still to find a place for himself in L.A.

      "I spent most of that first year (in development)
      faxing and filing, changing light bulbs and
      filling the boss's fish pond and the usual
      Hollywood entry-level whatever.

      I was the one they would call on the weekends
      when the fire alarm would go off in the building".

      "But every weekend I would go in to the office because
      I didn't have air conditioning and it was hot, and I
      would hang out in the conference room and kinda
      set up camp (laughs) and raid the company kitchen.
      I would just watch all our footage that we had on
      video coming back from various production sites.
      And the juices started flowing, and I realized I still had
      this 'what if' question to answer, and I decided to quit."
      "It was scary.
      I walked into my boss' office, and I said
      'You know, I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna be an actor,'
      and she said
      'Well, I've just been hired at one of the networks
      as their director of motion pictures and I want
      you to come with me as my assistant.'
      And that was like forty thousand dollars a year,
      that was like a corporate gig, that was the
      brass ring, as far as I was concerned."
      I went back and forth.
      What was I gonna do, what wasn't I gonna do?
      It was very after-school-special.
      And I eventually realized that If I went and did
      the corporate gig, that would be great if I was
      successful, but I would always wonder about the acting.
      And if I did the acting and was successful I
      would never wonder about that corporate gig.
      "So I had to tell my boss that I
      was not gonna come with her.
      And she said
      'I think you're making a mistake.
      I think you'll live to regret it.'
      But I quit anyway and started temping to make ends meet.
      While temping at Borders Bookstore
      "Just average minimum wage, wearing
      a tie and a name tag behind the counter...
      I value the experience I did have behind that desk
      because to make it in this business, you need the
      soul of an artist but the pulse of a bureaucrat.
      If you're waiting tables, waiting for your break,
      and you're not willing to come home every night
      after a long shift at the restaurant and stuff your
      head-shots and resumes into envelopes to send out
      to agents and managers, you're not going to make it.
      It's not going to happen for you."

      When he hit really low points
      financially Wentworth would look
      "at my CD collection every month to see
      what I wouldn't mind hocking to pay the rent.
      And I realized I needed acting like I
      needed air and couldn't walk away from it,"

      During this time Wentworth took up acting classes in
      L.A for about two or three years until approx.2002,
      "No kind of formal training (though)."
      He learned through his acting classes that
       "Some actors will tell you that they
      lose themselves in their character.
      I think that for me, acting is about finding yourself
      in your character, and exploring those parts of you
      that you do not allow yourself to express or are
      not allowed by your environment to express.
      I think acting classes by and large are just places
      where middle-class kids go to get over their
      middle-class upbringings; a lifetime of
      being told what is and is not appropriate.
      Of course, that appeals to me because everyone
      wants to be inappropriate, and why not get paid for it".

      He was able to secure paid work on
      tv shows…then nothing for a year.
      All this acting job uncertainty made him go back after six
      months of temping to his old intern job in development.
      "she had the grace not to say 'I told you so.
      I mean I temped for a lot of people
      in the entertainment industry.
      I spent three months writing up contracts for
      other actors working at a huge agency, which
      was tough, but I'm glad I have that perspective.
      There were some people who expected you to
      jump right in and do exactly what their assistant
      did, but by and large most people simply
      wanted you sitting there warming a chair.

      And so I did a lot of reading and
      kinda blended in with the wallpaper.

      That was my main quality as a temp,
      which was appreciated.
      They don't want someone in there
      making waves, doing cartwheels.

      I sometimes think I should have
      been online getting a law degree.

      I wasted all that time (laughs)."

      He worked for Hill/Fields Entertainment
      as well as other networks and companies …
      The difference between the first time he worked
      as an intern and this time was that he was doing
      this while still looking for acting work….
      He also worked as a press officer for the Asian
      American theatre in New York during this time.
      Valuable experience which would come in handy
      while promoting his film and tv projects…
      2000 was a busy year in which he worked on
      a few tv shows and a film and then nothing.
      2001 was a quiet year…
      It would seem that he found it difficult to find
      a place for himself in the Hollywood system.

      "Everyday I'm defining myself for
      other people lest they define me...

      Then you come to Hollywood
      and the audition process and it's,
      `Well, how do you see me?
      Where do I fit in?'
      Which kind of runs counterpoint to
      everywhere that I've come from."

      Naturally his parents were concerned…
      He kept his parents at bay by telling them
      "I learned how to break down a text at Princeton ,
      which helps me break down a script – or at least
      that's the line I feed my parents when they start
      wondering where all that good money went."
      He spent most of this year working in development
      at the ABC network until a breakthrough role came.
      The ABC network mini series Dinotopia.
      The same network where he was
      working as a development intern.
      "It all came full circle."..

      What attracted Wentworth to the script
      was [it had a] defined moral code.
      It's a world where tolerance of others is preached,
      where people are encouraged to be at one with their
      environment – to try and get along as best you can…
      I was very intrigued by that and also the
      fact that this is a Hallmark Production.
      They make quality stuff – they are just
      known for quality family entertainment."
      The themes of family and community would continue
      to run through the storylines of films and tv
      projects that Wentworth chose to audition for.

      Around this time his parents were in the process
      of divorce and the solid nuturing family of his
      youth was no more what it used to be.

      His experience of shooting his first major acting
      role was exhausting in which he did his own
      stunts, did climbing, swimming, fight scenes
      as well as riding various dinosaurs (simulators).
      His experience of playing a football player,
      swim team coach previously prepared him
      for such a physically challenging role.
      Considering how in real life Wentworth considers himself a
      `couch potato' his acting roles are the complete opposite –
      characters who transform from being vulnerable and
      inactive to strong fearless and physical in nature…
      Unfortunately the series did not do
      well and was promptly cancelled.
      Any hopes that Wentworth may have had that
      this would be his breakthrough role fell flat.

      Back with his head to the grind stone he
      started doing auditions again until he
      managed to secure …'The Human Stain'.

      Would this be the breakthrough
      role he had been waiting for?

      Memories come flooding back

      When Wentworth received the script from
      his agent for The Human Stain he was
      told that the script was perfect for him.

      On hearing that he was worried because what if he
      went into audition for the part and did not get it.

      What would that say about him?

      He was also concerned about
      "whether I'd be typecast from now on.
      I want to continue getting sent
      out for roles of any Ethnicity."

      But eventually he overcame his initial
      reservations and went to the audition.

      He was seen by casting director Deb Aquilla
      who he told that he thought that the script was
      "a powerful story and one that wasn't told very often.
      I told her that I liked the script a lot because it resonated
      with me as a minority and I thought I knew a lot of the
      subtext of what was going on with this character.

      She was surprised".

      Deb Aquila remembers seeing Wentworth
      and recalls that she felt uncomfortable about
      asking him about his `racial-background'..

      While she was thinking of a way
      to ask him he just smiled and
      "told her that my father is "black" [categorized]
      and my mother is `White' and that I understood
      a lot of what's going on in this story because
      of my own memories and experiences."

      He then told her about what happened to him at Princeton
      university with the cartoon sketch episode and how he can
      relate to the character who becomes an outcast amongst
      former friends and colleagues due to political correctness.

      "We had a great talk, almost too good, because by
      the time we got to the actual read, I felt like the
      build-up was so big that I really needed to deliver
      --almost more than what maybe might have otherwise
      been expected from me from a first reading.

      Luckily, it was one of those situations where I had my best
      with me that day: I was in tears, she was in tears, we did all
      the tough scenes in the movie, and she brought me back in
      a month for a screen test with Robert Benton.

      Robert Benton also recalls the audition and comments
      that Wentworth has the rare ability to master stillness
      and if he were to do a workshop with actors he
      would use Wentworth as an example.

      In all the years (decades) of directing he can only recall
      two special moments he has experienced during audition.

      The first was with Justin Henry the young boy
      who plays Billy in the film Kramer Vs Kramer
      which he directed and Wentworth.

      They were both perfect for their parts.

      "It sounds weird, but they asked for
      proof that I was what I said I was,
      because an actor will say just about anything to get a role.

      So I literally had to go to Kinko's with the family
      photo album and copy the photos of the ancestors,
      from the great-grandparents on down.

      And I'm standing there at the Xerox machine
       looking at all these faces, and thinking
      about what my family has been through.

      And I thought, God—has all this
      been for me to book this role?

      And the answer was no, but also yes, in a strange way.

      It felt like just the right time and
      the right role and the right place."

      When he returned "they said, 'you're our guy.

      And I immediately hugged everyone in the room.

      And I walked out of the office onto the Paramount lot,
      which is where I had spent time temping over the last
      five years, and I thought to myself: this is such a rare
      moment, and I was filled with a sense of gratitude.

      And I called my mom."

      "I feel incredibly honored that I am able to bring a
      story to the table that my family is very eager to see
      -- not just because I am in a movie, but because
      it touches on issues that touch all of our lives".

      In auditioning and preparing for the role he once
      again had to think about his past and who he was.

      His identity.

      The Human Stain "is a film that left me questioning
      how I perceive others and myself and further,
      questioning the basis for my life and beliefs".

      The character of Coleman silk appealed
      to him because he thought that …

      "He (Coleman) is bright and very ambitious,"
      "But he has been completely defined by his environment
      as a "black" [categorized] man in 1940s America .
      It's a Prison and he decides to break out,
      which is a very bold, arrogant and ultimately
      destructive thing to do, because he lands
      in another Prison of his own making.

      In "passing" as `White', he embarks on a life
      which does not allow for `intimacy', because
      he can never be completely honest with his wife.

      It's also a life of fear, because every time he
      walks into a room, there's the danger of someone
      recognizing him for `who and what he is'."

      Wentworth felt that in preparing for the role
      it was important that "as an actor it's not my
      job to condemn or condone my character.

      That wouldn't allow for his complexities.

      Coleman feels `boxed in by definitions', which are
      suffocating him, and he needs to break free.

      That's something anyone can relate to.

      It moves the movie beyond race.

      "He was put through boxing training to play the
      younger Coleman Silk during his college days
      before he decides to deny his race as a light skinned
      "black" [categorized] man and pass for Jewish.

      Very big shoes.

      It's an honor, but I was also like
      'How am I going to approach this?'

      [Anthony Hopkins] (who plays the elder
      version of Coleman Silk) is a legend and
      I've always been a huge fan of his work. …

      When Wentworth completed the filming of The Human
      Stain memories of what happened at Princeton with the
      Cornel West cartoon incident came flooding back.

      He wrote a letter to Cornel West apologizing
      for what happened and informed him
      about his role in The Human Stain.

      He received no reply.

      Back to business, the producers decided that he
      should front the promotional tour for the film.

      This tour would involve him attending premieres
      of the film with his co stars in different U.S States /
      locations such as Chicago , Denver , New York and
      European cities such as London and Venice .

      By a rare stroke of luck, his co star Anna Deveare Smith
      who plays his mother in The Human Stain is friends with
      Cornel West who turned up to the New York premiere.

      "The first thing he did was give me this big bear hug,
      which really meant the world to me."

      The experience of watching himself on the big
      screen gave him mixed feelings and triggered
      once again personal, painful memories.

      "… [W]hen I saw it for the first time at the Venice Film
      Festival, what I felt afterwards was very embarrassed--
      not at all in a bad way, but in that way where you've
      just put something very personal up there, very private
      just out there--something that had just happened
      between me and Jacinda Barrett or something
      that was still very painful for me from my own life.

      And suddenly, all these people were just coming up to me
      and talking to me about it, having this dialogue with me
      and I'd never spoken with them about it and, for me, these
      things are still very personal, still very private issues
      that I wrestle with and come to terms with every day.

      I have no idea who they are, but they have ideas
      about me--and I have no idea what rules of
      etiquette they're working with and it's frightening.
      Despite all of these thoughts and emotions going on
      inside he had to continue with the promotion of the film.

      He did several photo shoots and interviews
      alone and press conferences with his co stars.

      The critics were confused and curious about why
      a young `White' man was being cast in the role
      of a character who is supposed to be a light
      skinned "black" [categorized] man.

      Over and over again, Wentworth had to
      define his racial-background to avoid
      being mistaken as a White man.

      Ironically Toni Morrison - who was involved
      in campaigning against Wentworth at Princeton
      for his cartoon sketch - would be the
      same person he would continue to quote.

      "There's a great quote in Toni Morrison's novel, Beloved:
      `Definitions belong to the definers, and not the defined.'
      I'm constantly having to define myself
      for other people, lest I be defined by them".

      He was also asked about his views on racism in
      America and his views on "racial-definitions".

      "As far as being "black" versus African-American,
      I have a problem with hyphenates, I don't want to be
      African-American or Chinese-American or Irish-American.

      My family's been in this country for generations.

      There is no reason in the world why
      I can't lay claim to just American."

      His nationality was also brought up in which
      he revealed that he had dual nationality and
      holds both British and American passports.

      Overall as far as he is concerned he is
      "American first, last and always."

      He was also asked about his experience of racism
      "My encounters with racism are sort of second-hand
      situations where I might be standing around with a
      group of white friends and someone makes a comment
       that they wouldn't make, say, at my family reunion.

      It leaves a cut.

      Someone calls you "n***r" and it's like a knife to the gut.
      To be in that sort of situation it's just a little nick, but you
      suffer enough nicks and you bleed to death just the same.

      So when that happens, you're confronted with the
      quandary: do I stop the party, do I grind things to a halt?

      And ideally you would each and every single time, but I
      have better things to do than to educate people--it just has
      to be a case-by-case basis and you develop a lot of scars".

      His views on "Passing"
      [as a `Mono'-Racial] -

      "Obviously, "passing" is not something that has ever
      crossed my mind—it has never shown up on my radar,
      because I am lucky enough to be born in a generation
      where it's ok to be absolutely proud of who I am.

      But being Mixed-Race brings a different set of challenges.

      Not that it's more challenging than
      being this, that, or the other, just different.

      For example, I've never really experienced the
      'business end' of the race stick, as I like to call it
      —I've never been asked to pay for a meal before
      I eat it, or been pulled over for driving in the
      wrong neighborhood at the wrong time of night.
      In that sense, I've been very fortunate."

      An upsetting incident with a journalist also brought home
      the reality of racism and how powerful vocabulary can be.
      "I just had a conversation with a reporter in New York
      and he told me, 'So you're a mutt,' and I told him,
      'You know, I find the term "mutt" deeply offensive.'
      So he started back-pedaling and said, 'I'm a mutt, too.
      I'm part German and part Irish.' "
      'That means you're White,' I told him.
      'But thank you for playing!'"

      Approached by Mixed-Race viewers, Wentworth says
      "a lot of them (were) glad that they're seeing a
      representative of themselves reflected on screen"…

      And his views on his future career?

      "I say that with the sobering understanding that if I were
      to wait only for roles that clarify my racial-makeup,
      I'd be waiting for a very, very long time.

      I want to aspire to something like what Denzel Washington
      does -- which is try to find scripts written for White actors
      -- or Jodie Foster who reads scripts for male actors.

      I tell my representatives that you can send me out
      on any ethnicity roles, or roles that were written for
      Caucasians if race is not an issue in the movie,
      I think the race of the actors starts to matter
      if race matters in the movie.

      If you want to do an all-Eskimo production of `Romeo
      and Juliet,' I mean God bless you, I can't wait to see it.

      But if it's an all-Eskimo production of `Gone with the
      Wind,' that's obviously a little more problematic."

      Once again like so many incidents in his life
      like landing his first major role (Dinotopia)
      at the same network where he interned.

      Meeting Cornel West after all those years and
      resolving their differences he bumped into
      development executives who he used to work for.

      "I have people coming up to me now at
      film festivals and screenings who are like,
      'Weren't you the one used to stand by the Xerox machine?'
      now that I'm at the point where big shot so-and-so is
      laughing at all my jokes and schmoozing, I think
      'You know I got coffee for people like you for six years,'
      so I know what's what as much as I
      can, because I've seen the other side."

      Wenworth's advice to studio executives is that they should
      be nice to their lowly underlings because they don't know
      when they will get one up on them with a studio deal.

      With the promotion and reviews the buzz was electric
      and nearly all the critics praised his `breakthrough
      performance' and were sure that he should be nominated
      for a supporting actor Oscar award for his role in the film.

      Wentworth was excited and the film was out just in
      time to be considered for an Oscar award nomination.
      The production waited with baited breath.
      Not a single nomination.
      It would appear that what the critics perceived as the
      miscasting of Anthony Hopkins as a light skinned "black"
      [categorized] man and the beautiful `skinny' Nicole
      Kidman as the rough janitor was too implausible to digest.
      The academy seemed to think so also.
      Once again like with Dinotopia, Wentworth
      missed out on what should have been a big break.

      Once again he was unemployed from 2003 to
      late 2004 and was back on a Pot Noodle diet….

      A Change of attitude

      While trying to secure work during 2003 to
      2004 Wentworth learnt valuable lessons
      which gave him a change in attitude.

      "I'd been told The Human Stain was going to
      put me on the map as an actor, and the movie
      did open a number of doors for me;
      but when I walked through those doors I suddenly
      found myself in competition with guys
      who'd been on the covers of magazines…

      It can be an incredibly frustrating experience.
      But at the end of the day you have to do it for yourself.
      So he did….

      His change in attitude was also in regards
      to his approach to auditioning as well,
      "Only recently I've come to realize that one of the traps
      of auditioning is walking into that room feeling as
      though you're a guest in someone's house, and
      being really careful not to spill wine on the carpet.

      What you have to do is walk in
      there as though you're the host".

      "I realized the difference between most actors
      and Anthony Hopkins is that most actors
      won't make choices about a character.
      There's nothing better than reading a script and
      getting a vision of who this character might be,
      how fun it would be to play and how you'll dress and how
      you'll walk and how you'll eat and talk and all those things.
      Most actors make all those choices - or as many as
      possible - but they do it with a question mark when
      they walk into an audition and there's that subtext:
      --- 'Is this right?'
      --- 'Do you like me?'
      --- 'Is this working?'
      And that defeats them in the end.

      Whereas Anthony Hopkins, when he makes a choice,
      makes it with a period or even an exclamation mark.

      That shift in attitude was critical in really helping
      me make the most of my audition experience."…

      Realizing that he is `different', he came to
      terms with his place in the scheme of things.

      "It's another thing to be a little bit off the beaten
      path because what that means is you have to go
      out and create something that wasn't there before."

      These changes in attitude would help in securing work.

      He started working again on a short film called The Hour
      which was set in a prison by British director Ash in 2004.

      Once again irony was at play because a few months
      later he was called in to audition for prison break.

      "When I walked into my studio test (for Prison Break),
      I'd temped for maybe a third of the room," he says.
      "It's like 30 network executives sitting there, and
      some of them recognized me from the copy machine."
      It would appear that the copy machine made him
      famous amongst tv executives and would be his
      claim to fame whenever he met them at auditions (lol)
      Wentworth recalls that the auditioning process
      and final securing of the role was fast.
      He was given the script on Friday went into audition
      on Monday and got the role by the Tuesday.
      He did not have much time to get worried
      because he had to get straight to work.
      In the last pool of actors that the network auditioned
      they were getting close to the end of pre production.
      He was drawn to the character of Michael Scofield in
      Prison Break because …"he's a good man with a noble
      cause, and that requires him to get his hands dirty.
      This is not just an action thriller,
      it's really a story about family:
      How far would one go to save a loved one?
      In Michael's case, it's all the way to the wall.
      And it's a great show in that we get a lot of exploration
       into family, into what it means to be committed
      to something...into what it means to be a man.

      The theme of family, community and being
      imprisoned reoccur again in his choice of project
      but this time the imprisonment is literal where as
      with the human stain it was psychological and social.

      In prison break he plays a White man caught in between
      the two communities of White and "black" prisoners in
      which a race riot breaks out and he is asked to take sides.

      He chooses not to and as a result he is hated by both sides.

      Does this sound familiar?

      Considering his policy on his choice of roles and
      whether race matters in the story, Prison Break
       presented a personal dilemma for Wentworth.

      Here he was playing a White man caught up
      in a race riot in which he had to choose a side.

      Either through good fortune or through design,
      Wentworth's character stays neutral and therefore
      is not involved in any racial prejudice or violence.

      From late November they started filming the pilot episode
      of Prison Break to show to the network executives.

      The fate of the show depended on the strength of the pilot.

      After filming the pilot the director Brett Ratner was
      asked by Mariah Carey to film two of her music videos
      `Its like that' and `We belong together' he agreed
      and decided to cast Wentworth as the
      love interest in order to raise his profile.

      It worked and buzz once again circulated around his name.

      Many people online wondered who that `good looking guy was.

      Once again the issue of "race" was discussed in
      which online surfers noticed the connection between
      Mariah Carey and Wentworth Miller's Mixed-Race
      backgrounds and wondered whether this was the reason
      why he had been chosen to feature in her two videos….

      With all this exposure surrounding him he left
      L.A and rented a home in Millennium park,
      Chicago near his new work place where
      he is still filming episodes of Prison Break.

      Promotion for Prison Break was painfully slow but when it
      finally took off it really took off with a flurry of billboards,
      promotional short film clips in cinemas, tv ads, online ads.
      Radio publicity stunts etc.

      Once again Wentworth was in the limelight
      --- but this time he was the star of the show.

      At press conferences he would be asked about his
      background and his character on the show and …
      [a] slightly different take on questions from his
      days being interviewed for the human stain,
      journalists are asking much more personal
      questions such as whether he is married or single.

      He said that he is single (Aug 2005) and … [t]hey
      also asked about his personality etc to which
      he answered I'm "a fairly boring person.
      I go to the library, I do a lot of reading, I eat at Subway.
      When I need some boxers I go to the Gap.
      I'm literally behind bars five days out of seven,"
      When he had the time he would "as the cliché
      would have it, (write short stories and) a script".
      Or go out to dinner with friends.
      Asked whether he would in the future do a comedy
      he believes that he is `not funny' and if he was
      considered as such it would be `unintentional'.

      When the first two episodes of Prison Break
      were finally aired on Fox August 29th
      2005 his popularity went through the roof.

      Critics once again – in large number – were singing his
      praises stating that he was well cast in the show and that
      this would be his long deserved breakthrough role.
      The viewer ratings were high, the
      highest Fox had had since 1998….

      All in all things seem to be on the up and up
      but will this be the overdue breakout role
      that he has been working so hard for?

      That remains to be seen, in the meantime
      Wentworth is staying objective about
      the media hype surrounding the show.

      He has been down that road before and he is taking
      the whole media circus "with a pinch of salt."

      In fact he appreciates the fact that he is `tucked
      away in Joliet , Illinois ' away from the media glare.

      He is fully aware that they can pour their hearts and souls
      into the project and in the end it is not up to them what
      time the show airs or who they are up against or if an
      American mayor could be bothered to tune in and watch.

      Due to this he has decided to be committed
      to the project ----- but not attached…

      Regardless of whether he finally `breaks through' or
      gets an award, Wentworth is content with just acting…

      `You have to love what you do, and
      you have to need it like you need air.
      And there's nothing else that would give
      me the same degree of satisfaction as acting,
      which is why I can't walk away from it.

      The road has been what it's been and it's taken me as
      long as it's taken to get here and I don't regret a second.
      It doesn't get any better than this."

      (All quotes have been taken from articles
      found in the file section of the Group site.)


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