A (long) Biographical Article on 'Wentworth MIller'
A Biographical Article on Wentworth Miller
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.
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, `RhythmWhy 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 slaveryand 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, Godhas 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.
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 mindit 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.)