Things you probably never knew about Prison Break
1. Prison Break is banned in at least 13 prisons that we know of – presumably because it’s considered educational programming.
2. Michael Scofield’s hastily-applied Fox River tattoo would actually take four years to complete – and would set you back around $20,000 (£13,000).
3. In actual fact, Wentworth Miller had to sit in the make-up trailer for just(!) 4.5 hours to fake the body-art.
4. He nailed the part of noble Scofield, but Miller was actually cast on Prison Break just one week before filming began.
5. Miller first came to the attention of executive producer Brett Ratner after auditioning to play the Man of Steel in his aborted Superman movie, Flyby.
Prison Break got banned from some prisons
Prison Break was banned from broadcasting in as many as 13 prisons across the United States. The reason? To avoid giving inmates ideas of escape. Obviously, Michael Scofield’s plans to leave Fox River were exaggerated and it was unlikely that prisoners could copy them… And that’s why the series was still being shown in so many prisons.
The duration and price of Michael Scofield’s tattoo
To carry out his plan and get his brother out of prison, Michael Scofield had the Fox River Penitentiary blueprint tattooed all over his body. A project that was created in a few weeks in the series, and which should have lasted much longer in reality. It would have taken 4 years and over $ 20,000 to create it.
Dominic Purcell Was Seriously Injured During Filming
The filming of Prison Break has always been arduous, but once it became dangerous for Dominic Purcell. While filming the season five revival, Purcell sustained a serious injury while on set.
After an iron bar fell on his head, he had to be airlifted to a hospital in Casablanca, Morocco. He received treatment for a head injury and a broken nose, requiring 150 stitches.
Purcell commented, “My stunt guy came up beside me, and I looked at him and said, ‘Dude…What happened?’ And he said, ‘Your head’s split right open, I can see your skull, your nose is on the other side of your face.’… I thought I was going to die.”
Finding medical treatment in the remote location was also difficult. Purcell made a full recovery and was back on set within weeks. He was not written out of any scenes, but his injuries had to be written in.
6Sara Was Killed Off Because Of Pregnancy And Contract Disputes
The third season took a dark turn when Sara Tancredi was killed off the show. Though she eventually did return, the head-in-a-box reveal left fans shocked and fairly convinced that her character death was final.
However, Sara’s death was not supposed to happen at all. The plot twist resulted from Sarah Wayne Callies’ real-life pregnancy.
The writers originally did not plan to kill off Sara when Callies’ pregnancy was announced, but they later decided it would provide plot motivation for Michael.
Callies was supposed to have 13 episodes for her and Michael to say goodbye, but Callies would have had to make a new contract with Fox, which she declined to do.
Her pregnancy also complicated filming, making Sara’s death rather unceremonious in the final cut. However, the fourth season renewal brought Sara back to life once the issues with Callies had been resolved.
5The Network Has A Strange History With Spin-Offs
After Prison Break became a massive hit, Fox tried to use the success of the show to promote various spin-off materials. The first was the Prison Break: Proof of Innocence shorts, which revolved around Amber McCall trying to exonerate her friend L.J. Burrows.
It was released exclusively for mobile phones, because it was 2006 and that probably seemed like a cutting-edge decision at the time. Another series of shorts, Prison Break: Visitations, centered on the villains of Sona.
Fox then decided to try their hand at a true spin-off series called Prison Break: Cherry Hill, focusing on a women’s prison. Molly, the protagonist of the spin-off, was meant to be introduced during Prison Break‘s third season.
However, producers had trouble casting her and then were derailed by the WGA strike. Fox later announced Cherry Hill would merely be an unconnected brand spin-off, then it disappeared completely.
4Sona Prison Was Based On A True Story
In season three, Michael and company were thrown into the Sona Prison, which operated in a strange way. After the prisoners started a violent riot, the prison guards retreated outside the prison walls and left the inmates to run things on their own.
Sona’s interesting set-up was partially based on the true story of Carandiru, a prison in Brazil, but real life turned out to be more violent than Prison Break.
In 1992, the prisoners of Carandiru started a riot and the guards lost control of the situation.
In the real-life case, the military police took over, and they ended the standoff by storming the prison and ending the lives of 111 inmates.
Forensic evidence concluded that the prisoners were likely executed by the military police. Dozens of policemen were sent to prison for their part in the massacre, and the incident was considered a human rights violation.
3Michael’s Tattoo Caused A Lot Of Problems
Michael’s tattoos were an iconic part of the series, which made many fans question why Michael got a quick tattoo removal in season four. Producers regretted the shoehorned scene, but the tattoos had become far too difficult to maintain.
From the beginning, Michael’s ink required four and a half hours of makeup to apply every day. At least part of the tattoo had to be applied every time Michael’s torso or arms were shown.
Wentworth Miller eventually requested that the tattoo be removed to make filming easier. He explained, “In 100-degree heat, [I was] wearing long-sleeve shirts because we’re still pretending I actually have the thing on.”
As the tattoos were no longer plot-relevant, the request was granted. When Prison Break returned for its fifth season, Michael’s elaborate tattoos returned in all of their former glory.