Wentworth Miller on How He Became Hollywood's Hottest Secret Screenwriter
Wentworth Miller spent all four years of his stint on Prison Break convincing himself he wasn't a writer, but after the show wrapped, he spent four weeks writing the script Stoker -- a drama about a young girl and her mysterious, potentially murderous uncle -- and managed to attach A-list talent like Jodie Foster and Carey Mulligan. At Comic-Con, he told Movieline how it happened (and which Alfred Hitchcock movie Stoker is an homage to).
Now, you sent these scripts out under a pseudonym, right?
I did, I did. That wasn't about protecting my identity -- I just wanted the scripts to sink or swim on their own. I thought seeing my name on the cover might create static of some kind, maybe positive, maybe negative, but it just wasn't something I wanted to factor into the equation. I wanted them to stand on their own two feet.
So you've got Stoker, but you've also written a prequel to it?
There's a prequel called Uncle Charlie.
Is that a tip of a hat to Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt?
Absolutely. There's a leaping-off point in Stoker that was directly inspired by Shadow of a Doubt. Also, the character name is Uncle Charlie and the prequel's called Uncle Charlie, so that's a tip of the hat.
I know Jodie Foster and Carey Mulligan are attached, but is there a male lead attached?
You know, I wish I could give you all kinds of details. It's still in development. I have to say that when I hear some of these names, it's pretty exciting. There's incredibly talented people taking an active interest, so I'm very hopeful that it's going to come together in a powerful way.
You won't be acting in the film. Was that by design?
You know, writing it was probably the most creatively satisfying experience I've had, hands down, on a personal level. Regardless of where these two scripts go, in a way, it was the main event for me to be putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard, as it were. As soon as I was done with both scripts, I really just wanted to hand them off to someone else and say, "See you at the premiere," then show up and get my big bucket of popcorn and watch someone else's interpretation of what I've laid out on the page.
You play Chris Redfield in Resident Evil: Afterlife. How different is your movie character from the one in the video game? Doesn't the video game Chris have biceps the size of his head?
[Laughs] Well, yeah, that's the first difference. You know, in preparing for the role, I felt the need to respect what was already out there, in terms of the video game anthology. I did my research online on websites and blogs to find out what the conversation was about this character and what the expectations might be, but then I had to balance that with who I am as an actor and inherently bring to the table. And, who is the Chris Redfield that Paul [W.S. Anderson, the director] established in this movie? it's very specific to the film adaptation of Resident Evil, rather than the video game. I'd like to think I did my best.
When you went to those sites to look at reaction to the character, were you also reading reactions to you being cast as the character?
I didn't read those reactions. I felt like I already knew what they were gonna be. I imagine that the reception will be across the board, and that's only natural when you're invested in a story or a certain character. [The fans] invest deeply, so they care when they finally see that character onscreen. They have opinions, and that's to be expected.
There was a rumor at one point that you were attached to Gore Verbinski's adaptation of another video game, Bioshock...
That was a rumor that showed up one day and took a while to go away. Yeah, no connection to that.