Powered by i.TV
August 28, 2014

Robert Knepper Talks 'Breakout Kings' and T-Bag's Big, Bad Return, Plus an EXCLUSIVE Clip

by Jane Murphy, posted Mar 16th 2011 9:00AM
Robert Knepper, 'Breakout Kings'The breakout character of Fox's 'Prison Break' run was one Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell, indelibly portrayed by Robert Knepper.

According to Knepper, T-Bag was originally written as a "250 pound guy with a gold tooth." But when the wiry Knepper was cast, he gave the keenly intelligent but shady character thistle-like hair and a deep southern drawl. His lolling tongue deserved separate billing. For those missing their weekly cuppa T, the 'Bag Man' is tunneling out soon.

In A&E's new drama 'Breakout Kings' (reviewed here), Knepper will reprise his role as T-Bag (Sundays, 10PM ET on A&E, Knepper's first episode airs March 20).

Created by 'Prison Break's executive producers Nick Santora and Matt Olmsted, the premise is a winner: a trio of slippery cons (including Jimmi Simpson of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' as the eloquent nerd Lloyd) teams with a pair of U.S. Marshals (played by Laz Alonso and Domenick Lombardozzi) to catch prisoners on the lam. T-Bag is one of the first targets of the 'Kings.' Knepper says the month-long arc is a "love letter to T-Bag" and praises the "balls" it took for Santora and Olmsted to "come up with this idea of going into this next chapter."

Still, Knepper had to be sold on returning to his cell. "I felt 'this is gonna be a hoot, this is gonna be a fun thing to do' and then right before I started shooting I thought 'oh no, this is gonna suck!' because people are gonna go: wait a minute, he's a character from another show ... I wanted people to have the same reaction, the same horror when they watched 'Prison Break.' The ['Breakout Kings'] script was so f---ing good, I think we achieved that."

You go mano-a-mano with Jimmi Simpson's Lloyd -- there are similarities between T-Bag and Lloyd.
One of the finest actors I've ever worked with. It was so easy to step back in, especially with that guy. I'm sitting there in this scene with [Simpson] and I felt like I was just so damn cocky –- I just looked at him and said "You're good! You're just so damn good!" and he said, "You're good too, man!"

Your work generated Emmy talk, but you look at 'Prison Break,' or 'Oz' –- incarcerated characters never get their due come award time.
Damn it, I do want to start a little fire on this one. Let's break that rule that you don't give guys in prison Emmys! [Laughs] It would be a huge tribute to all those guys that made people sit on the edge of their seat for four years [during 'Prison Break'].

I've also spotted you on 'Shameless' ...
I've had so much fun working on 'Shameless.' I just said to my guys "Please, I love comedy!" Look at the funny sh-- I got to do with T-Bag, and seriously, there are some funny as sh-- lines in 'Breakout Kings' as well.

Check out our exclusive clip
of Robert Knepper on 'Breakout Kings':



Is your run open-ended on 'Breakout Kings'?
When Nick proposed this idea, I was thinking: I dunno, man. I grew up in Ohio and county fairs were a big part of our lives ... Every summer we went, there were always these Hollywood types that would come to Ohio, like the cast of 'Hee Haw.' They would truck these people in from somewhere, and as I grew up and I became an actor I thought: what the hell were these people thinking? I guess that was a summer gig for them when they weren't shooting 'Hee Haw' ... When I played Bobby Kennedy for NBC ...

I was going to mention that! I'm Irish-Catholic, so I've seen all the RFKs, and you were wonderful.
After I played Kennedy [in 'Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot'], and after I finished T-Bag on 'Prison Break,' I thought I am never going to act again. All I could look forward to the rest of my career is the county fair circuit. T-Bag's greatest hits! So when Nick brought up the idea of resurrecting T-Bag, I thought, what am I thinking? I'm trying to get away from T-Bag. But I think it's gonna help to kick this new show in the butt and help launch it. So I went with my gut. And I'm really glad that I did.

I'm sure it's gonna deliver big time.
One thing I didn't do is answer your question.

Oh! [Laughs]
I said to Nick Santora, "I'll do this thing, but T-Bag can't die." Silly me, I just didn't want this to be a goodbye to T-Bag ... It's up to the creators. If they want this character to stick around, then they'll figure it out.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

6 Comments

Filter by:
pinkster88

I think A&E has some of the best series on air right now. I can name at least five shows that occupy my time on that channel alone. I actually like the show and since I'm not home most of the time, I just play it from my iPhone using the DISH Remote Access app. I work and subscribe to DISH Network and I use the TV Everywhere function to keep in touch with all of my favorite shows . It's great to have when you're on the road and you need a little bit of excitement to help you along with the trip. I use it when I'm not at home for a prolonged period of time and the app is free! It works with the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Android devices. You can also watch pre-recorded or live TV! I am always recommending that people check out DISH Network and I am inviting anyone who comes across this post to explore the endless possibilities with DISH Network and experience a value unseen by any other TV provider!

*Danielle

March 23 2011 at 7:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Angela Davis

I absolutely hated T-Bag in Prison Break. Knepper was just that good. It is gonna be interesting to see what Teddy does on Breakout Kings.

March 17 2011 at 2:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Christina Draper

Philly, the original female, was caught checking on her 'money' on the computer. The figured she was planning to run and booted her out of the group. That's why the new girl was brought on board.

March 16 2011 at 3:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
matthew5and9

On Breakout Kings, was the original female in the trio let go and then they decided to bring in the new female?

March 16 2011 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Christina Draper

I am with yaksplat. Tbag was repulsive...period, but Knepper brought something to the character that just made him mesmerizing. My husband and i tuned in to "Prison Break" just to see what kind of nasty funk Tbag was gonna come up with next. Cant wait to see him again!

March 16 2011 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yaksplat1

T-bag was an amazing character. You loved to hate him. I'm glad he's coming back.

March 16 2011 at 9:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners