Those 'Prison Break' Tattoos Aren't As Real As They Look


One of the most well-known elements of Prison Break isn't the characters themselves, but rather Michael Scofield's intricate tattoos. When Season 1 premiered in 2005, the ink across Michael's arms and torso intrigued many, especially when it was revealed the tats were actually blueprints to help Michael and his brother Lincoln Burrows escape prison. Even though the series hasn't aired in 8 years, now that the revival is premiering very soon, there may be some still wondering, "Are those Prison Break tattoos real?"

If you're really hoping they are, sorry, but they aren't. It appears that Wentworth Miller doesn't have any tattoos himself in real life. He even told People in August 2006 about whether or not he would ever get a tattoo, "No, no, no. That’s never been quite my speed."

In order to achieve the look of Michael's elaborate ink, Miller went through quite the ordeal (before his character had the tats removed in Season 4). As he said in a video filmed when Prison Break first debuted, "It's one of the most ambitious faux tattoos ever attempted for TV or film." Take note that he used the word "faux" to describe them. They are most definitely not Miller's own tattoos.

"It's about four to five hours to apply, two people applying it," he also explained in the behind-the-scenes video. "I can't sleep while we're applying it. I'm usually standing with my arms over my head or twisted around so they can get at various parts of me. It's 20 to 25 decals that fit together like the pieces of a puzzle."

The process is something the Legends of Tomorrow actor didn't like at all. He said in the video that he looked forward to when Michael could wear long sleeves without showing off his ink. Can you blame him?

And Miller was also happy when Michael's tattoos came off permanently. While chatting with The TV Addict in September 2008, he said about the ink removal, "The tattoo became for me kind of burdensome after awhile. Even when we didn’t have to apply it we had to pretend as though it was there. Which meant wearing long sleeve shirts in Dallas where it’s 120 degrees and you’re squatting on your knees in the Sona Prison Yard."

Though, now that Prison Break is returning so are more tattoos. That's right, with Miller reprising his role as Michael (nope, he's not dead), that means he had to prepare himself to get inked up all over again. Obviously, since Michael's original tats were removed, these are brand new ones. Miller was probably happy to learn that they would not be as extensive.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Michael has new tattoos on his lower arms "that play a key role" in the reboot that finds Michael in a Yemeni prison. You can see a glimpse of them in the main image above and they definitely don't look as complex — or irritating. "The tattoos are functional in a different way," Miller told EW. "It’s less of a blueprint. They serve a very specific purpose."

Based on what he previously told People and his description of his character's former tattoos, I'm going to say that Michael's new ink isn't something Miller went and had permanently etched on his body. They are probably just as fake as the blueprints.