Jim Caviezel Talks About The Prisoner

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Number Six (Jim Caviezel) finds himself a long way from home in The Prisoner. Photo copyright of Granada/AMC

“I am not a number, I am a free man!” That was the battle cry of the title character in the 1967 – 1968 British spy drama/science fiction TV series The Prisoner. Starring and co-created by actor Patrick McGoohan, the show tells the story of a British Secret Service Agent who, after resigning, is kidnapped and taken to a secluded (and inescapable) seaside locale called “The Village,”  where his abductors use all manner of psychological techniques to try to figure out exactly why he resigned. This Sunday (November 15th), AMC begins airing a three-part re-imagined version of The Prisoner starring Jim Caviezel (The Passion of Christ, Final Cut) in the title role. The following is an AMC Q &A with the actor, who talks about his involvement in the project.

What was the appeal of the role of Six and the series in general?

Jim Caviezel – The challenge for me was taking on an iconic role in a series of such cult status and making it my own. It is a hugely ambitious TV project. It is surreal, complex and challenging for the audience.

How would you describe your character?

JC – Six is stubborn, persistent, curious and clever. He is always looking for answers, refuses to conform and never gives up hope. Six is constantly looking for a way out of The Village – either physically or psychologically. In each episode, he tries to escape by different means.

Does it make it harder or easier playing an iconic lead? How do the Sixes in the original Prisoner and this new version differ?

JC – Although it would be foolish not to recognize the original character created by Patrick McGoohan, the Six I play is very much a contemporary man dealing with issues that affect us now. He does have some similar characteristics with the original Six, like his defiant nature and his complex antagonistic relationship with Two [Sir Ian McKellen]. But we learn more about his life before The Village. We also see him building strong relationships with other Villagers through the six episodes.

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Number Two (Ian McKellen) is determined to extract the truth from Number Six. Photo copyright of Granada/AMC

Were you a fan of the original series of The Prisoner?

JC – I purposely decided not to view the original series. I wanted to find my own interpretation for the role without being influenced by what had been done before.

How do you eel about shooting a remake? Do you think it will inevitably invite comparison with the original and, more specifically, invite comparisons between your portrayal of Number Six and Patrick McGoohan’s?

JC – Yes, it is inevitable that comparisons will be made, but our series is more a reinvention than a remake. It looks at the situation with a fresh eye, and deals with issues that affect us now, and the character is very contemporary. The creative team is keen to remain faithful to the spirit of the original, but both the structure and the character have been reworked. Hopefully, audiences will be able to enjoy it as a separate piece of contemporary television.

What was it like filming with Sir Ian McKellen?

JC – He is a superb actor and we had enormous fun playing adversaries.

What did you think of Namibia?

JC -The space, the desert and the dunes are awesome. The town of Swakopmund is a strange and interesting place – an authentic German town in the desert of Africa.

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Six appears to have made a friend in 313 (Ruth Wilson). Photo copyright of Granada/AMC

The Prisoner debuts with two episodes on Sunday, November 15th @ 8 p.m. EST/PST and continues at the same time on Monday, the 16th and Tuesday, the 17th. Watch for more Q & As as well as cast interviews as the week goes on.

As noted above, all photos copyright of Granada TV and AMC, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

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