All Saints: articles

Chris Vance

Breaking in ... Chris Vance is happy behind bars.

From saint to sinner

Chris Vance is probably the only person in history who is quite pleased he's been thrown into a South American jail.

Where many would see the prospect of spending time behind bars as somewhat daunting, Vance is very happy to be given what he considers "a fantastic career opportunity".

It doesn't hurt that, in this case, the "South American jail" is, in reality, the set of Prison Break season three and that Vance has just landed the role of the new central character in what has become a worldwide success.

"I really can't complain," Vance says, "and even if I did, who would listen?

"This really is a dream job for me and I'm having the time of my life."

Vance, a London-born actor best known in Australia for his recent role as Dr Sean Everleigh in All Saints joined Prison Break this season as James Whistler, a West Australian-born prisoner in Panama's Sona Prison.

Much of this season's action will revolve around Whistler as Wentworth Miller's character Michael Schofield breaks in to Sona to rescue him.

Just why he is so important and what secrets he holds will be revealed as the series progresses, Vance says.

"All I can really say is there is much more to Whistler than meets the eye.

"He's not what he seems when Michael first meets him and getting him out of this absolute hellhole jail is going to be very important to everyone involved."

And that, Vance adds, is going to be a tough job.

"This is absolutely the worst place to end up," Vance says.

"It's a prison where even the guards don't go inside, so it's left to the prisoners to fend for themselves.

"It is most definitely a place you really, really would not want to be."

And, in Whistler's case, things are even worse because there's a price on his head, so while Michael is trying to get him out, everyone else is out to get him.

"It's going to be an interesting ride."

Almost as interesting as the ride Vance is having on set.

The production of Prison Break is a world away from All Saints, the Sona prison set is almost as large as a real prison.

"The set is on a huge piece of land in Dallas and there are just so many rooms and places to shoot," Vance says.

"In All Saints we might shoot something in a corridor then reverse everything so we're shooting the opposite direction and make it look like we were in another part of the hospital.

"Here, if they want another corridor, they build one. If they want another building, they build one. It's quite incredible.

"It's like what I imagine a big budget film would be and while I loved All Saints very much, this is just a very different way to work."

Just whistle

Rarely does a new character in an established series generate such interest as Vance's Whistler. In the global Prison Break fan community, speculation over his past and future has been rife, with the most twisted conspiracy theory so far being: Lincoln was framed and jailed so Michael would rescue him and escape to Panama just so he could be manipulated into breaking Whistler out. It's Whistler, they're claiming who is the real reason for everything on the series.

By Scott Ellis
November 5, 2007
Sydney Morning Herald