“I’m really non-confrontational... I don’t even like to argue,” said O’Keefe, who played to perfection the ruthlessly homicidal operative Gretchen Morgan, aka Susan B. Anthony, on the nail-biting serial drama. The blue-eyed beauty regularly doled out punishment as if ice water coursed through her veins -- until Fox cancelled the series after four seasons of surprise and suspense.
It turns out, however, that Prison Break’s death sentence has gotten a very temporary stay of execution. Fans of Michael Scofield and his felonious cohorts will be treated to one last adventure in the form of a direct-to-DVD movie entitled Prison Break: The Final Break. And as fate would have it, the recently incarcerated Gretchen plays a major role in Scofield’s final caper, which, true to formula, involves yet another prison escape.
The movie, comprised of two additional unaired episodes and released as of July 21, will answer any lingering questions surrounding what happened to the characters in the four years between the demise of the insidious “Company” and Michael’s tragic death, which left many grieving viewers angry or in flat-out denial.
Upon learning Michael’s fate, “I kinda had the same reaction as everybody else,” said O’Keefe. “So we think he’s dead, but he’s not really dead and now they’re going to explain how he’s not really dead.” Since the series finale aired this past May, fans have been peppering her with theories on the show’s controversial ending, even proposing that perhaps Michael faked his death for reasons yet to be explained.
While she wouldn’t reveal any plot secrets, O’Keefe understands why some people are inclined to believe that the finale was a fake-out. After all, she recalled, “I cut off Sara’s head and put in a box -- and all of a sudden, I didn’t,” referring to how Gretchen decapitated Michael’s love interest in season three, only to reveal in season four that it was all a ruse and she was very much alive.
Speaking of severed body parts, was there ever a better pairing of TV villains than when Gretchen reluctantly partnered up with vile, one-armed sex offender Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell? Together, these two baddies could do no right.
“He’s so good at being so bad,” said O’Keefe of Robert Knepper, who returns as T-Bag in the movie. “I was actually nervous for the first couple of scenes we worked together. I was thinking to myself, ‘Can I live up to how creepy he is?’”
Previously best known for playing Chuck Norris’ daughter on Nash Bridges, O’Keefe not only delivered more than her fair share of malevolence, but she also discovered that she was a lot tougher than she thought.
As it turns out, “I’m pretty good at fighting. I did a lot of the stunt work myself,” said O’Keefe, who once allowed herself to be waterboarded in a torture scene because she thought it would look less genuine if her stunt double stepped in. “Then I’m thinking, ‘This is not such a good idea,’ as they put the plastic wrap on my face,” she admitted. “That gave me nightmares for I can’t tell you how long.”
Despite the occasional nightmare, O’Keefe has been living a dream for the last two years. “The most memorable thing about this whole experience is learning that I can actually do this,” she said. “Because I had my doubts in the beginning.”