PRISON BREAK’s Robert Knepper joins CULT

000302251“Like my acting teacher in New York said years ago, ‘If you’re gonna play a part, play a great part.’”

That’s what actor Robert Knepper said to me about not one, but two, great parts he has in the new CW series, Cult.

Two in One

Knepper read via tape for the dual role of cult leader Billy Grimm and actor Roger Reeves while he was on location in Santa Fe for Seal Team Six:  The Raid on Osama Bin Laden.

He went on to share a bit about the storyline.  “Grimm is the cult leader.  He will give you unconditional love.  Of course, you’ve gotta give him a lot in return.  But he’s magnetic, charismatic, and very giving, very loving, also very manipulative. He’s very confident and secure on the outside but has a lot of demons floating around.

Crafty Manipulator

“What I love about the project, not just the characters, is that it’s never what you think it is.  Billy really is magnanimous.  All these people come to him, and he plays with their minds.  Most of us don’t do that kind of thing, try to wrap people around our fingers.  He manipulates people and draws them in.  It’s an ego trip.  These people, his followers, love him so much, and they go to great lengths to protect him.”

A Family Matter

One of the people Grimm’s followers have already begun to protect him from is Kelly (Alona Tal).

Kelly grew up with Grimm, and they fell in love.

Knepper said, “As a woman, Kelly decides she wants to break away from the family.  She becomes a cop.  The family members are all up in arms about this, and they will do anything to protect this man.  They start doing his bidding and killing for him.”

Lessons from T-Bag

Knepper, known for his role as T-Bag on Prison Break, was quick to give at least partial credit for this new role to his T-Bag character.

He said, “It was pretty easy to play Billy ‘cos I played T-Bag.  I know what it’s like to be larger than life.  I know what it’s like to be king, to be a leader.  With T-Bag, all I had to do was get that look, that swagger in my hips.  I think you have to have certain aspects to your personality that make producers believe that you can play this kind of part.”

Recurring Role

At the time he was shooting Seal Team Six, Knepper also auditioned, and landed, a recurring role on the upcoming TNT/Frank Darabont project L.A. Noir.

More than Meets the Eye

Knepper summed up, “The characters in Cult are important.  The character relationships are important.  But what’s really important is the idea of the story.  There’s a bigger picture going on here than what you see in the pilot.”

He added, “It’s fresh, it’s clever, and it’s fun.  And I hope it gets picked up.  It’s a very cool concept.”

Cult premieres on February 19 on the CW and also stars The Vampire Diaries’ Matthew Davis.

Cheryl has been a freelance TV/film writer for more than 10 years. Simultaneously, she has worked in PR for Bon Jovi Productions in NYC, PolyGram Records (also in NYC), and Rogers & Cowan Public Relations. Cheryl has published articles at, “Sci-Fi Entertainment” magazine, and “Soap Opera Weekly.” She was also a credited researcher for English author Denis Meikle’s JOHNNY DEPP: A KIND OF ILLUSION. Cheryl enjoys writing for the entertainment industry and meeting new people. She is also an animal lover. 

Article originally posted at Suite101.