You know Eric Lange from his roles on Lost and Narcos, but you might not recognize the 45-year-old actor in Showtime's new prison break potboiler Escape at Dannemora. That's because Lange put on an impressive 40 lbs. for his character, Lyle Mitchell, a bumbling sweetie pie married to Tilly, played by Patricia Arquette.
Based on a true story, Escape at Dannemora follows Tilly as she helps a pair of inmates escape a maximum security prison. She’s got a crush on inmate Sweat, whom she's boinking in the back of the workroom. Her husband, unawares, just thinks they're growing apart, and he plays the role so purely that you can't help but feel sympathetic toward his Lennie Small-type dweeb. Directed by Ben Stiller, it's like Prison Break meets Fargo with a heavy seasoning of tension.
Lange kept the weight on for seven months and even wore fake Austin Powers teeth to get into character as Lyle. Arquette, too, gained 40 lbs. for the project, but the media seems more interested in discussing how men gain and lose for award-winning roles. Over FaceTime, Lange discussed how he slipped into character and how he feels the real-life Lyle may react to his skillful portrayal.