Remember how drunk on power she got in the panty ring era? Orange Is the New Black , one of Netflix's most-watched shows, has grappled with the evils of privatized prisons, injustices against the trans community, and police brutality. I'm with you. She's driving the story. Not many of these topics or this pain really touch Piper—if they ever really did. Just don't expect to see her in the director's chair anytime soon.
I don't do my own stunts—it was a one-off. I'm really in fighting form right now. It's a dark comedy. I actually put on 15 pounds to play the part. Like every woman I know, I have a very complicated relationship with food. The movie really deals with that topic, so it felt really important to me to [put on the weight].
It's not as challenging as you think it would be. Now I understand why people enjoy french fries. Like, I get it. I'm with you. Reubens were my go-to for this one, though. It's just what I wanted to eat. If you eat a Reuben, you're pretty much set. And you have another film, Take Me , premiering here at Tribeca.
What attracted you to that script? That film was one of the first experiences I've ever had on set where I felt really excited and free. There was something so magical about the first two seasons of Orange Is the New Black —that sense of flow you get from a new creative project.
I hadn't felt that in a while. Take Me is wild. The character is crazy. She's got some layers. This woman knows who she is. She's driving the story. There's no "deer in headlights" moment, which is a lot of what Piper's story has been. Speaking of Orange Is the New Black , what can we expect from the upcoming season? And I hope in some small way it might somehow bring even starker relief…the criminality of Trump, and the depth of his violence toward women.
Orange Is the New Black , one of Netflix's most-watched shows, has grappled with the evils of privatized prisons, injustices against the trans community, and police brutality. So it's unsurprising for it to tackle another issue that's nationally and politically resonant.
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I think the show deals with that on so many levels and in so many storylines.
Not many of these topics or this pain really touch Piper—if they ever really did. In season 5, she spent most of her time on the sidelines, something of a stand-in for the viewer, commenting on the wild goings-on of the riot that ensued after the wrongful death of Poussey Samira Wiley at the hands of a prison guard.
This season ends with her wedding to Alex and a surprise early release. This makes it that much harder to feel relief for Piper, who is often naively ignorant at best, or full-on malevolent at worst. Remember how drunk on power she got in the panty ring era? Schilling feels the same way.
Schilling never got there. I try to compare Piper to Breaking Bad 's beloved anti-hero Walter White—who started a life of crime to take care of his family—and she cuts me off. There were always these heightened circumstances and such heightened needs, you know? He always had a reason," she argues.
As we learned with Taystee Danielle Brooks , who returned to Litchfield after violating her parole, being released from prison doesn't necessarily mean you're out for good. But there's something that feels more final with Piper's farewell. Schilling seems tired. So, is Piper worthy of our forgiveness and mercy? As an actor, you can always love a character.
The way Schilling speaks about the character she's spent six years with is almost wistful; I wonder if there's an end in sight for Orange Is the New Black. The actress exhales, then almost laughs. Of course. She, at least, has her eyes on a future post-Litchfield.
But America has changed a lot since then. Gay marriage was legalized across the United States in Image zoom. I think the show deals with that on so many levels and in so many storylines.
Taylor Schilling Is Ready to Hang Up Her Orange Jumpsuit:
And while she has a very specific reaction to a crisis, every other character has their own too. And I hope in some small way it might somehow bring even starker relief…the criminality of Trump, and the depth of his violence toward women. But for Schilling, this is actually more glamour than audiences might be used to, considering her work for the past six seasons as Piper Chapman on gritty Netflix series Orange Is the New Black —a show that helped change the landscape of television and made Schilling a household name.