Orange is the New Black: Getting intimate with (Piper) Taylor Schilling

Orange is the New Black is the sensational Netflix comedy-drama in its fifth season. We interrogate Taylor AKA Piper Chapman on what it’s like being America’s favorite cellmate.

How do you think you’d handle prison life in reality?  I know if I wouldn’t stand a chance going to prison. Piper and I are different except for the similarity of having a life that sort of fits into the status quo. I can relate to that. It’s completely different and who knows how you’re going to fare. It’s always the question. Anytime you enter something new, but certainly something as extreme as prison.

How do you feel about Piper Kerman (the Creator of the show)?  I really have had a great time with Piper Kerman. The real Piper. Just the way that she lives her life, I think she’s such an extraordinary woman. She’s really taken her own experience and translated it into a way to help so many women and to use her own personal journey to impact the journey of lots of people around her. So in that way I’m fascinated with the work she does with the women’s prison association and the work she does for inmates rights all over. And she gave me a lot of clarity into specific details of prison life that I wouldn’t have without her perspective.


What do you feel about Piper’s sobering journey?  I love the idea of people starting out kind of fucked up and getting more fucked up. I think that’s so interesting. To have somebody that’s dealing with like an identity crises and maybe it keeps getting worse. Going from bad to worse. I think that’s a really interesting human situation.

Netflix has changed series viewing. How do you feel about binge-watching an entire season?
I love the idea that people can take as much as they want. It gets released and then the next day maybe somebody’s watched all thirteen hours already. That people can really immerse themselves in their world and that way if almost feels like even bigger than a movie or more than a play. You can get completely soaked in this world. Which I think is really neat. It’s so cool.

Some of the best times on the set are?  When we’re all together on set shooting these big ensemble scenes. I know that those are the days that I look forward to a lot. It’s incredibly overwhelming. It’s really fun.

How do you think your character’s changed?  She feels tougher, realistic. What should we expect? She’s starting to see and really appreciate this group of women and how they’re supporting each other and she’s also becoming more and more aware of how corrupt the prison system is. She’s not as afraid to bring all of who she is to the table. And I think she’s just learning who that is. She’s learning what all those parts of her are.

Poor Larry…or not?  In some ways Larry for her is an older life, a life that is played by the rules, a life that is socially acceptable. And Alex is all things that aren’t socially acceptable. Alex is all things that are raw and scary and dark and real and all those places that feel dangerous to touch.

And finally… I feel so proud of the show. And more than anything, I have so much fun doing this job. It doesn’t feel like a job.