Hypable attended Orange is the New Black’s panel at PaleyFest 2014 Friday night where the cast teased fans about the highly-anticipated new episodes.
Season 2, a major new character, the show’s important messages, and binge watching’s effect on writing OITNB were the focuses of the night.
The panel was made up of show stars Michael Harney, Uzo Aduba, Lorraine Toussaint, Laverne Cox, Jason Biggs, Laura Prepon, Yael Stone, Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Taryn Manning, Jenji Kohan, Natasha Lyonne, Danielle Brooks, and creative/executive producer Jenji Kohan.
Here’s what we learned during the 75-minute discussion…
– Kohan said Netflix let her have full control of the show without any intervention on their part. “Basically they said, until you fuck up, we will let you do your thing.'” Added Laura Prepon who plays Alex, “They really did. Sometimes networks tend to micro manage,” but not Netflix.
– Kohan said the fact that viewers binge watch the show influenced the way they wrote season 2. For example, all characters won’t be appearing as often as they did in season 1. Kohan argues that this is okay because you’re watching multiple episodes back to back anyway, so you won’t notice they’re missing from a particular episode. “We realized that characters wouldn’t be gone when viewers are watching binge style,” she said.
The creator also admitted that the pacing is different for the second season. “We don’t have to pack everything into one,” referring to opening and closing plot lines every episode. She added that the binging viewership also means they don’t have to do recaps. Hypable got the impression that this is how they’re working around Prepon’s limited filming schedule, since reports say she appears in several episodes but not all of them.
– Speaking of Prepon, the actress says that when word got out that she wouldn’t be in many episodes in season 2, she was moved by the fan support. “It was overwhelming. I love these girls, I love Jenji. When there was a bit of a scheduling conflict the love I got from the fans was amazing.”
– Kohan says that she knows how Red ended up in prison, but the actress who portrays her, Kate Mulgrew, still doesn’t. When Mulgrew heard Kohan say this, she gave her a look of disgust we’d expect from Red. Maybe we’ll hear about it in season 3?
– Lorraine Toussaint plays a new character named Vee in season 2. When we first see her she “enters silently.” Though the actress was quiet for most of the panel, when directly asked about her new character, she said Vee is “one of the more complex characters” she’s ever played, and one of the most difficult.
“She’s a complex, interesting character who interacts intimately with all these characters,” referring to everyone up on stage. “She’s not afraid of intimacy,” she told the crowd to several intrigued gasps. Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee, said that working with Toussaint is like “taking an Oprah master class.” The panel agreed that Vee will stir things up, and that “nothing will be the same” after her.
– Jason Biggs says that season 2 will see him trying to find a way for Larry and and Piper to work. “When we left them in season 1, their relationship was precarious at best. In season 2, Larry’s figuring out if the damage is irreparable. I really believe they love each other,” he said. “I believe there’s something there and it’s hard for him to just give up on it. Season 2 will see him figuring that out.”
– Lea DeLaria, who plays Big Boo, made a surprise appearance halfway through the event. She says that she’s started keeping count of how many screwdrivers she’s been asked to sign and is up to 44.
– At the end of the panel, a fan asked who each cast member would like to have as their prison wife. Taylor Schilling, who plays Piper, said she’d be with everyone (“Polygamy.”), which led others to answer with the same statement. Laverne Cox said she’d be with Lauren Prepon.
Orange is the New Black’s PaleyFest event was an entertaining evening for fans, and the cast looked like they were having an equally great time.
Season 2 premieres June 6 on Netflix.