It was all things “Orange Is the New Black” at The Dolby Theatre on Friday (March 14) as night two of Paleyfest 2014 feted the hit Netflix series. With a staggering 12 cast members on stage, as well as creator Jenji Kohan, the event revealed a cast that couldn’t be having more fun with one another and an audience that couldn’t be having more fun watching.
With that many people on stage, it proved hard at times for some to get a word in (poor Michael Harney, who plays the beleaguered Healy, barely spoke once), but the panel was full of hilarity and moments of enlightenment on Season 1, as well as a few teases about the highly-anticipated upcoming second season.
Fan reaction went from 0 to 60 overnight
When asked what life was like once Season 1 was released in 2013, the cast was unanimous on the fact that recognition on the street happened almost immediately. “They’ve assaulted us!” Kate Mulgrew (Red) shouted. The audience laughed, but she didn’t seem to be joking all that much. “It was instant, ladies and gentlemen. Overnight,” she continued.
However, not everyone’s profile was elevated by the series. “Oh, they still call me ‘pie f***er,'” Jason Biggs joked, referencing his “American Pie” fame.
The cast binge watches TV just like the rest of us
Uzo Aduba (Suzanne “Crazy Eyes”) admitted that she devoured Season 2 of fellow Netflix series “House of Cards” in two days, a sentiment much of her co-stars echoed. “There should be a warning halfway through that is like, ‘Change your underpants,'” Yael Stone (Morello) joked.
The real Piper didn’t love everything about the series
Kohan revealed that Piper Kerman, the memoirist whose experiences the show is based on, was upset that the show was being “too kind” to the guards at the prison. “You’re making them people,” Kohan says she was told. But the creator says she wasn’t interested in creating any characters who weren’t layered and multi-dimensional. “They’re all in prison,” she notes.
Not every actor knows their character’s crime
Mulgrew told the crowd that she has no idea what it was, exactly, that landed Red behind bars, though she seems to have her theories. When Kohan admitted to having written the scene that revealed the crime, but throwing it away, Mulgrew quizzed the writer for clues, asking if it had something to do with the bags in the freezer seen during a Season 1 flashback. “Not specifically,” Kohan teased.
Season 2 will feature plenty more flashbacks
While the panel was maddeningly tight-lipped when it came to any real details about Season 2, Kohan did reveal the characters whose backstories will be explored in the new batch of episodes: Morello, Taystee (Danielle Brooks), Poussey (Samira Wiley), Sister Ingalls (Beth Fowler), Miss Rosa (Barbara Rosenblat) and new character Vee (Lorraine Touissant). “A lot of people have their moment to shine,” Kohan says.
New character Vee will change everything
Touissant was particularly cagey when describing her new character, Vee, though she admitted the former drug maven who used children as runners (“Judgement?” she playfully teased the audience as they were audibly shocked at that description) is one of the “more complex character’s I’ve ever played.” “She plays and enjoys the game,” she added, cryptically.
“Nothing’s the same because of Vee,” Aduba warned, while Brooks likened her scenes opposite Touissant to an “Oprah masterclass.”
It’s not easy for everyone to choose their prison wife
After an audience member asked which co-star each cast mate would make their prison wife, plenty of the group shied away from making a decision. Taylor Schilling (Piper) answered, “Polygamy. Everyone.” Laura Prepon (Alex) took the easy way out, saying next, “I second that.” Mulgrew opted to obtain, while Aduba joked, “I have a wife. I don’t know what you’re talking about,” referencing Crazy Eyes’ obsession with Piper.
The only cast mate brave enough to actually answer? Laverne Cox (Sophia), who said decisively, “Alex.” Now, that’s something we’d love to see.
Season 2 of “Orange Is the New Black” premieres on Friday, June 6 on Netflix.