Laura Prepon talks about Taylor Schilling, Piper & Alex with THR
The trauma, and Alex’s subsequent vulnerability, has her inching her way back to Piper (Taylor Schilling) in what seems to signal a slow-burning reunion — the pair broke up in season three when Piper left Alex for Stella (Ruby Rose).
“Alex really needs Piper and needs that relationship to kind of humanize her again,” says Prepon about Alex’s headspace.
“That stuff changes people,” says Prepon about what both characters experience this season. “We’ve seen them go through so many things, but it’s always grounded in the fact that they do really love each other. So when everything hits the fan, they go to each other.”
You’ve spoken before about how Alex and Piper are magnets to each other. Is Piper Alex’s soulmate, albeit a damaged or twisted one?
I definitely think that there’s a part of that. Ultimately, you just can’t control where your heart goes. Anybody would look at that relationship and be like: Alex needs to get as far away from Piper as possible, and maybe visa versa. The fact remains is, you can’t control it and it’s one of those things where you almost can’t help yourself.
The first half of this season sees them off on their own storylines. You know the fans are watching the first six episodes and just waiting for more Alex and Piper.
In season four there is a lot of Alex and Piper, it’s just a different dynamic. They always have that magnetic thing, but it’s more about how they’re both going through these crazy things. Their dynamic has kind of changed a little bit. It’s also like the Ross and Rachel thing [from Friends] where: you can’t always have them together. They have to breakup and get back together again, and breakup and get back together again. Alex and Piper are really different from Ross and Rachel, obviously, but it’s that thing of: You can’t keep the main relationship together, you always gotta keep it interesting.
What do you enjoy more: The scenes where they’re a happy couple, or the ones where there’s the push and pull?
Honestly, I love all their scenes together. I love the crazy library scenes from season three and I love scenes where she and I are just hanging out and talking and whatever, so it depends. Taylor and I just have great chemistry so I love when they do scenes together. In season three, there was so much of that tumultuous tension, especially in the beginning of the season with the hate-sex and all of that, but then this season when they’re together, it’s more because they need each other. They’re always going to have a tumultuous relationship no matter what, that’s just the way they are.
As the season progresses, we see them start to gravitate towards each other again. How much of that is Alex needing Piper, and then how much of it is Piper needing Alex after her swastika attack goes down?
I think both of them realize: when stuff goes down, they go to each other for help and for love and for a lot of different reasons. They have their different kind of fights, but when it comes down to it, when they need each other, they’re there for each other. We’ve seen them go through so many things, but it’s always grounded in the fact that they do really love each other. So when everything hits the fan, they go to each other.
When Alex, Red and Norma (Annie Golden) are fixing Piper’s tattoo in episode eight, that seems like the moment where Alex and Piper are really reconnected.
Piper started acting like this big fish in this little pond and Alex is just like, “No, I don’t think so. This isn’t you.” So when the branding thing happens, it’s like Piper learns a lesson and in that moment, when we see that she’s totally freaked out and scared and in over her head, I think Alex is there for her and realizes she’s going to be there for her because she’s just in over her head.
With everything being upped in intensity his season — and more is to come during the show’s final episodes — do you see Alex and Piper getting to a point where they need each other on a deeper level, and maybe even where they won’t break up every few episodes?
Honestly, I don’t know. Alex and Piper, because it is a tumultuous thing, I don’t know if people like that can stay together for too long. Something happens where they break up but because they really care about each other they get back together, and it’s this whole push-pull thing. That’s not going to change anytime soon, I don’t think. Because they would literally have to become two different people. And again, when stuff happens like this or like the incident that Alex has gone through or that Piper has gone through: that stuff changes people.
You can read the full interview here