Jessica Pimentel talks about shooting the branding scene with Taylor Schilling
The main tension is between Maria and Piper. Did you enjoy pushing Piper around in the prison schoolyard, and how did you and Taylor approach the season?
It was really awesome because I didn’t get to work with Piper so much, Taylor and I only had one one-on-one scene during the blackout in season three when we think we’re getting transferred. This season, anytime we spoke it was an in-your-face situation, so we kept that up as much as possible. For the most part, we did stay in character to keep it tense and keep that energy up. We really didn’t discuss it much. You want to stay focused and give the actor your best performance so they can give it back to you, especially with the elements of filming outside or doing something that requires fire, for example.
What was it like to actually film the scene? What did it require?
We have that element of fighting in close space, fire and multiple people. A lot of things can go wrong if you’re one inch away from where you’re supposed to be. From a technical point of view, I was so excited we were going to get to do something like that. We went in with a stunt choreographer before we shot it and went over the moments for hours and fire safety as well, so we felt very confident going in and I feel that Taylor took that scene everywhere it needed to be. She took me places where I wasn’t planning on going. When we first shot it, they shot me first and we had a stunt double standing in for Taylor and she was great, but it’s not Taylor. The emotion isn’t there the way that Taylor, the actress portraying that part, is going to bring it. When she came in for her shot, she made me cry and she got me to this place where I couldn’t control my anger, almost. I felt the need to have to do it again to justify the level of skill that she brought to that scene. I’m really glad that I did mine over and I hope that we did that scene justice.
Did you break at any point to check on each other?
We didn’t. We gave each other space, of course, between takes, but it wasn’t about, “Taylor, are you OK?” Taylor would be OK, and if she wasn’t, there would be people to take of her, and if I wasn’t there would be other people to take care of me. But she needed to keep that moment going. Those tears are real, the sweat is real and unfortunately, occasionally, the blood is real. We all have our moments!
What were your emotions like while filming the scene?
I did get caught off guard because of the way we set it up. It was a closed set late at night with only a skeleton crew and the people in the scene. So it already felt like the actual scene: That something is not right and we’re somewhere we’re not supposed to be. To see Taylor really go there, 100 percent, it’s unnerving because the person Jessica cares about the person Taylor and you don’t want to see people you love cry. It was so real because it is real, we have to find those real places that happened to us to get those emotions.
You can read the full interview here