New interview of Taylor Schilling with Mercury + NEW still from ‘Orange Is The New Black’ season 7

New interview of Taylor Schilling with Mercury and new still from OITNB season 7


From Mercury

After seven years on Orange Is the New Black, Taylor Schilling’s Piper Chapman is adjusting to life on the outside. And she’s finding it more problematic than she’d imagined.

“The show changed all of our lives tremendously,” Schilling says. “It’s so wild to look back on these last seven years. I’ve done some movies [Take Me, The Titan] and plays in between the seasons, but to have this be definitely over is such a ripe moment to move forward in different ways.”
With so much riding on the finale of such a popular show, Schilling is confident its end features suitably high-quality writing, given its past six Writers Guild nominations and a Primetime Emmy nod for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. “When I read the last script, I just felt such intense gratitude that it was so good,” she says, breathing a sigh of relief. “I was so happy that it was so good. I was reading it and just being like, ‘Oh my God!’ So happy. I love the finale which I feel is powerful for Piper and I feel like it’s some of the more interesting work that Piper has done, that I have done, on that show for a while.”

Read more after the jump

It’s not all plain sailing for Piper though, as her wife Alex (Laura Prepon) remains incarcerated. “Yes, that was sad,” she nods. “Alex is the love of her life. They have a tumultuous relationship, but love is love,” she shrugs, not wanting to elaborate on how they navigate their relationship in the upcoming season. Interestingly, Prepon notes that when she first auditioned for the show, it was for a different role. “I went in for Piper. But then Jenji [Kohan, creator] said, ‘Actually we’re thinking of Alex for you’,” she says. “I said ‘Wait! You mean the drug smuggler?’ But when I got over that and read it again, I realised, ‘Oh yeah, Alex is my girl’. Taylor and I read together for the first time, she as Piper and me as Alex, it was kismet. Two days later, we started filming.”
Though Piper has earned her get out of jail card, she hasn’t escaped her own personal demons. It turns out that freedom presents obstacles of a different kind. “Both in prison and out are confining in their own ways. And I think what was so interesting to realise was that Piper was still facing herself and her challenges outside of those prison walls.” And what’s in store for Schilling, now that she’s also a free agent? “I’m taking some acting classes right now,” she says. “I started in theatre, I went to graduate school at NYU and I really miss that experience so I’m looking forward to getting back on stage. And I am so looking forward to having a bit more of a clear schedule and an ability to challenge myself and collaborate with new people and seek out the stories that I want to tell. So, basically I’m just following my own curiosity and wherever my sense of freedom takes me. Basically, I’m waiting for something that feels very satisfying.”
Many actors sneak souvenirs from a set when a show ends. Is there an orange jumpsuit in Schilling’s wardrobe? “Well, no, but I do have my name tag with a photograph of my face on it from when we started the show,” she says with a laugh. “That is pretty special.”
For Schilling, so is the fact that OITNB helped to shine a light on women who are incarcerated, and debunked a few taboos and myths surrounding the female prison population. “I think that one of the most exciting things about having any kind of a platform or any kind of success in this arena, is that the potential to create more visibility around any issue is huge. And so I think Orange has done that. It’s a real gift, which is incredibly valuable and beautiful. My hope is that the show was able to do a lot for incarcerated people.” As to how Schilling has personally indulged in the benefits of fame and success, she says: “The most magic thing that has happened to me from this show, without a doubt, was at a Netflix party. It was a couple of years ago, years ago now, but I had just read one of Jane Fonda’s autobiographies and I was at this party and I saw her sitting right there!” she recalls, enthusiastically. “A friend introduced me to her and she told me she was familiar with my work! So getting the chance to establish a relationship with her was mind-blowing.”

Looking back on her career so far, what advice would she give her younger self if she could turn the clock back? “I would tell her that she is enough. I’d say that whatever is happening at that moment, what life changing things may occur, that she remains enough.”

Mercury | Still

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