New interview of Taylor Schilling and Mary Laws with Showbizjunkies
Emmy nominee Taylor Schilling (Orange Is the New Black) leads the cast of season one episode five, “Plainfield, Illinois.” The episode explores the relationship of a couple, played by Schilling and Roberta Colindrez, as they push the boundaries between life and death. Schilling joined Monsterland showrunner and executive producer Mary Laws for a virtual roundtable discussion during New York Comic Con to discuss the source material and Schilling’s riveting (and disturbing) episode.
What type of research did you do to better understand what your character was dealing with, both in terms of having bipolar disorder and also turning into a zombie?
Taylor Schilling: “I think that I had many moments where I felt like I was experiencing my life as a horror film. And it feels that way and it feels that heightened. I think a lot of times it’s just when a script is very well written and feels very emotionally solvent, logical, it’s really just a little bit of detective work to figure out, to connect the dots from what’s happening there to what’s happening other places.
This piece made a hell of a lot more sense to me than other more seemingly simple things I’ve done.”
How do you get into the mindset of someone who’s mentally and physically deteriorating and losing herself as you’re going along in this project?
Taylor Schilling: “I think it’s closer than one would imagine. For me, when the external pieces match the puzzle pieces of the internal landscape it’s really fun. It’s really fun. Everything coalesces and you just can kind of slalom down the slope. So, I think it was a pleasure.”
Was it easier to find her at the beginning of her journey or the end of her journey?
Taylor Schilling: “I think that she was seeking freedom throughout the piece in a really aggressive way. She developed a sense of relief by the end of her story, and that was fun. There were no more constraints. That was really exciting and fun.”
You’ve mentioned you’re not a big horror fan, but you do like psychological thrillers. What is it about them that interests you?
Taylor Schilling: “I’m not opposed to horror films; it’s just never what I click on. It’s not what I’m immediately taken by. That said, any kind of psychological thriller piece where I feel bent emotionally, I feel emotionally manipulated and frightened – I’m all in. I get scared by that. A jump scare I’m like, ‘Really?’ It doesn’t really do much for me. But I want to feel like I’m losing my mind. The mind is really what gets me.
And that’s kind of how I felt about The Prodigy, too. I was fascinated by that woman. And that’s all you can do as an actor, sort of see what comes and then say, ‘Let’s give it a shot. Let’s see how it turns out.’ But that’s what I like. Both (Monsterland and The Prodigy) related in that way, that it felt like the razor’s edge of reality was melting for both of the women in those projects.”
You can read the full interview here