Taylor Schilling is known for her role as Piper Chapman on the Netflix original comedy-drama series “Orange Is the New Black,” for which she received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Television Series Drama. She made her film debut in the 2007 drama “Dark Matter” by Chen Shi-zheng. Schilling also starred the NBC medical drama “Mercy.” Her other films include Paul Johansson’s “Atlas Shrugged: Part I,” “The Lucky One” by Scott Hicks, “Take Me” by Pat Healy and Lennart Ruff’s “The Titan.”
How did you join this project?
Mary Laws: I was extremely inspired by Nathan Bullingrud’s book, which this series is partially based on. I absolutely loved how human the stories in his book were and how they grappled with really broken people in a genre space which I thought was very unique to the horror genre; it wasn’t a sort of jump scares and cheap thrills type of horror. It was really about the human experience and I thought that that was a ground for exploring a lot of really right material.
Taylor Schilling: On a similar level, I felt really intrigued by the notion of externalizing inner demons into external demons. I liked the idea of making physical the monsters we feel inside and that, for me, was very compelling.
In Taylor’s episode, you have dead makeup. Mary, can you talk about the different stages of the makeup and what you decided to do? And Taylor, can you talk about having it applied?
M.L.: It was really interesting. I’ve never done anything like this, which was fun in and out of itself, just thinking: “Here’s an episode of a show where I can go and pretend.” I did a movie once where this actor was in a chair for hours and I was like: “That would be really interesting, kind of fun” and that was actually a draw.
T.S.: I had a panic attack when they started to put it on my face at the end. So that woman at the very end of that episode when the character has gone full zombie mode isn’t me. They had a really good guy, who I had seen around New York a lot, doing visual effects and I started at the very beginning, asking if we could expand the nose holes and he was just like: “I’ll walk you down to the P.A.” and was like: “She’s going to tap out! We’ve got to tap her out! We’ve got to get the stand-in here.” So, they did; they brought her in and took it off my face and edited into it. I think he’d had enough experience to know that my kind was going to have a panic attack. I learned a lot for my career moving forward. I know my limits thanks to Monsterland!
M.L.: You’re welcome! We worked with KNB who are pretty famous for doing The Walking Dead, but they’re absolutely fantastic monster creators and Jake Garber was our on-set monster-maker and I have to give some props and credit to our A.D. team also because there were so many different phases of Taylor’s incredible makeup. It was just an epic process to know at what phase we were because we obviously shot out of order. But it was definitely really extensive and every layer was a little bit more decayed than the one right before.