Jenji Kohan’s groundbreaking dramedy Orange Is the New Black began with Piper Chapman’s (Taylor Schilling) imprisonment, and its seventh — and final — season finds her readjusting to life on the outside.
“She’s beginning to navigate what it’s like to live in the civilian world again, and learning that freedom doesn’t come immediately when she steps outside of prison,” Schilling tells EW. “She becomes a little bit bolder expressing what she wants rather than trying to fit in and make it about other people.”
One of the challenges Piper faces in the new season is being separated from Alex (Laura Prepon), whom she married at the end of season 6 before her release. “That’s really what gets dealt with in the season. I think that ends up being what is explored most,” says Schilling. “Piper really realizes that Alex is fundamentally a part of her journey. That’s the choice that Piper is making, that Alex’s love is very important to her.”
As the Netflix series reaches the end of its sentence, Schilling hopes season 7 helps “people feel seen, and that there’s a reflection in the series of what has been happening to the cultural collective.”
It’s Taylor Schilling’s goal to give unsung heroes a voice.
She’s done just that in her portrayal of the queer and rather unlucky prison inmate Piper Chapman on Netflix’s Emmy award-winning show, Orange Is the New Black, which comes to an end later this year. And it’s what she’s hoping to do with Family, her latest dark comedy released April 19.
“The stories that speak to me the most always celebrate otherness and create a human narrative around characters we otherwise find on the margins, bringing them closer to home and making the unacceptable more acceptable,” Schilling tells OprahMag.com. “That journey is what’s exciting at this point in my life—bridging the gap between us and them, even in small ways.”
Here’s a new interview of Taylor Schilling with Parade
From Parade – Schilling spoke with Parade about her experience working on The Public and what its messages say about the world today.
How would you describe The Public, as well as your role in the film?
The genius of Emilio’s script is that he’s able to combine and alchemize so many issues that are happening right now and are probably more relevant at this point than when he even wrote it. The intersectionality of what he covers—the infringement upon our civil liberties, the homelessness crisis, poverty, militarization of the police, to name a few—coalesce in the story he tells over this one night in a public library in Cincinnati. Among many meaty parts, he wrote my character, Angela. What I love about Angela is that she’s a quintessential example of an ally. She beautifully puts aside her own story to make room and amplify the story that most desperately needs to be told. She’s a great role model in that way. It’s a great recipe in how to be an ally: Step out of the way and amplify the voice of the voiceless.