Here’s are some quotes from the FYC: Orange Is The New Black panel
More than two years ago, “Orange Is The New Black” actress Samira Wiley sent a cryptic text message to two of her then co-stars (and real-life best friends), Danielle Brooks and Uzo Aduba. “We need to sit down over a glass of wine,” the text message read.
The message, it turned out, was the precursor for Wiley’s impending “goodbye” — spurred by the forthcoming death of her beloved “OITNB” character, Poussey. And, while Brooks and Aduba were somewhat blindsided by the news, Wiley had been privy to it for months already.
“It was heavy,” Brooks remembered, of filming the chilling — and, startlingly relevant — scene in which Wiley’s character (a black female inmate) is senselessly strangled by a white male correctional officer. “It was hea-vy.”
Birnbaum addressed Wiley first to kick off the discussion. “We’re happy to see you alive and well,” Birnbaum joked. “I’m happy to be alive,” quipped Wiley, the 30-year-old actress who has already begun to establish her artistic prowess outside of “Orange” with her comparably resonant supporting role in Hulu’s screen adaptation of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
The panelists laughed. But Poussey’s death, and the incalculable real-world deaths it’s meant to represent, are anything but blithe. And, in the wake of Trump’s political regime, the stakes feel particularly high.
In mirroring the evolving socio-political zeitgeist throughout its four-season lifespan, “OITNB” has tackled a conveyor belt of nightmarish real-world issues, including (but certainly not limited to): prison privatization, police brutality, and Black Lives Matter. And, in doing that, it has catalyzed a wider series of dialogues and a heightened awareness of those issues and how they manifest outside of the show.
“Just by being honest, there’s a ripple effect,” Schilling said, reiterating writer/creator Jenji Kohan’s mantra that “the personal is universal.” Schilling, however, tries to focus predominantly on her role as a storyteller first, advocate second. “Crossing those lines is a political act,” Schilling said, “But that’s not the genesis of it.”
In just a 30-minute timespan, the panelists also managed to touch on a medley of topics, both practical and theoretical, including the philosophies behind Netflix’s push toward innovative TV and “the osmosis of character” (Aduba’s delightfully thoughtful — albeit, roundabout — response to the question “If you could play any character besides your own, who would it be?”).
“My cast is smart,” Brooks cut in, finally articulating the sentiment that had been hanging in the air for the duration of the evening. “That’s all I have to say. Intelligent women.”
You can read the whole article here
Through the storytelling of the Emmy Award-winning Jenji Kohan series, people across the country who may not have known about these issues on a personal level now have a connection and understanding through Poussey. Schilling, who plays leading inmate Piper Chapman, said the show was so honest about the outside world that it turned from personal to universal and inadvertently became a political stance.
“There’s a ripple effect and in our case it allows for the audience to see people who may be outside of their sexuality, race, socioeconomic status, size, gender or many number of things and see how it relates to them,” she said. “I think crossing those lines is a political act, but that’s not the genesis of it.”
Cox echoed Schilling by calling Orange “more than a show” since the issues they deal with are real. “It has us constantly thinking beyond ourselves because the stakes are so high,” she said. “Because people out there in the world are dying.”
You can read the full article here