Orange Is the New Black triggers a lot of descriptors, chief among them are these: it's hilarious, diverse, honest, unapologetic, and raw. As a comedy-drama that chronicles the lives of female inmates in the fictional Litchfield prison (though the story it's based on is true), it's bound to be all of those.
However, there's also one more word that encapsulates the show which isn't blatantly obvious: it's romantic. From misunderstood prisoners looking for someone to invest themselves in to unfettering bonds, both physical and platonic, between inmates, showrunner Jenji Kohan's groundbreaking series is built on a foundation of, well, love. And these interviews with the cast, conducted during roundtables at a recent NYC press day, prove it.
Uzo Aduba on Suzanne's Relationship With Vee:
"It made me realize how far people go for love...I had asked that question of myself as an actor in season one. It felt like a love story that we were telling for Suzanne...I think I got some scope of my answer in season two...The thing about Suzanne is that she acts first and thinks second and she is not the same as Vee and the difference between her and Vee is that she does feel some kind of way about it and that feeling isn’t, 'Yes I won,' or 'Yes, that worked in my favor. She does feel the impact and the sorrow of it and she does feel hurt and she feels when Vee is gone... These are people that she cares about and because she loves so deeply, anybody, I think, who loves can live."
Taryn Manning on the Parental Bond Between Pennsatucky and Healey:
"I feel that my character is searching for love, and not love necessarily like jumping his bones. I don’t think she has really experienced a lot of positive, or someone to look up to in a sense, so maybe there is even a parental thing."
Natasha Lyonne on the Connection Between Morello and Nichols:
"It certainly seems like, at this point, they are forever bound and they crossed that line of true intimacy, after that [season two] scene on the steps—seeing what Lorna has been through and all. The fact that Nicky makes it so clear to her that she loves her unconditionally despite it and sees her for who she is so completely and all over her potential madness—she's still like, 'I don’t give a fuck, I love you.' Whether that ends up being romantic again or not...I think they crossed that line where they cant necessarily have free-wheeling sex in the same way. They probably need to acknowledge it one way or the other at this point. But I don’t think they will ever not be connected after this."
Samira Wiley and Danielle Brooks on How Their Real Life Friendship Helps Them Play Poussey and Taystee:
Wiley: "Having Danielle with me in those [season two] scenes and having to butt heads with someone like that was a lot better than having to butt heads with somebody that I really don’t like. It felt safe with her and I felt like we were both looking for the truth in the scenes. I don’t know, I just love doing this with Danielle and it just played out on screen."
Brooks: "I agree and I feel like at any moment I could be like, 'Hey Samira, let’s take a moment and run lines.' And we have had moments where we even showed up at one another’s house...to go over a scene and rehearse. That is the type of actor that I'm working alongside and I can call her my friend, so there is trust that has been built there. So it's exciting, even though it is challenging to play parts where I'm pushing Samira and I'm like terrified because I am twice her size. But she knows I got her and I know she got me, so it makes it easy."
Laura Prepon on Her Chemistry With Taylor Schilling:
"It is so weird and chemistry is just either there or not. Like, I have worked with people who there is no chemistry and have been like, 'Fuck what am I going to do?' And I try to, like, put it there when it's not there. But with Taylor, even from the first time we worked together, it was just awesome and you could tell that there was this special thing there. It was this inevitable thing and it’s this palpable thing and it's very odd. When it is there, it's like, 'Thank god.' It's cool because our first scene that we had to do together was our naked scene in the shower in the pilot. That was the first scene we ever shot together."
As told to Tara Aquino (@t_akino)