'Orange Is The New Black' Season 4 Hints From Annie Golden Tease "Dangerous" Conflict At Litchfield

On Netflix's hit prison show Orange is the New Black, Norma Romano doesn't say much to her fellow inmates at Litchfield prison, but her portrayer Annie Golden has a lot to say about the hit series' upcoming fourth season. In an interview with Bustle, Golden shared some Orange Is The New Black Season 4 spoilers that'll get fans excited for the next chapter show. In Season 3, the Litchfield inmates survived a bed bug infestation, secrets, betrayal, improv, and erotic fan fiction, but the finale showed that the prison was getting ready for a new busload of inmates, doubling the current capacity. "Now, we're crowded and, when people get squeeze, stuff goes down," Golden says. "Everyone is going to feel a little suffocated."

She continues: "There will be lots of things revealed about the ladies from Litchfield and there are going to be new characters for the fans to get acquainted with to know and love — or love to hate. I'd be interested to see the fans and audience's reaction." Her quiet character, Norma, who led her own religion of sorts in Season 3, will face new challenges and new threats in the upcoming season as well. "She's going to have to explain herself to everybody now. If she finds herself in the hallway with new people and they don't know her story — if they speak to her and you don't answer somebody, that's a throwdown. An immediate altercation. It's dangerous for her in Season 4."

Sounds intense. Check out what else Golden had to say about OINTB, feminism on the set, and her punk rock days.

Norma's Expanded Role In Season 3

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In the third season episode "Tognue-Tied," Norma got her own flashbacks, which revealed her past in a hippie cult leader's scam — and, in the present, she led her own benevolent group of followers. Golden says she loved how Norma's past tied into her own: Her acting career began when director Milos Foreman cast her in the movie Hair after seeing her perform as lead singer of The Shirts at CBGB in New York City (see below).

"It's interesting that she came into her own this season and I would not have guessed what that was, but [showrunner] Jenji [Kohan] is also honoring, what I felt, what the fans expect of me and my legacy," Golden says. "She's saying Annie Golden is the flower child who will not wilt. And from that back story, Norma came into her own — she didn't say she had powers. Norma was just love, peace, and non-confrontational."

Her Punk Rock Days

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Yup, you read that right. Back in the '70s, Golden was the lead singer of the punk rock band called The Shirts, which regularly headlined Lower Manhattan's CBGB. Golden even recalls showrunner and executive producer Jenji Kohan showing YouTube clips of The Shirts to the younger crew and talent on set and telling them, "Yup, that's Annie."

And, according to Golden, the punk rock movement was way more feminist than you may have thought. "It was such a fertile bed of creativity and the women were represented equally with the men, which didn't really happen in the boys club of rock music," she remembers. "Women were in the front and not as eye candy or a device. They were bandmates, creators, composers, and collaborators." 

Challenges Of Playing A Mute Character

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It's a gift, and it's a challenge. It really separates Norma for the rest. "The interesting thing is that she chooses not to speak. She can, but she chooses not to," Golden says. She believes it's Norma's way to staying out of trouble at Litchfield.

Norma's voice has been heard a few times so far in the series, including the Season 1 finale's Christmas pageant, in which Norma sang. Golden says she loved that fact that it was a tribute to her days as a singer and musician (see below), "I never thought that Norma would utter a word, but what a wonderful thing to have her sing," she says. "I don't speak, so I have to find a way to project what it is my character means and represents."

Benefits Of OITNB's Women-Dominated Set

Orange is the New Black is a rare TV series that has a diverse, all-women cast, as well as a female showrunner in Kohan — and it's something that Golden appreciates a lot. "For so long, every area I've been involved with has been a boys club," she says. "It's really terrific to be on a set that is run by women, but also the men are there and they're comfortable with it. The men who want to be there and know it's good."

Golden also has a lot of praise and loyalty for Kohan, who previously created and ran Showtime's Weeds. "We feel like so much is written to our strengths and she really cares about us, honors us, and understands us," Golden says. "She really wants to showcase us in the best possible way." 

It sounds like there will be lots more amazing work showcased in Season 4, which premieres on Netflix Friday 3 a.m. ET, and I personally can't wait.

Images: JoJo Whilden, Jessica Miglio/Netflix

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