'OITNB's Adrienne C. Moore on Bonding With the Cast & Being an "Auntie" to Taylor Schilling's Future Children
As adaptations go, Orange is the New Black is one of the very best; as good as the memoir it's based on is — and it's very good — the show is simply on another level. Between the acting, the writing, and the tone of suspense that only a TV series can have, Orange has surpassed its source material in every possible way. Still, there are a few occasions in which Piper Kerman's book does come in handy, such as when the cast of the show posts videos about "ghetto dorm" and "the suburbs," and you, the viewer, have no idea what any of it means.
"In the script, each of the different dorms have a name," explains Adrienne C. Moore, Orange 's Black Cindy. "So, like, Piper and Red, they’re suburban dorm. Gloria and Daya, all of them represent Spanish Harlem, and we – Poussey, Taystee, Uzo [Aduba, who plays Suzanne], all of us – we represent the ghetto dorm."
The terms, described by Kerman in her memoir, separate the "cliques" of Litchfield, usually by race or ethnicity. A concept that could be divisive, though, has instead caused some of the biggest bonding moments between the show's cast; just take a look at a few of the hilarious videos posted by Orange actors over the last few weeks for proof.
"We love to post stupid videos," Moore says, laughing. "We have fun, we really have fun."
Coming up with Instagram-ready routines isn't the only thing the cast does for entertainment on set. According to Moore, much of the joy of working on Orange comes from the improv provided by several of the show's actors.
"There’s so many funny people in the show," Moore says. "Like Pablo [Schreiber], he’s always throwing something in there. Or Natasha [Lyonne], Lea [DeLaria], Taryn [Manning], Uzo [Aduba] — everyone!"
Although most of the show's scenes are drawn directly from the script, says Moore, ad-libbing is certainly encouraged — and with a cast full of as many funny women as Orange's, it's no wonder. The series stars a mix of newcomers and TV veterans, including many with backgrounds in comedy; DeLaria, for instance, is a stand-up comedian who's appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show, and Lyonne, before Orange, was known best for American Pie. Yet for those like Moore, whose previous experience was limited to theater and a few episodes of 30 Rock, joining a cast that renowned wasn't as intimidating as one might expect.
"It was a very easy transition," Moore recalls, adding that she was friends with Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee, prior to joining the show. "I remember the first day, she was showing me around set, introducing me to everybody... that’s, I think, what made me not want to go home and just keep working there. Like, 'I could get real comfortable on this set, working with these people!'"
Moore, who joined the show several episodes into the first season, quickly learned the ropes — including which actors were eerily similar to their TV characters (Brooks, Samira Wiley) and which ones were nothing alike.
"I definitely think Uzo is different from Crazy Eyes," Moore says, laughing. "And Annie Golden, who plays Norma, is definitely different. I mean, Annie talks, she loves to talk."
And, as Moore soon discovered, when it came to screen time, all the Orange actors, regardless of background, were on equal ground.
"The audience gravitates towards so many different characters," Moore says, adding that the show could highlight practically any character in the prison, and "you wouldn't feel robbed."
"[Viewers] see themselves, or they see familiarity in family members or people in their lives, and so it’s great to sort of take that, that chance to focus the lens camera in different places," Moore says.
The show's equality translates to the cast's relationships, as well. Moore describes the ever-growing ensemble as a "family," albeit "a huge one, with like, 10 kids."
"I definitely think that we’re all friends," she says, although due to the show's rising popularity, "it’s a little bit harder to hang out as a group now."
Season one, for instance, several cast members had a viewing party at the home of Alysia Reiner, who plays Fig. Now, though, organizing something like that is significantly harder, thanks to the increasingly busy schedules of the now-famous cast.
"We're like multiple ships passing in the night," Moore says.
Still, much of the cast does try to make the effort to get together, just in smaller groups.
"There are little off-branches," Moore explains. "Like, I hang out with Vicky [Jeudy] a lot, who plays Janae on the show — we go to church together sometimes and we go get food or go shopping."
It's those rare times where the cast is all together, however, that provide the foundation for "the lifelong friendships" between the women.
"I remember Taylor [Schilling] once said, 'I feel like when we start having kids, we’ll be like leaving our kids with each other, like, go see Auntie Adrienne! Go see Auntie Natasha!'" Moore said. "And I really feel that way, I really do."
Images: Netflix (2); acmoore9/Instagram