Laura Prepon Tells Great Stories About The 'Orange Is The New Black' Set & They'll Make You Want To Join The Cast, ASAP
I definitely grew up referring to her as Donna from That '70s Show, but now, Laura Prepon will always be Alex from Orange Is the New Black to me. Every time Netflix releases new episodes, I spend all my time ignoring my responsibilities and my friends and power through the entire season, and a big part of the reason I love the show so much is Alex Vause. Prepon brings so much to the role, and from the way she tells it, playing Alex is actually pretty fun. Of all the interviews Prepon's done since the show premiered in 2013, she always has plenty of stories from the OITNB set to share, and the way she approaches taking on the character is super interesting.
And actually, between everything the actress has said (and from reading dozens of interviews by her cast members, which is something you should definitely do if you don't already), it sounds like playing a Litchfield inmate is the ideal acting job. Not only does playing someone in prison present tons of acting challenges, but working with the show's cast is a blast, and I'm jealous. Even if you've never wanted to get into acting before, Prepon makes working on this show sound like the best job in the world.
Here are some of Prepon's best OITNB insights that she's shared over the past three years. If you're tempted to audition for Season 4, don't worry — you're not alone.
1. On That Dryer Scene With Pennsatucky
Taryn Manning plays Pennsatucky and she and my character do not get along at all, so there is an episode where she locks my character in a dryer because she and I work in the laundry in the prison. But it’s funny because everyone was freaking out about the dryer. Everyone was like “OK, Laura, you’re going to be in the dryer next episode. Are you OK with that? Are you claustrophobic? We’ll poke holes so you can breathe.” I’m like “You guys, I’m like it’s fine, like it’s not a big deal.”
— After Ellen, 2013
Prepon is a far better woman than I am, because I would have been super claustrophobic in that dryer.
2. On The Scenes In The Cafeteria
Eating that food in the cafeteria scenes, that was challenging. Because it was so gross and we all hated it. I would rather be locked in a dryer than have to eat the food in those cafeteria scenes. It was like instant mashed potatoes and like gross eggs that had been sitting around forever. I mean, give it up to our prop guys. They really tried. But they had to feed like a hundred inmates so it’s like whenever we did those scenes, we would all try to find our little tricks on how to make it look like we’re eating but not really eat. And I found a trick. My trick is to eat oranges. My trick is oranges.
— After Ellen, 2013
Wait, the food is actually disgusting on the set? Well, they do film at an actual prison, so...
3. On Sex Scenes With Taylor Schilling
The first scene I ever did on the show was when Taylor [Schilling] and I were in the shower in the pilot. That was our first scene together. And it’s like “OK, cool.” Luckily, we were totally comfortable with each other and had chemistry right away. We literally did one take of that, and she looked at me and was like, “Thank god it’s you.” I’m like, “Girl, thank god it’s you.” Because we were so comfortable. It was funny because when the first season started out, my character was usually the aggressor in the sex scenes. It started out like, “OK, Taylor, my hands are going to be here and my hands are going to be up on here,” and she’s like, “OK, cool.” And then as the season went by, I’m like, “OK, my hands are going to be like here” and she’s like, “Put your hands wherever you want. I trust you, it doesn’t matter.”
— Press Interview, 2014 via Metro Weekly
I'm sure their trust in each other definitely came in handy while filming Season 3.
4. On Working With The Rest Of The OITNB Cast
Oh my God, it's amazing. These women are amazing. Literally, we have so much fun doing this show, because shooting in a prison, you know, the environment - even though we're like a dramedy — the environment can be a little bleak. You wake up in the dark, you go home in the dark, you're working in a prison. It can be a little not seeing the sun for a while — it can get a little rough! But, these women are so amazing and there's so much levity between scenes with dancing or joking around or whatever — it's great.
— Female First, 2014
It's official: I want to be friends with all of them.
5. On Her Favorite Scene She Ever Filmed
I really loved when Piper and I did our flashback in Europe scenes because we got to go to this really great — because we shoot in Queens at our prison — an abandoned children's psychiatric hospital — and it was really nice to be able to film in this beautiful location in Manhattan and do these great scenes together where it was really great acting, and at the end of the day it was so satisfying. That was a really great day.
— Female First, 2014
And if OITNB could give us more of those, that'd be great — for the rest of us and for Prepon.
6. On How The Cast Makes Their Roles Their Own
We all wear the burlap sack uniforms, the gross, whatever, nasty ... we don't have to even shave because you're not going to see anything. At the beginning, the question was, since all these women are individuals and so different, how do we make each person distinctive? I roll my sleeves up, I put my black eyeliner and glasses on. Another character makes her own makeup with Kool-Aid powder and Vaseline. All these cool little things to make our characters into individuals.
— Huffpost TV, 2013
Kool-Aid powder and vaseline... Morello, maybe?
7. On The Cast Shutting Down Hollywood Beauty Standards
And there isn’t another show where you have all these strong, female characters, and to be able to portray a strong female character among this great group of actors is wonderful. And they’re all different shapes, sizes, colors, and creeds. It’s so cool that we get to be this rad mosh pit of inmates that really goes against the idea of what a Hollywood actress has to be.
— The Daily Beast, 2014
Definitely one of my favorite things about the show.
8. On Auditioning For The Show
I originally auditioned for the role of Piper, which I knew I wasn’t right for but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be part of it. After I auditioned I went parasailing around a Germany castle. When I got back they told me that Taylor had gotten the part but asked if I’d be willing to read with her for the role of Alex. I was like, "Wait, the manipulative, drug smuggling lesbian? OK." So I nailed it and 48 hours later I had to move my whole life to New York for a year.
— O Canada, 2013
If you haven't decided by now that you're packing your things and joining the cast of OITNB, I'm jealous of your self control.