Orange Is The New Black is one of many shows on Netflix right now that people are absolutely obsessed with. It’s a popular choice for anyone who wants to binge-watch an entire season in one sitting, and the producers of this show know it. That’s why the script is actually written specifically for people who like to binge watch, as there are no “recaps” of what happened last episode, and the writers don’t really have to worry about including each character in every single episode.
This is really something that has never been done before, and Netflix probably knew they were taking a little bit of a risk with this one. To say that Orange Is The New Black is controversial would be a massive understatement. This show got a lot of people talking, and many are shocked by its adult and non-traditional gender themes. But you know what? Shows with a controversial nature sell. Everyone wants to see something that is a little different and scandalous.
And who hasn’t thought about what women’s prisons are like? It’s definitely a mystery that hasn’t really been touched by Hollywood in the past. But as strange as female prisons are, what happens behind the scenes of this show might even be stranger. The show deals with some pretty weird stuff, and everything surrounding the show, both on camera and off, seems to follow this trend of weirdness. But that just makes it even more interesting…
15. The Real Alex Vause Says The Show Lied
Catherine Cleary Wolters is the real “Alex Vause.” You can see the resemblance with these two photos, although clearly the glasses are the defining characteristic. As the story is mostly told from Piper Kerman’s point of view (the real Chapman), we never really get to hear Wolters’ version of the events. But according to her, the show got a lot of things completely wrong – and now she’s speaking out:
“We did not have s*x in prison,” said Wolters, “Not even a little bit. I was not Piper’s first, and I certainly did not seduce her. We weren’t girlfriends. We were friends with benefits… I was not the older sexy, glamorous lesbian who snatched her from her pristine Smith College cradle.”
And what about the court case at the beginning of the show, where Alex Vause is implied to have spilled the beans on Piper, landing her in jail? Well, according to Wolters, everyone talked, even Piper: “They had picked the first round of us up two years prior to Piper’s somewhat congenial visit from the feds. So, yes, I named her, she named me, and we all named each other. The fact was, we all thought we were doing the right thing, confessing, getting protection, and saving ourselves from certain death at the hands of a Nigerian drug lord who we knew would soon find we had all been arrested.”
14. One Of The Writers Left Her Husband For One Of The Actresses
One of the craziest stories that happened behind the scenes of Orange Is The New Black involves a writer, and actor, and a romance that seems like it was taken straight out of the show itself. Lauren Morelli is a writer for the show, and actually discovered that she was a lesbian only a few days into the first few episodes. She admits: “I realized I was gay in fall 2012, one of my first days on the set. In Piper and Alex, I’d found a mouthpiece for my own desires and a glimmer of what my future could look like.”
Things happened really fast afterwards, and the writer fell in love with Samara Wiley, who plays the character of Poussey on the show. She then divorced her husband, and started dating the woman. This shocked a lot of people, but not too many actually found out about it until much later. Her husband took it pretty well, and was understanding about the whole thing. It seems like Morelli’s process of writing the show and watching it being performed was all part of her inner process of finding her s*xuality, which actually makes the show even more substantial.
13. Natasha Lyonne Was A Real Addict
Natasha Lyonne is another amazing actress on the show, and she plays the character Nicky Nichols. This actress has had one of the longest and most impressive careers out of all the other talent that appears on Orange Is The New Black, and has experience with countless movie and television projects. Her character is one of the most interesting in the prison, and she is clearly someone who really struggles with all kinds of things. Despite her inner turmoil, she maintains a very strong, confident exterior, and is usually the first people to make a witty remark when something goes awry.
But as it turns out, there are actually some pretty amazing similarities between Lyonne and the character she portrays. One of the biggest conflicts within this character is her struggle with addiction. It’s clear that her addiction to drugs is something that will one day destroy her, and she must find a way to get clean. But Lyonne knows exactly how this feels, because she too has struggled with addiction over the years. In one scene, Nicky shows Piper a scar on her belly, which is a result from a bacterial infection resulting from drug use. This scar is a real mark on Natasha Lyonne’s body, and a relic from her drug-addicted past.
12. Taryn Manning Was Thrown In Jail Days Before Getting The Part
Another key character in the series is Pennsatucky, a dangerous and highly religious inmate who hates Piper. The character is portrayed by the very talented Taryn Manning, who has appeared in countless other projects and is a very well-known actor. But just days before she landed the part on Orange Is The New Black, she found herself in jail. This is a bizarre case of life imitating art, as she would later be playing a character in a very similar situation. But it’s probably safe to say that this wasn’t the way Taryn Manning envisioned herself “getting into character.”
She was arrested for assaulting a former friend. She made the following statement: “I made a poor, poor choice under stress and, you know, we do sometimes, as humans, we hit a threshold and we can snap. I got into a physical altercation with someone I’ve known a long time. So stupid. So that was terrible and I went to jail and I deserved it. And I’m here to tell the tale and I never want to go through that again.”
11. Laverne Cox’s Twin Brother Played Her In Pre-Transition Flashbacks
Another character who is integral to Orange Is The New Black is Sophia Burset, a transgender woman who is trying her best to deal with her prison sentence. She’s one of the most confident, outspoken women in the prison, and she passes the time by giving the other ladies haircuts. Her inclusion in the show marks a turning point for trans actresses and actors, who rarely get this type of exposure on mainstream projects such as Orange Is The New Black. Her character deals with many issues that trans people deal with on a daily basis, such as discrimination, loneliness, and alienation.
One of the most interesting parts of this character’s journey, and the show in general, is the series of flashbacks to Sophia Burset’s pre-transition self. Her post-transition character is of course played by Laverne Cox, who was pretty well-known across social media before landing the role. But what many people don’t know is that her pre-transition self is not actually played by her. Her twin brother actually played this role, and many people wrongly thought it was Laverne Cox.
10. Taylor Schilling Got Injured During A Love Scene
Some of the most shocking moments in Orange Is The New Black are the explicit scenes. Sometimes these are heteros*xual love scenes between a man and a woman, but there are also plenty of lesbian love scenes between prison inmates. This show definitely steps into uncharted territory in this regard, and for the most part, the show pulls it off with style.
But one of these scenes didn’t end go so well, especially for Taylor Schilling. She revealed in one interview that she actually cut herself on the name tag of her prison uniform as she was pulling her shirt off. The name tag somehow sliced her face in a freak accident, leaving a huge gash. Taylor Schilling admitted, “I hurt myself. I got very excited, I took my shirt off and I scratched myself with my little name tag. There was a gash on my face — there was blood.” The gash was so deep that the crew couldn’t hide it with makeup, so if you look closely you can still see the cut in this scene.
9. The Cast Wears Real Prison Underwear While Filming
One of the funniest episodes in Orange Is The New Black is when the air conditioning breaks down, and all of the women have to walk around in their underwear. In this episode, we see that underwear is part of the uniform of a prisoner as well, just like their iconic orange clothes. This was the first and only episode where we got to see these prisoners walking around in their underwear, and it led to some pretty hilarious moments, especially in regards to the male prison guards, who were clearly a little uncomfortable by this whole debacle.
But while this episode might’ve been the only time we saw them in their undergarments, it wasn’t the only time the actresses were wearing them. In fact, the actresses wear genuine prison underwear every single time they walk onto set. It’s a way for them to get fully into character, and really feel what it’s like to be a prisoner at a women’s prison.
8. It’s Based On A Real Story
Probably the worst-kept secret of Orange Is The New Black is that it’s based on a real story. Those who read the book before the show came out already know this, and the story is loosely based on the experiences of a woman named Piper who was incarcerated. It’s always stunning and interesting when you’re watching a show and you realize that some of the events you’re witnessing actually happened, and this is definitely the case with Orange Is The New Black. The accuracy and realism that this show portrays is no accident, because the real Piper was pretty involved in the show and makes visits to set quite often.
But there are some pretty major differences between what happens in the show and what the real Piper actually experienced. For example, prison life is nowhere near this crazy and interesting in real life. While some of the more bizarre and shocking incidents in the show did actually happen, they didn’t occur on a regular basis. In the book, one of the main themes is that prison is really, really boring, and that times moves very slowly. But of course a show where nothing happens would be really boring, so things were tweaked. This is something that Netflix execs might not want you to know about.
7. Katie Holmes Was Slated To Play Piper
One of the things that might surprise you the most about this show is that Katie Holmes was very close to landing the role of Piper before Taylor Schilling swooped in and stole it from her. It’s crazy to imagine what the show would’ve been like if Katie Holmes had played the lead role instead of Schilling. Would she make the same choices in her acting style? Would we feel the same way about Piper? Probably not. Each actor is unique, and their choices come from within their own personality. Katie Holmes would have brought a piece of herself into her portrayal of Piper, and she would’ve behaved in a very different way as a result.
As far as who would’ve done it better, who knows? Katie Holmes is of course a very accomplished actress with years and years of experience under her belt, and could probably play any role at this point and do a good job. But we have to trust the casting directors for this show, as these professionals definitely know how to pick the right actress for the role. And Schilling was indeed a great choice.
6. Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes) Almost Quit Acting
One of the most memorable characters in Orange Is The New Black is Crazy Eyes, played by Uzo Aduba. This character really gives a unique flair to the show, and Aduba’s acting talent is one of the most tantalizing elements of each episode she appears in. It’s hard to imagine the show without Crazy Eyes, as she represents so many people that are actually in prison: the misunderstood, those will mental health issues, and those that are very lonely. Aduba is seen as an unpredictable character, and in the first few episodes she is seen as one of the inmates that Piper should probably steer clear of… But later, we get to know Crazy Eyes, and it’s a wonderful discovery of what really lies beneath that strange demeanor.
But Alex Aduba was very close to not playing this character at all. In fact, she was close to never playing another character again in her life, as she decided to quit acting after a failed audition for Janae Watson, the character who is a former track star and inmate at the prison. She would have been perfect for the role, since Aduba herself was once a track star. But when she didn’t get a callback, she decided to quit acting. However, she changed her mind when casting called her and offered the role of Crazy Eyes instead. She was this close…
5. Adrienne Moore Is A Huge Prankster
Of all the characters on the show, Black Cindy is definitely one of the funniest and a favorite for countless fans who love Orange Is The New Black. She’s loud, she’s proud, and she definitely doesn’t have any trouble standing up for herself. The actress who plays this character, Adrienne Moore, seems to bring so much of her own personality to this character, and her on-screen presence is magnetizing as a result. She really makes you feel as though Black Cindy is a real person who is actually living in prison. And the character seems to be pretty well-adjusted to life behind bars. She’s confident, she knows all the tricks to making life in prison comfortable, and she’s definitely not letting incarceration get her down.
But what’s Adrienne Moore like in real life? Well, according to many other actresses, she’s a huge prankster behind the scenes. Whenever actresses get asked who’s the funniest person when the cameras aren’t rolling almost everyone says Adrienne Moore.
4. Danielle Brooks And Samira Wiley Studied Together At The Performing Arts School Juilliard
The caliber of acting on this show is almost unbelievable. All of these amazing, talented women seemed to come out of nowhere and showed that they have just as much talent as all the big name actors and actresses. Some even have more talent. Of course, there are many actresses on the show who have done big things in the past, but the core of the prison inmates are faces that we’ve never seen before. Did they just walk in off the street and land these roles by a fluke? Where did they all come from?
Well, as it turns out, many of these actresses are incredibly well-trained. This is hardly a surprise, given the level of talent on display in each episode. For example, Danielle Brookes and Samira Wiley both went to Juilliard together, which is one of the most well-known and prestigious acting schools in the world. The school has produced many top-level actors and actresses, and it comes as no surprise that two of their graduates landed roles in Orange Is The New Black.
3. Season 6 Will Deal With The Repercussions Of The Riot
One thing that Netflix execs might want to keep under wraps is the details of season 6. Big fans of the series obviously can’t wait until the next season comes out, as the end of season 5 left off with one of the biggest cliffhangers ever. The show is very careful about not giving away any spoilers, and is trying desperately to not let any leaks get out about what actually happens in season 6. It’s hard to believe that the show has even reached this point, and some are wondering if the sixth season will be the last. It wouldn’t be too much of a shock, since the show seems to be reaching a fever-pitch from which there is no return.
However, there are some details about the next season that you can sink your teeth into. First of all, season 6 will focus almost entirely on the repercussions of the prison riot. For those who don’t know, the entirety of season 5 took place over just three days. Season 6 could very well be similar, with the story focusing on the days following the prison riot.
2. The Show Is Filmed In The Same Studio As “Sesame Street”
One thing that will really confuse a lot of you is the filming location of Orange Is The New Black. Believe it or not, the show is actually filmed in the same studio as Sesame Street. This seems like one of the strangest things ever, since the shows are so different. One the one hand, you have a show dealing with incredibly mature and adult themes, involving lesbian s*x, drug use, and other shocking subjects… And on the other hand, you have a classic kids show meant to educate children and make them happy. And these two shows are filming literally next door from each other!
Many of the actresses have admitted to taking a peek at the Sesame Street set, and they say the show has amazing vibes. Apparently, just being on the set makes you feel like you’re a little kid again. But by far the most hilarious thing to come out of this bizarre situation was a special Sesame Street segment called “Orange Is The New Snack,” which is actually a Sesame Street parody of Orange Is The New Black.
1. Michael Harney Has Worked In A Real Prison Before
Another character who is vital to the success of this show is Sam Healy, the prison counsellor. Just like the prisoners, he’s deeply conflicted and seems to want to prove to himself so desperately that he’s actually a good guy, despite the fact that he’s part of a corrupt and badly-run prison. He tries his best to change the girls he comes into contact with, although his attempts are misguided and they often backfire. He also has a mean streak, so female inmates basically have to humor his bizarre attempts at benevolence if they don’t want to be punished. One of the most memorable episodes was “Blood Donut,” where he offers inmates donuts in return for talking about their problems. But Healy fails to actually do anything about these problems.
The character is portrayed by the very talented Micheal Harney, who revealed in an interview that he has actually worked in a prison before. It was actually part of a volunteer program, but it’s still a pretty interesting tidbit of behind-the-scenes information. He revealed: “I worked in social work years ago. I was going to be a social worker when I was in college. I did a lot of volunteer work in civil rights and prison reform for the first two years.”
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