by Evil Jenji
My job was to research magazines and websites about curiosities on Orange is the New Black. I chose those that I thought were less known to fans. If you want, use the comments to quote any other that you think is important. I loved doing this research, I hope you like it too. Let’s start? Have a good time!
- Uzo Aduba and Lea DeLaria (Big Boo) were on Broadway together in 2011 in Prometheus Bound.
In fact, the actress Uzo Aduba very nearly wasn’t in the show at all. She auditioned for several roles with no success and even decided to pack in her acting career out of frustration. Luckily, the very same day she applied for law school, she was called by the producers who offered her the part.
Suzanne, otherwise known as Crazy Eyes, was not initially supposed to be a regular character, but the producers were so impressed by her performance that they asked her to stay on.
- Lorraine Toussaint (Vee), Danielle Brooks (Taystee), and Samira Wiley are all Juilliard graduates. The latter two were only a year apart and knew each other in school.
Brooks told BuzzFeed she didn’t meet Teeka Duplessis, the actress who played Little Taystee, until after they shot all of her scenes. But the resemblance is uncanny!
Nor has she read any of the Harry Potter series, and she watched only a few of the movies after Taystee’s fandom was written into the script.
And Brooks also told BuzzFeed she actually isn’t good at math.
- Samira Wiley (Poussey) doesn’t speak German and spent a lot of time working with a coach and shouting things around her apartment to prepare for her character’s flashback scenes.
- In the book on which the series is based, Kerman talks about the demographics in prison and says there was “one tiny Chinese woman in her sixties.”
- Kate Mulgrew, who plays Galina “Red” Reznikov, stays in character when she’s on set. She told Vulture that she speaks in a Russian accent as soon as she arrives, saying that “When I get to work I turn it on, because I have to stay there.” Sometimes, she even finds herself slipping into the accent at home.
- Piper Kerman served time in 2004 in FCI Danbury for her involvement in a drug ring years earlier. In 1993, when Kerman was 24 years old, she flew to Belgium with a suitcase full of cash to deliver to a West African drug lord.
In the series, we’re not sure what Piper Chapman’s fate will be, but in real life she left prison and moved to New York. She has been on probation for two years, and during that time, she has no contact with people who have a dirty criminal record. So the friendships she made in jail were compromised for a while.
The blog maintained by larry during Piper’s arrest is thepipebomb.com
However, the real Piper and Larry had a very different love story.
Piper Kerman serves as a consultant on the show, making sure the show accurately portrays life in prison and pointing out any inconsistencies or inaccuracies. The fictionalized story of the show deviates heavily from Kerman’s actual life experiences, but the representation of what it’s like in a women’s prison is very close to life!
Piper Kerman has spoken about the similarities and differences between real life and fiction on the show. She told NPR, “What that means is that when you watch the show, you will see moments of my life leap off the screen, such as Larry Bloom’s proposal to Piper Chapman, (which) is not so very different from the way my husband, Larry Smith, proposed to me.”
Not everything is true to life: “I did not ever spend time in solitary, but they chose to make it an important part of the first season, and I was really happy to see that.”
- If you find the character of Piper Chapman a little annoying, you’re not alone. Taylor Schilling herself finds her character unsympathetic. In an interview with The Evening Standard, she confessed, “I don’t think there’s anything likeable about Piper.”
The cast is large and well-developed: no character appears in every episode, not even the character of Piper Chapman herself.
- The show’s decision to move the inmates to a different facility at the end of the fifth season may not have been deliberate: Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Hospital, which was the shooting location for exterior scenes of Litchfield Prison, was recently sold and is no longer available for filming.
- This one’s a shocker! Dascha Polanco, who portrays Daya, is only two years younger than her mother in the show, actress Elizabeth Rodriguez.
The storyline does state that Daya’s mother was a teen mum, which might go some way to explain how they got away with it.
- Beth Fowler, who plays Sister Ingalls, didn’t need to do much prep to play a nun. She was in Sister Act and Sister Act 2.
- Lori Petty was also on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, a series that starred Kate Mulgrew (Red). Although I don’t think they shared any scenes.
- The uniforms worn by inmates in Orange Is The New Black are purchased from the same company that produces for the actual federal penitentiaries in the United States, as well as many objects that are used in the show’s setting.
- Taryn Manning, who plays Pennsatucky, told Vanity Fair that the costume department went the extra distance in the underwear department: “We wear, like, court-ordered granny panties […] They’re almost like sports bras, and they flatten your boobs. So everyone just has, like, a uni-boob.”
Taryn Manning told Vanity Fair that she bases Pennsatucky’s southern accent and mannerisms on documentaries. She watched The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, as well as homemade footage: “If you go on YouTube and just look up “hicks,” and the silly things they say and do. So she [Pennsatucky] is a little piece of a bunch of weirdos that I’ve seen”
- OINTB actress Laverne Cox got her showbiz start in 2008 on the VH1 reality show, I Want To Work For Diddy, in which contestants competed for a job as Sean Combs’ assistant. Cox was eliminated after six episodes, and had to deal with some closed-minded cast mates, but was proud to show audiences “what a transgender person is like”. Said Cox, “You always see transgendered women playing prostitutes on TV. It can be exploitative. That didn’t happen on this show.”
- Annie Golden has played a cult member before. Annie Golden, who plays the mostly silent character, Norma, portrays a woman who was sent to jail for murdering the leader of the cult she was in. Golden also appeared in the Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins, playing a member of Charles Manson’s infamous cult. (Plus, she’s a former punk rock musician!)
- The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice claims that OITNB character Judy King is based on her. Giudice served 11 months at FCI Danbury, where OITNB author Piper Kerman served time in 2004. Giudice told the New York Daily News, “They made a character that is just like me. They probably read my book,” referring to her memoir Turning the Tables. She might want to check her facts—her theory doesn’t account for the fact that Judy first appeared in the show’s third season in 2015, while Giudice’s book came out in 2016.
- In several episodes, the character of Big Boo has a pet dog. In fact, programs in which inmates look after and interact with pets are increasingly popular in American prisons. Caring for the animals gives inmates a sense of responsibility, builds empathy, and eases loneliness. It also provides shelter for unwanted or stray animals that might otherwise be without a home.
- Jenji Kohan was a television powerhouse long before creating oitnb.
Prior to OITNB, she was best known as the mind behind Weeds, but even before that, she wrote episodes for several of the greatest TV show’s of all time, including Friends, Sex and the City, Will & Grace, and Gilmore Girls. Her first writing credit? The Fresh Prince of Bel Air!
Many members of jenji kohan’s family also work in show business. Her father, Buz, is a writer and producer (he worked on The Carol Burnett Show). Her mother, Rhea, occasionally writes for TV and acts. And her brother, David, created Will & Grace and has worked on many other television shows.
- The show’s flashbacks were originally conceived as a break for performers and staff.
At a Paley Center panel in 2014, Kohan explained that the series’ frequent flashbacks served the purpose of both illuminating characters’ pasts and giving “writers, actors, and crew members moments of respite from the all-too-realistic prison sets.”
If you think it’s hard as a viewer to wait to see what happens when the remaining Litchfield inmates are found in their prison riot hiding spot, imagine how the actors feel! As Natasha Lyonne explained, “We don’t have the next script, so we genuinely don’t know. We don’t know if all of our characters die. If some of us die. We don’t know if we kill everybody that walks through that door.” The finale of the show’s fifth season created a cliffhanger for its cast, too.
- The rest of the women in the opening credits are former prison inmates as well. To capture the emotion in the women’s faces, photographer Thomas Cobb asked each of them to “think of a peaceful place, think of a person who makes you laugh, and think of something you want to forget.”
- Orange Is the New Black has garnered 16 Emmy nominations and four wins. In 2015, the Emmy rules changed, re-designating OITNB from the comedy to drama, which means that the show is the first series ever to win nominations in both the Comedy and Drama categories.
- Appearing on OITNB has been great for the careers of its stars, but the experience has affected some personally as well. Many of the stars have turned activist, and several took part in the women’s march on Washington together in 2017. Actress Diane Guerro penned an op-ed for the LA Times speaking about immigration, and actor Matt McGorry wrote an impassioned piece for The Guardian about how his experience acting on the show opened his eyes to the need for prison reform.
- Many of the cast are singers, some examples: Jessica Pimentel, who plays Maria, is the lead singer of a heavy metal band called Alekhine’s Gun. Uzo Aduba, who plays Suzanne, was featured in the Broadway revival of Godspell. And Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee, is a Tony-nominated musical theater actress — and she’s also recorded the perfect song for getting into the Christmas spirit.
Did you like it? hope so! Now use the comments to talk about other curiosities you know! Happy 2021!