In writer-producer Jenji Kohan’s new show Orange Is the New Black, a woman gets in trouble because of drugs. Sound familiar? That may be because because Kohan’s previous show, Weeds, was also about a woman getting into trouble because of, uh, drugs.
“I love it when people screw up and try to make things better,” says Kohan. “I think some of the sensibilities are the same because there’s a certain tone that I have. But Orange is its own beast.”
A caged beast, in fact. The largely prison-set Orange is based on Piper Kerman’s 2010 memoir of the same name, which details the 13 months the Smith College graduate served behind bars as a result of having, years previously, transported cash for her then-girlfriend, an international drug smuggler. Taylor Schilling (The Lucky One) stars as Piper Chapman, and Laura Prepon plays Chapman’s ex-lover and fellow inmate. Other prisoners are portrayed by Kate Mulgrew and Natasha Lyonne, while Jason Biggs is Chapman’s fiancé.
The latter character is an echo of the real-life boyfriend to whom Piper Kerman became engaged after growing out of her wild, female drug smuggler-dating ways, although Kohan says the pair’s onscreen relationship is a fictionalization: “We made all that sh-t up. But what was interesting is we would make stuff up and then Piper would sometimes tell us, ‘Wow, that was a little close.’ Which we felt meant we were doing something right.”
Below, Kohan talks more about Orange is the New Black, the entire first season of which is now available on Netflix.
READ FULL STORY