There is much that makes Orange is the New Black such a popular series, but possibly one of the greatest drives of OITNB‘s success comes from the quirky Australian actress Yael Stone and her unique portrayal of American prisoner Lorna Morello. Much of Orange is the New Black‘s cast is single-minded in the sense that everyone of them is focused on one of three things — revenge, escape, or personal survival. But Stone’s Orange is the New Black character is far more hopeful than that, bringing the bright ray of positive thinking into the dingy cells of the Litchfield Correctional Facility.
“It’s important to meet somebody friendly early on, because there’s so much intimidation,” says the Orange is the New Black actress.
Ms. Stone reveals a deep admiration for showrunner Jenji Kohan’s ability to create scenes that deliver great social commentary that endears OITNB fans instead of alienating them.
“It’s one of [OITNB creator] Jenji Kohan’s great tricks,” Yael says. “‘Here’s this super sweet character. Oh, she’s talking about her wedding! Oh, she’s super easy to relate to!’ And suddenly you realize she’s only being nice to Piper [played by Taylor Schilling] because she’s white. And it’s not racist. It’s tribal. What does that mean?”
Still, Stone hints that those endearing qualities of her Orange is the New Black counterpart may be concealing darker aspects to the OITNB character, traits that may reveal themselves in shocking ways to Orange is the New Black fans, sooner or later. That simple truth may be the overriding theme of OITNB: people are more complex than we ever really realize.
“It’s always interesting that people who are the happiest and shiniest and most positive, sometimes all that belies a darker truth.”
That darkness can be seen in Lorna Morello’s story from the very beginning of Orange is the New Black in the way that Stone’s character moons over her wedding plans to fiance Christopher. In later OITNB episodes, we learn that much of what Lorna reveals about Christopher is pure fantasy and that the most contact Lorna has had with this Christopher was a post office meeting, where she flirted with him. That meeting, OITNB fans find out in degrees, prompted incidents of stalking that included death threats and homemade bombs.
“I think delusion is a really big part of her world,” Yael says. “I actually think Lorna is kind of sick. And so deeply uninspired in her real life that it might suffocate her if she had to live it.”
Yael goes on to reveal just a hint of what fans can expect from Orange is the New Black‘s Lorna Morello, which seems to be a devastating destruction of her fantasy, sooner or later.
“She’s doing her hair and makeup every day. I can barely manage to get nail polish on my hands for an interview, and she’s putting on her face in prison. Something’s not quite right. She’s putting this man up as a touchstone that everything’s going to be OK.”
Ms. Stone revealed in one of her most candid moments that she has felt the humiliation of a crushed fantasy first hand and it was more recent than OITNB fans might realize. Yael was flown to London to represent Orange is the New Black at the BAFTA Awards and, as luck would have it, Ms. Stone followed an actress that represented the true Hollywood icon: “Twelve feet tall. In black lace. Just the hottest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Yael revealed that, even as she was ushered onto the red carpet, the media still focused all of their attention on that starlet.
“They just ignored me,” the OITNB actress said. “I laughed. And took the humiliation deep into my heart. These are the moments I like to remember, because they’re much funnier than any glamorous moment. I take great joy in humiliation. Right when you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m so fancy. I got flown to London.’ And no one gives a s**t.”
Orange is the New Black will premiere its fourth season in June 2016 on Netflix.
[Featured image: Yael Stone courtesy of Netflix/Orange is the New Black]