OITNB's Laura Prepon on playing Alex: "She scares me a little bit"
Laura Prepon teases Orange Is the New Black Season 2, premiering on Netflix June 6, plus talks about why she loves playing Alex and why the character frightens her.
Orange Is the New Black Season 2 is going to be released on Netflix on June 6, and fans everywhere are going to be ready with popcorn and their favorite beverage to binge-watch it as soon as it appears in their queue.
SheKnows spoke exclusively with Laura Prepon, who plays Alex on the hit series, about what fans can expect for Season 2, as well as her thoughts on the character and what it's been like being a part of a show that became a hit in an entirely new kind of TV format.
In the first part of our interview, Prepon shot down rumors about Tom Cruise. There was another rumor she had to shoot down as well, regarding whether or not her character would be appearing in the second season, which some fans doubted originally.
"I was always going to be back in Season 2," Prepon reassured. "It's so funny how many rumors are flying around. But it's really flattering though that people keep wanting to know what's happening with my character."
Prepon wasn't able to give a lot of information about Season 2, but she did give out a few teasers. "What I can say is that you'll learn a lot about the other women [in the prison], too. It's pretty cool."
One word that's been bandied about in regard to the second season is "darker." When asked if she would agree with that assessment, Prepon said: "I definitely think so. The first season, you know, it was dark at times, but there was a lot of levity in it. This show always walks that awesome line of comedy and drama. Like Red's nemesis on the show, her character definitely makes things more intense [in Season 2]."
When OITNB first premiered, it was in an entirely new type of TV format and could have either flopped or become a huge hit. Luckily, the latter happened.
"When we were filming, we all knew we were part of a special thing, and you can only hope that people get drawn to it," Prepon said about those early days after Season 1 premiered. "And it's so flattering and amazing, and it's just an incredible acknowledgement to us being the actresses on the show. It just means so much to us because we pour our hearts and soul into these performances. And when people gravitate to it and then love it, it's the best acknowledgement you can get. It's really incredible."
Prepon and the rest of the cast understood that they were pioneers and appreciated the risk Netflix took with the series.
"This show is definitely a risk and the fact that Netflix took a gamble on it and believe in [creator Jenji Kohan]'s vision — to be a part of something like that, aside from the fact that we're like pioneers in a new frontier. Because this whole binge-watching, Netflix type of thing is new. And now everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, but when we first went onto the show, all of us were like, 'Straight to streaming on Netflix, what's that about?'"
One thing that binge-watching has changed, according to creator Kohan, has been the way a TV series is written. "[Kohan said] what's weird now is, [now] that everyone watches them all in a row now, it changes the writing. When people watch a show like this, [Kohan said], 'I can take more time with each character because I know that all the other characters — you'll see them again in an hour and a half or two hours''" Prepon revealed, adding, "When you have a show that's on week to week, you have to give everyone a story. You usually have to give every actor something to do. So it's kind of an interesting viewpoint shift for writers with the whole streaming thing."
When asked what first drew her to the role of Alex, Prepon gushed about her character. "Alex is a total bad*** and I absolutely love her," Prepon declared. "It's one of my favorite roles I've ever played. She's such a bad*** and so cool, but she's also really vulnerable and totally in love with this woman. But she's also power-hungry. She's like the coolest chick ever."
Prepon admitted that Alex did scare her a bit, but it was something that made her want the part more. "She scares me a little bit," Prepon admitted. "Because we definitely all of us as actors get pushed out of our comfort zone, which is amazing because that's how you grow as an actor. And Alex did scare me a little bit, I'm not gonna lie, but it's also why I knew I had to play her."
Before watching the second season of Orange Is the New Black, be sure to pick up Season 1 on DVD and Blu-ray, which will be released on Tuesday, May 13 and includes never-before-seen behind-the-scenes content.