When I saw the promos for ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK last summer I didn’t realize how truly remarkable and wonderful this show was going to be. That wasn’t until I watched the Pilot, and completely fell in love with this Jenji Kohan masterpiece. I instantly was intrigued with every character and wanted to know all of their back-stories and every single detail of their lives. But one character in particular became my favorite and fascinated me the most, that character was Lorna Morello portrayed by the immensely talented, Yael Stone. I was lucky enough to speak with Stone about her role on the show, improvising with Natasha (Lyonne), and what’s in store this season.
I won’t lie; this was one of the only interviews I have ever been nervous doing. Mainly because I think Yael is a genius and am so in awe of the work she does. But also because the whole time I was secretly hoping she would do the very unique voice she uses while she plays Morello. (She did the voice, and was so exceedingly nice throughout the interview!)
What was your initial reaction after reading the Pilot for the first time?
Yael Stone: I hope I get this job (Laughs) that was my initial reaction. And I’ve got to do a really good job because this is a special, special thing.
Did you know from the start you wanted to play Morello?
I guess it doesn’t really work that way. I’m a humble little theater actor (Laughs) and they just sort of tell you what they want to see you for. Initially I went in for Nicky and I guess I wasn’t tough enough. So they asked me to come back as Morello.
Out of all of the characters on OITNB it seems like people are most excited to learn more about Morello’s back-story. Will we learn more about her past this season?
Yes! Yeah you definitely do, there’s some real revelations. I think it’s funny because people are very curious, they are like “what is behind this seemingly nice, super friendly, gracious girl. What’s the story here?”
We saw some pictures and promos of a mock job scene; can you tell us about that?
(Laughs) It was a long time ago that we shot it to be honest and I haven’t seen it, but I remember the day we shot it very well. It required a lot of dressing up which was really fun because here we were back shooting ORANGE and so exited to be there and we weren’t in beige jumpsuits, we were in these funny little costumes. I was in a sailor suit and that made me really happy, I remember kind of feeling very giggly. I turned to Natasha and we were improvising and talking through the whole scene and eventually the director, Michael Trim was like “I think you guys just need to tone it down a little.” We were just way too chatty.
Did you improvise a lot the first season?
Natasha and I did a lot and that was a really great dynamic that worked really well for us. You know some of it makes it in, some of it doesn’t. A lot of it is about finding that relationship between them and that was really helpful. I don’t do it that much with other actors on the show because I don’t know if there is that energy that Natasha and I established. And it’s really fun and she’s a great partner, we stay in character in a lot of ways and we sort of whisper things a lot in between takes.
Do you think Morello will remain in her relationship with Nicky or will she wait for Christopher?
That’s difficult because I know the answer to that (Laughs) I can’t tell you. But I can say that in the first season Lorna kind of pushes her away and says, “This isn’t what I want.” I think what season two means for them is a kind of deepening of the connection beyond whatever they get from each other sexually. There is a deeper soul connection; they have to rely on each other a little more.
A lot of people are obsessed with Morello’s accent. How did that come about?
Playing around with different sounds. It’s funny the things actors will do alone in their bedroom at night, and apparently what I will do is create a really weird accent that is sort of a crazy mash up of sounds.
Aside from your character, which character would you like to learn more about in future episodes?
I think what’s so great is that we keep learning more and it keeps deepening for everybody. There’s that character Gina (Abigail Savage) who is Chef Red’s (Kate Mulgrew) right hand little lady. She’s this beautiful little actress and I would like to learn more about Gina because I don’t know anything about her right now.
If Morello could star in any other show that’s on television right now what show would you like to see her in?
(Laughs) I think she would be hilarious in GAME OF THRONES! I think that would be really funny if she was someone’s hand maiden and she was like (In Morello’s accent) “What are you gonna do? Stop the army? What are you gonna hang everybody?” I think that would be really funny.
There are a couple new cast members this season. What can you tell us about Vee? (Lorraine Toussaint)
She’s scary as hell and I was terrified of Lorraine for about a month because she’s so good at it. She’s like a lion, this quiet force that is kind of graceful and sexy, and you know that it could kill you at any moment. And then Kimiko Glenn plays Brooke Soso who is this delightfully irritating young woman who comes in in a very bright eyed, bushy tailed way.
The show recently got picked up for a third season. Is there anything you would like to see happen next season on the show?
I think it’s important that the show maintains its integrity. So staying in character and staying with conflicts that exist inside the very real world of prison. I hope we stay within that because that’s really interesting. Concepts of social dynamic and dealing with race and gender, staying with that, that’s what I want.
Describe this season in 3 words.
Lipstick. Curlers. Heartbreak.
You can watch season two of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK on Netflix and can follow Yael on twitter at @YaelStone
Victoria Nelli loves TV so much that she is paying $30,000 a year to learn about it in College. When she’s not learning about TV she enjoys writing about her favorite shows, interviewing anyone in the industry that will let her, and ranting about how underrated Parks and Recreation is. She is very much aware of her Netflix addiction, and no she will not be seeking help anytime soon. You can follow her on Twitter @VictoriaNelli