Orange is the New Black star ‘getting ready to say goodbye’ to show
This post contains spoilers for the finale of Orange is the New Black Season 6.
OITNB star Taylor Schilling has spoken about what’s next for her – after the finale of season six saw her character Piper released from prison.
The finale appeared to tie up much of the story of Piper Champan, who has had a diminishing role on the show for several years as the stories of Daya and Taystee come to the fore.
It saw her finally finish her prison sentence, qualifying for early release – hastily tying the knot to her lover Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), who still has years behind bars to go, before her release.
The bow on her story even saw Piper decide to write a book about her time behind bars, mirroring the real-life biography by Piper Kerman that the show is loosely based on.
Although execs have said that Piper will continue to be a presence on the show from outside prison, Schilling appeared to confirm that she is planning an imminent exit from the show.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, she said: “Orange has been such a huge chapter in my life, personally and professionally. I’m so grateful to have been able to play this part of Piper.
“I’m excited to let Piper go and put her to rest beautifully, as I’m sure Jenji [Kohan, creator of OITNB] will do, and let her kind of live on in her own world, when that time comes.
“As her time at Litchfield is coming to an end, it’s just about reflecting upon how grateful I am to have participated in something that has brought so much visibility to the prison system in our country.
“How much needs to be fixed, how much is broken and how no one is immune from its reach, but there are certainly particular populations of people in this country that are being used and abused in ways that need a voice.
“So I’m really grateful that that’s an element of this show, because it feels like it’s given me a platform for my own activism. Moving forward, there’s a lot to be grateful for.”
Speaking about the finale, she said: “That was emotional… me as an actor getting ready to say goodbye to a role that I’ve lived with for six years. It’s very poignant. It’s a very poignant moment in time because we’re not done.
“I’m about to go back and shoot season seven. So it’s a very kind of surreal time.
“t’s as surreal as it was when the thing came out of the gate and was so powerful those first few seasons. It’s equally as surreal now to be ending it all.”
The show has not currently been renewed beyond the seventh season, which is set for release in 2019 – so it’s unclear whether Schilling will leave the show or if the show will round out its story entirely.
Schilling also acknowledged the inherent privlege of her character, who is white, compared to much of the show’s diverse cast of characters.
She added: “I think that it’s going to be interesting to see what Piper’s struggles are versus tracking Blanca, tracking Aleida and tracking Taystee. Certainly, Piper will have her own struggles. But it’s vitally important to see Piper’s struggles in the context of the people that she was incarcerated with, because it’s wildly easier. And it’s based on things that have nothing to do with merit and things that are out of anyone’s control. It’s based on things that have to do with family funds and the color of one’s skin; so, just privilege.”
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Se said: “The thought of releasing Piper has come up in previous seasons because the real Piper’s sentence was 15 months and we want to make sure that we can fully tell the story of what it’s like for Piper on the outside,
“We just want to make sure we didn’t do it too soon in her complete arc as a series, but it seemed like the time was right. It felt like we had sort of seen her full time in accordance to what the real story was for the real Piper.”
Confirming that Piper would stay put, Herrmann added: “She’s the grounding force of the show.”
“As we were thinking of Piper on the outside, having them be married creates a lot more stories for us and possible conflict.”