Laura Talks About Directing OITNB Season 5 Episode 10
Check out today’s article and interview in The Hollywood Reporter as Laura talks about making her directorial debut with season five’s most harrowing episode. (Warning: This story contains spoilers from episodes one through 10 of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black season five.)
Laura Prepon had two days to direct one of the most impactful scenes of the fifth season of Orange Is the New Black.
The moment came in the 10th episode, titled “The Reverse Midas Touch,” when the riot happening at Litchfield took a dark turn down a prison hallway and into a janitor’s closet. A multi-season power struggle between Red (Kate Mulgrew) and head guard Piscatella (Brad William Henke) played out in harrowing form when Piscatella, after taking several inmates hostage, broke down his all-mighty rival. In several scenes of physical and emotional abuse, Piscatella attempted to reduce the prison’s fearless leader into nothing. He tortured her methodically, cutting the red hair off her head with a shear knife and nicking her scalp while forcing those closest to her to watch.
One of the inmates in the scene was Prepon, as her Alex and Piper (Taylor Schilling) were taken by Piscatella while naked together in the shower. The storyline called for the pair to be wrapped in shower curtains as they joined the rest of their prison pals — Nicky (Natasha Lyonne), Boo (Lea Delaria) and Red’s partner-in-crime Blanca (Laura Gomez) — to sit, bound by their hands and mouths with duct tape, and watch helplessly until they were ultimately rescued by the inmates hiding in Freida’s (Dale Soules) bunker.
“I’m wrapped on the floor with my legs and arms bound and with duct tape over my mouth, and I’m having to be Alex, but I’m watching Brad give Piscatella’s monologue and I’m also directing him,” Prepon tells The Hollywood Reporter of pulling double duty. “While I’m sitting on the floor bound and gagged, I’m also in my head thinking, ‘In the next take I want him to do this.'”
Jenji Kohan’s prison dramedy is no stranger to luring actors behind the camera — Jodie Foster and Andrew McCarthy, as well as Nick Sandow, who plays Litchfield warden Caputo, have all directed episodes — but Prepon is the first to do it while in character as a hostage victim. Alex even gets her arm broken while fighting off Piscatella during the scene.