Orange Is the New Black's Laura Prepon: "Piper Is Just as Toxic as Alex"
Laura Prepon | Photo Credits: Netflix
[WARNING: This article contains major spoilers about the first season of Orange Is the New Black. Read at your own risk!]
What's it like to play the villain on the most talked-about show of the summer? Orange Is the New Black star Laura Prepon wouldn't know — because she doesn't see her character, Alex Vause, in that light.
"When the show first starts, you think that ... Alex is this evil person," Prepon admits. "And then as the show progresses .... you start to see that Alex — at the end of the day, yes, she's a drug dealer — but you see that she's a vulnerable person and she has really intense feelings and love for [Piper]."
For those who are unfamiliar (and seriously, by now you shouldn't be) with Netflix's Orange Is the New Black, it's about a sheltered, upper-class woman named Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) who's sentenced to 15 months in prison for her (small) role 10 years prior in an international drug smuggling ring led by her girlfriend at the time, Alex (Prepon). OITNB fans are united in their love for the truly addicting series, which is based on a memoir of the same name. But fan reaction to Alex — a love-her-or-hate-her character if there ever was one — has been more divisive. Is she a master manipulator or just misunderstood?
TVGuide.com recently spoke with Prepon about her character's "jailhouse rockabilly" style, whether she supports a Piper-Alex romance, and what's ahead in Season 2.
People are obsessed with Orange Is the New Black! Are you surprised at all by the response?
Prepon: It's pretty cool. Honestly, whenever you're doing a project, you never know how it's going to be received, but I knew when I was actually shooting it that it was definitely something special. I don't think any of us really knew how big it was going to be, but it's pretty amazing. It just totally validates what an awesome project it is.
Alex is a very polarizing character, and a lot of what's been written about the show refers to her as the "villain." Do you see her that way? Do you like Alex?
Prepon: Alex is amazing. But what's interesting is that, when the show first starts, you think that Piper's, like, this little innocent flower and that Alex is this evil person. And then as the show progresses, you really start to see that this girl was the love of Alex's life and she totally broke her heart. Alex — at the end of the day, yes, she's a drug dealer, but you see that she's a vulnerable person and she has really intense feelings and love for this woman. And you start to see that Piper is actually a very manipulative person, and she's not this cookie-cutter homemaker that everyone thinks she is. She's actually not a good person. When you're in prison and we're left to our own devices, you're stripped of everything and you really get to see who these people are, the good and the bad. That's one thing that's really cool about the show. I think the arcs of all the characters are really awesome. They're real.
It's interesting, because Alex seems to think of herself as a bad person but maybe she isn't, whereas Piper is so convinced that she's a good person and is totally taken aback whenever anyone challenges that.
Prepon: Right, exactly! That's the other thing that's so great about my character. She does call it like it is, and Piper doesn't. And at the end, it's like, of course [Piper's] going to choose [her fiancé] Larry (Jason Biggs) because he's the safer bet. And it's awesome to me, because Alex is like, "You're just so scared of being alone that you will marry this guy."