Mindhole Blowers: 20 Facts You Might Not Know About the Cast of "Orange is the New Black"
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20 Facts You Might Not Know About the Cast of "Orange is the New Black"

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | June 6, 2014 | Comments ()


1. Taylor Schilling is not entirely new to television and movies. She was the star in the short-lived “Mercy,” and co-starred opposite Zac Efron in The Lucky One, if you were unlucky enough to see it. Most likely, you guys saw her — briefly — in Argo, where she played the wife of Ben Affleck’s character.

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 10.45.59 AM.png

2. As Hollywood goes, Schilling also has a fair resemblance to Piper Kerman, upon whom her character is based.


3. Everyone knows that Laura Prepon was in “That 70’s Show,” that she’s a natural blond, and most know that she’s a Scientologist. But, did you know she was in a Sneaker Pimps video from “6 Underground”?

She’s barely recognizable, so here’s a screenshot.

Screen Shot 2013-07-25 at 10.59.12 AM.png

4. You would never recognize him, but Michael Harney — who plays Sam Healey — had a recurring role in Deadwood.



5. Kate Mulgrew, who plays Red, is best known for playing Captain of the Federation in Starship Voyager. There was even a sly reference to that character in Orange is the New Black.



6. What is there to say about Jason Biggs that you don’t know already? Did you know that his wife paid $900 to a prostitute (or two) to give Biggs’ a blowjob and then wrote about it? It’s true. Biggs is in a weird marriage. Biggs also tweets a lot about “The Bachelor,” , sometimes in mysogynistic or completely douchey ways.


7. Everyone knows that Natasha Lyonne’s had some serious drug problems in the past. At one point in the opening season, we see a huge scar on Lyonne’s chest from a heart surgery her character received related to her drug abuse. In reality, she actually had that exact surgery and that scar is real. Also, good for her for getting her sh*t together.


8. Most folks remember Pablo Schreiber from The Wire, but did you also know that he is Liev Schreiber’s half brother?



9. You may vaguely recognize Joel Garland, who plays a guard in Orange is the New Black as Pork from Justified.



10. Lea DeLaria, who plays Big Boo, is in real-life a gay comedian, who used to bill herself “That F*cking Dyke.” As in, “Honey, you want to see a show tonight?” Sure! Who are we seeing?”” “That F*cking Dyke.” “What the f*ck did you just say?” “Honey, it’s OK! That’s her stage name.” “Oh, OK, then.”


11. I wish I could tell you something really interesting about Samira Wiley, who plays Pousey, but alas, all I have is this ADORABLE star-struck response to Regina King on Twitter.

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12. This is what Yael Stone, who plays Lorna, looks like in real life sometimes.



13. I knew I recognized Matt McGorry, who plays the puppy dog guard Bennet. He was in a recent episode of “Elementary.” He also used to be a College Humor actor. He also looks pretty OK without a shirt on.


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14. Wait, what? Nick Sandow, who plays Joe Caputo, is Waxey Gordon on Boardwalk Empire.



15. Uza Aduba, who plays Crazy Eyes, was also in the cast of Broadway’s Godspell and does not always have crazy eyes.



Aduba and Danielle Brooks sang a pretty great Christmas song together this past December.

16. Laverne Cox, who plays Sophie Burset, got her big break came on VH1’s reality show I Want Diddy. She also has a twin brother, musician M. Lamar, who appears in a flashback as the pre-gender-transition version of her character.



17. Taryn Manning, who plays the Bible thumber Pennsatucky, is in fact real-life cousins with Peyton and Eli Manning.



18. Jason Biggs is based on this guy, Larry Smith, who is actually a successful editor and author (and yes, he did write about his experience for The New York Times).


19. Lauren Lapkus, who plays the female guard Susan Fischer, is a improv actress who performs at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Here’s a sketch called Anal Sunshine, which is kind of funny.

20. Constance Schulman, who plays Yoga Jones, does the voice of Patty Mayonaise on the cartoon “Doug,” and actually originated the Annelle role in the stage production of Steel Magnolias, the role that would go to Daryl Hannah in the film.


Here’s more on the much less interesting true story behind Piper Kerman and Orange is the New Black.

This post was originally published in July 2013 after the debut of season one of Orange is the New Black.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • p

    look for the Juilliard connection (two cast members)

  • xangiles

    Laura Prepon also had a short-lived comedy series based on Chelsea Handler's book called "Are You there, Chelsea?" Prepon played the Handler character and Lauren Lupkus played her naive virginal roommate, Dee Dee.

    Kate Mulgrew plays Kove (the boss) on Adult Swim's "NTSF:SD:SUV" series. Last night's new season premiere had Natasha Lyonne as a guest.

  • Buellie413


  • googergieger

    Finally started watching this. It is good. I could see someone watching Lady Vengeance, taking the style of it with the flashbacks and prison life and such, and going an entirely different way with it.

  • I love all these women.

  • emmalita

    Vulture posted a nice interview with Uza Aduba yesterday. I love that 98% of the characters are nuanced, even if they are crazy.


  • Liev Schrieber's mustache makes him look like the least trustworthy person in human history.

  • lowercase_see

    Man, I first recognized Pennsatucky as whassherface that liked Half Sack on Sons of Anarchy.

  • carrie thompson


  • AngelenoEwok

    I've been going right out of my mind trying to figure out where I had seen Taryn Manning before. Just now I realized: she plays Eminem's ex girlfriend for like 30 seconds in 8 Mile. Now I can sleep again.

  • LizLemon

    uhhh and she plays one of Britney Spears best friends in the award winning, 2002 classic, "Crossroads"!

  • She was also in Hustle and Flow. True story: Craig Brewer (the director) used a model shot of her as an example of what he wanted the character to look like...then cast her, not realizing she was the same person as in the reference photo.

  • Meli_V

    Nothing to do with the article really simply sharing....

    I'm 7 episodes in and don't even want to binge watch because it'll be over, so I'm trying to take my time.The other evening while watching I had a good little laugh with myself. I hadn't read anything about the show, but as a series of events in the show happened the story started to click. A few weeks prior I had listened to Piper Kerman on The Moth Podcast telling a story of her time in prison and here I was watching the show based on her experience.

  • carrie thompson

    I've been trying to savor, but I only have the last episode left. I'm dying to watch it, but I know that once I do it will be over.

    I might have to watch it tonight.

  • Aaron Schulz

    i tried to not binge watch and then i accidentally watched it all in two days

  • DamnYankees

    No mention of the fact that Schilling was the lead in that horrible Atlas Shrugged adaptation?

  • pajiba

    That was an intentional omission.

  • socallmeshirley

    Love this list and I simply can't get enough of this show.

    Quick note re: #16 and the sublime Laverne Cox - I believe "transgendered" isn't the preferred term. She is a transgender woman or transwoman. Here's an article from transgender activist Joanne Herman explaining why "transgendered" shouldn't be used. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

  • pajiba

    Good to know! Fixed, and thank you.

  • socallmeshirley


  • James

    Jason Biggs is based on that guy? I thought he was a real human being. Well, that's life.

    AND maybe nobody here knows it because I have never read here anything about the amazing "Third Watch" but Sandow used to be there playing a firefighter called "Joe" --- and Eddie Cibrian stole his girlfriend (Once a cheater...)

  • $27019454

    Coupla things. The Pennsatucky chick, when she is playing Pennsatucky, reminds me so so so much of Lindsey Lohann. Just...fucked up and strung out meth-y. Also, the Yoga lady was also briefly in Fried Green Tomatoes in Cathy Bates' women's group. She encourages Bates' character to come to tonight's meetin cuz we are going to discuss the female vagina. (Bates demurs).

    My husband and I are mainlining this show currently. Prison is one of the subjects I usually NEVER watch movies about cuz duh claustrophobia and duh unpleasant, but I am hooked. But I won't sit down while watching it. I have to be "doing other things" so I can pop out of the room in case shit gets agro. I get a LOT of exercise while watching this. Also: "tu-tu?" HILARIOUS.

  • Fun Fact: The production of Godspell that included Uza Aduba was the one featured on Project Runway.

    Also, Samira Wiley has one of the most adorable Instagram accounts: whododatlikedat

  • Three_nineteen

    No mention of Kate Mulgrew also being on NTDSF:SUV and probably some other letters I'm forgetting? The new season starts tonight on Adult Swim.

  • pajiba

    I believe that Paul Scheer has mentioned that on his various podcasts 4000 TIMES. I really should check it out, because I like Scheer a lot, except when he's on Children's Hospital, because he always seems to be in the worst eps.

  • $27019454

    Also: Ryan's Hope. I'm fucking old.

  • lillie

    "He looks pretty ok without a shirt on" My God. Who knew that was under that guard's uniform??

  • BlackRabbit

    I always think of that as psycho-muscle. Like Ron Silver in Blue Steel, where he looks all normal then destroys the weights.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Samira Wiley is a standout amongst standouts. That's poorly worded but you get my meaning. She's phenomenal on the show and I am very happy that she's having this success.

  • L.O.V.E.

    1. Caputo = Waxey? Had no clue.

    2. Now I'll be looking for Suzanne's nexy soliloquy to be something from Godspell.

    3. It is pretty impressive to see how divergent these actors are from the characters they play.

  • This show almost reaches Downton Abbey levels of What a Difference Some Eye-Liner Can Make. I am consistently struck by how different many of the women look on the show versus their public appearances.

    For my money, Poussey's got the best look of all the inmates. And Sophie always looks amazing.

  • ahamos

    Wait that's not super-aged and haggard Lori Petty? Well blow me down!

  • kitty

    I keep thinking it's Edie Falco gone to hell in a handbasket.

  • pajiba

    That was my first thought when I saw her, too.

  • lillie

    Good for Natasha Lyonne. I remember reading how far gone she was into drugs. Good for her for getting her shit together. Certain young starlets could learn a lesson from her.

    I love this show and I hope I don't have to wait too long for Season 2.

  • Aaron Schulz

    GOD DAMN this show needs a second season now, stop running stuff it just makes me want it more

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    It gives me great solace to know that Sam Healy has, in fact, busted a nut on a horse. So horse fucking is cool but lesbianism isn't, Sam? You hypocrite.

  • lillie

    He is also okay with mail order brides.

  • AudioSuede

    Lauren Lapkus is amazing in her recurring appearances on Comedy Bang Bang.

    I love Mindhole Blowers. It almost always blows my mindhole.

  • Oddly enough, I knew who she was because I follow her commercial agent on Twitter - he talked about her when she was signed to their agency, and he tweets about her when she has stuff coming out...it was weird to watch her career take off after she signed with them, but only really see it via Twitter. Other than a commercial she did, this is the only thing I have actually seen her in, and yet I still knew I knew her from somewhere.

  • I love her as Tracy, the student that just got back from studying abroad Italy. It's so oddly specific, but the way she says, "What happens when you try to make love?' during the Would You Rather game SLAYS me.

  • milkman of doom

    Pretty sure the "Star Trek" reference wasn't to Voyager specifically. Nicky (Lyonne) tells Red (Mulgrew) that she "wants to be her Spock." Red has no idea what she is talking about.

    Yael Stone/Morello? Yummy, with hair or not.

  • celery

    Yummy indeed. I could listen to her talk (with the Morello accent, which presumably she doesn't have in real life) for days.

  • Orleanas

    She's Australian, so the Morello accent isn't the one she has in real life.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    a) did not know Prepon was a Scientologist.

    b) what you call "weird" sounds consensual and pleasantly kinky for the Biggs, so, whatever, good for them.

    c) Pablo Schreiber is inescapably icky to me. I've seen him on stage, I've seen him in films, and he always, always makes me want to take a shower.

    to rid myself of remembering him...
    d) Lea Delaria is craz-amazing. I love her voice. Soul singing and musical theatre.


  • kirbyjay

    Is Prepon still a Scientologist? I know she was while she dated Chris Masterson but usually when the relationship ends the CoS newcomer runs for the hills.
    Weird how she is a natural blonde. When she played Donna on That 70s Show she looked so pretty and natural as a redhead and when she died her hair blonde she looked so washed out.

  • NunsOfSteel

    Apopro of nothing (except that she rarely gets mentioned on Pajiba, so this is my chance): I was kissed by Lea Delaria once. It was years ago at a performance in Provincetown. I was sitting with the woman I was having a sort-of relationship with. Lea came down from the stage, asked my companion if she and I were together. When my companion shook her head, Lea swept down - and I mean swept down, like a screeching eagle - and locked lips with me. Part of the routine or not, I wouldn't recommend the experience.

    Janeane Garofalo, on the other hand, can swoop down and kiss me anytime.

    I know many people think Lea's a fantastic comedian. I wouldn't know, since I haven't ventured near any of her performances in years.

  • NateMan

    Absolutely seconded on b). That's a secure couple right there.

  • IngridToday

    Did anyone read his wife's article. It's really sad.

    1) His wife is a terrible writer.

    2) She clearly saw getting a prostitute as a great things to write about for attention

    3) The prostitutes tells her to go down on Biggs. She does and gets a compliment from the prostitutes. She says "The most exciting part of the day was Keisha complimenting me on my
    blowjob skills. I love approval of any kind. Sadly, however, I think it was pretty obvious that my husband and I were both bored. He quickly became flaccid and we were left with nothing to do but stare at each other."

    Biggs isn't in a weird relationship, he's a sad relationship.

  • Classic

    WTF is wrong with them both? Shit if that's your jam keep it to yourselves. Frankly there is tons of stuff I am into that would make Mrs. Biggs hair curl but I don't run around telling people about it.

  • Zen

    The incessant belittling of the women she's pursuing sparked my disapproval, and also that she persists in calling them whores. I get that it's written for Playboy and you want to sound 'cool', but it's not 'gangster' to objectify several women for the sake of an article. Yet more misogyny to add to the pile.

    It's not comparable to James Joyce encouraging Nora to see other men so he could write of the pain - it's not up to literary standard, alas.

  • mejumaxuturi

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт...­ ­ViewMore----------------------...

    She was also in Hustle and Flow.
    True story: Craig Brewer (the director) used a model shot of her as an
    example of what he wanted the character to look like...then cast her,
    not realizing she was the same person as in the reference photo.

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