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