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The stars of Orange Is the New Black aren’t just part of a new TV show, they’re part of a new distribution model, with Netflix releasing all 13 episodes of the original series’ first season for streaming at 12:01 a.m. PT on July 11.
While some actors might have balked at doing a series for a platform less experienced in distributing original content than a cable or broadcast TV network, the cast members and creator of the women’s prison-set drama told The Hollywood Reporter at the show’s premiere that they were thrilled to be part of Netflix’s new era.
“I think it’s awesome,” Laura Prepon, who plays a drug runner whose relationship with the main character ultimately puts the latter behind bars, told THR. “That’s how I watch shows now; that’s how my friends watch shows and we’re like pioneers in this new frontier.”
Veteran actress Kate Mulgrew, who plays Russian prisoner Red, agreed: “I think it’s the Wild West. I think it’s the new thing. I think it’s fantastic.”
Most of the actors said that Netflix’s distribution model seems to be the future of television, with some noting that they watch most programs on their computers and mobile devices.
“I literally just canceled my cable because I just realized I don’t watch normal TV anymore,” said Taryn Manning.
But the show’s actors aren’t just fans of Netflix; they see it as a desirable place to work.
“You talk to actors and they’re like, ‘Netflix, that’s pretty great.’ It’s where everyone wants to be,” Jason Biggs, who plays the main character Piper’s fiancé, told THR at the premiere. “The idea of giving an audience what they want whenever they want it is incredibly appealing, and they’re clearly being very picky about what kinds of shows they produce. They’re working with amazing writers and directors, and they’re just putting out amazing content on the original content front.”
Netflix also provided the production with a great deal of creative freedom.
“I would do a million Netflix shows if I could,” creator Jenji Kohan told THR. “They were very smart and respectful and very streamlined and not a lot of bureaucracy. And they were genuinely fun to work with. There’s no censorship.”
Star Taylor Schilling agreed: “It really seemed like Jenji was given room to make whatever choices she wanted to, so Netflix afforded people a lot of freedom. It’s a wonderful place to work.”
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