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Who better to host a night with the stars of Netflix’s hit series Orange Is the New Black than the new Netflix darling herself, Chelsea Handler, who just this past June announced she was taking her late-night brand to the streaming digital service in 2016.
Handler has good reason to feel optimistic about her new home given Orange‘s astounding success, which has culminated in 12 Emmy nominations for its freshman season. Handler was joined onstage at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Los Angeles on Monday night by series creator Jenji Kohan, along with Emmy-nominated actors Taylor Schilling, Natasha Lyonne, Kate Mulgrew, Laverne Cox and Uzo Aduba, as well as Lea DeLaria and Jason Biggs, in a TV Academy screening event in which everyone shared their personal audition stories and insights into their career-defining characters.
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Schilling recalled that Kohan cast her off of a taped audition that was sent to her while vacationing in Ireland with her family. When her castmates expressed surprise (and a little envy) that Schilling didn’t even have to meet Kohan in person, Schilling responded, “Somebody knows what she likes, and her name is Jenji Kohan!”
Mulgrew, perhaps the most veteran actor on the show, was envious that some of her castmates got to read the whole script for their auditions, saying, “I got two pages — but I loved those pages.”
When it came time for Lyonne to explain how she was cast in the role of the resident “junky philosopher” Nicky, Handler told her, “Natasha, I feel like you’re the most like your character.” Lyonne feigned offense before admitting there is some overlap between the “truth-teller” she plays on the show and the straightforward woman she has become in her own life, which seemed to ring some bells for the moderator.
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“Maybe I made a mistake,” Handler interjected, “and meant to say, ‘You’re the one I most identify with.”
Handler also asked Schilling what has scared her the most while shooting the show.
“I had to have a lot of discussions about every time I took my clothes off,” she replied, and then had a little side banter with Kohan before turning back to the audience to say “another talk is in the works” for an episode they’ll soon be shooting for season three.
Before the evening concluded, a woman in the audience finally worked up the nerve to ask the most burning question on everyone’s minds: “Could you give us a little insight into the next season?”
“Oh,” replied Kohan. “No. But I’m really glad you like it.”
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