Piper Chapman is going gangsta in season four.
“She’s becoming a little bit of a kingpin and has this swagger,” Taylor Schilling teased Thursday during a Paley Center panel for the upcoming fourth season of Orange Is the New Black. “But the feeling I always have about Piper Chapman is that she tries on everything like a piece of clothing — she doesn’t quite fit the jacket, but she tries it on. And I love that about her.”
When fans last saw the Netflix series’ leading inmate, Piper was calling herself “the Godfather” of Litchfield after sending new prison girlfriend Stella (Ruby Rose) to Max and inking herself with some new tattoos. With her prison panty business booming, Piper was, for once, craving power over on-and-off girlfriend Alex Vause (Laura Prepon).
Come season four — which hits Netflix on June 17 — things are about to get even grittier as Piper continues her badass evolution. “With what we just shot, man,” she iterated. “[Piper] just keeps trying on different clothes — they don’t all fit.”
When pressed for further details, Schilling told The Hollywood Reporter that Piper will be in for some self-evaluating.
“The consequences of her actions are pretty hard,” she teased. Adding, “and then I think realizing that she has to figure out why she did what she did. So consequences, consequences.”
Fellow castmates Natasha Lyonne (Nicky Nichols) , Taryn Manning, (“Pennsatucky”), Kate Mulgrew (“Red”), Selenis Leyva (Gloria Mendoza) and Michael Harney (Sam Healy) were all present at the event, where they delighted the crowd with behind-the-scenes anecdotes. However, in keeping with the OITNB mantra, they remained mum about what specifically viewers can expect to see on the upcoming season — especially without their fearless leader, creator Jenji Kohan, at the helm to guide them on what they can and cannot reveal.
Particularly Lyonne, who hasn’t been seen since her character, Nicky, was shipped off to Max in the third episode of season three.
“Major events happen like Max or something and we don’t know [what’s going to happen], but you go along for the ride because of the trust,” Lyonne said about her faith in Kohan’s plans for Nicky. “So much of the brilliance of the show is sort of plucking us at exactly a certain moment to play well together and to be comfortable of the unknown.”
Referring to her OITNB cast as outsiders and “abandoned misfits,” Lyonne explained further: “There’s] a kind of mutual respect for hard work and together, we’ve put together this sort of band. But outside, there wasn’t always a place for us in traditional [Hollywood] — one female part who’s the sexy attorney in the office in a pencil skirt. I don’t know who that was in our cast.”
Seconding Lyonne, Levys, who runs the kitchen and the Latinas as Gloria, opened up about her personal journey: “I never thought that I would be a working actress on a hit show because I had been told for 20-plus years that I wasn’t enough,” she said, “pretty enough, young enough, tall enough — enough. So finally, I have found my band of misfits and we are enough.”
Season four of Orange Is the New Black bows at midnight on June 17. For THR‘s complete OITNB coverage, including interviews with the cast, keep checking in with The Live Feed here.