OITNB's Laura Prepon & Jason Biggs On Piper/Alex, Lesbian Sex God Status & the Dangers of Larry's Irrelevance
It's the last interview of the day at the Orange Is the New Black press junket and Laura Prepon and Jason Biggs, who portray fan fave Alex Vause and fan least-fave Larry, seem to be having a grand time. Jason even very enthusiastically offers everyone a bite of his lemon snack cake. Clearly, the two OITNB stars share none of the rivalry Alex and Larry have over their clashing love interest in Piper. But the two are willing to be perfectly open about just how deeply Larry hatred runs on the Twitterverse, Yahoo's grave mistake, and that glaring Alex omission of season 2.
So how many episodes were you in in season two?
Did you miss being around?
Laura: Girl, it sucked! I hated it! All the girls would text me from set like, ‘Why aren’t you here?’ and I’m like, ‘I know!’ Netflix didn’t put everyone on a six year contract, so I was doing a year-to-year contract and another job came up that was already an existing thing. Jenji (Kohan, OITNB's creator) and I talked about this actually the night of the premiere of season one and I was like, ‘What am I going to do? This sucks.’ And she was like, ‘We’ll work it out, and we’ll have you be in as many as you can.’ And I already worked it out so I’m in all of season three (applause ensues). Thanks! It was really hard. But I feel like everything has a way of working itself. The way they played out my storyline in season two where I got out and then Piper kind of did that crazy thing at the end of the season really lends itself to some awesome story lines for us in season 3. I think the fans are going to be really, really stoked. We’re on episode three already and it is awesome.
Laura: I can’t, girl! But let me just tell you, oh my god, it’s so awesome. I can’t wait for you guys to see it. I can’t wait till we’re all sitting here next year talking about it.
Jason: Does Piper still die?
Laura: I thought we were doing no spoilers, J! He’s terrible.
You guys both have fans from other things, you’ve both played very specific, memorable roles.
Laura: I didn’t have sex with a pie though.
Jason: I did.
But you will be Donna forever probably.
Jason: I don’t know anymore!
Laura: Well now, yeah.
Jason: I’ll tell you what, because the pie fucker is very easy. I will always be the Pie Fucker. And yes, she’ll always be from That 70’s Show, but now her character - Larry, not so much- but Alex?! Vause is such...it’s going to be even more than Donna. Already it’s happening! So I think you’re good.
Laura: Thank you for that. I honestly think that when people would be like, ‘Oh, you’re Donna from That 70’s Show,’ that’s flattering.
Jason: I’m not saying that’s a bad thing!
Laura: Oh, I totally got that! But what’s interesting for me is I started that show when I was 18 and that show is so nostalgic for me. We still have dinners where all the cast gets together. And it’s so funny when we all hang out now, and it’s just like, ‘Dude, we were so young! We were literally 18!’ And that time in my life, that show was so perfect for me. We all grew up on it. And I’ve been really fortunate and done awesome stuff since then, but playing Alex is like the perfect role for me right now. I look at it like different parts of my life. 70s was like my high school/college years and then I kind of graduated into a different demographic, but also I became a woman. I wasn’t a kid anymore.
I’m sure your fans are crazier about Alex. They probably do crazier things. And Twitter wasn’t as big of a thing as it was.
Jason: Yeah, it’s much easier to interact with fans these days...A lot easier...Like, maybe dangerously easier...
Laura: A lot of fans, I, like, know them by their names. I’m like, ‘Aw, yeah, Kelly made me poker chips and Claire made me a T-shirt.’ And Jason’s like, ‘WTF?!’
Jason: Yeah, and "Jessica stabbed me in the neck."
Laura: They’re nice supportive girls!
Jason: I just don’t want you to get Selena-ed!
Laura: (laughs) Stop it!
Jason: I’m just saying, dude!
Laura: He is terrible!
Jason: What?! President of her fucking fan club! Just saying!
Laura: Stop it, scary!
What’s the most fun thing about playing, I described it as an, ‘Edward Cullen-y Lesbian Sex God?’
Laura: (laughs) Oh, shit!
Jason: (to Laura): You know the reference, right? Edward Cullen is the Robert Pattinson from Twilight.
I feel like you are for lesbians what Edward Cullen is for straight teenagers.
Jason: That’s massive!
Laura: That’s a big deal, and I thank you for that.
Jason: (to SheWired's Rebekah Allen) Are you a lesbian?
I am, yes...
Jason: So, here’s the term that I’ve heard thrown out about Laura: Lesbian icon. What do you think?
Jason: By the way, not to personalize this or to hijack the conversation, but if I may: poor Larry. I mean, come on! How does Larry compete with a lesbian icon? It’s true! They’re saying it’s like, ‘Team Alex,’ ‘NFL Alex’ and then like...’Pop Warner Larry.’ There’s like, two people on Team Larry and, like, a country dedicated to you.
Laura: Look, the fans are so awesome. Seriously, I don’t know how to thank them. They’ve really helped kind of, number one make the show what it is, and also it’s so flattering when you portray a role and people relate to it and gravitate toward it, it’s the best compliment you can have. But playing Alex - Alex is by far one of my favorite people I’ve ever played. She’s such a badass and so awesome, and she’s flawed, you know? She’s not this perfect woman. And I think that now nobody’s perfect, so I feel like audiences relate to people who don’t always make the right decision. But the thing that’s so great about her and Piper is they both screw each other over constantly, but they both totally love each other and it’s this tumultuous push-pull crazy thing. It makes for really good TV. But none of these characters are perfect, including Larry and Piper and every girl on this show. It’s awesome. I love Alex.
Jason, how do you feel about the fans’ reaction to your character?
Jason: You know, for the most part it’s been...genuine hatred.
Laura: It’s amazing! I need to go on Twitter more often because I don’t ever see that shit!
Jason: I will say this, as a rule - even putting Larry aside - just Jason. I got more hate than I get love, and that’s because more people are willing to vocalize their hate. People that love you just kind of love you from afar. Some will take to Twitter and say, ‘Oh, I’m a big fan.’ But the people that actually hate you are much more willing to get on Twitter and be like, ‘You fucking suck, I hate you. You’re a shitty actor, and you should die.’ Those people are much more vocal, so I get a lot more of that. Similarly, when it comes to Larry there are a lot more, ‘Why is Larry still on the show?’ and the like. But actually this season I feel like there are some ‘Team Larrys.’
Laura: ‘Club Larrys.’
Jason: ‘Pop Warner Larrys’ that have come out and been supportive. But, again, it’s definitely slanted. But that’s just as much a reflection of Twitter in general and the haters feel in general like they can hide, cause they’re anonymous. But I also feel like it is a reflection of the character and of the show. As a fan myself of the show, I get it. The Piper/Alex relationship is really exciting and it is complicated and dysfunctional and it’s awesome and it’s riveting. And Prepon is fucking awesome, Taylor is awesome and it’s sexy and it’s hot and it’s everything that makes for awesome television, it really is. And vis-à-vis that, you know, Larry’s important and it was important for a while because he was the stakes for Piper. He was on the outside. Now there’s other things at stake, including Alex, so things have changed, so people are less likely, understandably, to root for this guy who, mind you, is on the outside living a life of relative privilege, while these people are inside the prison walls. It’s just harder to sympathize with him.
Laura: That’s a good way to put it.
Jason: So, I totally get, but the Twitter conversation is a whole other thing altogether. Yahoo wrote, though- are any of you with Yahoo? (nope) Yahoo wrote an article yesterday saying, ‘Why is Larry still on this show?’
Laura: Oh my god!
Jason: It’s like, hey! It is what it is. It’s a reflection of what people are responding to in this show. It is what is. I am going to kill myself though.
Laura: You need Larry on this show!
Jason: And I do want whoever wrote that article for Yahoo to know that she or he is the reason I killed myself. I want to put that on record right now.
I’m digging Larry and Polly though. They have a nice chemistry.
Larry: Right? They’re kind of fun! What I’m curious about though is that relationship is - I won’t live to shoot any Larry/Polly stuff that happens in the future cause I’ll be dead, probably by this time tomorrow, thank you, Yahoo - but what I learned this season is that Larry and Polly knew each other even before Piper and Polly knew each other. Which I thought was interesting cause it makes me go, ‘Huh, what kind of history do they have? Were they ever romantic or were they ever flirtatious? Did Larry ever really like her in the beginning before Piper or Pete ever came along?’ So I don’t know. It’s interesting, there could be something there. But we’ll see. Again, I’ll be dead, so they’re going to have to recast if they do explore that.
Not to downplay Larry at all, because I do think he had one of the best moments of the season-
Jason: You can! I’m killing myself anyway. You can’t hurt me.
Laura: You can’t possibly downplay it anymore! It’s fine!
Jason: I’m as low as it can get right now.
If you could play any inmate in the show, who would you like to portray within the prison?
Jason: It’s really hard because Laura has said this even in this interview I think, all of these characters are so incredibly well written. Even Larry is a smaller character and I think he’s so complicated and fun and awesome and all the women are like that inside the prison walls. But I keep coming back to Pennsatucky. And no one can play her better than Taryn. Except me.
Laura: So now this will be your reason to live!
Jason: No, they’ll have to hologram me in like Tupac.
Laura: Dude, stop!
Jason: I’m just kidding!
Some terrible thing is going to happen now that you’re saying all this.
Jason: I know, right? All kidding aside...what if I really did die today? What if I got hit by a Subway? Would you guys wake up and read the news tomorrow and be like...what would you do first? Laugh? I would laugh.
Laura: I’d be like, fuck who’s going to play Pennsatucky now?
Your murder would just go unsolved is basically what would happen.
Laura: But your Twitter feed would blow up
Jason: See, that’s the funny thing. Once you die, suddenly everyone loves you! You know, it would be like, ‘Team Larry!’ (to Laura) See, you’d be fucked if I die, because it would be, ‘Club Alex’ and ‘Team Larry!’
Speaking of Alex and Piper, what do you chock up that chemistry to?
Laura: Honestly, it’s just so weird. Chemistry is either there or it’s not. I’ve worked with people where their is no chemistry and it’s just like, ‘Fuck! What am I going to do?’ You try to put it there, but it’s just not there. But with Taylor, from the first time we read together it was just awesome and you could tell that there was this special thing there. It was just this inevitable thing. It was just palpable thing, it’s very odd. But yeah, and it’s cool because our first scene we had to do together was our naked scene in the shower in the pilot. That was the first scene we ever shot together, and it was like thank god we were so comfortable with each other because to jump into that scene right away is a little like, ‘Oh shit!’ We have to look like we’re a couple. But she’s awesome and it’s just one of those things that you can’t describe, you know? It’s pretty cool.
Is there any hope that Piper and Larry would get back together?
Jason: Well, no one watching at home hopes this, but for me I think kind of taking a step back and knowing what we know now about this show and these writers and how they’re able to tell these stories, anything is certainly possible. But for me, I do believe in some weird world Piper and Larry do work. But it’s one of these things where they’re never on the same..like, they were briefly, but now their worlds are too...they can never sort of align. If they can get them aligned somehow again then I think somehow in a way they are puzzle pieces that kind of fit, but it’s proving more and more difficult. I’m curious. We were talking about this earlier as well like, it’s one of those things where Piper needs to get her shit together before she can be with anybody. And by the way, so does Larry and so does Alex. All of these characters need to get their own shit together cause they’re all so flawed, but in terms of us being with Piper - Alex and Larry- Piper’s a hot mess. Who knows? I don’t think she’s ready for really anybody.
And she’s changed a lot being in prison.
Jason: Exactly. And she’s only going to change more. So, we’ll see. I mean, the real story has Life Larry and Piper together, but this is clearly not following that track anymore, so we’ll see!
Disclaimer, folks: Jason Biggs is alive and well today, and Laura Prepon is definitely going to be in every episode of season 3. All is well in the OITNB-verse, and we are more ready than ever!