Season 3 of “Orange Is the New Black” will be a season of faith and motherhood.
That’s about all creator Jenji Kohan, creator of the show, would say about the upcoming season, premiering on Netflix June 12, at a For Your Consideration panel discussion Wednesday at the DGA.
“It’s lighter than season 2, it’s a season of faith, it’s a season of motherhood, it’s a progression of everyone’s stories,” Kohan said. “I think we get deeper into our characters and we meet people.”
During the 45-minute panel, Taylor Schilling, Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Selenis Leyva and Kate Mulgrew, along with Kohan, touched on how the show is changing the representation of women.
“It validates people’s experiences,” said Cox. “So many people, I think, have watched our show and felt their experiences, their bodies, their gender identity, their sexuality, their age, are validated in the diverse women that are portrayed on our show. When you can see someone like you on TV, it’s like, ‘OK, I exist now.’”
Brooks expanded on what the show has meant to her. “Being a woman of plus-size, a curvy girl… I’m thankful for the show for highlighting that,” she said. “That’s giving voice to the people that are here and I’m just glad I could be that girl I didn’t see on television when I was young.”
Schilling said the nudity on the show has scared her in the past, but Kohan always has a reason for it. “The physical vulnerability matches the internal vulnerability and then once that’s very clear, as an actor, I can go anywhere.”
“Look, if I had my way, I’d have a lot more,” Kohan retorted, to audience laughter.
She said the new season will be lighter than previous ones but will still combine drama and comedy. (“Orange” competed as a comedy in last year’s Emmys, but the TV Academy ruled that it would be considered in the drama category.)
“It’s very important to me to play in both worlds because I don’t think anything is all serious or all humorous,” Kohan said. “I remember watching dramas and thinking when there was no humor or no comic relief that they didn’t reflect any sort of reality because there’s no such thing as life without humor. (But) you need a dramatic spine to hold it together.”
(Pictured: Uzo Aduba, Laverne Cox, Danielle Brooks, Jenji Kohan, Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew and Selenis Leyva at the “Orange Is the New Black” screening at the DGA)