natasha lyonne on oitnb, addiction and chloë sevigny
The Orange Is The New Black star on parallels with her character and being propositioned in the street.
"If I haven't had my coffee yet, I don't want to talk to you and I definitely don't want to finger you," Natasha Lyonne has advised the downtown New Yorkers who proposition her in the street. In an interview with Yahoo, the Orange Is The New Black star explains that, "I play a sex-hungry lesbian character, so people on the street assume I'm just dying to talk to them and finger them." Despite being best mates with Chloë Sevigny throughout the 90s, appearing in the American Pie franchise and starring in various indie flicks, Lyonne wasn't really recognised until her OITNB role: "I would walk down the street to get a coffee and people would give me a look like 'Did I go to high school with her?' They couldn't place me. Now they definitely know who I am. I'm that prisoner from that TV show," she says.
It's a strangely common mistake to conflate an actor with their on-screen creation, but for Lyonne and her OITNB character Nicky Nichols, there are actually many parallels. "The challenge for me doing the show is that it so closely mirrors things I went through," Lyonne says, alluding to her struggle with heroin addiction. "I have a real desire to transmit the truth, but having that firsthand knowledge can be crazy-making because it's never quite as dark on the show as I know it to be," she says, adding that, "Luckily I'm in the clear and my health is in great shape now. I've gone from being a junkie to an actress at Soul Cycle, and it's hard to say which is more mortifying."
The new series of OITNB is due to be released in full on Netflix tomorrow and Lyonne says, "We'll definitely see more of Nicky. She's all about her unavailable mother and her addiction, which is her Whack-A-Mole. She whacks down the heroin and up pops the sex, then the cookies." Lyonne is also set to appear in two upcoming films alongside best mate Chloë Sevigny. In psych-horror Antibirth, written for Lyonne and Sevigny by their friend Danny Perez, she will play Lou, who is so paranoid she thinks her friend (Sevigny) is out to get her. "It's in the universe of Rosemary's Baby or Repulsion, but takes itself less seriously," she says. The duo will also have supporting roles as the mothers of teenage girls in cyberbullying story #Horror, directed by former Imitation of Christ designer Tara Subkoff.