jason biggs thinks it's time to man up
The Bad Girls Are Back! Celebrate the return of Orange Is The New Black as i-D heads to Litchfield Penitentiary to catch up with our favourites from Netflix’s funniest, fiercest, most fabulous series. As Piper’s on-off fiancé, Larry Bloom was a bit of...
Jason Biggs by Kate Cox
Larry's one of the more complex characters I've played. Playing Larry has been a bit revelatory for me…
How does Larry evolve this series?
Where we left off in the first series, he made some… questionable decisions that might appear on the outside to be selfish or in poor form. I, granted am slightly biased (laughs). I saw it as Larry trying to take care of himself. By that point in the show you've come to love these women in prison so much - Piper included - and become invested in them, so Larry, by comparison, is hard to sympathise with. And yet I see him as just trying to take care of himself and trying to protect himself from being hurt any further. So that was the evolution of Larry in the first season, and in the second season it picks up. He continues to make choices that will considerably affect the relationship.
Do you have much in common with Larry?
(Pause) Yes (pause). I'm working on it but I too have a 'white knight syndrome'. I have a desire to take care of everyone else first, and myself last, which on paper sounds great but it leads to incredible resentment, especially when the people you're putting first end up hurting you in some way. In a way, it's harder to take care of other people if you're not taking care of yourself first. But I share that with Larry. It's something I've been working on in my life for a little while. I've been in therapy for a few years, so that's one of the things we address!
So sometimes characters you play can teach you about yourself and your own life?
This one, certainly. This character is more complicated that any other character that I've played in the past and also what's funny is that it's a smaller part than roles I've had before and yet, arguably, he's one of the more complex characters I've played, which has been really refreshing for me. And a challenge. I'd say playing Larry has been a bit revelatory for me. There have been things in Larry's life that have made me aware of my own actions and things that have happened in my own life, and I can't say that about any other character I've played.
Why is a show like OITNB so important?
If you were to ask [creator and writer] Jenji Kohan, I don't think she'd say that she was out to make a statement. I think that it is more a wonderful byproduct of what the show is and has become. If you ask Jenji I think she'd say, 'Why shouldn't there be a transgender character on television?' Not 'I need to put a transgender character on television because it's going to break moulds and create conversation'. I think it's more that there should be and it's important to the show. It's been a wonderful part of this whole experience that people have been so inspired by the show. And speaking to Laverne Cox, it's been a great thing for her and the transgender community. You look at this entire cast, myself included, and it's outside-of-the-box casting. It's a really interesting group of people to watch. That's refreshing.
Something about Jason Biggs that people don't already know? I pee sitting down…
What's been the hardest scene to play?
I gotta tell ya - talking on the phone? There's no one at the end of the fucking line (laughs). Most of my phone calls, especially later in the season, are really emotional. I'm breaking up with Piper, on the phone, but I'm like… acting with a fucking phone! So technically speaking it's difficult and emotionally it's difficult cos I'm not used to doing that kind of thing, it takes a lot for me to get to that place, emotionally, as an actor. To add to that, I'm doing it on the phone, walking, it's freezing, and Taylor isn't there. So that final phone call at the end of Season One with Piper was the one.
How would Jason Biggs cope with prison?
Oh God I wouldn't cope. I honestly don't know. I'd use the only thing that I could, I think, which is my 'wit' and charm and try to talk my way out of trouble and try to make people laugh. Any defense mechanism of mine is to make a joke, if there's an awkward situation I like to make jokes and prison for me would be one giant awkward situation. This giant dude coming at me to kick my ass and/or rape me, I would immediately go to a place of trying to make him laugh 'cos I wouldn't know what else to do. I figure if I can make him laugh, chuckle even, maybe, maybe he won't butt rape me.
Or at least he'll do it with a smile on his face.
If you were going to go to prison, what book would you take with you?
Tropic Of Cancer by Henry Miller.
Which piece of music?
It would need to be something to keep my spirits up because I'd be so depressed. Maybe some Jay Z? Oh, I know, the 'Grey Album', the Jay Z and Beatles mash-up album by Dangermouse.
Which one photo?
[Holds up pic on his phone of a tiny baby]
Aw, who's that?
I don't know. It came with the phone. But I was like 'Is that cute or what'. He is three and a half months old. Brand spanking new.
Which luxury item?
A cashmere blanket or my slippers. Even in my house, I hate walking around barefoot. In prison? Forget it. I'd rather cut my feet off.
If you had to share a cell with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
It would have to be someone really calm like, fucking, Buddha or the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama.
Tell us something about Jason Biggs that we don't already know?
I pee sitting down. Not in public bathrooms, because that would be disgusting, but at home or in a clean hotel room. It started because I grew up with sisters - toilet seat always had to be down - but also my OCD when I was a kid was really, really bad. When guys pee standing up, there's splish, splashes, there's pee particles that go everywhere - the seat, the floor, the wall. Think about it! Plus, take a load off. People are too busy these days. People need to stop and smell the roses. Or sit down and take a piss.