Orange is the New Black for Yael Stone

15 July, 2013 by Don Groves

The day after Australian actress Yael Stone got married in the US last year, she turned up for an audition with a slight hangover and in her words, "still glowing."

The NIDA graduate who was a regular in Spirited and All Saints must have impressed the producers of Orange is The New Black, a TV dramedy set in a women's prison: She landed the role of inmate Lorna Morello in the 13-episde series which premiered in the US on Netflix last week to rave reviews.

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From Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, the show features Taylor Schilling as an engaged yuppie who is serving a 15-month stint in the slammer for her unwitting role in an international drug smuggling ring.

"The most appealing elements come from the wealth of supporting players, including a breakout turn by Yael Stone as a wonderfully distinctive character who seems to have parachuted in from a 1930s gangster film, " said Variety's Brian Lowry.

"Although messy and at times uneven, the one-hour series feels like a bull's-eye with the sort of premium-cable space the distributor is eager to carve out with its original efforts."

The ensemble cast includes Laverne Cox as a transgender former fire-fighter, Pablo Schreiber as a sleazy guard nicknamed Pornstache, Kate Mulgrew as a powerful Russian who runs the kitchen and Jason Biggs as Schilling's fiance.

Stone seems surprised at landing the role, telling IF on the line from New York, "I'm completely invisible over here. They thought I was American. I tend to go into auditions as an American; otherwise you spend too long talking about how Australian you are and they (casting directors) don't believe you can do anything but be Australian."

No Australian broadcaster has yet bought the Lionsgate-produced show but apart from any TV deal it will almost certainly screen here on iTunes.

The actress, who is married to actor Dan Spielman, moved to the US 18 months ago after appearing with Geoffrey Rush in Gogol's The Diary of a Madman at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. She played a Finnish maid, the object of the Rush character's  increasingly deranged love, and a lunatic in an asylum.

She said, "Dan and I are still finding our feet in quite a large and strange city."

She's represented by the Gersh Agency in the US and Shanahan Management in Australia. Netflix has already commissioned a second series of Orange is the New Black and her agent is in discussions to have Stone continue as Morello. If that happens she'll spend the next six months on that production.

"I'm really happy to be part of this amazing first season and can't wait to see what happens in the second season," she said. "The cast is unlike anything I've ever seen on television, filled with so many women of different colours and creeds and sizes speaking so many different languages. It would be a great show for Australian television."

She made her debut aged 13 with Rachel Griffiths, David Roberts and Sandy Winton in Pip Karmel's feature My Myself I, followed by The Farm miniseries with Greta Scacchi, Colin Friels and Marton Csokas.

While she sees her immediate future in the US, she's keen to work in Australian films.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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