"OITNB"'s Danielle Brooks struggled with filming *that* scene
If you’re not caught up on season four of Orange Is The New Black, look away now, or prepare to have your heart broken, because we’re gonna talk about a huge spoiler. Don’t read anything below this GIF if you’re not caught up:
Yep, we’re talking about where Poussey Washington is murdered by a guard while rushing to help Suzanne and Taystee collapses beside her, shattering our souls into millions of pieces. We weren’t the only ones whose lives were changed by that moment: Danielle Brooks, who plays Taystee on the Netflix series, spoke to NYmag’s Vulture blog about what it was like to “live” that scene and to lose a friend on the show.
Because Danielle and Samira Wiley, who played Poussey, are friends IRL, she was one of the first to know about the character’s death.
“I kind of took a big moment of silence,” she said, referring to the moment after Samira revealed the death. “I was really in shock and couldn’t believe she was leaving.”
The two ended up talking for hours about this decision, and how they were sad it meant Samira was leaving the show, but happy for the doors it might open. It also was an important commentary on the events happening in real life.
“I think the writers have definitely succeeded in getting people to pay attention to Black Lives Matter, the Say Her Name movement, and the I Can’t Breathe movement,” Danielle explained. “These are all part of our culture, unfortunately. So I’m glad to be part of a show that’s not just entertaining, but is educating as well.”
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t extremely difficult to film. Danielle told director Matthew Weiner (of Mad Men fame) that she didn’t want to have to do multiple takes. Putting yourself in the shoes of someone suffering such a loss is draining, and Danielle knew she only had so much in her before that way of thinking would start to take a toll on her mental health.
“As an actor, I wanted to do justice to what so many mothers and fathers go through in real life,” she said, so the moment when her character falls to the ground came from inside her — it wasn’t written in the script.
As for Taystee’s future? Things will definitely be different. We mean, after that cliffhanger ending, we’re guessing things are going to be different for everyone. We can’t wait to watch, although we’ll miss the people we’ve lost along the way.