Taylor Schilling brought the steel and fire to the heroine Dagny Taggart in the 2011 film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s classic, influential novel Atlas Shrugged. Schilling brought the vulnerability of an abused housewife and mother to the film version of The Lucky One, both the novel and the screenplay written by bestselling romance author Nicholas Sparks. Whatever role she takes, Schilling radiates the golden warmth of a master of her craft.
We could hope for no better actress to embody the groundbreaking lead role of Piper Chapman in the Orange Is The New Black, a television series adaptation of the memoirs of Piper Kerman’s year in prison.
In the series, the character of Piper was a seemingly ordinary middle-class woman, who made and sold homemade bath soaps for a living, and was preparing to settle down with a man she loved named Larry. Then, one day, her past came back to haunt her and she was tried, convicted, and sentenced to serve time in prison for her participation in a drug ring a decade earlier with her then-girlfriend, Alex.
The series sheds some light, humor and humanity, to a story that represents an intersection of marginalized people: women, lesbians, people of color (as a statistically accurate fraction of the cast) and prison convicts.
In an interview with Nicolas Kazamia from Daily Xtra, Shilling stated:
“I wasn’t concerned about, like, the lesbian stuff. It really was—I thought that those—both the relationships, I thought Piper’s relationship with Larry and I thought Piper’s relationship with Alex were really beautifully drawn out. So, for me, both of those love stories felt very justified, and it didn’t—it wasn’t ‘a lesbian thing’ for me, it was more of just a love story. The nudity, for me, was something new.”
Schilling studied acting at Fordham University, where she attained a Bachelor of Arts degree.