Laverne Cox is desperate for Friday’s premiere of the third season of “Orange is the New Black” to go ahead and get here already, if only so that she can finally talk about the new plot developments. “I just want people to see it so we can really go into it,” says Cox, who has — understandably — been sworn to secrecy since filming the latest batch of episodes wrapped a few months ago.
Lucky for us, she is at least willing to tease a little bit of information. “The third season was my favorite of all three seasons to shoot,” she says. “I think we just got deeper into who Sophia is, what makes her tick. I got to do some stuff that I’ve never gotten to do before that I’ve always wanted to do on camera.”
But it’s not just the trajectory of her character, Sophia, that had her so impressed. “Just the stories hit me in my gut, every single one. Every script I read I would just sit in my apartment — or on a plane, I was on a lot of planes — just being so moved to my core,” Cox says. “There was one episode where I was like, ‘OK this is really serious. This is bigger than me.’ I have to really honor the story, and you have to connect with something bigger than you. That’s what it’s really all about.”
While we can only guess — for now — what that episode is all about, it’s good to knowthat Cox shares a desire familiar to a lot of fans of the series. “I’ve told [series creator] Jenji [Kohan] I want to be in the writers’ room, but that’s never going to happen,” Cox says. “I would just love to see how they do it. Are there cards or something? Just in terms of all these characters and keeping them organized and keeping the stories weaving together? That is my dream, to get in there. Eventually, eventually.”
With its much-anticipated third season in the offing and plenty of critical and awards love, Cox feels confident in doing a little back-patting, especially given how Netflix and binge-watching have changed viewers’ approach toward TV. “It was 2013 when we premiered. Things have changed a lot in terms of the culture, and I love that we’re kind of at the forefront of it,” she says.
With a mostly female cast including an impressive number of women of color, the show is also at the forefront of the changing face of TV, something Cox is happy to see happening — but under one condition. “An unprecedented number of pilots this pilot season had ‘minority’ actors — I hate that word —actors from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, which is great but it’s so weird,” she says. “My whole thing is just that I don’t like the idea of it being a trend because trends come and go. I like the idea of it being a real change that happens where we see the real diversity of this country represented on television.”
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter:@nedrick