By Monica M.
The characters on Orange Is The New Black extend beyond the ladies of Litchfield. The lady in charge of operations at the prison, Natalie Figueroa (portrayed by Alysia Reiner) is seen as a power driven woman with no regard to her prisoners. While in Season 1 we started to see signs of corruption in Fig, in Season 2 we got to see the motives behind her corruption and her power driven attitude.
We recently had the opportunity to chat (you can check out the full audio of this interview at the bottom of the page) with Alysia Reiner about her character, other projects that she’s currently working on, and about whether or not we can expect to see more Fig in Season 3. With a slew of projects on her plate Alysia also gave us insight on some of organizations that she’s currently involved in and how we can help. We then played a quick game of ‘Beyond This or That’ where she had to pick one thing over the other.
OITNB.com: Have you had the chance to binge-watch Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black?
Alysia Reiner: I have seen some of it but not all of it. I’m not a binger. I like to do it a little at a time. I always say when people ask me about it… some people can have a box of chocolates in their house for a month… some people… you know one night. And I am a one-a-day girl — that’s just how I am. I really enjoy savoring things — certain things I can’t do it I will admit, but certain things I can really enjoy having. It’s a real a special treat when I have time to watch.
Who’s your favorite character on the show?
I think my favorite character honestly would have to be Poussey. I happen to love Samira in real life. But she is such a beautiful human being. Like you just — She’s such a beautiful — I’m dying to know how she got in prison. Because she so doesn’t belong there… she’s so good.
What’s your favorite quote from the series?
I have so many. I was just watching The Loved One and I feel like every quote about love is so true and genius. Of mine, I would have to go with “Am I in a M. Night Shalamalama movie and am I seeing things that nobody else sees”. When I read that whole speech I wanted to kiss the feet of the writers cause its just such genius comic writing. But what I think is magical about the show is that they’re both these emotional truisms and then they’re these fantastic zingy one-liners — That’s really amazing.
Who would be the ideal person to guest star on the show?
Oh my goodness. You know I just worked with Morgan Freeman on a film and I don’t know why he just popped into my head — just cause he plays god in everything you know so I think it would be so interesting to see what he would do in this prison and what he would play in this prison. But then of course my dream guest star would be my husband. He could come be the dentist. On his show he plays a dentist so he could come play — Taryn Manning Pennsatucky will need a little more work and he could come be the scary dentist.
Can we expect to see Fig in Season 3 of Orange Is The New Black?
I definitely am in Season 3 and I have no clue how much I’m in Season 3. So we’ll see. But I’ve already shot one episode of Season 3… so that we know.
What characters would you have liked to/ or would like to have more interaction with on the show?
Oh my god there’s so many. You know I rarely get to work with anybody. I get to work with Caputo a lot and that’s about it. I never had anything with Healy, I’d love to have something with Healy, Red, Poussey. I briefly had a scene with Danielle. And I’ve had like one scene with Natasha and one scene with Piper. I would love to with the inmates and — maybe Fig will end up in prison and nothing would make me happier but you know… we’ll see.
What was your initial reaction when you found out Orange Is The New Black was nominated for 12 Emmy Awards?
I was totally totally shocked. I had no idea, but we did get a little bit of a heads up thing. You know — if we get nominated for anything we’re gonna have champagne and oranges and I was in LA and I was like I wish I was there but you know let’s see. And then the amount of things that came in were — you know just unbelievable.
Do you have any plans on going to the Awards or any of the parties?
Yes I plan on being here and I would love to go.
We know that you recently launched a production company where you plan to produce films with strong female roles, what’s the inspiration behind this?
Yes we want lots of women, both in front of the camera and behind the camera. We just hired our writer who is fantastic. Her name is Amy Fox and we’re working on a feature right now about Wall Street and it will feature a woman on Wall Street, which you never really see. And I can’t tell you anymore about it but it’s really exciting and fun.
When and what can we expect from the projects that your production company is working on?
We get our first draft of the script at the end of the summer on Labor Day and then we’ll see what happens next.
Outside of producing, what projects are you currently working at the moment that you can tell us about?
Yeah I’m doing a bunch of movies this summer. I just wrapped two. One’s called Ava’s Possessions. And I call that like — It’s sort of like “The Exorcist” meets “Memento”. It’s about a woman possessed by a demon and the movie starts when she wakes up from her possession and trying to figure out what the heck just happened. It’s really fun and I play one of the people that she met along the way. And then I just did another film called No Letting Go and that’s a really beautiful film about mental illness in kids, which I chose to do because its something that people don’t really talk about and what do you do when your child has mental illness and how do you walk through that and how do you handle that. That was really exciting and fun. And then I have two more coming up. One is called The Other Side about sexual abuse in the Hasidic community. And then the other one is called The Networker, which is a sort of modern re-telling of Death of a Salesman. I have a bunch of other movies that will probably come out sooner than those because those all I just shot. But there’s a few — if you look on my IMDB there’s a bunch that should be coming out soon hopefully. The one I shot with Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton will be out sooner than later. That was a great one.
We know that you’re involved in a few different organizations like WPA, is there information about those that you like to share with us, and let us know how we can get involved?
Yes. I so believe in sharing everything you can — financially and otherwise. Obviously, I work with Women’s Prison Association and was shocked — to talk about the Emmy nominations thing — similarly when they said they want to give me an award I was like “What!?” but I designed a piece of jewelry for them this year with an amazing jewelry designer named Suz Somersall and you can get that at KiraKira. And we raised thousands and thousands of dollars for them which is so exciting and helped them in a bunch of other ways but it’s been really wonderful working with them. And uh…[laughs] my husband just clapped for me. And I work with Healthy Child Healthy World and they’re recommended environmentalist site. I was lucky enough to be at Clinton Global this year talking about water purity with Procter & Gamble. I have a lot of causes. I work with the Cancer Support Community a great deal. I love serving the world any way I possibly can. That’s just who I am.
What other shows are you currently obsessed with at the moment?
I am, I know I’m late to the party but I just got into Downton Abbey. I was on a plane and I saw like 10 episodes back and forth to New York and I loved it. Loved it loved it loved it. I didn’t think I would enjoy, I really didn’t. It took me awhile to see it because I was like I don’t know if this is could be my style… might be too slow but it’s just not. It’s really so delightful.
If you could say anything to fans what would it be?
Keep up the love and if you have love for Fig start sharing it so that she does necessarily get to stick around for awhile.
We named 2 things and Alysia had to pick one one over the other.
Twitter or Instagram
Acting or Producing
Film and Television
West Coast or East Coast
Casual or Dressy
Photo Credit: Josh Merwin Photography, WPA & Netflix Inc.
Check out some of the links below of Organization that Alysia is currently involved with and see how you can get involved.
The limited edition locket that Alysia collaborated with KiraKira for charity is available for purchase here.
Women’s Prison Association – http://www.wpaonline.org/