We had a chat with actress Annie Golden who plays Norma Romano on Orange is the New Black. Annie talks about her acting beginnings, Orange is the New Black and more. Season 3 of Orange is the New Black is now available on Netflix.
1. Let's start all the way from the beginning. When did you fall in love the art of acting and can you remember your first acting gig?
Do I remember my first acting gig? I certainly do! I was discovered fronting a band playing at CBGB's by Academy Award winning Director, Milos Forman, who as a girl I had watched from my living room Win his Oscar for ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST on my family's TV! Milos cast me as Jeannie in his film version of The American Tribal Rock Musical HAIR! I sang those songs I danced for Twyla Tharp, choreographer... It was a thrilling opportunity and I learned sooo much! I owe Milos Forman my livelihood today... That was 1978 and I am delighted to know that I am still crazy after all these years and enjoying every blessing bestowed upon me: Broadway, film, television, concerts, cabaret I am one lucky lady!
2. From the stage, television or big screen. As an actress which style do you find the most challenging stage, television or the movies?
Of all those emotional outlets and showcases for an actor which do I find the most challenging stage, television or film?
They are individually powerful unique and different mediums and require different skill sets: stage needs stamina the biggest acting job a Broadway musical actor does, is they make the performing look "Easy" like anyone could pull it off and accomplish it! Film, however, is a slow, tedious, meticulous, "takes a village" collaboration so to keep focused and ever ready when the cameras roll to give a subtle, nuanced, profound performance it is a determination of another kind and Television although it seems like a cliché to say it but when you are on a long-running television show it is like a well-oiled machine: team work brings it into your living room every week! Like a family for sure!
3. You have a recurring role on the Netflix show Orange is the New Black. You play the character of Norma Romano. What attracted you the character who usually is a mute?
Nothing attracted me to Norma... She was a gift given to me by Jenji Kohan our brilliant ORANGE creator! I auditioned for Jen Euston as Sister Ingalls (Beth Fowler's role) Norma Romano was not listed in the breakdowns and there were no sides but not because the nature of Norma but because she was the brainchild of Jenji's inmate Romano was offered to me because she was the best kept secret of the pilot episode and the rest is ORANGE history.. Who knew I would learn special skills like shaving Red's legs, peeling and mashing potatoes, dying Red's roots all silently!
4. How did you land the role of Norma?
Award winning casting director, Jen Euston!
I had just come home from THE BLACK SUITS for Joe Iconis up at Barrington Stage and so because I was out of town for the summer I had nothing lined up and was so very available and hopeful to audition for a cable television series about women in prison (I don't do glamour as the fans may have noticed) the role of Norma Romano did not even have sides (for reasons that are now obvious) my character was never even listed on any breakdowns,
As I have said I went in for Sister Ingalls which ultimately went to the brilliant Beth Fowler!
5. One thing about Norma character is that she is very loyal. Especially to Red when it's shown they have been friends. How would you describe Norma's relationship with Red?
Well in our flashback meeting in the kitchen years before Healey introduces us and there was an immediate connection between these new inmates and in other remembrances it shows all that they have been thru together as friends, allies and protectors!
6. Is it more easier to act with a character that has dialogue or without it. We can imagine it might be harder without dialogue?
To be silent in a world full of chatterboxes and overcrowded, cramped, community of captives is a challenge and a gift!
That I get to react to all that is happening around me, these wonderful actresses to telegraph to our audience what they should be feeling about the outcome or the consequences of what may be unfolding with our women...is a sacred trust and a big responsibility that I am honored to have thanks to the writers and the one whose brainchild Norma Romano is: Jenji Kohan...
7. Season 3 premieres on June 12th on Netflix. What can you tell us about this season?
Absolutely nothing! If I did I'd have to kill you and then I would never get out of Litchfield!
8. Will we get more flashbacks or a backstory on Norma's character and find out why she is in prison?
The brilliant way Jenji and the other writers have structured the flashbacks is extremely clever and quite genius from a suspenseful point of view: They tell you an inmates' and even the authority gate keeping figures' history with details about their past but not necessarily answering specific questions about why they landed were we find them! Terrific!
9. As a veteran actor who has done theater, television and film. The landscapes of the way we get entertainment is changing. Netflix being the perfect of example of not needing a TV Network or Cable Network to host shows. Where do you see the future of television?
I cannot say but in my lifetime I have heard that movie studios were threatened by television being in peoples' homes and so now I never would have imagined that token booths and telephone booths would disappear from our urban landscape...but they have...so look out ABC, NBC, CBS...we are coming for you, yo!
10. What other projects are you working on and where and when can fans see it? Also any acting advice for those students trying to break in?
I did a day on a Molly Shannon movie called, MILES, and I am working on updating my cabaret act: VELVET PRISON II (no hope of parole) which 54 Below is very interested in booking..I have done it at Joe's Puband also ARS NOVA...so the title of the cabaret is a song I wrote way before I got Norma Romano, yo! serendipitous?
I have been workshopping a new musical written for me by
Joe Iconis called ANNIE GOLDEN, BOUNTY HUNTER, YO! and just last night when I sat in with castmates Jackie Cruz and Taryn Manning promoting Season Three and fundraising for Women's Prison Association and promoting
Pensatucky and Flaca's CD releases...a fan asked when is YOUR album coming out, Norma! supply and demand, yo!
If I record it...will anyone buy it? listen to it?