An interview with STAY actress, Taylor Schilling
2013 was quite the year for actress, Taylor Schilling. In 2007, she made her screen debut in DARK MATTER, appearing alongside Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn. Due to the film’s violent subject matter, it was shelved following the Virginia Tech Massacre. So what was supposed to be Schilling’s big break, turned out not to be so big. In other attempts to break through, she starred in the short-lived TV medical drama “Mercy”, and co-starred with Zac Efron in 2012’s THE LUCKY ONE, but neither of those projects got her much recognition. In 2013, Schilling finally got her long overdue notice, starring as Piper Chapman in Netflix’s hit series, “Orange Is the New Black”. Before the success of the Netflix series, Schilling appeared in acclaimed director Wiebke von Carolsfeld’s Canadian film, STAY, which is being released in limited release this week. I got to sit down and chat with Schilling last September when the film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
In her first Canadian feature, Schilling stars as Abby, a young woman who left her family in Montreal to live with her older boyfriend, Dermor (Quinn). Things seem to be going well until Abby finds out she is pregnant, and her boyfriend wants no part in raising the child. “I’m curious about that moment when something happens in life and your old ways don’t work anymore. There’s an event or a situation, like Abby’s pregnancy, that you can’t deny. Everything has to be on the table; you have to look at the truth.” Schilling shared, explaining what attracted her to the unusual role. “I was interested in how she chose to do that. I was interested in going back and really reconciling her past in order to move forward.
As I was about to ask my second question, Schilling interrupted me, saying, “Let me just take off my shoes.” She kicked off her high heels, and began to rub her aching feet. Things were pretty informal from then on. While she may not have loved walking around Toronto in heels, she certainly enjoyed the two weeks of shooting in Montreal. “I loved Montreal! I’d never been before and I loved it. I think it informed the film so much; it’s a much gentler city than New York. It’s culturally so on point and current, that it feels very vibrant. I wanted to stay longer and just listen to music and go see movies.”
Since Schilling didn’t have any scenes with Aidan Quinn in DARK MATTER, she was ecstatic about getting to work with him in STAY. “It was such a thrill to work with him. I’ve looked up to him for a long time and I think he’s just so talented.” Schilling digressed a bit, and we found ourselves gushing over Quinn’s expansive filmography. I may have lied about seeing his 1984 film, RECKLESS, just to keep up with her.
While Schilling is enjoying the success of “Orange Is the New Black”, she also hopes to appear in more films. “I really loved playing such a dynamic character. It’s been really fun to have material that showcases all the different parts of being a woman, not just the outline of what we thing of; a blonde, WASP-y woman. I really look forward to the opportunity to play parts that are equally as exciting in some films.” I did my best to get some details on the show’s upcoming second season, but Taylor says she’s sworn to secrecy. She did try her best to give us a couple things to look forward to, telling me, “This season gets even more complicated and even more interesting… for Piper and every woman in the show. You get to dive deeper into everybody’s story”
While the interview may have been a bit shorter than I’d hoped – Schilling’s schedule was pretty packed – it was certainly one of the most comfortable and fun interviews I’ve ever done. I don’t know if she was just like that with me, but Schilling really had a way of making me feel like we were great friends, even though we only just met and spoke for under ten minutes.