‘Weeds’ Showrunner Helming Netflix Series About Women’s Prison
In 1993, recent Smith College graduate Piper Kerman began a relationship with a heroin dealer. They ended things, she moved to New York with her boyfriend, began a career in communications, and then more than a decade after severing ties with her drug-dealing ex-girlfriend, she served 15 months in a minimum-security prison in Danbury, Connecticut after pleading guilty to charges of money laundering and drug trafficking. There’s definitely a story in there.
In 2011, a memoir about her experiences in prison, Orange is the New Black, was released, and Jenji Kohan, who is no stranger to working on shows where protagonists run into the law after creating the hit Showtime series Weeds, picked it up to adapt for a new Netflix series due out this summer. The show is a somewhat fictionalized version of Kerman’s experiences and appears to be a darkly comic drama in the vein of Weeds, with one-liners like, “It’s just like the Hamptons, only fucking horrible.”
Taylor Schilling of the unfortunate Atlas Shrugged adaptation stars as “Piper Chapman,” an avatar for Kerman, along with Jason Biggs as her boyfriend (now husband) Larry, and Laura Prepon appears as Alex, said drug-dealing ex-girlfriend. Not mentioned but sure to come will be lots of pop-culture discourse about the portrayal of America’s prison system on television.
Watch the trailer below; along with a video of Kerman talking about her memoir and the women she met while serving her time. Having the context of Kerman speaking about the work and her experiences makes the prospect of a fictionalized version all the more fascinating. Orange Is the New Black premieres on Netflix on July 11th.