Exclusive Interview with OITNB’s Joel Marsh Garland

We had the pleasure of speaking with Joel Marsh Garland yesterday. Best known for his work on “Birdman” and Netflix’s hit original series “Orange Is The New Black”, Garland is also the . Read our interview below. We discuss an OITNB wedding, red velvet cake, and Garland’s upcoming projects. Be sure to follow Garland on Twitter and Instagram.

Since you guys are filming right now, what can you tell us about the current season?

“I actually can’t tell you anything about the current season. I can’t even confirm whether or not I’m shooting because I think yes-or-no would be a spoiler on the end of Season Three. I don’t know, have you watched all of Season Three yet?”

I’ve watched all of Season Three.

“Yeah, so the majority of us guards have taken off at the end of Three, so I feel like I can’t really tell you even if I’m been on set yet for Four because … You know what I mean?”


“Some stuff has to be kept under secret. We try to stay fairly tight-lipped over on Orange.”

In Season Three, Scott and Wanda (Catherine) started to have a romance. Do you guys get along well off screen?

“Yeah. We get along super well. We’ve been great co-workers and partners. She’s a lovely human. She’s super talented. She’s come in to work on a couple of projects that I’ve directed which has given me even
more respect for her as an actress. To watch her when I’m not working across from her, and to see nuance and texture of which she’s up to. We’ve done some charity work together and hung out socially. She’s wonderful.”

We haven’t seen Scott’s back story yet, so whether or not he comes back, do you have a back story for him in your mind?

“In my mind, yeah. I don’t have anything from the writers, but I have a fantasy back story of him receiving a head injury as a youth. Scott having a promising career as a musician or as an artist, and receiving a traumatic head injury, maybe on a field of battle. I don’t know. Then, trying to find his way in life with a little less function than he might have had.”

So, if you do come back, do you think Scott and Wanda could have wedding bells in the future?

“Well, I don’t know. That’d be a pretty big one. I couldn’t even guess. They won’t tell us anything when those things come around, but they seem pretty chummy. By Season Three they had moved in together. They were getting furniture from the street. I don’t think we could rule out a character wedding. I don’t think we could rule that out down the line.”

Do you want them to get married?

“You know, it’s always funny. When you talk about drama, like a wedding or romance, is often the end of the dramatic storyline. It’s like, traditionally, you get to the marriage, and then it’s like, “Okay.
That’s it.” Then, everybody does whatever they do for the rest of their lives, its an adolescent concept that runs through dramatic structure, you know what I mean? In our real lives, we get married, and have our whole lives ahead of us.

I don’t know. I think if it stays inside that universal conceit of what marriage does to drama, then O’Neill and Bell should stay single for as long as possible. But, I think we have such great writers that
they could explore that marriage, as well. A lot of people have interest in that story. The rest of us want that meaning,story in our lives when we get married or have a long-term romantic partner.”

Do you have a favorite prisoner that you’ve been able to interact with?

“You know I love all the women on the show, they are all so talented. I like watching everybody, watching Jessica Pimentel come into her own in that character, and watching Adrienne who plays Black Cindy. Adrienne’s work this season was just astonishing. I had one small scene with Taystee first season. I would love to have another scene with Danielle. We had a very sweet, like two-line scene before she went into the review board for her parole. I loved being on set with her that day and having that small scene. I’d love to have another scene with Danielle.”

Based on your own personality, do you think you would actually make a good prison guard?

“No. I’d make a terrible prison guard. I need change and new things all the time. I’m always seeking out new projects and new ways to do stuff. I think the monotony of being inside of one space all the time would kind of get to me.”

What’s the best part about working on “Orange is the New Black”?

“It is the kindest place I’ve every worked. It’s just such a great group of people. I’m lucky, along with having a great group and a great tone. I’m lucky. Jenji Kohan and Lisa Vinnecour over there, they set such a great tone working at the show. There’s no assholes on set. Everybody’s super positive. Along with that, we have such skilled people making what we make. It’s like I look forward to the days that I work. The days that I don’t work I’m like, “Oh, I wish I was working today” whether I had anything interesting to do or not. I’m happy to go, and stand there, and point at things, and not say a word. It’s just lovely.

It’s pretty great. I’ve been on a lot of sets over my time as an actor. But, I haven’t been on one like this that feels so much like going home, welcomed, and developed in such a lovely … I don’t know what you call it, a lovely, warm, super kindness!”

How do you really feel about red velvet cakes?

 “I’ve never been a fan of red velvet cake, and Sara put the whole thing in perspective. I have to say… Sara Hess wrote that episode. I was taken with her argument. I think she’s right. I’m onboard.”

Since a lot of people binge-watch “Orange is the New Black”, have you binge-watched any shows?

“Oh, I’ve binge-watched a ton of shows. I binge-watched “Breaking Bad”. I got into it a little bit late, so I binge-watched that. I binge-watched “Battle Star Galactica”. I binge-watched the first one or two seasons of “Orphan Black” because I was behind. Now, I just wait on pins and needles and chew my nails waiting for the next one. I think binge-watching is great. I love it. It’s like the best way. You get something ahead of you, and, for me, I can do it when I work out in the mornings. Oh, yeah, that’s what I did. I binge-watched “Sunny in Philadelphia”. I’d watch two or three episodes when I was on my rowing machine the morning. I just ran right through it. It’s great. What a great show that is. It’s hilarious, those guys.”

What are you currently working on?

“Well, I just did a day on a new show that Dennis Leary is producing for IFC called “Benders.” I just did a guest-star spot on that. Over the break, I did an episode of “Chicago Fire” which came out already. I worked on a movie with James Franco, that James is directing, called “In Dubious Battle.” We filmed the first half of it. It has a couple of more weeks of shooting to go, and then I think it will be submitted to festivals. It’s got a great cast. James Franco, He directed it. He’s also starring in it. Vincent D’onofrio is in it. Ed Harris is in it. Robert Duvall, Bryan  Cranston, Zach Braff, Selena Gomez, Nat Wolff, Sam Shepard. I’m interested to see how it comes together. James McMenamin is in it (“In Dubious Battle”) too. James is also in “Orange Is The New Black”. He plays “Donuts”. He’s just a phenomenal, phenomenal actor. He and I and Franco did “Of Mice and Men” together last year on Broadway. Those are the ones I was on during the break, and we’ll see what’s coming up next.”


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