Taylor Schilling landed the lead role of NBC’s 2009-2010 medical show “Mercy” as an unknown with only one screen credit (in the indie academic drama “Dark Matter”) to her name. She proved herself an interesting, offbeat lead as a nurse recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq in that underwatched series, which unfortunately has little else to distinguish itself and a few too many similarities to “Nurse Jackie” — it ended after one season.
Since “Mercy” was canceled, Schilling’s appeared in a starring role in the dismal 2011 Ayn Rand adaptation “Atlas Shrugged: Part I” and opposite Zac Efron in gauzy Nicholas Sparks film “The Lucky One,” but things are looking up for the actress in terms of material. According to Deadline, she’s been cast as the lead in “Orange Is The New Black,” the upcoming Netflix original series from “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan.
Kohan created a plum role for Mary-Louise Parker in Nancy Botwin, and with “Weeds” ending after this current season is turning her attention to what will be, along with David Fincher’s “House of Cards,” Eli Roth’s “Hemlock Grove” and the new season of “Arrested Development,” a key part of Netflix’s first slate of programming all its own.
In “Orange Is The New Black,” based on the memoir by Piper Kerman, Schilling will play a woman who’s happily living in New York with her boyfriend when a scheme she got involved in with an ex in her college days a decade ago lands her in prison.
“Orange Is The New Black” is slated for 13 hour-long episodes and will, like “Weeds,” be a mix of comedy and drama.