Note: This story contains spoilers about the new season of “Orange is the New Black.”
“Orange is the New Black” star Samira Wiley has been keeping a big secret from the rest of the world for an entire year: her character on the show, Poussey, dies at the hand of a prison guard during season four.
Samira, 29, recently spoke to Vulture about working on the Netflix show without being able to tell her co-stars about her character’s fate.
“The writers and [creator and showrunner Jenji Kohan] told me right before production started for season four, so I basically knew the whole season, which was great for me to be able to have a whole season of this news to myself, to be able to process it, to be able to sit back and reflect and just have some knowledge that this would have some finality for me,” Wiley told Vulture. “Nobody else in the cast knew until the script came out. As of now, I have known for over a year.”
Though Wiley said keeping such a big secret from her castmates was hard, she also appreciated having the time to process the greatest experience of her acting career so far coming to an end.
“You’re on a show for so long and you feel a part of it and then, all of a sudden, you get news like this, and it’s a real shock,” Wiley said. “I definitely needed the time and am grateful and thankful for all the executive producers being able to understand how delicate and sensitive this situation was. They made sure I was okay throughout the whole process. They also let me know, even though I didn’t have a script, what story was trying to be told in terms of ‘Black Lives Matter.'”
Wiley also told Vulture that “Orange is the New Black” will forever hold a special place in her heart for how transformative it has been for her acting career. “The show really gave me my life,” she said. “I wouldn’t be talking to you, I wouldn’t be able to be in magazines and newspapers and have my family be proud of me because my face is on TV. I wouldn’t have any of this stuff without ‘Orange Is the New Black.’ I’m forever grateful.”