Whether you realize it or not, you’ve seen Taryn Manning on the big and small screen for over a decade (think “Crossroads,” “NYPD Blue,” “8 Mile,” “Hustle & Flow”), and now, the actress is nearly unrecognizable in her latest role on Netflix’s original series “Orange is the New Black.”
Playing Litchfield prison inmate Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett requires a physical transformation for Taryn, which includes ugly-ing up her pretty smile to reflect her character’s years of meth use.
AccessHollywood.com caught up with the actress to get the scoop on everything “OITNB,” starting with the process of creating those rotting chompers – and guess what, it’s not a mouthpiece!
“We got it down to like 15 or 20 minutes by the end of the season, but it was a process,” Taryn told AccessHollywood.com, of how long she spent in the makeup chair each day to achieve Pennsatucky’s cringe-worthy brown teeth. “I’d have to open up [my mouth] and – I couldn’t stand this part – they’d shove cotton above my lip and below. And cotton in your mouth is kind of like nails on a chalkboard!
“I’d be sitting there, just so bummed,” she added, laughing. “It was a process, but it was fine.”
In addition to being stripped of her sparkling smile, Taryn is forced to go without makeup while filming – not a comfortable feat for a veteran actress.
One day on set, Taryn was having a particularly rough time swallowing her “Pennsatucky” appearance and thought she’d sneakily dab a teeny bit of eye makeup on for a quick self-esteem boost… her plot was foiled immediately.
“This is a funny little tidbit. I think I was on my period one day and I was like, ‘Ugh. I can’t look at myself in the mirror.’ I took mascara and tipped – I mean, so lightly – tipped the end of my lashes [and thought], ‘They’ll never know,’” she said. “The makeup artist was like, ‘Do you have mascara on?’ I was like, ‘Yes!’ I just folded.
“They took it right off and I was like, ‘All right. I get it,’” she continued, adding that while “OITNB” is set in a prison, it’s still a TV show, so some of her castmates are allowed a small amount of makeup for the camera. “There really isn’t a lot [of makeup], but I don’t get ANYTHING. It’s brutal.”
Though the bare face, meth mouth and unflattering prison lighting are rough on the ego, Taryn admits Pennsatucky’s harsh, strung-out look helped her discover the way she wanted to portray the addict-turned-radical disciple of Christ – a performance many critics have dubbed Emmy-worthy.
“The day that they did me up – or, lack of doing me up – I was like, ‘Oh, OK. I see where we’re going. If we’re going here, I’m going all the way with this role,’” she told AccessHollywood.com. “I just felt like, wow — I look terrible, you know what I mean? So I made a choice that very day that I’m taking this to the limit.”
Adding, “I’ll go as far as they’ll let me push the envelope.”
**WARNING: The following contains major “Orange is the New Black” Season 1 spoilers!**
There’s a chance Taryn may not have to endure the time consuming teeth-staining process for the show’s second season, as Season 1’s finale ended with Pennsatucky on the receiving end of dozens of angry blows to the face from co-star Taylor Schilling (fellow inmate Piper Chapman).
As “OITNB” fans know, the explosive, climactic scene was difficult to watch, and Taryn said it wasn’t a walk in the park to film either.
“It was freezing that night. It was a long night,” Taryn said, when asked about the cliffhanger scene, where her character finally gets a taste of her own medicine after attempting to shank Piper with a pointed wooden cross in the snowy prison yard. “It was the last scene of the day and me and Taylor were so cold.
“We were genuinely frustrated – I think that’s why Taylor did such a great job in that scene,” she continued. “Watching Taylor do that and [having been] around her – I can say she [truly] lost it. I was really proud of her as an actress. I was like, ‘You just killed that – no pun intended! I’m really proud of you.’”