WARNING: If you have not watched season 4 of Orange, do not read this article!
Danielle Brooks (Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson) and Samira Wiley (Poussey Washington) have been friends ever since they went to school together at Juilliard, and so when Brooks discovered that she would be losing her best friend on the show, and her close friend in real life, to a major season 4 plot twist, she took it hard.
Brooks told Cosmo that Wiley had told her about Poussey’s death in person while drinking wine.
“I remember pausing for a minute in shock, like, Are you serious? And I remember us talking for hours about what this meant for her, what this meant for the show, reflecting on our whole journey together, getting to this point, working together these past four years and knowing each other in college and stuff. It was very hard to swallow and wrap my head around and understand why this was the character they chose to let go of. I’m very grateful that she told me in advance because I don’t know how I would’ve been reading that [script]. My heart would’ve fell out of my chest.”
While she was devastated, Brooks didn’t cry when she learned her dear friend would be leaving the show. “I’m excited for her to blossom and see where her career goes,” Brooks said. “And it’s so important to tell stories like this–stories that are so parallel to Eric Garner, to Sandra Bland, to Natasha McKenna. And people pay attention to [characters] they’re invested in, so it only makes sense for the writers to choose someone that the fans are so invested in.”
Brooks said that they wanted to do the scene in one shot because it “was really difficult.” They did it in two takes, after which Brooks ran to Jenji Kohan and Lauren Morelli for approval on.
The only thing written for her in the script, Brooks revealed, was that Taystee lays on the floor next to Poussey. The emotional journey we witness on screen was all Brooks’ interpretation of what the experience of seeing Taystee’s best friend, dead, on the floor would be like.
When asked if she thinks Taystee can forgive Caputo for his involvement in how Poussey’s death was handled, she answered, “No. No, I don’t. Nope. Nope.”
Brooks thinks that Taystee’s future is dark:
“i don’t think Taystee will ever be the same. To lose two people in that amount of time. She lost Vee, she lost Poussey. She is now on a warpath, and she’s looking for justice. Taystee will forever be changed in that way. I think Taystee’s really moving out of this silly girl phase [of] taking life very lightly at times and moving into realizing what life is really about. And so I think Taystee will forever be different.”