Exclusive Interview: Julie Lake AKA Angie Rice of Orange is The New Black
It’s always great getting to know each cast member of Orange is The New Black. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Julie Lake, AKA Angie Rice, the meth head with rotten teeth that has become the new buddy of Leanne Taylor (Emma Myles) in Orange is The New Black.
We met at Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II on the Upper East Side for some tea and scones in an afternoon a few weeks after OITNB premiered.
KR: So nice to finally meet you, Julie!
JL: You, too!
KR: So, we saw a bit of Angie in Season One.
JL: Yes, I was in episode 10 and 13 on Season One. Remember when my character had a headache and Tucky (Taryn Manning) tried to cure me, remember?
KR: Oh yeah, that scene with the “Wizard of Oz.” You know, I remember seeing that scene and thinking, “Who’s that,” and, “Where did she come from?” [Laughs]
JL: [Laughs] That’s the thing because at that time, Leanne [Emma Myles] was the only friend that Tucky had and the rest of the girls were extras so they thought “We need to have another actress so she has more interactions.” That’s when I jumped in.
KR: Aw, good for you!
JL: Yeah, I was so scared because I thought, “It’s the end of the season, all these girls have known each other and have already bonded. I was worried that they would be like, “Who are you,” but they were nothing like that at all. Emma [Myles] was so nice. She took me under her wing and introduced me to everybody. She was very excited that I was on board and so chatty.
KR: That was so sweet of her! I mean, she used to be a newbie on set, too! So, I guess she didn’t want you to feel that way and wanted to comfort you. I think that was very sweet.
JL: She’s the best. I was so nervous and trembling, but she just made it so easy for me.
KR: When Pennsatucky came back from SHU in Season Two, you were the first person who spoke with her.
JL: Yeah! I was the first person who saw her coming down the hall.
KR: Speaking of that scene, I have a question for you. How did you come up with Angie’s accent? I was so curious of where Angie came from. [Laughs]
JL: It’s more like from Boston. I watched this documentary called, “High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell.” This character named Brenda. I kind of modeled Angie after her.
KR: Ah. Thanks for clearing that up for me! You know, the more you watch the show you start to see where these inmates are actually from. Like, Black Cindy is not from New York, I think she came from Pennsylvania. Was it Pittsburgh?
JL: Yeah, I think so.
KR: When we exchanged our e-mails, and you told me you were from Los Angeles, I was like “Oh, I had no idea!”
JL: Wait, did you think that I was from somewhere else, because of my accent? [Laughs]
KR: [Laughs] I know, it’s called acting, right? No, I thought you were from here. One time I went to see Catherine Curtin. She did a reading at Ma-Yi Theater and she played a landlord; her character had such weird accent that I had no clue where she was from. I talked to her and she said she just created it and it was all mixed that she didn’t even know where this character was from. [Laughs]
JL: And Angie is totally different than how I normally talk, but you already knew that. [Laughs] Yeah, I live in Los Angeles, but I’m from Palo Alto, California.
KR: Of course!
JL: Nobody recognizes me from the show. I was at Emma’s birthday party last night. I talked to a bunch of her friends. They have all seen the show, obviously. Then one asked me, “How did you know Emma,” and I was just like, “Umm… I’m from the show.” [Laughs]
KR: [Laughs] Because you look nothing like Angie! By the way, I was so excited when I discovered that you had a Twitter account, and I also felt like I failed as a social media person that I didn’t know about it.
JL: I mean, I never tweet and I need to do that more. I did have an account, but never used it. I didn’t start posting photos regularly until recently. I think I started posting photos after the premiere.
KR: Oh yeah, I remember seeing your GIFs from Netflix’s Tumblr account, and you looked amazing!
JL: Thank you! I saw fans post it recently.
KR: Anyway, how do you feel working with a huge ensemble cast?
JL: I mean, it feels amazing; Taryn [Manning], for sure, is one of the best actresses I’ve ever worked with. She is a powerful force! She makes acting so much easier because she pulls you in so you have to pay attention to her. You can’t get trapped in your head when Taryn Manning is talking to you as Tucky because she commands your attention. And she is so sweet and caring – she’s totally the mama bear of the group. She takes care of everybody. She knows that I have anxiety and trouble sleeping sometimes, so she would take me into her dressing room and play meditation tapes, and I would just chill out and fall asleep on her couch. She’s just a great person.
KR: Oh wow! That was so wonderful and very sweet of her.
JL: She’s the best. I love Taryn.
KR: I just remembered that I tweeted you a few days ago that I would send you my laundry and you were like, “Of course. Send it over! I’ll take care of it,” and then I thought, “Oh gosh, I hope she knew I was just kidding.” [Laughs]
JL: No worries! Also, I love Kimiko! She’s my laundry friends. [Laughs]
KR: I love that this cast always talk about each other and praises one another.
JL: It’s weird to talk about yourself when there are other interesting people. [Laughs]
KR: Anyway, have you finished watching Season Two?
JL: Yes, I finished it once. I was actually sick the day it came out. I stayed in, but was sick and scared to watch myself. I’m glad I watched it now because I think the show is amazing. I think a lot of actresses don’t watch their shows because they don’t like to watch themselves. I know that Natasha doesn’t watch herself, either. [Laughs]
KR: I think you guys are not the only ones. I knew a lot of actresses and actors who don’t watch their work.
JL: It’s hard. It makes you feel self-conscious. Every time I watch myself, I would be like cringing. Sometimes I’d just turn the volume off. Maybe cover my eyes. I would criticize myself, like, “I shouldn’t have done that!” You feel subconscious and start correcting everything. It’s not helpful. [Laughs]
KR: You know what I like: That your character, Angie, and Leanne got to float around and interact with other characters. That scene with Yoga Jones and Sister Ingalls was great.
JL: Yeah, I also love that pizza scene with Beth [Sister Ingalls]. The one where we filmed the hunger strike and then there were pizzas. It was so much fun to shoot that scene.
KR: Edward Pizza Hands. [Laughs] By the way, did you get to improvise?
JL: I did. Nick Jones, whom I did a bunch of theaters with in New York when I used to live here, wrote that episode. So, with him, I felt more comfortable improvising. Some of the writers, I’m not sure if they would get mad at me if I did something off the scripts. With Nick, I feel more comfortable because he knows me.
KR: I just always wondered if the actors could improvise or add something into it.
JL: Yeah, it depends. Taryn is a brilliant genius and can add funny lines and and do her own thing, and nobody questions it. But in episode 2 of season 2, Taryn was urging me to be more like her and take some more liberties, but I was afraid if I didn’t say the lines exactly, they would think I couldn’t memorize my lines and fire me.
JL: Yea, I started to get braver about improvising as the season went on. I mean, I would add something funny if it didn’t change the flow of the scene, you know. Emma and I have gotten really comfortable together and will often add fun bits to the scenes – like it was our idea to put Healy’s Russian cookies in my pocket and bite them together Lady and the Tramp style. Stuff like that.
KR: You guys are so cute together, like when Leanne and Angie ran to the kitchen to steal nutmeg.
JL: Yeah, that was so middle school. [Laughs]
KR: By the way, who came up with that song that Angie and Leanne sang and danced together?
JL: I’m not sure if it’s correct, but someone told me that Jenji’s kid taught it to her and then she wrote it into the script. When we got the script, Emma and I were like “What is this,” and, “Is this a song or rap?” we couldn’t figure out what it was until we got on set and learned that it was a school playground chant. I love that scene.
KR: You should check it out on Tumblr. I’ve seen a lot of GIFs from that scene.
JL: Oh yeah? The loser lame boy wannabe?
KR: Yup! So, do you have your favorite scene to watch?
JL: That’s a hard question. I love a lot of the Taryn-Healy scenes.
KR: Me too!
JL: Yeah, they are so cute!
KR: Those scenes made my heart melt.
JL: I know, she’s so vulnerable, and also she could make me laugh. I think that a lot of Vee’s stuff is amazing.
KR: Oh, Vee. She’s so evil, but of course, Lorraine Toussaint is an amazing actress! I seriously had a hard time watching Poussey got beaten up!
JL: That scene was heart breaking. She’s so evil. But, she did such a good job. She’s legitimately scary. [Laughs] What was your favorite scene?
KR: I loved episode 6 a lot.
JL: Which one again?
KR: The Valentine’s Day episode.
JL: Oh, yeah! That was a very good one. That was one of the most fun episodes to shoot. We just danced all day. We danced for hours and laughed all day. Taryn made me laugh so hard. She was improvising the insults.
KR: Ah, like what?
JL: You know, the potato with eyes scene. She called me, like, a double whore or something ridiculous. Potato with eyes was written in the script, but she was throwing in some hilarious insults. I lost it and I turned around and was out of the shot. After that take, they came to tell me “Please stay in your spot.” [Laughs]
KR: Oh my god! [Laughs]
JL: I was dying. She killed me in that line. Also, Emma and I did some dirty dancing dances. I don’t know if those actually got into the show. I think there was a part where they filmed Pennsatucky looking at us and being sad.
KR: I was quite sad to be honest with you. I thought that you all would stick together.
JL: I know, we were sad too, mostly because we are friends in real life.
KR: I also like Poussey.
JL: She’s so cute.
KR: And charming, too!
JL: I’ve seen her on set and I ran into her on the subway. You know, with my makeup and teeth and bad hair, it took her a bit to remember me. [Laughs] And once she remembered, she said, “Oh, hey!” And her smile just lights up the entire room. It’s like, she smiles at me and my heart is melting.
KR: I can’t agree more!
JL: That scene when she speaks German. Oh gosh.
KR: Nein motherfucker nein. Oh boy, I was melting. [Laughs]
JL: I did that quiz, “Which OITNB are you?” You know which one I’m talking about?
KR: Oh, yeah! I kept getting Piper. [Laughs]
JL: I got Poussey and I was so happy!
KR: I tried to change my answers and still didn’t get Poussey. [Laughs]
JL: I felt so cool.
KR: So, what’s it like working with Kimiko?
JL: She’s great. We are good friends on set. She’s really sweet. She has done a bunch of musical theater. Our first day together, which we had the same director, we started to bond over that. We started talking and hanging out.
KR: So you went to Yale, and studied theater?
JL: Yeah, theater major. I loved it. I was always in plays. Elizabeth Meriwether, a creator of New Girl on Fox, So, Liz was a year older than I was. You know, I used to be in all her first plays. I worked with so many talented people.
KR: Do you miss theater?
JL: I do. That was pretty much all I’ve done up to Orange is The New Black.
KR: So, Orange is your first television work?
JL: Yeah, it’s my first television thing. So, yeah, I miss it a lot, doing theater. But, I feel like I kind of need to be in New York. I don’t know. We’ll see. I would love to be in another play, if it’s possible.
KR: You mentioned earlier that you have worked with Nick Jones?
JL: I did a bunch of plays in NYC with Nick Jones including “Jollyship the Whiz-Bang” a pirate, puppet, rock odyssey. I played a the one girl pirate on the boat and sang in the band and also played a bunch of silly puppets like an ominous seagull and some drunk prostitutes. The show was a big hit and was completely sold out through the run.
JL: I was also in “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”
KR: I knew that one. I was going to see it, but something came up and I missed it. I heard it was great!
JL: I want to get back to that. I’ve been out of New York way too long.
KR: How long had you lived here?
JL: Off and on since 2005. Then I lived in LA off and on since 2011, but I came back for some workshops and for Orange is The New Black, obviously. In LA, I’ve been doing mostly comedy stuff, and I have this “George and Julie Show.” Have you seen those? They are on my website.
KR: Wait, that show that you talked with your cat? I’ve seen those on YouTube.
JL: Yeah, that’s it. So, it’s about Julie is an actress in Hollywood and George is a cat and super connected and demeans her. It’s funny. So, I’ve been focusing a lot on comedy in LA.
KR: You should do it while in New York, if you get a chance. Matt McGorry does it at UCB. I went to one of his show and Dash [Polanco] was his guest. He has his own team and everything.
JL: Oh wow. I think most actors/ actresses have gone through UCB, especially people that do comedy and stuff.
KR: You know, I wanted to see Lauren Lapkus. I know that she does a lot of standup shows.
JL: Yeah, she’s really good. I’ve seen her. She’s out of control hilarious.
KR: What would you like to tell your fans?
JL: I don’t know. [Laughs] What do people tell their fans?
KR: What did Emma tell you? You guys were hanging out yesterday? I saw your photos on Instagram. [Laughs]
JL: Oh yeah, we were in Central Park. We were on a rowboat drinking champagne to celebrate her birthday and that we did a mock interview because I was nervous for my interview with you.
KR: It seemed like you guys had a blast! Oh, you know what, I needed to ask you about the hardest scene to film.
JL: I mostly had comedic scenes, but there was this scene in episode 13 from Season 1.
KR: Was it the one in the bathroom, where Pennsatucky tried to scare Piper, and you were guarding the door?
JL: Yeah! That scene, I have to give it to Taylor [Schilling]. It wasn’t hard for me, but it took forever. She had to be naked and was taking a shower and breaking down crying. She had to do it over and over again. I have so much respect for her after we shot that scene. That was 4 hours of shooting and she stayed so committed the entire time. That was the first time I met Danie [Danielle Brooks], when we weren’t in the shot, we would be sitting on the sink and talking and stuff.
KR: That bathroom looks so dirty. [Laughs] Does it feel dirty?
JL: It looks dirty, but it’s not dirty. [Laughs] Watching it on TV looks so much grosser and scarier than it is when we are in it.
KR: Anyway, This show has brought so many people into my life. I got to meet the cast, Jenji, Lisa [Vinnecour] and you! I’m so grateful.
JL: Lisa is my favorite person. She’s always on set. She’s never not there. She’s also so sweet. She would sit at lunch with me and talk to me when I didn’t have many friends. She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
KR: Aw, that was very sweet. Oh, by the way, what was your audition like?
JL: I sent in a tape. Nick Jones told me, like, “Hey, there’s opening for this part.” So, I sent in a tape to the Casting Director in LA. I was super excited.
KR: Well, I’m glad that you are a part of the show now! You know what you and Emma should do together? You guys should do a standup.
JL: She’s funny. We kind of planned to do something funny and silly together, but that hasn’t happened yet. There’s a joke on Arrested Development and we started calling each other names. I have Emma programmed in my phone as “Emma Anustart” I would call her “Hey! anustard wanna get something to eat?”
KR: [Laughs] Oh, now, I get it! I kept seeing the hashtags you guys used on Instagram and I was, like, “What the heck is that?” [Laughs]
JL: Yeah, if you watch Arrested Development, you’d get it. [Laughs]
KR: So, do you have any other favorite shows that you watch?
JL: Game of Thrones! I have like four more episodes till I’m caught up. I also love House of Cards! I finished First Season in two days and then Second Season in a week.
KR: I’m not surprised! I finished all these shows in one setting or two, if possible.[Laughs]
JL: How long did it take you to finish Orange?
KR: Within 24 hours, I started at 3 AM. [Laughs]
JL: Are you serious?
KR: Trust me, I wasn’t the only one. [Laughs] I did fall asleep around 7 though. Then I picked up from where I left off, which was around 11 AM, and guess what? Some fans had like a couple episodes to go. I think I finished it that night, but I forgot what time.
JL: What is it that you like about the show?
KR: Oh, you are interviewing me now? [Laughs]
JL: [Laughs] I’m just curious.
KR: I would say the back-story. I was drawn in by these back-stories. I also love ensemble shows. I like a show where every single character is important and that’s the beauty of the show.
JL: Great answer!
KR: So, this is fun! Thanks for meeting with me today!
JL: Aw, it’s my pleasure!