Exclusive Interview : Matt Peters AKA Luschek from OITNB
Joel Luschek, a character whose authority over Litchfield prison inmates in his electric shop is undermined by his own very bad temper. In Orange is the New Black, we see the clash in Luschek’s role and personality on full display when a screw driver goes missing in the shop. The scene evokes both reactions of laughter and discomfort. Luschek’s comical anger is juxtaposed with the very real fear of the risk and responsibility he faces. Matt Peters who portrays Luschek, seems like the perfect addition to the cast of Orange is the new Black as his performance captures The mixture of emotions his character endures while on the job. Peters, the actor, draws from his experience on Jenji’s comedy-drama series Weeds, as well as a multitude of feature short films. Peters also performs stand up comedy between shows, which plays well into his hilarious exchanges with characters such as Nicky Nichols in the shop.
KR: How did you get involved with such a great show like Orange is The New Black?
MP: My involvement with OITNB grew out of my experience as an actor on Weeds. Many of the actors on OITNB were also on Weeds ( Pablo Schreiber, Michael Harney, Natasha Lyonne.) I played the part of an unstable anti-abortion protestor who was stalking Alanis Morisette’s character.
KR: So, I guess that was your audition for the part (Luschek) in Orange?
MP: Apparently, Jenji liked me enough to consider me for the part of Luschek. There are some similarities between the two characters, I suppose. I like to think that they’re both lovably detestable
KR: I didn’t realize that you were that protestor guy on Weeds while watching Orange. Would you mind telling us a little more about working with Jenji (Executive Producer) and Lisa Vinnecour(Co-Executive Producer)?
MP: I owe Jenji exclusively for whatever credibility I might have as an actor. Beyond her projects, my only exposure has been through little comedy sketches you may have seen on the G4 network or Funny or Die. Jenji is a smart, funny and brilliant woman and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunities she’s given me. I owe her big time. I’ve offered to murder her enemies, but she has yet to supply me with any names.
KR: [Laughs] I’m glad that she didn’t! By the way, I have heard awesome things about Lisa and I also met her at Paleyfest, she was very sweet.
MP: Lisa Vinnecour is wonderful. I live in Los Angeles with my wife, so I have to travel to NYC anytime I’m needed for Orange. She has gone out of her way to make that easy for me, including letting me crash on her couch! She’s honestly one of the nicest and most generous people I’ve ever met.
KR: I got a lot of questions from your fans, they wanted to know what was it like to be working with Laura Prepon? And Taylor Schilling? They also wanted me to tell you that you got the best line ” The hot one”
MP: I’ve worked more often with Taylor. She is as nice as they come. Working with a lead actress who is sweet and polite makes the entire cast and crew feel way more at ease. You really couldn’t ask for anyone better. She’s super talented, very funny and easy on the eyes.
KR: Aww. That’s really sweet!
MP: Obviously both Laura [Prepon] and Taylor [Schilling] are “hot”. I would never be so particular to designate one or the other as hot. I look like a swollen gerbil. It would be ridiculous for me to judge anyone’s looks, let alone two incredibly attractive women like Laura and Taylor. My experience with Laura was great as well. She’s super cool and friendly. I hope I get to work with her more often. And of course, she’s hot. Who could deny?
KR: Nope. I couldn’t agree more! By the way, how was your first day on set?
MP: I believe we were shooting a kitchen scene with a lot of cast members. I was pretty nervous at first and flubbed some lines, but it turned out fine. I had to eat a popsicle on camera, so for the sake of continuity, I probably went through twenty of those things. My hands and teeth were numb by the end of the day.
KR: Did you know anyone before Orange?
MP: The only people I knew were Michael Trim [Director and Co- Executive Producer] and Lisa Vinnecour. Everyone was very friendly though.
KR: Do you have your favorite scene to film? And favorite scene to watch?
MP: I really enjoyed filming with Vicky Jeudy (She plays Janae Watson.) She and I fighting back and forth over the whole screwdriver debacle was a lot of fun. She was amazing on set that day. She’s an awesome actress. She brought a lot of intensity to that scene and it made it easy for me to go pretty big with it. I got to scream “fuck!” a lot and they paid me for it. How cool is that?
KR: [Laughs] Very cool! I wish I could say that and get paid for it. So, how many times have you watched OITNB?
MP: I watched the entire season over the course of several days while my wife and I were on our honeymoon.
KR: Wow! Congratulations!
MR: Thank you! The release of the show and my marriage were days apart. I was already on a high from the wedding when the show premiered to all of these great reviews. It was a lot of wonderful attention at once. July was the best month of my life. I’ve not watched any episodes since. I, like everyone else, am just anxious for the release of Season 2.
KR: Me, too! It will be definitely worth the long wait! Are you currently working on any other projects?
MP: Sure! I’m a stand-up comic, so I’m able to occupy a lot of time performing while we’re not filming. I’ve acted in a few short films in the interim, including one written and directed by my very funny wife Susan Burke.
Margot Rourke & The Boys Club:
I do a bit of writing as well. I created this kinda David Lynch-inspired comedy pilot w/ the intention of making more. It has a very Adult Swim tone. It’s pretty dark and twisted. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone w/ delicate sensibilities. I’m proud of it though.
KR: Great! I’ll check these out! Thanks for sharing with me!
MP: Your welcome!
KR: I was stunned when Luschek bought a brand new screwdriver to replace the missing one. I need your opinion on that.
MP: Luschek is just covering his own ass. I understand his motivation to wipe the whole incident under the rug. He felt threatened by Caputo. I don’t think Luschek necessarily cares about another screwdriver being in the hands of an inmate. It’s more important for him to protect his job than worry about anyone else’s safety.
KR: I kind of thought of that, but just hoped that he did that because he felt guilty of the whole thing. What was I thinking? [Laughs]
MP: Yeah, sorry.
KR: If you could have more scenes with any OITNB cast, who would that be and why?
MP: There are so many cast members I haven’t had the opportunity to work with. I would love to do some scenes with Uzo [Aduba], Danielle [Brooks] and Samira [Wiley.] I’ve been lucky enough to work with Natasha Lyonne a bit. She’s awesome. She’s incredibly funny and likable as hell. We both smoke cigarettes a lot too. She’s fun to hang around.
KR: Joel Marsh Garland tweeted me a question for you, how come the guys (OITNB cast members) don’t hang out more often?
MP: [Laughs] Joel is hilarious. I would love to hang out with cast more often. It’s difficult for me living across the country and all. Can you please forward my email to Joel after this interview? Let him know I’m thinking about him and enjoying his tweets and instagrams. We should all hang out more. Maybe get some dinner? How’s tapas sound?
KR: I will definitely pass this along. Joel is awesome.
KR: What would you like to tell your fans?
MP: I think everybody feels really lucky that the fans have been so supportive and cool. I feel so flattered anytime I’m approached on the street or complimented online about the show. I would like fans to know that I am just very grateful. The online response has been awesome. It’s been a wonderful experience. I’m so happy to be a part of something that people are responding toward.
KR: This is fun! Thank you so much, Matt!
MP: Your welcome!