Breakout role for Aussie Yael Stone

Holly Richards
Yael Stone in Orange is the New Black

Aussie actress Yael Stone didn't have to search too hard to find inspiration for her role as wedding-obsessed inmate Lorna Morello in hit US series Orange is the New Black.

Mere hours before her audition for the character who is perpetually planning her nuptials, Stone tied the knot with actor Dan Spielman (seen recently in the WA-made ABC telemovie An Accidental Soldier).

"It was pretty crazy timing," she says over the phone from her adopted home of New York.

"I'd say it made me more relaxed. Being too on edge is never good for auditions, I've learnt that a few times over."

Based on the bestselling memoir by Piper Kerman, the dramedy is set in a women's prison and premiered in the US on Netflix before starting on Foxtel last month.

From Weeds creator Jenji Kohan, the show features Taylor Schilling as an engaged yuppie who is serving a 15-month stint in the slammer for her unwitting role in an international drug smuggling ring.

The cast includes Laverne Cox as a transgender former firefighter, Pablo Schreiber as a sleazy guard nicknamed Pornstache, Kate Mulgrew as a powerful Russian who runs the kitchen and Jason Biggs as Schilling's fiance, Christopher.

Stone may be an Aussie but you wouldn't know it thanks to her broad Boston accent on the show. Her character is interesting in that she's continuously bringing up her wedding while openly sleeping with fellow inmate Nicky Nichols (Biggs' American Pie castmate Natasha Lyonne).

"Lorna is one the few characters really focused on what happens when she gets out. In fact, she's so focused on it, sometimes she can't even see the reality of what's going on in the here and now," explains Stone.

"It's a beautiful exploration of that particular survival technique. It's claustrophobic and there are obviously these enormous characters everywhere, it's hard to find a moment of peace. But Lorna has this great job where she drives the van and I think that's probably a real key to her sanity, however tenuous that sanity might be.

"As people do, she does what she needs to do to get by and she's in love with her fiancee but she craves intimacy and that's probably something a lot of us can relate to."

The NIDA graduate, who was a regular in Foxtel's Spirited and All Saints, is glad that Orange is the New Black has found a home on Australian screens.

"It's a pretty fun thing to be a part of and it's nice to be able to share what you do with the people you care about most," she says.

A second season of Orange is the New Black is about three-quarters of the way through filming. "It's been delightful so far," says Stone. "The writing continues to be impressive and the nature of the show is changing actually, which I think is a real strength of the creator of the show, Jenji Kohan. I think the show kind of deepens and feels like it's laying this really strong foundation and it's fascinating, I'm really proud."

Orange is the New Black airs on Wednesdays at 5.30pm on pay-TV channel Showcase.