Uzo Aduba: Crazy Talented



Photo Credit: Jasmine L. Gonzalez

Crazy Eyes is already an iconic character—an introvert and extrovert at the same time. Are you the same way?
I think my personality can be a bit of a blend of that. I think of myself as a center free spirit. I love art; I love thinking, and books. I like to be spontaneous. My best friend was in Amsterdam working last year and a week before he was leaving, I found out, jumped on a plane and went there. I like to live life to the fullest and that’s what I like about Suzanne. She’s full throttle and no holds barred. She goes in.

 Perhaps the most memorable scene of Season One is when Suzanne defends Piper against her ex-girlfriend in the cafeteria. How much fun was it creating that moment?
That’s a testament to our writers. We have incredible writers. Sian Header wrote that episode and did that continuation where Marco had written—the episode where we meet Suzanne. It makes sense that they call her Crazy Eyes because of the stuff that happens behind the eyes, but without any warning. That’s a great scene.

How much direction did you get for developing your signature stare?
That was something I worked on. In the first episode I did, there was a liner note in the stage directions that said something like ‘she has a childlike innocence or childlike stare, because children aren’t scary;’ something to that effect. I thought that was such a great nugget and key into who Suzanne is as a person because it made me realize who she believes herself to be and not how she reads. Everything came out a purity, but it’s just a click off. So I thought about her eyes being a little bit wider but with more infatuation.

Especially when she sees Piper.
Oh, that’s crazy [laughs] like dandelions. That’s my everything; I live for dandelions, so that was the best thing that could’ve happened.

What is your relationship like with Taylor Schilling?
Oh my gosh, I love Taylor. We just went out last night and we’re going to be hanging out again this week. She’s amazing. We have an incredible set because it starts with everybody working towards a cause. I never met a better lead.  She is our leader and door is always open. I did a lot of my scenes with her and it didn’t matter what we were doing. She’s always right there with you; always open and always ready to go. If you wanted to jump left, she’d jump left—you want to jump right, she’d jump right. She’s a good egg; I love that girl.