Yael Stone takes lead in Orange is the New Black

AUSSIE actor Yael Stone had just a handful of credits to her name before landing a role on Orange is the New Black.

The dark comedy drama, set in a women's prison in the US, is the latest hit show to be created for and released by online in-demand service Netflix.

Created by Jenji Kohan, the woman behind acclaimed series Weeds, Orange is the New Black follows engaged New Yorker Piper, whose decade-old relationship with a drug runner results in her arrest and year-long detention.

It's a steep learning curve for the beautiful blonde as she navigates the rules and politics of prison life.

"The female characters are really well drawn, with a balance between drama and comedy," Stone told The Guide on the phone from New York, where she is currently filming the show's second season.

"What a fabulous concept to have the prison world and also these flashbacks that allow us to get out of the prison and escape just when it's about to become to suffocating."

The NIDA graduate landed the role of Lorna just four months after moving to New York, where she also co-founded an experimental theatre company.

While she doesn't have a very long CV, she has worked with some of Australia's most talented actors including Rachel Griffiths and Geoffrey Rush.

Lorna is one of the first inmates Piper meets. As she drives Piper into the prison where she will spend the next year of her life, Lorna talks about her upcoming marriage to her boyfriend waiting for her on the outside. But by the end of the first episode it is revealed she is also carrying on a relationship of sorts inside the prison.

"I shouldn't like to say exactly what Lorna is, other than a really vulnerable human being trying to deal with a pretty trying situation the best she can," Stone said. "She is really positive. Her role is welcoming new prisoners into the prison, so she shows everybody around. You see her carrying out one of her jobs, and she does extend a hand to Piper."

Stone describes Piper, played by Taylor Schilling, as the show's "Trojan horse".

"She's our way into the prison; our every person," she said.

"She's one of those who get caught for the stupid things that they do.

"There's no way out. She has to plead guilty even though she's a reasonably well-to-do middle class white girl."


Orange is the New Black - Showcase - Wednesdays at 7.30pm Qld, 8.30pm NSW.