HollywoodLife.com caught up with Matt McGorry, AKA John Bennett from ‘Orange Is The New Black,’ who revealed what’s going on in the mind of a ‘quote-unquote ‘pu**y,’ the future of Bennett’s relationship with Daya, and that time a banana was his stand-in.
Now that Orange Is The New Black superfans have likely binge-watched Season 2 twice over since its release on June 6, HollywoodLife.com spoke to Matt McGorry, AKA correctional officer John Bennett, who can give you your OITNB fix. In our interview, he revealed what it was like for Bennett, a “quote-unqute pu**y,” to be let off the hook by Caputo, the state of Daya and Bennett’s union, and that scene which required a banana for a stunt double. That last bit is worth the price of admission alone — trust. (Mild spoilers from the Season 2 finale are below!)
Matt McGorry: Bennett ‘Is Someone Who Tries To Make People Happy’ Which Can Be A ‘Burden’ For Him
HollywoodLife.com: What’s going on in Bennett’s head in the finale? Does he feel like he’s off the hook? Did he really want to confess that he impregnated Daya? Or did he feel pushed into it?
Matt McGorry: “I think that there was a lot of external pressure in Bennett’s situation. I think that there always is, and he is someone who tries to make people happy, so that in some ways it is a burden. And he doesn’t want to be seen in Daya’s eyes as a quote-unquote ‘pu**y.’
“I would hesitate to say that he really felt he was doing the right thing by admitting to the relationship, but sometimes you do crazy things for love and that might have been one of them. Fortunately the cards were in his favor and I think you get a wonderfully nice pay off. You get to see him do the thing that’s maybe not the smartest thing, but the most romantic option.
“And he gets validated and off the hook as well. But it is interesting, in social media I see a split in terms of what the fans think. Some fans say, ‘Finally Bennett will stop being a pu**y and step up to the plate,’ and others will say, ‘Why doesn’t Daya leave him alone?’ It also makes a great story telling to have the viewers come away with two points of view, and they can have a discussion about it.”
Matt McGorry: ‘Bennett Feels That He’s In Love, And It’s Not Just A Lust Thing’
Their relationship also gets clouded by the whole consent issue. Considering that, do you think the relationship will ever really survive? Does it have any right to?
“It’s hard to know, really. […] The consent issue is a real one and as much as [Daya and Bennett’s story has] been told as more romantic and positive, I do think that Bennett feels that he’s in love and it’s not just a lust thing. There’s still the issue that consent can’t be given by inmates and I think that is similar in a way with a minor — if the girl is 16 and saying she’s in love, her understanding and the context of that love is maybe not fully formed yet.
“I think it’s the same way with an inmate, where they’re in a very special set of circumstances where they have very little power. The numbers, for example, of women to men in the prison is greatly skewed and there’s a lot in that world that will influence relationships. As much as I’d like to say that their relationship could work in the outside world it’s hard to know.”
I spoke to Dascha [Polanco] before the premiere, and she was really enthusiastic and positive about their relationship. It’s funny because I watched the season and I was like, ‘This isn’t going super well for these guys.’ Do you also hope for Daya to end up with Bennett if, best case scenario, she’s released? Do you see that possibility for them?
“I would hope that if she was released that they could find a way to make the relationship work outside of prison. I think it would be incredibly different though, obviously. And I’ve talked to a lot of friends that have been in long-distance relationships. and it sort of seems like the same thing where you start dating someone for a month, 8 months, or a year, and then they end up coming back to the same city and you move in with the person and it’s a very different experience in that proximity.
“In my dream world I feel like if she didn’t get out earlier he would break her out and they could escape and run away together and live happily ever after. But, I’m not sure that’s exactly the most realistic option.”
Matt McGorry: Bennett ‘Is Doing The Ultimate Wrong Thing That You Could Do In Prison’
Back to Caputo, he’s painted as some kind of savior compared to Fig — we saw almost immediately that he’s willing to be as underhanded as she is. Do you think that Litchfield could ever change for the better? Or is Caputo just after his own interests?
“I think it will probably change for the better. But I think that different issues would take place. At the end of the day, Caputo let off Bennett because it was better for Caputo. Some people can say, ‘Hey, it’s better that Mendez is in jail than Bennett,’ but […] in terms of the judicial system and morality, Bennett should be the one in prison. I think that’s sort of one of the things that makes the writing so good, is that it is complicated and no one is clearly evil or good in the entire show, basically. You see a lot of that in Season 2, as well as the ganging up of different people against each other.
“Bennett is this very sweet, nice guy — most of the time, at least — but he is doing the ultimate wrong thing that you could do in prison. And maybe not the ultimate wrong thing, that may be having a girl overdose [as Mendez did]. I’m not sure, exactly; I think it comes back to what Fig was saying, that her and her husband wanted to make the real kind of changes that only take place at the political level. She obviously used any means to get to that end, but I think in general the entire system would have to be addressed.”
‘Orange Is The New Black’: Who Is Most Different From Their Character?
Who is most different from their character? I know that Alysia [Reiner] is a self-described Pollyanna, and that Vicky [Jeudy] is the bubbliest person on the planet, but who takes the cake for being most different from their character?
“Michael [Harney], who plays Healey. He is a sweetie. It’s interesting, because there are people who are different in demeanor or different in physicality, and I think that [Michael] is the guy you see in terms of how he moves and speaks, but he is really just a gentle soul and a really good guy.I can’t help in feeling terrible for him in how misguided [Healy] is in Season 2. In all those scenes you just want to give the guy a clue. I actually haven’t gotten up to his therapist scene yet and I forget how it turns out but I’m very glad he’s in therapy.”
[The therapy is] not super fruitful, but it’s a step in the right direction.
“If I remember correctly, he is the perfect example of why a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. He gets some general advice which he tries to execute in a way, but it is ineffective and misguided.”
‘Orange Is The New Black’: In Which A Banana Acted As Matt McGorry’s Stand-In
What was your favorite part of filming Season 2? When I spoke to Dascha, she talked about the scene you two shared in the closet, because you two kept cracking up.
“Oh, that was fun! Oh, boy, I haven’t even seen it yet, […] but we ended up using a banana [for Dascha’s… hand motions], so, originally she was going to do it in the air but we all thought that we needed something more tangible with the line of movement, and I’m pretty sure we got a banana, and I’m pretty sure we called in lotion at one point, because there was so much friction of the banana.”
It would be pretty hard to dream that up, so I’m going to take your word for it.
“That was a lot of fun, we have a lot of fun together. We laugh a lot — and sometimes too much — and try to prevent ourselves from cracking up during takes as well. It’s great to see Pablo [Schreiber] back as well, because we had so much fun on Season 1 together and I definitely missed him for a lot of Season 2. And there isn’t a lot of man energy in terms of on set or within the actors so to have him there felt like some solidarity. And I really enjoy watching him as that character — he just makes me laugh to no end.”
Finally, are we going to see more of Bennett’s backstory in Season 3? The only real thing we know about him is that he didn’t really lose his leg in Afghanistan.
“I don’t know if I can unfortunately divulge that, I wish I could. It’s too early.”
So, HollywoodLifers, are there any romantics among you? Any Daya/Bennett shippers? Do you hope that their relationship will survive? Is Bennett a bad guy, or just a guy who made one spectacularly bad choice informed by love? Are you just dying for Season 3 already? Finally, let’s talk about how a banana was basically Matt’s stunt double, and how that’s the best thing ever.
— Amanda Michelle Steiner