What’s the first thing you’d do after getting out of prison?
For Taylor Schilling — star of Netflix’s addictive dramedy Orange is the New Black — the answer was simple: Travel to Ireland and Montreal to make Stay. The meditative movie stars Schilling as Abbey, a young Canadian who finds herself in a quandary when she accidentally gets pregnant — and her much-older Irish lover Dermot (Aidan Quinn) makes clear that he has no interest in being a father.
“It’s really a character-driven piece,” Schilling says, citing what drew her to the film. “The story is important, but it’s really how these people are dealing with the consequences of their actions.”
Stay also has a few narrative similarities with the series for which Schilling is best known: “I think it’s a really interesting story about having to go back and reconcile your past in order to move on with your future,” she continues. “I’m curious about that. And I’m curious about those times in our lives when things can’t stay the same, when we’re pushed out of our comfort zones.” Times such as, say, when your relationship abruptly crumbles, or you get locked up for an offense committed nearly 10 years ago.
For Schilling, the process of making Stay mirrored Abbey’s own situation. She experienced the culture shock of traveling from the U.S. to the picturesque Irish countryside, where she lived in a centuries-old thatched-roof cottage (don’t worry — “There was electricity”) and worked on getting comfortable with shooting slow, moody scenes that lacked punchy narrative turns or, often, even dialogue. “There was something exciting about doing something that was apart from the norm, and apart from the way that I’m used to seeing stories told,” she says. “It opened me up to different notions of what it means to make a movie. I just find that so incredibly refreshing. I want to do that. I want to be able to be involved in many different visions, and many different ways of telling stories.”
Stay hits theaters March 21. Find an exclusive clip of Schilling and Quinn in the film below.