Who Katie Mulgrew
Accomplishments Plays Galina “Red” Reznikov on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black; starred on Star Trek: Voyager as Captain Kathryn Janeway; currently working on her memoir
Base New York
What’s the first information you consume in the morning?
It changes from day to day, but my habit is The New York Times, whether it’s over coffee, on the way to work or at work. I must have it in hard copy. But mind you, if I’m into a book that has captivated me, I might forego the Times in favor of the book. That seems to be a perpetual struggle of mine.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading two books, and I can’t put either of them down: The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez and Raised From the Ground by José Saramago, who you may know as a Nobel Prize for Literature winner.
Do you use social media?
I can understand and appreciate it, but I don’t use it. I’m quite amazed when I walk down the street at what’s going on. I want to shout at these kids, “Heads up! You’re missing it—life!” All those beautiful young heads are down, engaged in their devices. If somebody came from Mars, do you know what he would report? “They can only breathe or walk very quickly if they’re attached to a little metal box. Once they put it down, they die.”
Are you a TV junkie?
I have my dull, sad, slightly overwhelmed days, and all I do is watch one movie after another, and thank God I have Netflix. I’ll watch every single movie about the Holocaust ever made. Don’t ask me why—I’m fascinated by it. But I’ve watched Breaking Bad, which was wonderful, and I thought my own series is really good, as was House of Cards. Netflix is doing such innovative stuff.
Were you a Netflix user before Orange Is the New Black?
No, but I instantly got it. I think it’s terrific. It’s like those Russian dolls—you just keep going deeper and deeper.
Do you ever binge watch TV shows?
I don’t. I hate to say this again, but there’s always some book calling, “Read me!” Three hours with a book in bed is about as divine as it gets on Earth.
What did you read or watch to prepare for your role as Red?
I watched a lot of Russian movies. I studied the Russian language on a fundamental level. I read about Russian prisoners of war—although there’s not a lot about that because Russia is nothing if not private. I would say, essentially, I went in girded with little other than the book, the few pages I had been given for the audition and a serious instinct that this was going to be excellent.
How do you spend your free time on set?
I’ve been an actress for almost 40 years. My habit is not to disengage with the work, with the exception of lunch, where I might take a nap or read The New Yorker or go on my iPad for a minute. But that’s it. When I’m on set, I don’t leave the script too much. And I stay in character.
Accent and all?
[In Russian accent] That’s just the way it is and nobody says a thing.