The Road Uzo Aduba Took to Reach “Orange is the New Black”

If you didn’t know her real name then you likely remember her as Crazy Eyes from Orange Is The New Black. She’s been one of the biggest stars on the show since it came out and has garnered a great deal of attention from her portrayal of a mentally-imbalanced woman that’s been kept in prison for a good deal of time. Uzo Aduba has actually become one of the all-time favorites on the show and one of those that people tend to remember thanks to her character and the out of control way she plays her. Crazy Eyes definitely lives up to her name and creates a very strong and lasting impression on many people. While everyone that has watched the show has their favorites, Crazy Eyes is usually right at the head of such lists without question. It’s surprising then to learn of the road that Aduba took to get to this point and the realization of how the role came to be hers.

So let’s see just what had to transpire before she finally reached this role.

She was a stage actor before gaining notice as a TV actor.

Aduba really started getting noticed on stage in 2003 when she starred in Translations of Xhosa. This earned her an award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress and propelled her forward into other roles that would continue to get her noticed. She would then go on to star as the character Amphiarus in 2006 and then in 2007 she would portray Toby in Coram Boy. Her first TV appearance didn’t come until 2012 on the show Blue Bloods. So to be honest she was gaining a lot more stage credit than anything and this was why she began to grow in popularity. TV was still a relatively new thing for her even by the time she reached OITNB.

By 2013 though she had her act down.

Funnily enough Aduba didn’t audition for Crazy Eyes initially. She did pick up the script and after reading she thought it was too good to pass up. But unfortunately when she was called back Aduba got the news that she hadn’t gotten the part she auditioned for. Instead she’d been selected for the role of Crazy Eyes, which she didn’t initially understand. Then she read the part however and it was a perfect fit. It had a lot to do with the fact that during her audition she showed up with her hair tied in the customary knots you see in the show, and that helped to impress the casting director and steer Aduba towards what she believed would be the perfect role. Aduba managed to obtain her Screen Actors Guild card after accepting this role, and eventually she went on to be nominated and win more than one award for her performance.

She hasn’t done much after the show.

That’s not entirely accurate since she has done several bits after her stint on OITNB started, but not as many as you would think. She did voice a major role in My Little Pony movie as Queen Novo, and she did appear on Saturday Night Live, Hell’s Kitchen, and Steven Universe where she played a voice role. Aside from that however it almost seems as though she’s been picking and choosing her roles, which is wise really since it allows her to take those roles she feels comfortable with and avoid any that might conflict with her own personal beliefs or feelings. But after performing the role of Crazy Eyes so perfectly you can only think that there’s not much she can’t do.

Aduba has proven that she can step into a role and make it her own by will alone as the role in OITNB has displayed. So much time on stage has likely prepped her for something like this that it seems fair to say that seeing her in something else will be just as impressive. She’s been one of the more endearing characters on the show since it’s inception and has undergone a great deal of change from start to where the show presently is. In many ways the audience has been groomed to pity her, to hate her, and in some ways to absolutely love her. Out of all the characters on the show she is without any doubt one of the most detailed and deeply-rooted figures that could not be done without. The mere fact that she’s become kind of the face for the show, at least one of them, is testament to just how good she really is.

Whatever the future holds for Aduba is likely to be something great, as her acting skills are enough to take her to the top tier if she so desires. It would certainly be nice to see her in a major motion picture or in another show where she can display her talents.

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