An Interview With Officer Bennett From Orange Is The New Blackby Maggie Parker on August 19, 2013
We’ve all had that officer/inmate fantasy before. But recently, it’s all we can think about. You can blame that on Matt McGorry. Not sure who that is? He’s the cute and cuddly man who’s played the officer in your fantasies ever since Netflix launched their original series, Orange is the New Black. Yes, we are talking about officer John Bennett, the only man we wouldn’t mind to be locked up by.
Matt plays the adorable and sensitive officer that is crushing on inmate Daya, and while it feels odd to be jealous of a prisoner, we can’t help it. We are prisoners of Bennett’s love! We caught up with the sexy and hilarious, actor to find out what a day in the life of his love interest would be like. Get ready to swoon, he’s just as charming out of uniform. [Some spoilers below.]
HowAboutWe: So what’s it like working with mostly women every day?
MM: Well I’ve lived with a woman now for a couple of years – my girlfriend of three years – so I was a little prepared. I enjoy working with women. I get a lot more attention. I think in TV, white males are the majority, so it’s interesting that I am now the minority.
Women are swooning over your character. What do you think it is about Bennett that women like so much?
Yea, and I have to say, I’ve really been enjoying the attention. It’s fun, why would I not like people liking me?
The thing is that I think they like the real me. For example, the BuzzFeed article highlighted a lot of things about myself that, if I were thinking of a sexy version of myself, I wouldn’t be selling. Like the funny audition tape. But I guess that’s considered hot now, the quirky guy who isn’t afraid to make fun of himself. I think part of the reason women love Bennett is because he is the nice guy in a world that is particularly dark. The show can be really heavy, so he stands out because he’s one of the characters that come across as a very genuine, empathetic, nice guy. Also, the scenes between him and Daya are very sweet; it’s like early romance. As I’ve grown older and learned more about dating and women personally, I got jaded – to any normal degree, it’s just adaptation. To me, Bennett represents a younger part of myself that doesn’t know about having his heart broken and can be so forthright and just giving and open and vulnerable because he hasn’t really experienced love in a way that has made him shut down.
And…being a guy in uniform doesn’t hurt. Honestly, I had no idea that it would be like this. My girlfriend was like, “people will fall in love with you,” and I was like, “you really think so? The quirky weird guy?” But my girlfriend called it.
Tell me about the relationship between Daya and Bennett. Do the think the feelings are genuine, or circumstantial?
Bennett and Daya’s romance is complicated – obviously. I think there is something inherent in the dynamic of inmate and corrections officer, it kinda can’t be overlooked. I think because they are both new to the system, the consequences and realities of their situations haven’t set in as much. I also think being in an environment of only women changes the game a little bit; they don’t have any contact with men other than the corrections officers. It’s hard to overlook the power dynamic, but the way I approached the character of Bennett is that he is pretty pure in his intentions, and whether this is moral or not, I think that he almost forgets about the reality of the situation at times. Because his feelings for Daya are so strong, it’s easy for him to forget the consequences of the situation he’s in until he’s in too deep.
Do you think they would date outside of prison?
I do think Bennett would be interested in Daya on the outside. I can’t speak for her, but it’s kind of impossible to imagine how it would have been otherwise. With me and my girlfriend, we met each other at points in our lives when we were both really ready for it. I had built up enough confidence in being single that I was ready for a relationship. I hadn’t really ever had a long-term girlfriend prior to that. I felt like, I’d enjoyed being single, I’d had a lot of fun, and I can now make the conscious choice to want to be in a relationship, instead of being scared into it or thinking that there is no other option. If I had met her a year prior, it might not have been the right fit. I know that’s not how a lot of people think about love but I think a lot of it does have to do with circumstances. I mean if I met her when I was competing in bodybuilding, it probably wouldn’t have gotten very far.
If Daya and Bennett went on a date out of prison, what would they do?
Well he likes sports, unlike me. I think maybe they’d go to a sports game. I’d like to think that he’d take her out to a nice dinner, which for them might be an upscale chain restaurant. He’s a sweet guy, I think he’d really try to make her feel special. Of course it would have to be something he could afford with his modest income.
What’s the most creative date you’ve ever planned?
Upscale chain restaurants aren’t creative? [laughs]. Well this might not necessarily be creative, but we would like to go to Paris together. She’s never been to Europe. We try to go on small weekend trips.
What’s your typical date?
Dinner and a movie. In the beginning of our relationship we would go out to eat a lot. Not necessarily anything super fancy, but just going out and eating. Now, on a typical date night, we will go to one of our favorite dinner places, then we will go get dessert. Then we will go to a movie or sometimes stay home and watch some Netflix [laughs]. Seriously, we don’t have a TV so we actually only watch Netflix.
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