Doing Time With Pornstache

Pablo Schreiber in Orange is the New Black.

Pablo Schreiber in Orange is the New Black.

Though his character’s nickname sounds a bit like an X-rated Bond villain, actor Pablo Schreiber is proud of the role he plays on Jenji Kohan’s new Netflix jailhouse show, Orange Is the New Black. Sure, he might play the most irredeemable jerk with facial hair since Snidely Whiplash, but the handsome 35-year-old actor (and half brother of Liev Schreiber) still finds himself waxing philosophical when it comes to his portrayal of George “Pornstache” Mendez.

“Originally, I went into the role thinking I would have a really droopy, long handlebar mustache,” Mr. Schreiber told the Transom on Monday, having just finished a cross-country trip to move his family—his wife and their two small children—to Los Angeles. “But Jenji had a really specific idea in mind for the character.”

Just Google “pornstache” and you’ll see exactly the kind of lip-tickler that Mr. Schreiber wears for his role as the sadistic prison guard: a Tom Selleck-style, ’80s-era piece of face fur. But Mr. Schreiber, who previously worked with Ms. Kohan on her hit show Weeds (though he’s probably best remem-
bered for playing Nick Sobotka on HBO’s The Wire or, for New York audiences, playing opposite Jennifer Carpenter in Second Stage Theatre’s production of Gruesome Playground Injuries), decided to trust her judgment.

“I’ve got a ‘duster, but ‘Pornduster’ would have been an even grosser name,” he said. As far as being recognized behind that ’stache, Mr. Schreiber’s isn’t concerned. He just joined Twitter several months ago, he told the Transom, and although he hasn’t built up a huge following yet, he was disturbed to find a married couple who were already Photoshopping sexually explicit acts between himself and Jennifer Love Hewitt into “memes” that they would send to each other via the social networking service.

“That made me want to go run screaming for the hills,” he said. Then again, with a name like Pornstache, he should probably prepare for that kind of unwanted attention. We wondered, was he always so comfortable wearing a lip wig?

“I have coveted other men’s facial hair, especially when I was younger, when I was a teenager. I always wanted to have a fuller beard and a fuller mustache than I had,” he admitted. “I’ve come to a place where I’ve accepted [my mustache], and I think Pornstache has helped me with that.”

We suggested that Mr. Schreiber should count himself lucky. Some of us, like the Transom, have never been able to grow facial hair of even the most modest kind. Mr. Schreiber giggled. “Aw, well, that’s what’s great about modern technology,” he said. “You should see the amazing things they can do with prosthetics these days.”