Captivating Tatiana Maslany
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Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany won an Emmy in 2016 for her role in BBC America’s “Orphan Black” as the rebellious Sarah Manning … and as the violent Helena … and as soccer mom Alison Hendrix, along with nine other characters, all clones.

On Thursday morning, she learned she’d again been nominated in the lead actress in a drama category for her work on “Orphan Black.” But her mind was on another role — her New York stage debut that very evening.

Big day for you: The New York premiere of “Mary Page Marlowe” tonight at the Second Stage Theater, in which you play the title role, along with four other actors. And now the Emmy nom. How are you feeling?
I’m very nervous. I’m so excited, but really nervous. And everything that goes along with opening night. I can’t believe I get to do it. And on top of it, to get this news this morning. It was a total shock. I didn’t think people remembered the [TV] show. It’s been off air for a while. And there’s just so much amazing television right now. “Atlanta.” “Handmaid’s Tale” — which I find really difficult to watch. A lot of my friends are watching it and saying, sadly, it resonates so much with what’s happening in our culture. But the Emmy nomination, I’m excited.

Speaking of “Handmaid’s Tale,” what do you think the role is these days for narrative television, and actors in general, to address issues of the #MeToo movement? Or do you prefer TV as pure entertainment and escapism?
I don’t think it’s mutually exclusive. But as an artist, I feel we have to talk about the work, dissect it and reveal it and shed light on it in different ways and through different perspectives. That’s so vital, and if we’re not doing that, then I don’t know what we’re doing. I’ve always been very drawn to characters who don’t fit into boxes, complicated characters.

Multiple complicated characters. You played 12 very different women in “Orphan Black.” And Tracy Letts’ “Mary Page Marlowe” is a splintered portrait of a woman from different, key moments in her life. Is fragmentation a theme for you?
Absolutely. I think it’s very relevant to myself, and a lot of people I talk to, and women in general. How do we get splintered off so that we are more palatable, more easily digested, more easily put into a certain box of behavior and defined from the outside. I think that complexity and gray area and all that in our human nature is often sort of pushed to the side.
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This morning the list for the 2018 Emmy nominations was announced. In this list Tatiana Maslany was nominated for a well deserved Emmy!

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
The Americans • FX Networks • Keri Russell as Elizabeth Jennings
The Crown • Netflix • Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II
The Handmaid’s Tale • Hulu • Elisabeth Moss as Offred / June Osborne
Killing Eve • BBC America • Sandra Oh as Eve Polastri
Westworld • HBO • Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores
Orphan Black • BBC America • Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning, Helena, Alison Hendrix, Cosima Niehaus, Rachel Duncan, Krystal Goderitch, Elizabeth (Beth) Childs,
Jennifer Fitzsimmons, Katja Obinger, Tony Sawicki, Veera Suominen (M.K.), Camilla Torres and Unnamed Clone

I really hope she wins. She deserves it. Tune in Monday, September 17 for the 70th Emmy Awards on NBC.



The ‘Orphan Black’ actress, making her New York stage debut in ‘Mary Page Marlowe,’ on multiple roles, navigating career and the scary question she gets asked during every performance of the play

On the BBC America television series “Orphan Black,” Tatiana Maslany embodied nearly a dozen roles, winning an Emmy in the process. In the play “ Mary Page Marlowe, ” she plays just one: a woman exasperated with the expectations of domestic life.

“I’m just acting like a person who is a wife and a mother,” she tells her therapist in one scene. “I know what that means, I know the levers to pull to be that person. I’m a great actress.”

It is a moment that hits close to home for the 32-year-old Ms. Maslany, who can be seen in the off-Broadway production at Second Stage Theater through Aug. 12.

“The whole scene that I have in therapy is just like, who transcribed my thoughts?” she says with a laugh.

“Mary Page Marlowe,” written by Tracy Letts, uses six actresses, including Ms. Maslany, to tell the title character’s story at different milestones. Ms. Maslany plays Mary Page at 27, when she is
having an affair in a motel room, and 36, when she is trying to make sense of her life.

“There’s something about getting to show the life of one woman with a group of women, at this time when we’re forging a community of women who are fighting for all of us,” Ms. Maslany says, a nod to the #MeToo movement. “It just feels really important to get to tell this story as a group, as opposed to the individualistic nature sometimes of performing.”

She spoke with the Journal about “Mary Page Marlowe” and navigating her career and private life post-“Orphan Black.” Edited excerpts follow.

This is your New York stage debut. Why did you choose this play?
I’ve been a fan of Tracy’s writing for years, and actually, “August: Osage County” was the first play I ever saw on Broadway. It kind of blew my mind. His writing in “Mary Page Marlowe” just felt so revealing. Somehow he gets inside the mind of a woman in a way that felt very personal and private.

Is there a specific moment that really resonates with you?
In my scene, I say a lot of things about the roles that we play, women in our own lives, and how we can be strangers to ourselves. How the expectation of how we present in the world can actually alter our own internal understanding of ourselves, and that disconnect. I think it’s something we can all actually really understand and feel.

Does the idea of playing multiple roles speak to who you are?
From 9 years old, I was acting and performing on stage or in front of the camera, and I was being directed by adults—men, mostly. I think a lot of my understanding of myself came through that collaboration. So, it does create a bit of a fractured sense of who I actually am. I think that’s why the child actor to adult actor transition can be daunting and difficult for people, because you spent your whole life being told who you are, and now suddenly you have to own that.

With five other actresses playing Mary Page Marlowe, do you consider your role as separate, or of a piece with their roles?
I definitely feel like we’ve been working toward the sense of us all being a piece of each other. We’ve been doing a lot of vocal warm-ups together and breath work and physical work.

But also, what Tracy was seeking to explore most is how we can be different people at different points in our lives—how sometimes we don’t even recognize ourselves if we look back. I even say that at one point: “It feels like a different person was going through that.”

What’s it like when you look back on your own life, considering the fame you’ve achieved in the past few years?
It’s a strange new thing for me, certainly. I grew up doing this. I did it for almost 20 years before I got any sense of, I guess, fame. I’ve always been just an actor working, and that’s always been the focus. Then to suddenly be in this other realm, where people want an autograph or picture, it’s a really bizarre feeling to navigate. And the choices you make are really public.

Your scenes in particular show Mary Page’s disconnection to herself. She seems profoundly disappointed with her life. Does that take a toll?
All of us Mary Pages have talked about the lack of catharsis in the play. A lot of the scenes end before they resolve, before the breath out. We’re all kind of left in this tension.

At one point, the therapist asks your character: What would your life look like if you could make or remake all your choices in your life? Then there’s a 30-second pause. Tell me about that moment.

That question is terrifying, you know? If you did actually own every choice, if you were responsible, if it wasn’t just all happening to you, if you actually had volition in your life, what would you do differently?
What would it mean if you did do something differently? Who would you have lost? Who would no longer be in your life, if you chose something different? Even talking about it feels murky and scary to pin down. It’s such a great, awful question.
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In “Mary Page Marlowe,” a play by Tracy Letts that tracks seven decades in an Ohio woman’s life, the title character is many things: a baby, a girl, a wife, a lover, a mother, a divorcée, a retiree.

She’s also many people. In the Second Stage Theater production, which is now in previews and opens July 12, Mary Page is played by six actresses. Well, six actresses and one creepily lifelike baby doll.

On a recent weekday evening, rehearsal wrapped and the cast rushed into the green room to celebrate a couple of birthdays. Then the various Mary Pages shuffled back into the upstairs rehearsal space, balancing plates of cake, glasses of water and, in the case of Tatiana Maslany, who plays Mary Page at 27 and 36, half an avocado. “I missed lunch,” she said.

Ms. Maslany, who played at least 11 roles on the TV clone drama “Orphan Black,” and is finding it a pleasant change to share just one, was joined by Mia Sinclair Jenness, who plays Mary Page at 12; Emma Geer, who plays her at 19; Susan Pourfar, who plays her at 40 and 44; Kellie Overbey, the sole blond Mary, who plays her at 50; Blair Brown, who plays her at 59, 63 and 69; and the director, Lila Neugebauer. The creepy baby stayed in its crib. (There are other actors, too. And other characters. But these are the only Mary Pages.)

Barring occasional interruptions — Ms. Overbey briefly slipped out to manage a migraine, Ms. Pourfar excused herself to collect her actual baby, “not a doll,” she clarified — the women spoke about identity, change and the challenge of convincing an audience that women with different faces and voices and ways of moving through the world are really all the same. Wigs help. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
Who Is Mary Page Marlowe?

MIA SINCLAIR JENNESS I think she’s resilient. Even as a 12-year-old, she goes through her fair share of heartbreaks and bad times, but that doesn’t necessarily make her a sad person.

EMMA GEER I’m playing her at 19. She’s strong, she’s powerful. She’s a dreamer and she has a very big heart.

TATIANA MASLANY: The big question of identity is a massive part of Mary Page in the two scenes in which we see me. It’s what happens at 30, what I certainly experienced — a question of who am I and what is my life?

SUSAN POURFAR In her 40s, she’s in this middle section of her life. She’s doing everything she has to do to survive, to put food on the table and to take care of her family. Kellie?

KELLIE OVERBEY I’m sorry, I’m having a bit of an episode right now. [Ms. Overbey, who was getting a migraine, excused herself to take a pain reliever.]

BLAIR BROWN Mine is the kindest period of Mary’s life. Kindest to herself, forgiving of all the mistakes. She’s been pretty hard on herself; the years have been hard. But she’s come through to a place — similar to when she was younger — of being open to experience and less judgmental.
Weaving Evolution Into Continuity

MASLANY: She has this real survival instinct and a real ——

BROWN Resilience.

GEER She doesn’t give up, ever.

BROWN She’s always trying. There’s a wit and humor that’s in her. We don’t think of women necessarily being that way. Which we are, of course, dazzlingly so. But not so much in plays.

LILA NEUGEBAUER I also feel in Mary Page a self-reliance. It’s in relationship to many of her strengths and also to some of her fault lines.

BROWN She’s constantly trying to look at the truth of situations when many people around her are not. She doesn’t get rewarded for that always.

[Ms. Overbey returned to the room, wearing an afghan as a cape.]

MASLANY: You look like a queen.

OVERBEY I feel like a queen. Mary Page makes me think about my own life. I’ll see people who knew me once upon a time and I’ll say, “Have I changed that much?” And they’ll always say, “No.” And I think, “But surely I have!”

POURFAR Kellie, do you remember Tracy saying, “A small change is still a change.” That really struck me. So I think you’ve changed. Since I’ve known you.

OVERBEY Yes. I would hope so.

GEER You have to choose to let yourself shift. Some things might happen naturally as you age and you learn, but I think to change is really brave.

OVERBEY Tracy has allowed for molting. We molt and we shift, but there’s something innate that remains. She’s deep and strong and courageous and lost.
Is She a Mystery to Others? To Herself?

GEER We talk about it all the time. I mean, my mom’s 57. She just told me last week, “The older I get, the less I know.” So I’m sort of expecting to not ever really know.

BROWN You know some more bits, I would say.

NEUGEBAUER The sets of questions that drew me into this play had to do with to what extent do we remain mysterious to the people who presume to love and know us best, and to what extent do we remain mysterious to ourselves?

BROWN How many times does Mary Page say, “I don’t know.”

JENNESS No one knows. You make these unconscious decisions and you don’t even know why.

BROWN But she keeps asking, that’s the thing, she asks her whole life. She asks all the time. She’s an ordinary woman, too. Tracy said she’s like the person standing behind you at the dry cleaners.

NEUGEBAUER It’s not a play about a queen.

GEER But she’s extraordinary in her own right. Because everyone is, right? When you gaze inside.

OVERBEY Tatiana has a line. What is it?

NEUGEBAUER “I am unexceptional.”

OVERBEY “I am unexceptional.” All I could think was how exceptional she seems in that moment.
Speaking With a Single Voice

NEUGEBAUER We’re collaborating with an incredible voice and dialect person, Gigi Buffington. In addition to conversations about Dayton, Ohio, and about where each of these excellent women live vocally, she has also led them through some incredible exercises. She invited them each to pick a scene that is not their Mary Page scene, and read it with each other.

BROWN For us, it’s about finding a space, like a plum in the back of your throat. And the sounds just kind of land in the front of your mouth.
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GEER It’s not nasal.

BROWN It’s not that snarky New York kind of thing.

POURFAR It’s not that tight jaw. It’s much more open.

BROWN And not having a lot of consonants.

JENNESS You don’t pronounce your T’s.

BROWN You wouldn’t say “forgotten.” You’d say, “forgodden.”
Costumes and Wigs and More

POURFAR We’re all going to be wigged so the hair color will match. But the style will evolve.

JENNESS I’m either going to be wigged or I’m cutting my hair up to here. I don’t know!

POURFAR It’s going to look awesome!

JENNESS I don’t know!

BROWN Hair grows. Remember, it grows!

JENNESS That’s true. But I’m nervous. I mean, I really want to, but I also don’t know.

BROWN For women, it’s also when do you color your hair? Does she do some little highlights at some point? Is it for men? Is it for others? For work? Or for your own self.

POURFAR Hair and clothing conversations are not just about what’s happening in the time period, but what’s happening in Mary Page Marlowe’s internal life that might be reflected in how much effort she puts into the way she looks. It’s very exciting.

GEER I know I’m getting eyeliner. I’m in 1965 so I’m getting liner and we’re maybe going to do a bright red lip.

JENNESS That’s fun!

POURFAR Blair, I think you should go back to the liner.

BROWN Mary Page, with her last husband, they go to yard sales. So my clothes are really going to be fun.
Melding Six Actors Into One Character

NEUGEBAUER I don’t think a production of this play lives or dies based on verisimilitude. The whole theatrical premise of inviting six women to portray a character, we’re living in the complexity of that. There are some physical similarities between the women that have been cast. They are actually not of radically different heights or builds. At the same time, I will confess that what was most important to me were aspects of their internal life that I felt united them.

OVERBEY We’re still absorbing each other, I think.

BROWN We watch each other like hawks. I was looking today at the beauty of smiling and laughing.

MASLANY: That’s so funny, I was watching you smile today.

BROWN I was watching you!

MASLANY: It’s about watching and echoing.

OVERBEY And listening.

BROWN And getting to know.

JENNESS And learning.

NEUGEBAUER All of these women have graciously attended each other’s rehearsal. It’s a remarkable gift to benefit from the wisdom, life experience, point of view and intellect of six different women. And a doll. We’ve had to think about so many aspects of her life: Her mind, her soul, her body, her sexuality, her work ethic.

BROWN Her taste in clothes. The superficial to the profound.

OVERBEY The room feels safe because there are five more of me.

GEER Yeah, it’s like we’re all in it together.

BROWN We’re, like, breathing together.

MASLANY: There’s no competition. It has to be shared. It’s really unusual for women working together to have this. Usually you’re the only woman on the set or you’re the only woman in this slew of men. It’s amazing.
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The cast opens up about the play and sharing a character with five other actors.

Tracy Letts’ Mary Page Marlowe pieces together a portrait of Mary Page from 11 key moments in her life, told out of chronological order, and portrayed by six different actors. The title role in the upcoming New York premiere is shared by Blair Brown, Emma Geer, Tatiana Maslany, Susan Pourfar, Mia Sinclair Jenness, and Kellie Overbey.

Watch the video above to see what they, and other cast members, had to say about working in an ensemble piece such as this, and what it was like to draw inspiration from a number of different actors for the one character.

Playbill caught up with the cast and Drama Desk Award-winning director Lila Neugebauer ahead of the play’s Off-Broadway premiere, set to begin June 19 at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theater.
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Stars of stage and screen are getting ready to don their best threads for a big night out at the theater.

On Wednesday, a star-studded list of actors who will be taking the stage at the 2018 Tony Awards was announced. The 72nd annual award show, which celebrates the finest talent from the theater world, will see Uzo Aduba (Orange Is the New Black), Matt Bomer (The Boys in the Band revival), Claire Danes (Homeland), Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name), Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black), former Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr., The Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto (The Boys in the Band), and Girls actor Andrew Rannells will all participate in the festivities on Broadway’s biggest night.

Nominations for the 2018 Tonys were revealed earlier in May, with the Broadway adaptations of Tina Fey’s hit comedy Mean Girls and SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical leading the pack with 12 nominations each. Other likely big winners on the night include the two-part play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which scored 10 nominations, and the two-part revival of Angels in America, which received 11.

Hosted by Sara Bareilles (Waitress) and Josh Groban (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812), the 2018 Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on June 10 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
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Second Stage Theater (Carole Rothman, Artistic Director; Casey Reitz, Executive Director) has announced complete casting for the New York Premiere of Tracy Letts’ acclaimed play, Mary Page Marlowe, directed by Lila Neugebauer. David Aaron Baker and Nick Dillenburg will complete the cast featuring Blair Brown, Kayli Carter, Audrey Corsa, Marcia DeBonis, Ryan Foust, Tess Frazer, Emma Geer, Grace Gummer, Mia Sinclair Jenness, Brian Kerwin, Tatiana Maslany, Kellie Overbey, Susan Pourfar, Maria Elena Ramirez, Elliot Villar, and Gary Wilmes.

Tickets are now on sale to the general public at http://2ST.com or by calling the Second Stage Box Office at 212-246-4422, open Sunday-Friday 12pm-6pm and Saturday 12pm-7pm. Mary Page Marlowe will begin previews on June 19, 2018 at the Tony Kiser Theater (305 West 43rd street) and will officially open on July 12.

If you looked back on eleven moments from your life, would you recognize yourself, or would you see a stranger? Mary Page Marlowe is a seemingly ordinary accountant from Ohio who has experienced pain and joy, success and failure. In this sweeping but intimate play, Tracy Letts gives us a haunting portrait of a complex woman, demonstrating how a series of forgotten moments can add up to one memorable life.

Ms. Brown, Ms. Geer, Ms. Jenness, Ms. Maslany, Ms. Overbey and Ms. Pourfar will portray the title character at different points in her life. Ms. Brown originated her role in the world premiere Steppenwolf production in 2016.

MARY PAGE MARLOWE will feature scenic design by Laura Jellinek, costume design by Kaye Voyce, lighting design by Tyler Micoleau, sound design by Brandon Wolcottand casting by Telsey + Company. Lead production support is provided by Gina Maria Leonetti.

This production marks Mr. Letts’ return to Second Stage Theater, which produced the New York premiere of his play, Man from Nebraska, directed by David Cromer, last winter.

Subscriptions with Mary Page Marlowe are currently available beginning at $395, including Straight White Men and 4 soon-to-be-announced productions in the 18-19 Season. For subscription and ticket information, please visit 2ST.com or call the Second Stage Subscriber Services at 212-246-4422.

David Aaron Baker (Ray) previously appeared at Second Stage in Oblivion Postponed (1995). Broadway: The Merchant of Venice, A Raisin In The Sun, The Rainmaker,Once Upon A Mattress, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, Moliere Comedies, White Liars/Black Comedy, The Flowering Peach. Off-Broadway: Christopher Durang’s Why Torture is Wrong…(Public), Sarah Ruhl’s Dead Man’s Cell Phone (Playwrights Horizons), Neil Simon’s Rose’s Dilemma, Craig Lucas’ Blue Window, Christopher Durang’s Durang Durang (MTC), Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living (MCC), A.R. Gurney’s Ancestral Voices (Lincoln Center), John Guare’s Bosoms and Neglect (Signature), Sarah Ruhl’s Dear Elizabeth (Women’s Project). In addition to stage work, Baker has appeared in numerous films, under the direction of eminent filmmakers including Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Rob Reiner, Lasse Hallström, David Mamet, Martin Campbell, James Mangold, and twice with Woody Allen. He has appeared on dozens of television shows including “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Deuce,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Homeland,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “The Leftovers,” several episodes of “Law & Order,” and the television film of “The Music Man.” David is also an award-winning narrator of more than 50 audiobooks. Education: The Juilliard School, University of Texas-Austin, Illinois State University.

Nick Dillenburg (Ed Marlowe) is making his Second Stage debut. Broadway: The Real Thing with Ewan McGregor (u/s Billy/Brodie). Off-Broadway: Teenage Dick (The Public Theater), Henry V in Into the Hazard: Henry 5 (Walkerspace), Hater with Merritt Wever (Ohio Theatre). On TV, Nick can be seen as CO Blake in seasons 4-6 of “Orange Is the New Black.” Other TV: “Blue Bloods,” “Person of Interest,” “Elementary,” and “Law and Order.”
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Former Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany, Diego Luna (Narcos) and Emile Hirsch (The Chinese Widow) have joined the third and final season of Netflix’s Emmy-winning original series DreamWorks Trollhunters, from Oscar-winner Guillermo del Toro.

The join the returning cast from seasons one and two that includes Kelsey Grammer as Blinky, Mark Hamill (Dictatious), Lena Headey (Morgana), David Bradley (Merlin), Ron Perlman (Bular), Steven Yeun (Steve), Anjelica Huston (Queen Ursurna), Jonathan Hyde (Strickler), Amy Landecker (Barbara), Charlie Saxton (Toby), Lexi Medrano (Claire) and Fred Tatasciore (AAARRRGGHH!!!).

Maslany and Luna will voice Aja and Krel, two mysterious new students who unknowingly come to the aid of the Trollhunters team in the fight against Morgana. The duo will also reprise their roles and serve as the leads of the next installment in the Tales of Arcadia trilogy, DreamWorks 3 Below, set to debut on Netflix later this year.

Hirsch takes on the role of Jim Lake, Jr., originally voiced by the late Anton Yelchin. Yelchin completed his work on the first two seasons and a considerable portion of season three before his unexpected passing in 2016. Del Toro and his creative team found a unique way to incorporate a voice transition organic to the story and create a path for Hirsch, a dear friend of Yelchin’s ,to carry on his legacy and role. Yelchin’s performance has been left intact where possible and some portions have been merged with Hirsch’s performance to complete season three, according to Netflix and DreamWorks.

DreamWorks Trollhunters is created and executive produced by del Toro with Marc Guggenheim (Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow), Rodrigo Blaas (Alma), Chad Hammes (Dragons: Race to the Edge) and Christina Steinberg (Rise of the Guardians) serving as executive producers. Dan Hageman (The Lego Movie, Ninjago) and Kevin Hageman (The Lego Movie, Ninjago) serveas co-executive producers.

The series features a tale of two fantastical worlds that collide in an epic saga. Set in the fictional suburb of Arcadia, our unlikely hero, Jim, and his two best friends make a startling discovery that beneath their hometown lies a hidden battle between good trolls and bad, the outcome of which impacts their lives forever.

In DreamWorks Trollhunters Part 3 the fate of troll and human civilizations hang in the balance. The Trollhunters are racing to stop Gunmar and the now resurrected Morgana from bringing about the Eternal Night and shrouding the world in darkness forever. To defeat them, the team must seek the help of the legendary wizard Merlin to unlock his ancient magic and unleash a powerful weapon that will alter the course of their lives forever.

Premiering in 2016 to critical acclaim, Trollhunters introduced audiences to the seemingly quiet town of Arcadia and an ordinary kid who embarks on an extraordinary adventure in a hidden world right beneath his feet. The first season lead the 2017 Creative Arts Daytime Emmys with six wins, including writing for an animated program (Marc Guggenheim), directing (Rodrigo Blaas, del Toro), casting (Ania O’Hare, Mary Hildalgo) and a voice acting win for Grammer. The second season received four nominations for the 2018 Creative Arts Daytime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Children’s Animated Series.
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Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany, Emmy Award-winning star of “Orphan Black” — which just ended its critically-acclaimed five-season run — was honored with the Maverick Spirit Award at the Cinequest Film and VR Festival last Thursday.

In an interview with Cinequest president and co-founder Kathleen Powell, Maslany describes “Orphan Black,” a science fiction series known for its collection of clones (all played by Maslany), as a fascinating experience with not a single genre — rather, the series is comprised of both surrealism of farce, filled with characters that twist reality. On playing so many characters, Maslany stated that she enjoyed playing Helena, one of the clones, because the character “loves food,” joking that Helena was also a “domesticated serial killer.”

Maslany started acting and performing at a young age, beginning in dance and improv. She credits her improvisation background of building foundations of endowing characters to herself, especially having to dive so deeply into an incredible range of characters on “Orphan Black.” Yet the hardest characters were the ones that were so separate from her actual personality — those that were different or like an “ice queen” and filled with “entitlement,” as Maslany said.

Maslany’s preference for playing more relatable, generous characters seemed to extend to her outlook on performance as an art as well. Maslany spoke highly of her acting double, Kathryn Alexandre, who played opposite of her before Maslany’s likeness was digitally pasted in post-production to give the effect of multiple clones. Maslany described Alexandre as the “epitome of generosity” — having to play with full strength, only to be edited out in the end. Similarly, Maslany spoke of her experiences acting in films with her partner, Tom Cullen. “It’s such a privilege to work with a partner,” Maslany said. “There’s a certain intimacy with someone who knows you best.”

Maslany conversed casually throughout the entire interview, preferring to end her sentences with an enthusiastic “totally!” Maslany spoke about trying to break into the industry at a young age, feeling insecure about herself when she “didn’t look like anyone who should be on TV.” The hardest transition for her while moving from Canada to LA for the American television industry was that you “had to own who you are,” which made it — at this moment, she spoke in Helena’s signature Slavic accent, to the audience’s delight — “a little better.” Maslany prefers to look up to people who don’t conform — “contrarians or those who are themselves.” Maslany also stated that she feels “lucky to play so many weirdos,” stating endearingly that she associates and empathizes most heavily with these characters and individuals, being a self-descried weirdo herself at heart.

After the brief interview, Maslany’s new film, “Souls of Totality,” was screened. Maslany acted alongside Cullen in the short 19-minute film. Filmed partially in real-time during the eclipse last summer, the producer, director and screenwriter of the film also spoke after the screening. The film was ultimately an incredibly collaborative process, with much of the crew playing various characters in the film and having to drive U-Hauls full of equipment up to Oregon. Richard Raymond described how he pitched the idea of going up to Oregon to watch the eclipse, but while Maslany just assumed that it would be a vacation, Raymond instead proposed to create a film. The filmmakers only had one opportunity to take a crucial shot of Maslany running down the road as the sun reached totality ahead — a true cinematographic experience in itself in “Souls of Totality.”

“Souls of Totality” follows a man and woman who are part of a cult — although I don’t want to spoil it more if you ever get a chance to watch it. The filmmakers did an incredible job of staying on a low budget without sacrificing aesthetics — filming on a friend’s farm, using a gray tracksuit as the cult’s costuming. Maslany and Cullen play forbidden lovers in the cult, and their story unfolds in real time as we experience it. As Maslany’s character is “chosen,” we slowly discover what this means for her fate in comparison to the fate of Cullen’s character. Yet, we don’t know what this truly means until the end as the eclipse reaches totality and the two lovers are separated. In a short film under 30 minuses, “Souls of Totality” was able to capture my attention and present a cohesive narrative and three-act structure, versus simply existing as a musing of the filmmaker’s imagination with no true plot.

Ben Bolea and Kate Trefry, two husband and wife writers that have never collaborated on a project before, wrote “Souls of Totality.” Bolea, along with Raymond and producer James Mitchell, spoke at a post-screening panel with Maslany. In creating “Souls of Totality,” Raymond asked Bolea to write a short script, but Bolea admitted he never had any real ideas until the eclipse was almost too close, and then he was forced to scramble to write a script. I admired the scrappy nature of this film — the collaborative nature, the artistic nature — this, I thought, is truly what independent filmmaking is all about. Building projects with friends and collaborators — the group was even able to find the cinematographer of “The Witch,” a film Bolea greatly admired, and they recruited him for the film. Nevertheless, as I sat watching the film, I realized that sometimes time constraints are the best ways to come up with a narrative and story — and “Souls of Totality” certainly proves itself to be one.
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