Tatiana Maslany Talks Orphan Black’s Popularity, Season 2 and the Possibility of More Clone Death
This has been quite a year for Tatiana Maslany. The Canadian actress became one of the most notable breakout actors on TV thanks to her acclaimed performance — excuse me, performances — in BBC America’s Orphan Back, as Sarah, Cosima, Alison and the many other clones she plays.
Last week, I spoke to Maslany on the set of Parks and Recreation, where she was filming a two-episode stint as a new love interest for Tom (Aziz Ansari). I’ll have more from that conversation in a few weeks pertaining to Parks and Rec, when her episodes begin to air. But we also spoke about Orphan Black, the response it’s received and where it could go in the future…
IGN TV: The reaction to Orphan Black has been so huge, both fan-wise and also in the industry. The people on Parks and Rec wanting you to come on made sense to me. When you meet people in the industry — actors, writers, producers — are you feeling that love for the show?
Tatiana Maslany: Yeah, and that’s really kind of shocking to me. I feel like, yeah, there are audiences, but I forget that other actors might be watching the show, you know, people I look up to or whatever. Like, Rashida [Jones] came up to me and was like, “I’m a huge fan of the show.” I was just like, “Guuuuh!” It’s so insane, because I think she’s amazing. So yeah, that’s really exciting.
IGN: I was thinking about how this is the third time I’ve talked to you this year. The first time, the show hadn’t premiered yet. It’s only been a few months, but it’s been a crazy few months.
Maslany: Isn’t that crazy, that that was, like, this year? Whoa, that’s nuts! I can’t actually process that this has been one year, because it’s been so insane. Weird… Super weird. [Laughs]
IGN: So you are a few weeks away from shooting Orphan Black again. Have you seen any scripts yet?
Maslany: No. I mean, I’ve seen little breakdowns and ideas, but nothing concrete yet. So I’m completely in the dark and just can’t wait to get into it.
IGN: It seems like with that show they could literally throw anything at you.
Maslany: I just trust them so implicitly. Whatever they want me to do, I’m just like, “Yes, I’m up for it.” It’s such an insanely amazing job. It’s so unique, and I’m so lucky to have it that I’m just like, “Just whatever you guys want to do, let’s just go for it.” So whatever characters come up, if there are other clones or whatever — which I’m sure there will be; I don’t know what they could be — I’m so up for it.
IGN: We were just meeting Rachel when Season 1 ended. Are you intrigued to explore more of her?
Maslany: Absolutely, yeah, because I got her for maybe two scenes, but she’s so starkly different from all the rest and has a completely different upbringing, a completely different life. It’s neat to be on the other side of things, where she’s not caught in the chaos of it. She’s sort of controlling it, in a way. It’s really exciting.
Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany Teases Season 2, Discusses Emmy Snub
After only 10 episodes, Orphan Black made quite an impression on viewers, which makes the eight-month wait for Season 2 that much more difficult.
Over the course of its first season, Orphan Black weaved a tale of mystery and intrigue as to why a group of clones — all played brilliantly by Tatiana Maslany — came into existence and who is pulling the strings. Ultimately, Cosima’s digging uncovered that each clone was actually trademarked, making them intellectual property of the Neolutionists with no control over their own lives.
Suffice it to say, the question of freedom will be raised in the upcoming second season, which goes back into production at the end of September. TVGuide.com caught up with Maslany on the set of Parks and Recreation — where she’ll appear as a love interest for Aziz Ansari’s Tom — to get the scoop on what’s in store for each of the clones, including poor Alison, who inadvertently signed her life away in the finale. The 27-year-old actress also discusses the pressure she feels going into Season 2 and being overlooked by the Emmys.
At the end of Season 1, we learned that the clones are actually trademarked, so will the question of freedom be a running theme in Season 2?
Tatiana Maslany: It resonates differently for each of them. There’s something about that idea of ownership over your body that I feel is quite resonant to women. It’s so interesting that it’s in the context of clones, but it’s all women dealing with this idea of, “Do I own my body? Is my body mine? Who am I if I don’t own my body? Who am I if somebody else has decided all this stuff?” I think Sarah is a fiercely rebellious person, so anybody putting her in a box is when she’ll lose her sh–. Cosima is fascinated with this concept because of the science of it and because of the way that she can break things down and understand them better. Alison bought into it. It’s cool that they all deal with it very differently.
For Sarah, will her charge be finding her daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler) and trying to get away from all of this?
Maslany: Yeah, I think [she’s] claiming something for herself, re-claiming her life. That all involves Kira and Felix (Jordan Gavaris) and whatever Mrs. S’ (Maria Doyle Kennedy) deal is.
Yeah, what is her deal?!
Maslany: I don’t even know, but I can’t wait to know! She’s so amazing and is an incredible actor.
When Cosima started showing signs of being sick, did you get nervous about the possibility of no longer playing that clone?
Maslany: Yeah, totally. I’m scared for her. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’d be really sad to lose her if that happened. It makes it very tense. The stakes are so high because we’ve seen them die from this already — Katja didn’t die from it, but she would have. It’s that panic that could set in for all of them: “Who’s the next one to go?” They’re kind of — not dispensable — but they’re mortal.
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‘Orphan Black’ Star Tatiana Maslany Headed to ‘Parks and Recreation’
Orphan Black breakout star Tatiana Maslany is heading to Pawnee. The actress has booked a two-episode arc on NBC’s lone returning fall comedy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Maslany, who plays multiple clones on the BBC drama, will portray a love interest for Aziz Ansari’s Tom Haverford. Specific details about Maslany’s character are being kept under wraps. She’s set to appear in the fifth and sixth episodes of Parks, which returns for its sixth season on Sept. 26.
This marks the most high-profile comedic role for the Critics Choice Award winner who has a background in improv that dates back to her childhood, where she would perform with her brothers for their friends.
“I went to a French immersion school and French-Canadian improv is a big thing and we had an improv team at school and 12 of us would get up and make things up against other elementary schools,” the actress told THR during a June interview. “I’d always wanted to perform and that was just another extension of it. I was on the improv team in high school and after I graduated I joined an improv company that had been established 10 years prior to me getting there. They did longform improv and I feel in love with it. It’s acting, character creation, collaborative, artistic expression and comedy — and it’s scary. It was a big rush. My brothers and I always did improv stuff in our basement with our friends; we’re super nerds and that was our way of spending a Friday night.” Maslany marks the latest love interest for the sharply-dressed Tom. Following an amusing arc where he dated Rashida Jones’ Ann Perkins, Tom more recently went out with Jean-Ralphio’s (Ben Schwartz) sister, Mona Lisa (Jenny Slate).
Maslany marks the latest high-profile guest star slated for the sixth season of Parks. She joins previously announced Schwartz, Kristen Bell, June Diane Raphael, Sam Elliott, Lucy Lawless, Heidi Klum and Henry Winkler, who plays Jean-Ralphio’s father.
In addition to the Critics Choice prize for actress in a drama, Maslany won the TCA Award for individual achievement in drama and the Young Hollywood Award for breakout actress. She’s repped by Resolution and Characters Talent Agency.
Interview: Tatiana Maslany on Improv, Her Rick Moranis Crush, and Orphan Black’s Many Bare Behinds
No, she didn’t get an Emmy nomination. But at last weekend’s Comic-Con, and over the past few months in other pockets of niche fandom, Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany has been treated like the second coming of Meryl. She has been the subject of more than a few stories declaring her the people’s lead actress. Patton Oswalt became her walking, talking “For Your Consideration” ad. And as she walked on to the Comic-Con stage Saturday night, an enthusiastic fan’s cry of “You deserve an Emmy!” caused the crowd to roar in approval.
Maslany probably would have scored a nomination if such things were decided entirely by the degree of difficulty involved. On the stealth hit BBC America sci-fi thriller — about a tough British woman named Sarah who becomes engulfed in a conspiracy after randomly watching her doppelgänger commit suicide and then stealing the stranger’s identity — the 27-year-old actress shape-shifts into seven different characters, clones hailing from different parts of the globe, with different agendas and quirks. Maslany told Vulture during an interview last month at a Los Angeles coffee shop that, after production on the show’s first season wrapped, she went into seclusion. “I was exhausted,” she said.
Dressed in black shorts and boots, with her naturally curly hair worn down, Maslany explained how dance helped her get into character — all seven of them. To play tightly wound soccer mom Alison, the Canadian actress drew on the flamenco training she’s received since age 4. “It had to be something very rigid, everything held tight,” said Maslany. “Stomach in, bum in, very precise motions, very feminine.” She made Berkeley biology student Cosima more fluid, “like she’s at a rave.” To nail Sarah, the tough Brit who is Orphan Black’s central character, Maslany grooved to a lot of Prodigy and the Clash. And then there’s Helena, the feral, peroxide-blonde killer. Maslany opted to keep that character’s unique dance to herself. “It happens in my trailer,” whispered the actress. “There’s something deeply violent and deeply sexual about her. She’s an animal.”
Emmy nomination or not, the actress did her own whirlwind dance around Southern California in the weeks leading up to Comic-Con, taking meetings for projects she might take on during her hiatus, reeling with the news that she’d edged out actresses Claire Danes and Julianna Margulies to win a Critics Choice Award, and logging countless media interviews. (“How many?” she asked. “Um, I don’t even know. I have no idea!”) But all the running around is easy compared to Maslany’s rigorous shooting schedule on Orphan Black; if you clocked her onscreen appearances in any one episode, it would almost certainly exceed the episode’s running time, as she’s in nearly every scene and two or more of the characters she plays on the show also frequently appear in the same scene together. Maslany shrugged off the workload. “I think being idle is quite hard for me to do,” she said.
That statement helps explain her busy upbringing. At age 7, Maslany began putting on for-pay performances with her brother to entertain their parents. (“It was our art!” she laughed.) At age 9, she auditioned for theater for the first time, going for a role in the musical Oliver. During elementary school, she fell in love with improv, which she continued to perform throughout high school while also taking on series and TV movie projects; she also toured North America with a professional comedy improv troupe.
Being Canadian and hugely into improv is why, when she met her Orphan co-star Matt Frewer, she quizzed him not about Max Headroom but about his work with Rick Moranis on Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. “I was so excited,” said Maslany. “I asked him, ‘What’s Rick Moranis like? Is he really attractive in real life as well?’ Matt was just like, ‘What are you talking about?’ I think generally people are not really sure about my crush, but I stand behind it.” (Maslany has since watched Max Headroom and compares it to Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! because, as she put it, “both are totally weird.”) She’s still a big comedy fan, too, and managed to squeeze in a visit to the set of Comedy Central’s The Kroll Show, where Jenny Slate, one of her current favorite comedians, was performing stand-up. “I ran away after,” Maslany said. “If I had tried to talk to her, I would have been trying to be funny, and it would have been really bad. I’m too obsessed with her.”
Maslany said her improv training has made her game for anything, including surprises to her clone portfolio, such as when producers added Helena as a curveball early last season. “Oh, that was really easy,” she joked. “Kind of a classic character: the Eastern-European religious nut serial killer.” Then there’s acting opposite herself — or, in reality, acting opposite empty space. The first time Maslany saw herself sharing the screen with herself, the thought that came to her mind was that her eyes visibly bugged out in the scene. “I think I was trying too hard to get it right,” she said. “Nobody’s there when you’re shooting these things, so you overcompensate. I had to learn to chill out.”
She was especially fearless when it came time to disrobe in the first episode, when Sarah, while pretending to be Beth, distracts Beth’s boyfriend, Paul, by having sex with him on the kitchen counter. “So many butts on our show,” Maslany laughed. “It never struck me as too much. Sex for Sarah is a weapon. This is what she’s doing to stay safe. It’s also how people have sex. They’re naked. They’re not in a bandeau.” It was also her first day shooting with Dylan Bruce, who plays Paul. She tried to put him at ease. “‘How’s it going? Take off your pants. Put on this cock sock. Don’t feel embarrassed.’”
Series showrunners Graeme Manson and John Fawcett have said they trust Maslany’s instincts. For next season, they’re consulting with her as they write more clones into the story. “They ask me, ‘What about this? Do you like this?’” she said. “But I’m always like, ‘Yeah. Sure. Do it. Awesome. I’d love to.’” Until shooting begins, she’s looking for a bit of a break — but only a bit. One role in one film would do. “Something like Rust and Bone would be a dream. Very pared down,” said Maslany. “Orphan Black is such a challenge. I just need something that isn’t as full-on intense as that.”
Article: Canada’s CTV to premiere BBC America sci-fi drama Orphan Black
CTV announced today that it will present the Canadian broadcast premiere and first ever non-cable network run of the hit conspiracy thriller Orphan Black later this summer.
The Space original programme from Temple Street Productions, produced in partnership with BBC America, is a ten-episode, one-hour series that will air in primetime Fridays on CTV and on the CTV Mobile channel on Bell Mobile TV.
Season Two of Orphan Black was ordered by Space and BBC America in May, with production on ten new episodes set to begin this September in Toronto.
“From the opening scene to the season finale, Orphan Black grabs you and doesn’t let you go,” said Mike Cosentino, senior vice president of programming for CTV Networks. “A timely CTV encore run will expose this remarkable Space original series to a whole new audience, creating more momentum and viewer appetite for Season Two on Space.”
The CTV broadcast comes following series star Tatiana Maslany’s (Picture Day) Critics’ Choice Award win for Best Actress in a Drama Series, and a recent Television Critics Association Award nomination for Individual Achievement in Drama.
Orphan Black centres on English punk and streetwise hustler Sarah who returns home after being separated from her daughter. But her homecoming isn’t exactly what she expected. After witnessing the suicide of a woman, Beth, who looks just like her, Sarah takes over Beth’s life, including her job as a cop as well as her boyfriend Paul. Sarah soon discovers that she and Beth are clones, and as she becomes embroiled in the mystery, she learns that there are more of them out there – all genetically identical individuals nurtured in completely different circumstances. As Sarah begins to unravel the mystery surrounding their identities, she also ends up fighting for her life when an assassin begins killing the clones one by one.
Photos: More Comic-Con Additions
Thanks to my awesome friend Mary I’ve added several new HQ photos from yesterday’s Comic-Con to the gallery.
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