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Press: Tatiana Maslany among Walk of Fame presenters

Emmy-winning “Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany will be among the presenters at the upcoming Canada’s Walk of Fame induction ceremony.

Joining Maslany are two previous inductees: actor Kiefer Sutherland and retired astronaut Roberta Bondar. Retired hockey great Lanny McDonald, former tennis star turned broadcaster Chris Evert, and actress Sharon Gless of “Cagney and Lacey” fame are also among the presenters.

The late stage and screen icon Al Waxman is among six inductees in the 2016 class.

Fellow honourees include: NHL Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler, award-winning singer-songwriter Corey Hart, actor-director Jason Priestley, filmmaker Deepa Mehta, and veteran fashion entrepreneur and journalist Jeanne Beker.

Country star Brett Kissel will be the recipient of the Allan Slaight Honour, which is presented annually to a young Canadian making a positive impact in the music industry. Kissel is also on the list of scheduled performers, which includes singer Nelly Furtado and comedian Scott Thompson.

The newest inductees will be honoured at the Allstream Centre in Toronto on Thursday, and the event is slated to be televised Dec. 18 on Global.
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Press: ‘Two Lovers and a Bear’: Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan go up against the elements in Arctic romance

There’s an Emmy for Orphan Black in her recent past and a movie with Jake Gyllenhaal (called Stronger) in her immediate future.

Right now, Tatiana Maslany stars with Dane DeHaan in the drama, Two Lovers and a Bear, opening in theatres Friday.

Both actors were at the Toronto International Film Festival to promote their movie, which is the new feature from Oscar-nominated director Kim Nguyen (War Witch). Maslany, 31, and DeHaan, 30, play fragile characters struggling to overcome various personal demons; the story is set in Nunavut, where the Arctic wilderness is a pristine setting for a volatile relationship.

The lovers take a trip together into uncharted — literally and figuratively — terrain, as they face an uncertain future, but discover the past isn’t quite ready to let them go. Two Lovers and a Bear is painfully real but touched with magic: it does involve a polar bear who speaks with Gordon Pinsent’s voice.

“It read to me like an adult fairy tale, says DeHaan. “Their relationship and what was happening all rang true, but then it had these fantastical elements as well. I trusted Kim to pull it off, because of War Witch, and the way he deals with the fantastical elements in that. I think that’s one of his strengths as a director.”

DeHaan says he first met Nguyen at TIFF a few years ago, when the actor was at the festival promoting The Place Beyond the Pines.

The two became fast friends and decided they wanted to work together.

“I’m just a fan of his. I really jumped at the opportunity to make this movie.”

This movie, mind you, is emotionally raw and was filmed in the wilds around Iqaluit.

It was tough to make. And even tougher to talk about, says Maslany.

“It’s odd, reflecting back on an experience that’s so, almost etherial, so in the moment,” she says.

“With a film like this, there’s so little intellectual research done. It’s like, living in that environment, with the people who live there, and daily life just starts to seep into you. And to talk about it afterwards is like a weird packaging of a really complicated experience … It’s one thing when you’re filming it. Every moment is different when you’re filming it. Just being in that space — you’re not intellectualizing anything. It’s very much from your body.

“But it’s always odd to talk about acting.”

One of the things DeHaan and Maslany have in common is that both have been actors since childhood. DeHaan says he began by playing superheroes in his backyard in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he grew up. “I was in community theatre and things like that when I was a kid,” he says. “I’ve only been doing it professionally since I got out of college, so, like, eight years or something.” DeHaan graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, making his film debut in 2010 in John Sayles’ Amigo and winning notice in the HBO series, In Treatment. His many films include Lawless, Kill Your Darlings, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Life and he stars in the upcoming films A Cure for Wellness, Tulip Fever and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (which co-stars Cara Delevingne and is directed by Luc Besson).

“I always wanted to act,” he says. “I just didn’t do it professionally until I had to, I guess.”

Maslany started acting at age nine in community theatre. In high school, the Regina native was both appearing in school productions and taking small film and TV jobs; she has several TV series on her resume, such as 2030 CE, Instant Star, Heartland and Being Erica, and has appeared in the films Eastern Promises, Violet & Daisy, The Vow and Woman in Gold, among many others.

About three years ago Maslany starred in the movies Picture Day and Cas and Dylan to critical acclaim, just around the same time that TV’s Orphan Black gave her an international audience.

The Emmy she just won for playing multiple characters on that show has added to a level of celebrity Maslany is still figuring out.

“Nothing of this other side of things ever occurred to me,” she says. “It’s odd, because it’s only with Orphan Black that any of that has come into play.”

Spoken like a Canadian 20-year vet of the profession …

“My work is totally opposite to this other beast, this machine, which you kind of have to be good at, and know how to navigate. And it has nothing to do with what I do,” she says cheerfully.

“It’s a weird byproduct that really doesn’t compute.”
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Press: Tatiana Maslany talks filming Two Lovers and a Bear in Nunavut

Just before Tatiana Maslany flew to Los Angeles to accept an Emmy Award for outstanding lead actress in a drama series for Orphan Black I asked her what she’s been doing lately.

“I filmed the movie Stronger and since then I’ve been chillin’ hard,” she laughed.

The Regina-born actress may have taken some downtime over the summer, but that’s likely the last time off she’ll see for the foreseeable future. Right now she defines the term ‘in demand,’ enjoying the kind of popularity usually reserved for the very top of the A-list. Her Emmy win lit the internet on fire, earning millions of mentions that made her the most talked-about person on Facebook and Twitter that night. Currently she is shooting the last season of Orphan Black and has three movies set for release, including Stronger opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and next weekend’s Two Lovers and a Bear.

The Nunavut-shot film focuses on star-crossed lovers Lucy and Roman, played by Dane DeHaan and a talking bear. Veteran actor Gordon Pinsent lent his kindly voice to the polar bear, but Maslany says she was scared of Agee, the full-size adult female who played the carnivorous title character.

“She can smell women and doesn’t like them,” Maslany said of the bear who stands over seven feet when on her hind legs.

Maslany doesn’t want to discuss the movie’s twists and turns. Instead she’d like audiences to enjoy the story the way she did when she was offered the part of Lucy.

“I didn’t know what to expect at any moment when I read the script. It would flip from this very heavy romance to comedy and it sort of feels like sci-fi or a thriller at the end.”

Maslany will say her character has “a restlessness to her spirit and a need to find some stillness and peace and a desperate love of Roman. She can’t live without him and can’t be with him.”

Filmed over the course of six weeks on locations in Nunavut, the shoot for Two Lovers and a Bear was often unforgiving. “Our stills photographer lost chunks of his nose (due to the cold),” she says, but adds that shooting in the isolated location was invaluable to her performance.

“Just as having a real polar bear there,” she says, “being in the actual environment is so much easier and telling and informing in terms of character and how you move through the world. You understand more about why Roman and Lucy are the way they are by being there and living in that kind of environment. You see how two people could need each other so desperately and be the only thing the other has.”

“There are such vibrant youth there. It was really cool to be part of the community. I got to meet and be part of it and see their artwork. At the same time there are a lot of issues up there in terms of things from years back and systemic things. It has this bizarre duality to it.”

“I loved it up there,” she says. “I would go back in a heartbeat.”
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Press: Fashion Magazine November 2016 Cover: Tatiana Maslany

This past September, Regina-born actress Tatiana Maslany got another chance to finesse her red carpet skills when she made the rounds to promote her dramatic film Two Lovers and a Bear at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Walking the red carpet should be second nature to the star of Orphan Black, yet she describes the experience as jarring and, in some cases, “downright f*cking scary.” “Let’s just say [doing awards shows] feels like being at a cool person’s party and being one of the nerds,” she says. “Seeing Jennifer Lawrence walk by on the [Golden Globes] carpet, I’m like, ‘She’s cool. She gets it. She knows how to do this.’ I think of it as just another performance, but I’m still trying to figure it out.”

It’s a surprising admission from someone who has tackled more than eight roles on Orphan Black—including a tough-as-nails CEO named Rachel, a soccer mom named Allison, a psychotic murderer named Helena and a transgender ex-con named Tony. Her herculean efforts on the popular Space network series earned her two Emmy nominations and favourable reviews. The Guardian complimented her for “Olympic-level endurance acting,” and ThoughtCatalog.com wrote that she was so good at fooling people that perhaps “for the first year of his presidency, Obama was played by Tatiana Maslany.”

To inhabit these characters, Maslany says she leans on wardrobe and styling to help her understand her many personas. “When I first saw myself dressed as Helena in the mirror—I had these red eyes and I was wearing a huge Twisted Sister wig—I knew immediately who she was,” says Maslany. “There’s something so ‘othered’ about her—so not part of conventional society. I needed to tap into what it’s like to feel that.”

For her latest role, however, she only had to focus on one character. In Two Lovers and a Bear, she plays a young woman named Lucy who lives in Apex, a remote town in Nunavut. Like her partner, she has a troubled and abusive past that she is struggling to escape.

To prepare for the part, Maslany read about survivors of sexual abuse who flourished in spite of their history. There’s one pivotal moment in the film when Lucy goes through a cathartic breakdown in an abandoned military base. In the wrong hands, the scene could have read as pure melodrama, yet Maslany’s performance is compellingly authentic. “I wasn’t worried about getting it right so much as understanding it,” she says.

Maslany brings the same nuanced approach to her performance in Stronger—a film about the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013. In the movie, which will be released next year, she plays Erin Hurley, a participant in the marathon and the girlfriend of Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs while waiting at the finish line. To understand what Hurley experienced, Maslany spent time getting to know her over Pilates classes and lunches. Although she didn’t run in the marathon with Hurley this year, Maslany did cheer her on as she crossed the finish line.

While filming the marathon scene, Maslany recalls being incredibly touched by the extras who were running with her. “Some of them told me, ‘The movie means so much to the city.’ I obviously internalized that…I’ve never been afraid to feel big things.”

Maslany—who proudly identifies as a feminist—is not afraid to rebel against the “normal” expectations of young actresses either. “[When I first went to L.A.], I was drawn into this thing where I thought that I should lose weight, curl my hair, tweeze my moustache, whiten my teeth and wear more makeup [to get more parts],” she says. “My pride stopped me from all that. I realized I’ve always loved that I don’t look like everyone I see on television. I also don’t want to play perfect people or a conventional-looking person.”

“I realized I’ve always loved that I don’t look like everyone I see on television. I also don’t want to play perfect people or a conventional-looking person.”

— Tatiana Maslany

This sense of defiance came at an early age. “As a girl, you’re seen as silly and weak,” she says. “I didn’t want to be associated with that.” But with time, Maslany has tempered her view. “I’ve recognized so much internalized misogyny in my life [through] what I’ve done…especially in terms of how I look at other girls and at myself, and the way [I used to] consider feminine qualities to be lesser than masculine ones.”

She also acknowledges that living in Canada has positively shaped her world view. “There’s something about our politics and our lack of extremism that has contributed to a gentler society,” she says. “This resonates with me. I feel like [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau has done such great work in setting a tone for the country just by being who he is.” Maslany applauds Trudeau for not only his feminist sentiments but also speaking openly about mental illness in his family. “It’s this kind of vulnerability that makes him an amazing prime minister,” she says. “He can be vulnerable and a leader. Who’s doing that nowadays? Nobody. What he’s doing in terms of advocating for indigenous women who have gone missing [is also important]. He’s tackling things that have needed to be tackled for a long time.”

Another man who has positively influenced Maslany is her boyfriend, actor Tom Cullen (a.k.a. Lady Mary’s love interest on Downton Abbey). The pair met when the Welsh actor starred with Maslany in a miniseries called World Without End; they later co-starred in a film called The Other Half. “At the beginning, I was terrified at the prospect of working with him [on The Other Half]. I was just self-conscious,” she says. “When you’re opposite somebody who respects you as an artist, knows you deeply and wants to play with you…that’s all you can ask for. He’s someone whose bullshit meter is so high that you can’t lie to him.”

“When you’re opposite somebody who respects you as an artist, knows you deeply and wants to play with you…that’s all you can ask for.”

— Tatiana Maslany

There have also been several important women in her life who shared insights that she cherishes. Helen Mirren (with whom she starred in Woman in Gold) taught Maslany about “maintaining a quiet elegance and total confidence” with characters. Amy Poehler, with whom Maslany worked on Parks and Recreation, showed her how to be a powerhouse. “Since I was a kid, I’ve watched Amy on SNL,” she says. “She did the weirdest characters and was this tiny little thing that was so bold and brave and hilarious. She’s my hero [because of that and because] she fosters a community of young women. She’s the reason Broad City is around!” Maslany also had the opportunity to work alongside Quebec’s Suzanne Clément in The Other Half. “I’ve always felt that [Suzanne] has this huge lack of vanity, which can be rare for an actor,” she says. “She was on set every day with her full heart, open, going, ‘This is so fun! Oh, my God, I love working!’ It was like she’d never done it before. She has this beginner’s openness. It’s something I want to make sure I never lose either.”

With Maslany’s dramatic range and unabashed curiosity, it’s hard to fathom that this actor will lose herself to the superficial—or traditional—side of Hollywood. Instead, her chameleonic ways and her empathetic process could mark the beginning of a new rising force in film.
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2016: Fashion Canada Magazineproper scans to come
2016: Fashion Canada Magazine – Photo Session

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