Captivating Tatiana Maslanythe original and most comprehensive fansite for tatiana maslany

Captivating Tatiana Maslany

the original and most comprehensive fansite for tatiana maslany

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s Orphan Black series finale on BBC America.

“We’ve talked since the beginning of wanting to do some kind of feature or some kind of two-hour continuation of the series,” admits Orphan Black co-creator John Fawcett of how he and Graeme Manson could see more of the Tatiana Maslany starring show after tonight’s series finale.

After five seasons with Neolution revelations, siblings, deaths and births, the tale of the Maslany played clone Sarah and the sestras came to an end for now with the Fawcett-directed “To Right The Wrongs of Many.” However, after the vanquishing of the aged and manipulative P.T. Westmoreland (Stephen McHattie) as Sarah, twin Helena, Cosima and Alison sat together in the latter’s backyard in tears and love, the door was opened for more with another 274 Leda clones out there around the world – thanks to a list procured from fellow clone Rachel.

Months after filming those finale scenes with the Emmy-winning Maslany, Fawcett chatted with me about the grand plan for the show, working with the Golden Globe and SAG Awards nominee and the strong emotions on set at the end. As well as discussing the possibility of more Orphan Black, the Ginger Snaps helmer also had a ton of praise and appreciation for the Clone Club fans of the BBC America series – and what they meant to the Canadian-made Temple Street Productions show, past, present and future.

DEADLINE: I have to ask right at the top, is this the series finale that Graeme and yourself envisioned for Orphan Black from the beginning?

FAWCETT: I think it is in a lot of ways. In some respects, I think that we imagined that the finale really was going to boil down to Sarah and Helena, and that we were going to have to deal with P.T. Westmoreland. We knew that, critically, we were going to have a really kind of dirty, awful, nasty birth, and that that was going to be part of kind of this two-part finale.

DEADLINE: Well, that does sound like “To Right The Wrongs of Many” in a nutshell…

FAWCETT: Yes, but I think we also understood that killing P.T. Westmoreland was important, but not the most important thing for us. It is something you had to do, but that, tonally, for the final episode, we wanted it to be a much more emotional episode. We wanted to structure it in a way that we were finished with plot fairly early on in the episode so that we could make this time jump, as we did. We were really interested in moving forward into the future three months to see where everyone is.

DEADLINE: Part of that jump, nearly at the very end, with the backyard party at Alison’s with the core sestras together around a still shattered Sarah, was Helena reading from her book called Orphan Black of her life and the other clones. Why did you choose that bookending, pardon the pun?

FAWCETT: That was something we devised at the beginning of Season 5, though we had talked about it before. We liked the idea that Helena has been jotting down her memoirs and really, like, exactly that, it comes down to the sisters. It comes down to the twin sisters, between Sarah and Helena.

It’s very important that we’ve ended this in a way that we believed it was nice to have some really strong belief that Helena, after everything that she’s come through, is now going to be a very capable mother. So that somehow, by having her read her journals and her memoirs and bringing us back to the beginning of the series, it just seemed like the right place to end her. You know, we laughed a lot about the idea that Helena would wind up somewhere getting a book deal and maybe going on a book tour at some point. Of course, that’s just what we’ve joked about.

DEADLINE: But the series finale is not really the end of Orphan Black is it? With Cosima and Delphine now traveling the world to find the other 274 Ledas, there is a lot of ripe story or a lot more stories to tell, isn’t there?

FAWCETT: It certainly is. I think that to Graham and I, the imagery and the ideas that come from the concept of Delphine and Cosima out in the world journeying to find these 274 Ledas is certainly ripe, there’s no question. We’ve talked since the beginning of wanting to do some kind of feature or some kind of two-hour continuation of the series.

At this point, I think we’re happy that it’s come to a conclusion that we feel satisfied with, and it closes this chapter. Graham and I are both going to let it sit for a little bit, but I know that these characters are so strong with us and so engrained with us, that there’s certainly a chance that we’ll pick that up and continue.

DEADLINE: And would Tatiana be a part of that were you to continue it?

FAWCETT: Well, that would be lovely. Like I say, I don’t see that in the near, near future, but something that we’ve certainly always talked about and talked about as a group amongst the cast. So it’s not something that we’re keeping to ourselves. It’s something that we aspire to do at some point.

DEADLINE: Duly noted for the future, but to jump back to the now of Orphan Black, you set the series ender up as a two-part finale. But I got to say, to me it felt like the penultimate episode “One Fettered Slave,” especially following the death of Sarah and Felix’s foster mother Siobhan the week before, was really the Season 5 finale and the last episode was a series finale, and they were two different constructions, was that intentional?

FAWCETT: Yeah, I think that’s a fair assumption. I mean that’s the way we sort of imagined it being. Obviously, we’ve spent five seasons dealing with a large, complicated plot, and we really wanted the time to explore these other issues. Explore the issues of sisters, and of motherhood, and of the matriarchy, and put the focus kind of squarely on Sarah, who has come through slaughter and who has been so strong for everyone up until this point Now she is feeling a bit broken. To everything that she’s worked for, now she has. She has her freedom, and she doesn’t know what to do with it and is having a hard time moving on.

DEADLINE: There’s that poignant line in the finale where Tatiana says, as Sarah to the other clones, there’s nobody left to fight, kind of sums up where’s she’s at, and it’s not a good place…

FAWCETT: I think of it almost like PTSD. She’s really stuck now in this trying to go back to a normal life after everything that she’s been through. I think Sarah is having an extremely difficult time with that, and it’s nice now because now she has this sisterhood to sort of lean on and this group that can help her. I also think it’s interesting that Sarah’s the one that suffers the most as we move forward into the future. So it rings very, very true to me, and you know, we didn’t want it to be heavy-handed, but it certainly follows this hero’s journey of Sarah’s.

DEADLINE: Along that journey, as well as the Sarah assisted birth of Helena’s twins in the finale, there were some serious losses. In the last few episodes, the Maria Doyle Kennedy portrayed Siobhan was killed, a big blow to Sarah, Westmorland obviously was finally taken down, Kyra Harper’s Dr. Virginia Coady too. I get the last two, as the villains of the series but why couldn’t Siobhan make it through to the end, be there for all the sestras and the newborn Purple and Orange?

FAWCETT: You know, in thinking of the finale, we had never necessarily thought that Siobhan wouldn’t be there, but at the beginning, as we were breaking Season 5, it seemed like the strongest thing to do for Sarah’s journey. Dramatically, it felt like the right thing to do. It was a big thing to do.

I’m trying to harken back to all the reasons why we did this, but it really boils down to Sarah’s journey, and the matriarchy. Sarah now knows her mother has heroically sacrificed herself, in a way, to bring about the end of Neolution and to free not just her daughter, but the sisters. It’s interesting to see Sarah now without her mother having to fill those shoes and pick up and continue and really be the mother. And I think that that’s what gives Sarah in the finale this conflict, and this dilemma, and this soul searching that she’s going through. And then be able to rise above, be the mother, be in the house, and be stronger because of it.

DEADLINE: Speaking of Sarah’s journey, of Helena’s journey, of Cosima’s journey, of Alison’s journey and even of Rachel’s journey, obviously Tatiana won the clearly deserved Best Dramatic Actress Emmy last year, but what has the evolution of her multi-role and multi-faceted journey as an actress on the show been like from your perspective?

FAWCETT: Well. I’ll say, she really became a very strong collaborator really early on. You know, we started to trust her very quickly, her instincts very quickly, and her ideas very quickly very early on. Just in the early get-go, she solves some big problems for us, which was around Helena, and what Helena wanted, and who she felt Helena was. Because, you know, in our very rudimentary beginnings, Helena was just an assassin, there was really not a lot of character development or even a ton of thought that we put into it.

We knew that Helena was Sarah’s twin and that, at the end of season 1, that Sarah was going to shoot her, and that she was going to be an antagonist, essentially. But it was really Tat that came to that from a very different direction and started to breathe this very different life into this character, which started to spin Helena in a direction that we didn’t necessarily foresee. The more she did that, the more we all sort of began to trust each other, the tighter we got, and the more collaborative it got, and to the point where we really relied on Tat.

In the early breaking of scripts, we would pitch episodes to her and bring her into the process very early on to just read her instincts, because she has very good sort of character instincts and often very good story ideas. So she has certainly grown very close to Graham and I, and she’s a dear friend and an incredibly talented person.

And those are the kinds of people that you want to surround yourself with, you know? We’re very fortunate that this family, and not just our relationship with Tat, but the family, the creative family that we surrounded ourselves was very tight, and very smart, and very passionate bunch of people.

DEADLINE: Which must have taken on added resonance as you came to the end this final season, those final filming days with you directing the last episode, as you had so many seasons before…

FAWCETT: You know, it’s very different when you know that this is the end, and certainly managing to just even maneuver all the emotions, not just mine, but certainly of the crew and specifically the cast every day on set, and move the ship forward constantly, that was challenging.

Every other day, we were wrapping a significant character, you know, whether it was a clone, one of Tat’s characters, or any of these actors that we’d been with for so long. And so every day seemed emotional, and it was tough. It was tough in one sense because, at the same time, you’re working on a schedule, and you’ve got a lot to shoot in a day. But I thought it was important that we had to just kind of stand still as a character wrapped, gather everyone around, and talk and talk about the journey, and let the actor say goodbye, and be there, and be present. Some of those scenes, a lot of those scenes, they were often very difficult.

DEADLINE: How do you mean?

FAWCETT: Well, the big clone scene in the backyard, honestly, technically was not that difficult considering what we’d done through the course of the series. What was difficult was making sure that I was there and very present for all the emotional aspects that needed to be captured, and be present myself, not be thinking about what I was going to be shooting next or anything like that. I wanted to be very, very aware of just standing there, and being there, and being a part of and guiding Tat, and being there for her emotionally. That’s what the end was, and it was hard to do. It was probably the hardest episode of Orphan Black that I’ve shot, but from an emotional place, not from a technical place.

DEADLINE: I assume on a series that has the explorations of many frayed and raw emotions of the most basic sense of who one actually is, there would be a lot of those hard moments, so to speak. What are the ones, if you don’t mind me asking, that now stand out for you with the series over?

FAWCETT: You know, going through five seasons, the things that I take away the most are these emotional moments, these last moments that I had with Tat, you know, crying with her as we sort of wrapped Alison and being with her as we wrapped Cosima, Sarah and Helena.

Our last moments on the set together, once we’d finally called cut on our final shot, I gathered everyone together in the set. I said, “let’s just hang out together and enjoy this moment and not leave.” We just kind of hung out quietly for a while, until Maria decided to sing a song. So, over all, to answer your question, I think it’s obviously the early-on excitement of what we were doing, and then the emotional closing I think were my big moments.

DEADLINE: That will be an emotional point too, I’m sure for fans of the show, who were such a big part of Orphan Black in their dedication and almost unprecedented involvement in the series over the years. What would you say to the Clone Club now that that Orphan Black, or at least this iteration of Orphan Black, is over?

FAWCETT: Well, first, I owe a great debt to the Clone Club, the fans. I’m constantly in awe of them. Who they are, and just the very talented, artistic, smart, creative, intellectual bunch of people that they are.

I just always like to thank Clone Club for all their support over the past five seasons, and they really carried us through some difficult times, and their enthusiasm. I mean, the show wouldn’t be the same without their undying love for the show. So thank you, Clone Club.

I also want to note that his group have found each other through five seasons, and a lot of friendships and relationships have formed via social media and through the show. I just hope that this family, this group of people, will stay together, you know? That’s sort of what I hope. I just hope that this group, all these relationships will now continue forward into the future and that they will continue to create, and rise above, and express themselves as the creative people that they are.

Now that the cult-favorite show has come to a close, its Emmy-winning star is shedding her myriad characters and leaving just one: herself.

This story contains spoilers about the series finale.

t was all of two-and-a-half minutes into the premiere of BBC America’s Orphan Black when viewers realized that the show—which began with a woman witnessing the suicide of a stranger who happened to look exactly like her—was something special.

But not even star Tatiana Maslany could have guessed that the series would introduce a breathtakingly sprawling mystery about human clone sisters navigating morality, philosophy, genetics, feminism, family, and a complicated conspiracy that doesn’t necessarily tie up into a neat bow at the end (sorry, Clone Club).

“I knew up to episode two,” Maslany explains of what she expected when shooting started. “I didn’t even know Helena existed until I was on set filming episode two of season one, and saw the next script and she shows up in episode three. I didn’t know anything about where the plot was going. I was just like, ‘How do we do this? How is this going to be possible?’ What a cool challenge to face.”

In the series finale, the clones (each personality crafted so masterfully by Maslany that it’s easy to forget she plays them all) finally take down the man known as P.T. Westmoreland (Stephen McHattie)—who turns out not to be a 170-year-old genius responsible for discovering the key to genetic supremacy, but rather a 70-something egomaniac obsessed with immortality—and his deputy, Virginia Coady (Kyra Harper), presumably toppling their Neolution movement in the process.

Though the episode doesn’t answer every question of the five-season-long, ultra-complex story, the final moments show each clone living her newly free life: Alison and Donnie (Kristian Bruun) co-habitating in their suburban domestic bliss and helping new mom Helena raise her twins; Cosima and Delphine (Evelyne Brochu) off hunting for the rest of their 274 clone “sestras” in an effort to cure their clone-borne disease; and Sarah, foster brother Felix (Jordan Gavaris), and daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler) moving on as a family after the death of their foster mother, Mrs. S (Maria Doyle Kennedy).

A few days before the finale, sat down with Maslany to get those answers. In a Los Angeles coffee shop just a short walk from the home where she and her boyfriend, Welsh actor Tom Cullen, recently settled down, the 31-year-old Canadian beauty opened up about the show that changed her life, how science fiction is a lot more like our current reality, and what’s next on her horizon.

On closure for the clones:
“The finale was sort of like a two-parter—it had high-action intensity in the first half that felt connected to the world that we’ve been living in, which is so extreme and horrifying. But what I was really excited about, and what I think we were all interested in, was that quiet after—what happens when you actually have freedom but people aren’t able to move on? Like, Sarah is in this stasis where she’s doing all the right things but she’s not behind them. She’s not there. She hasn’t fully accepted the loss of S or really embraced the fact that now she can do whatever she wants.

One of my favorite endings is Rachel’s because it’s ambiguous. We don’t know what she’s going to do now. She’s completely alone. She’s been completely incapacitated in terms of everything that’s given her power and value in the past, and now she’s this blank slate going off into the world with no one.

She’s still left out of the world of the other clones; it’s still not her world to be in. I think she is who she is and I don’t know that she would ever surrender completely. I don’t think it’s a surrender in terms of, like, the bad guy surrenders or whatever, but it’s a surrender of power—which she does through giving Felix that complete list of clones. But she still can’t go into that room where she’s not invited. Her journey has really always been so interesting to me.

Cosima and Delphine got a happy ending. They’ve gone through the wringer in terms of everything—distrust from day one and always being on two sides of the system. It was important to us to show that as a gay couple they could have a normal and have a happy life, and that it was about using their skills to stop this from ever happening to anybody else—that as much as it is a nice time, they still have to go out there and make sure that they’re finding these women before it’s too late.

We were going to have a montage at the end after the clones learn that there are 274 of them in the world that was like, this one working at her desk, this person over here…but then we were like, ‘We don’t have any time to shoot this. That’s like 70 costume changes, this is not going to happen.'”

On P.T. Westmoreland:
“Given the political climate right now, it’s really interesting to have the person at the top be this desperately insecure, powerful, yet completely inept being—this guy, this patriarch who is completely self-motivated and doesn’t have any interest in whose lives he’s destroying. It’s all about him and all about sustaining life, this legacy of his life that he wants to create. It’s such an empty thing. One of my favorite moments of the finale is when he’s telling Sarah who she is and how he’ll always be in her and she just bashes his head in and that’s it. And it’s just like, ‘Shut up. Just stop fucking talking. I don’t want to hear that anymore.’

Of all the evil characters on the show, his was the most satisfying death, just because it ended up being such an unceremonious one. It was sort of pathetic. I mean, there’s a fight, obviously, but he’s just an old man who needs to go. And I think Sarah’s just fed up, done with it. That’s the first kill she’s ever done, as well. I mean, Helena was kind of a soft first kill because she came back.”

On Helena’s hair:
“I guess it just stuck. The roots just grew out a little bit over 20 years! I think that she’s been marked somehow, and I think because she also discovers that she’s a copy, she wants to be different from these people she’s killing. She’s marking herself and she has defined herself by her trauma, almost. She has ingested it as part of her.

I think she literally gets a bucket of bleach and sticks her head in it. It’s like her cutting of her back, it’s a self-flagellation thing.”

On Kira’s sixth sense about the clones:
“I think what Graeme [Manson, co-creator and executive producer] was playing with a little bit is that it’s just this empath thing that she has through a biological, spiritual connection. I think you can get that with siblings, too. I have it with my brothers, where my brother and I will be on the phone and I know what he’s going to tell me even though he hasn’t told me yet. It’s just a deep bond that is not scientific and not explainable in concrete terms.”

On bringing back old characters:
“The problem with this season was that it was so jam-packed with so many things to get through and so many characters that we had established that we wanted to flesh out further, as opposed to bringing in a whole bunch of new people. That’s why there wasn’t really a new clone except in the very last second. You see Tony’s photo in the finale, but we didn’t want to bring Tony in unless he had something vital to do and it wasn’t just, ‘Remember that guy?’ So I think it was about streamlining it to the five main clones that we got to know over the seasons.”

On her favorite clone:
“I enjoyed playing Rachel the most. She is completely opposite of anybody I’d ever be cast as otherwise. She terrified me constantly.

There’s something about Helena or Alison or Sarah or Cosima that I can physically feel, that I understand, but Rachel was so different, so contained, so entitled and powerful and elegant, moneyed and all of that, which is everything I sort of judge and don’t feel connected to. So it was really fun to always find the empathy with her and find what the connection was there.

Given what was going on politically while we were shooting it, it was really fun to play a clone who thought she could be outside of the system, who didn’t see herself as the same as all these other women, who sought to control it even though it was always going to control her. It was really fun to play these people who think they’re better than or think they’re outside of the humanity of other people.”

On shooting the last episode:
“Filming the backyard scene with all the clones was insane. We shot that over two days and it took a lot of rehearsal beforehand just to get the simple thing of handing off a glass of wine or a bottle of beer or whatever. It was so fun because it didn’t have any real pyrotechnics in it; it was just them relating to each other and all their insecurities and the things that they can’t totally accept in themselves, these parts of themselves that kind of unite them. It was awesome because obviously Kathryn Alexandre was there, who’s my clone double, who has worked with us since before season one, who has always been there. I always love working with her. And Bailey Corneal, who was my stand-in from the second season on, she’s stepped in a few times and played Helena or Alison. So it’s always fun to have that couple of girls together.

On shooting the last episode:
“Filming the backyard scene with all the clones was insane. We shot that over two days and it took a lot of rehearsal beforehand just to get the simple thing of handing off a glass of wine or a bottle of beer or whatever. It was so fun because it didn’t have any real pyrotechnics in it; it was just them relating to each other and all their insecurities and the things that they can’t totally accept in themselves, these parts of themselves that kind of unite them. It was awesome because obviously Kathryn Alexandre was there, who’s my clone double, who has worked with us since before season one, who has always been there. I always love working with her. And Bailey Corneal, who was my stand-in from the second season on, she’s stepped in a few times and played Helena or Alison. So it’s always fun to have that couple of girls together.

On the show’s title:
“We finally learn the explanation for the title in the finale—it’s the name of Helena’s journal. It was just kind of weirdly arbitrary in her head. It felt super weird to say the line that reveals it, because I was just like, ‘How do I take the curse off of saying this out loud?’ I still don’t know why she named it that! I have no idea. Somewhere in her brain it makes sense.”

On the impact of Orphan Black:
“There’s something really cool that came out of this show, which is this Clone Club community that impacted the way we’ve told these stories and our awareness of how fiction can effect change. It’s a community that embraces its differences and embraces people for who they are and is really supportive. There’s no infighting in that fan club and no discrimination. It’s just beautiful. There are people from Australia and Detroit who have met up, talked about the show and bonded over it, and they’ve forged relationships. There are people who are dating now who met their partner through Clone Club. That is just such a cool legacy that’s been left by the show, but mostly by the people who have watched the show.”

On feminism:
“Playing so many strong and smart women who take down a mediocre man—it was the best. It was getting to put all the rage and fear and disappointment and need for action into our work. We were telling that story from day one about autonomy, and about community as opposed to individual, and about our differences actually uniting us and making us stronger. So to get to actually talk about this mediocre man at the top, take off his head, it was really cathartic. I remember the Women’s March was happening when we had press so I couldn’t go, which was totally devastating. But we were reading this script that was saying the things we all wanted to say and we were having these discussions on set constantly. And it was all feeding back into the work. I’m so grateful I was on a show where I got to do that, because I don’t know how I’d get through it otherwise.”

On what’s next:
“Stronger [a film about the Boston Marathon bombing] will be out in September. It’s an amazing story of survival and love. I don’t know how people go through something like that and come out the other side of it, but they did. It’s with Jake Gyllenhaal, who’s unbelievable, and David Gordon Green directed it. It was really wild to do.

I’m also doing a movie that my boyfriend is directing. He just got funding for this very small-budget indie movie and we’re in the throes of figuring that out right now. He’s never directed me before, but we’ve acted together. We’ve worked together on a movie called The Other Half, which came out at SXSW two years ago. And he was in Orphan Black—he was Krystal’s ex-boyfriend, the guy I kicked in the balls.

But I haven’t done too much in the last few months other than creating stuff for myself and with a few friends. Really taking time to grieve the show and let it go and not rush into the next thing. I visited my little brother and my middle brother we just went on hikes and had coffee. Then I visited my boyfriend in the U.K. and we went away for a bit. And also I just slept. I rediscovered sleep.”

The BBC America show, which ends its five-season run on Saturday, found success by engaging with and empowering its small but dedicated fan base online.

“Orphan Black” never had huge ratings. A July episode on BBC America, for example, garnered just 645,000 viewers, ranking it 33rd among scripted cable TV series that week.

But what the show does have is the #CloneClub, the name its fiercely loyal fans collectively go by when they gather online. And BBC America has done everything it can to cultivate their dedication.

“Their adamant vocal nature was the reason our show was anything — a success — and seen the way it was,” said Tatiana Maslany, the star of “Orphan Black” who won an Emmy for best actress in a drama last year.

Or as Sarah Barnett, the president of BBC America put it, “Every TV network, particularly at a time of surfeit of content — peak TV — is absolutely driven in wanting to create fandoms. Everybody is talking about it.”

“Orphan Black” will end its five-season run on Saturday with its final episode. As the show closes out, here’s a look at how the show engaged with and leveraged that online fanbase. In this era of peak TV, it provides a window into how future shows could find and measure success.

Don’t Control the Conversation
“Orphan Black” centers on a character named Sarah Manning who discovers she’s one of a series of clones around the world. Ms. Maslany plays many of those characters. From the start, a certain number of fans were hooked, identifying with the show’s themes of female empowerment and inclusiveness. The name #CloneClub came from a bit of dialogue in the first season.\\

When “Orphan Black” made its debut four years ago, many TV networks were still unsure how to engage with fans talking about their shows on social media.

Should the networks try to police the chatter or engage with the fans? And if they did try to connect with them, would it be with the kind of corporate-speak that is often used in news releases?

After much consideration, BBC America came up with an answer: Just have a normal conversation.

“It sounds like common behavior now but it was actually fairly radical in 2013,” Ms. Barnett said. “You came to realize that you can’t control this. You have to really understand it and embrace it.”

To that end, BBC America decided to let fans create art and fan fiction based on the show, without any supervision from the network. And then it went a step further.

Empower the Fans
The cable network wanted to signal to the fans that they were being heard, and to allow them to participate in the creative process.

In 2014, BBC America often posted GIFs related to the show on social media. When fans showed interest in creating their own, the network encouraged those with the requisite skills to help others in the #CloneClub. “That way we can all become better GIF makers, which is basically one step closer to being better human beings,” it wrote on its Tumblr page. As Ms. Barnett put it, network officials weren’t going to be “patronizing or pretend we have all the answers.”

Fans responded and the network made sure to pass along their instructions to others.

BBC America executives also saw that “Orphan Black” fans were particularly interested in drawing up art based on the show. The network’s social media team took to Tumblr and asked fans to submit ideas that would help inform the marketing for the show. The #CloneClub happily obliged.

Then before the fourth season premiered last year, the network had a fan contest that became the centerpiece of their ad campaign.

“We had a competition and said ‘we will use the fan art we select as the key art for marketing for the show,’” Ms. Barnett said. “We really saw it as a way to actually allow and invite the fans into the shaping of the conversation around the show.”

And then BBC America literally let them shape the conversation of the show. “Orphan Black” often would incorporate bits of dialogue that fans became obsessed with into scripts. There were polls to ask what sort of artwork should be hung on the wall during a scene or what sort of food a character should eat.

“Fans went crazy for it and said, ‘OMG, you’re listening to us, we’re being heard,’” Ms. Barnett said of the #CloneClub.

Though this might be anathema to many showrunners, the creators of “Orphan Black” did not have a problem with it, mainly because they were not asked to adjust the show’s plot in any way.

“They weren’t putting pressure on us story-wise,” Graeme Manson, one of the show’s creators, said of BBC America. “These things weren’t affecting the direction of the show. That’s another issue: When you have all that feedback, it’s easy for us to see what people like and don’t like. Though we’re not taking direction or changing story lines necessarily, it certainly gives you a direction and it tells you what people like about characters and what they want to see from characters.”

From a Tweet to an Emmy
In the last four years, as the number of scripted series on TV has ballooned, network executives have taken to saying that they’re not trying to make everybody’s favorite show. Instead they are trying to make shows that inspire a deep connection.

“That’s what we think is increasingly important for our business,” Ms. Barnett said. “Not just having a shallow breadth of viewers but actually having a really deep, passionate fanbase. As we move to a world with skinny bundles and more direct-to-consumers opportunities, I think mattering in the kind of ways ‘Orphan Black’ matters is actually as crucially important alongside” ratings.

There may be no greater example of the fans’ dedication than Ms. Maslany’s Emmy success.

In 2014, Ms. Maslany failed to receive an Emmy nomination. The #CloneClub was not happy. The following year, she received a nomination. And last year, she won in an upset, besting actresses like Viola Davis, Robin Wright and Claire Danes.

The #CloneClub practically melted down. The biggest topic on Twitter and Facebook during last year’s Emmys broadcast was not “Game of Thrones” or the “People vs. O.J. Simpson.” It was Ms. Maslany’s victory.

“When you love a show and not everyone has seen it and not everyone cares about it the way you do, when it gets that recognition it’s very bolstering,” Ms. Maslany said. “It just meant so much to them.”

It was a reminder of the power of fan loyalty, and with “Orphan Black” going off the air, Ms. Barnett said the key to her network’s future will be cultivating that kind of dedication again and again.

“It’s not just size,” she said of a show’s audience. “Mattering matters.”

In 2016, after four seasons and countless people on the internet declaring that Tatiana Maslany deserved an Emmy (multiple Emmys?) for her performance as the numerous clones on Orphan Black, she finally won for best actress in a drama series. But according to Maslany, the show’s industry acclaim isn’t as meaningful as the response from the show’s dedicated fans, better known as the Clone Club.

“I don’t know if I can speak for all of us on this, but it’s not about the awards,” Maslany said when the Orphan cast visited EW for a recent interview. “It’s about the fact that we are all actors who love our job and get to do a show that we really care about and that has touched people, like the Clone Club. [Like when] a 40-year-old woman comes up to me and says, ‘Cosima let me finally come out, I’ve known since I was 2 and I can come out now.’ That’s the stuff that actually means something. I think it’s the reason you do your job and we’re so lucky to get to do it.”

They also got to see those dedicated Clone Clubbers meet and befriend one another. “To see people unite was really good as well, that was one of the great things,” added Maria Doyle Kennedy (Mrs. S).

For more from the cast on the Clone Club, watch the video above, and head here to hear them recall memorable moments on set.

Orphan Black’s series finale airs Saturday, Aug. 12 on BBC America.

Tatiana Maslany, After Clone Club


Last month, the ever-twisting Orphan Black began its final season on BBC America. Soon, there will be no more clones—no more Sarah, Alison, Cosima, Rachel, Helena, and seesters—and no more sinister conspiracies to uncover. For die-hard fans of the show—which is, really, anyone who’s watched more that one episode—it’s an equally sad and exciting prospect.

Of particular interest is what Tatiana Maslany, who plays every adult “Leda” clone on the show, will do next. Orphan Black has been a career-defining project for the Canadian actor, who finally won a well-deserved Emmy for her performance last year. She already has several films in the works: come September, she’ll star opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger, David Gordon Green’s retelling of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Earlier this year, she screened a short, Apart From Everything, at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Curently, she is working with her boyfriend Tom Cullen on a new collaboration with writer-director Joey Klein.

Here, Maslany talks to another Emmy-winning (and, as of last week, 2017 Emmy-nominated) actor, Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba.

UZO ADUBA: Where are you right now?

TATIANA MASLANY: I’m in L.A. We just moved here three weeks ago. I’m sitting on the floor in one of our rooms that’s unfinished. Are you in New York?

ADUBA: I am in New York. I’m chilling out because I’m tonight I’m seeing U2 for the first time.

MASLANY: Are you a huge U2 fan?

ADUBA: Huge. I love U2. I just got my wisdom teeth pulled and I look like a chipmunk, but I do not care. That’s how much I love U2. [laughs]

MASLANY: That’s amazing.

ADUBA: I’ll be singing and it’ll be fun. I’m really excited to do this; I’ve never done anything like this before. Before we talk about Orphan Black, I just saw the trailer for Stronger and it looks so good.

MASLANY: That was intense. You’re from Boston right?

ADUBA: Yes. The accents are really good.

MASLANY: Always a contentious point.

ADUBA: For sure. It’s hard to do, but you guys are doing it and it sounds authentic. The movie itself looks really good.

MASLANY: We filmed last spring, kind of around the marathon. I’d never been to Boston before and being in the city at that time—being in the city in general—was a really incredible experience. To be telling that story so soon after it happened… people were so supportive of the film being made and really generous. When we were shooting the actual marathon scene there was this extra, who was an actor, but also a lot of his friends were affected by the tragedy and he was too, just being in the city. We shot that sequence of running over five hours, and he and I were the only ones who kept running the whole time. He just kept running to stay with me, and it was just the most beautiful gesture of commitment to being authentic.

ADUBA: I was in Amsterdam when it happened, and it couldn’t have been a more random place. I was visiting one of my hometown best friends, and we were watching the news and calling up family. I tried to explain that everybody celebrates the marathon in Boston; it’s Patriot’s Day, but everybody calls it “Marathon Monday,” and if you grow up there you know what that day symbolizes. What is it like be working on something that is history? This actually occurred, these people do exist; people are feeling it in a different way. What is it like playing a real person versus say, in Orphan Black where you’re playing all these clones on clones?

It’s a daunting thing to be playing a real person and to have contact with her and meet her and be in her circle a little bit. It’s an odd thing. There’s so much responsibility to tell the story honestly and truthfully, and at the same time, you start to develop a friendship with this person—or I did. I felt a real kinship with her and just her generosity. Erin Hurley, who I play in the movie—who’s boyfriend, Jeff Bauman, lost his legs in the bombing—was running and was a mile out from the very end [when it happened]. I think I still struggle with the concept that I was stepping in her footsteps. I took it extremely seriously, but the way I approached her was not like I was doing an imitation or an impression or a characterization of her, but more so what the conflict was that she was going through. I really focused on what she was going through more than her actual mannerisms because, for me, it wasn’t about that. Have you ever played a real person who you’ve met in real life or read about?

ADUBA: I never played anyone I’ve met. Suzanne [in Orange is the New Black] is a real person that Piper [Kerman] met in prison, but it’s still told through the gaze of Piper. It’s not Suzanne’s account of her life, and I never met with her to be able to get my own personal take on who she is and to inject that into the performance. I like what you said about trying to latch onto the emotional journey of what she was going through at that point rather than do an impersonation of her. Is that typically your style of acting and how you come into characters? In Orphan Black, is that how you find a way into all of these women? When clones are playing other clones in the show, are they doing impersonations?

MASLANY: Those moments are the greatest joy. I get to play with all of the things that we do as people where we see somebody a certain way, we judge somebody, we empathize with something in someone—all of the judgments, good and bad, that we have of people and how that makes us behave. If Sarah is playing Alison, Sarah’s judgments about Alison, the impression that she gets and the impersonation that she does. I like playing with the artifice of it and letting the mistakes and the cracks seep through. When I do those scenes, we’ll do the blocking and the rehearsal and, if I’m Sarah as Alison, I’ll do it in Sarah’s voice with Sarah’s physicality. Once the camera starts rolling, I like to let Sarah play as Alison. It throws us all off. It’s letting that character speak, letting Sarah have all of her judgments about Alison and whatever her physical and emotional experience is, which is really fun to do.

ADUBA: I watch the show and it’s genius, just strictly from the acting of it. Just the order and the ability to organize oneself, to have such a clear identity for each character so that Sarah doesn’t become Alison and Cosima doesn’t become Sarah. It needs to be super clear in the actor’s mind in order for us to get it, which, I think, makes you exceptional. How did you come to find acting? I know you were a ballet dancer when you were younger.

MASLANY: I’ve always loved performing in whatever capacity. From the age of 4, I was in hours of dance class—jazz and ballet—and loved it. I don’t know exactly what drew me to it. I would force my parents to watch me and my brother Daniel perform Jesus Christ Superstar for hours in the living room.

AUBA: No way! Are you serious?

MASLANY: Yeah. [laughs] I think I saw it when I was five.

ADUBA: I could start singing it right now. [laughs]

MASLANY: I would love to hear you do that!

ADUBA: I’m not joking. One of my dream roles is Judas.

MASLANY: How has that not happened? I feel like that’s a no-brainer. [starts singing]

ADUBA: I love that guitar. [makes guitar sounds]

MASLANY: I was playing it for [my boyfriend] Tom [Cullen] the other day in the car. We were driving down the highway, and I was like, “I really need to hear the intro to Jesus Christ Superstar.” He was like, “This is the nerdiest shit on the planet.” But we used to dance around to that and make our parents buy tickets for our performances.

ADUBA: At your house?

MASLANY: At our house, in the living room. We’d cut out little tickets; we already had a business sense about it. We would have so much fun performing and making up dances. It was always part of us,. Then when I was nine, my mom saw this audition, a cattle call for kids to play orphans in Oliver at the local community theater. I auditioned for that and it was my first time singing in public. I got the part of “Orphan #43,” or whatever, and that was the beginning of it. After that, I couldn’t get enough of it. I loved the rush of being on stage and how fun it was to be around kids my age who were all getting to play make-believe and dress up in costumes. When you’re a kid and are able to do that, it’s the most fun. Before I moved to Toronto when I was 20, I’d done movies and been away filming in different provinces in Canada. I was really lucky to have fallen into it, but it was only when I turned 20 and a friend showed me [John] Cassavetes’s films, that I was like, “Oh, shit. This is the possibility for what this art form can be and how it can transport people and transport actors.” I really took a second look at what I was doing, because I had been doing it to get attention and for the rush of performing. It was my career, but I was 9 years old to 20, and who actually knows what their career is at that age? For the last ten years, I’ve been deepening my training. The last class I did was a year ago in New York—Strasberg stuff. That’s my favorite place to be, back in class and studying.

ADUBA: It’s about the learning of the thing. That’s my experience, at least. There’s nothing to be gained other than a deeper knowledge of how to pursue the craft of it.

MASLANY: Have you found anything new since the success of Orange is the New Black and the specific accolades you’ve received? Has that changed your approach to work or the way you feel about it? You’re so fearless in your work and your commitment to your character is massive.

ADUBA: I don’t know if this is going to make me sound more sane or crazy, but when I am working, it is the most alive place for me. That statement feels louder that I intend it to, but that’s the only way I know how to frame it. It’s the safest place I know and definitely the most honest place I know. Maybe it’s that charge that you were talking about when you were a kid. When I’m in that space, that artistic, creative space of making something, I don’t think about anything else. Whether it’s the show or a play, all I’m thinking about is how do I get this person from stop A on this train to stop B? I’m still a person and I have my own life timeline happening simultaneously, [but] I love to act. It’s my safe space. I turn off the noise and shut the door on the world.

MASLANY: That’s amazing, that protectiveness of the work. I totally relate to shutting out the noise. Same as you, I feel the safest, the most vulnerable, and the most excited and alive in work.

ADUBA: We’ve seen each other in real life, and I’ve already gushed about Orphan Black, but I’ll gush again. We don’t get to see often, or often enough, what you do played in the female form. It’s pretty fucking cool. What did you feel about that when you were stepping into those shoes?

MASLANY: I was very excited to read female characters like these. I was excited even at the prospect of playing one of them; I was excited to be in the audition room and to get to play a few of the characters for an hour. I was dreaming, obviously, about getting the part, but just doing the audition was a thrill enough. Just to get to stretch and work like that in an audition space, where usually you do a scene and you’re out. This was four different characters, changing in front of everyone, with the process being outed and without any preciousness. I couldn’t step out of the room and be like, “Give me a moment.” I just walked in with a bag of crap in my hands, and was like, “I’m going to put on these glasses now and play in front of you.”

The response that people have had to the show in terms of the questions of identity and the feminist rhetoric, it was really exciting and sort of a surprise to me. Weirdly, the most I was thinking about gender when I was playing these characters was when John Fawcett, the showrunner, said to me, “I think Alison is the most feminine.” I was like “Okay. What does that mean?” I had this block in my head: “What does that mean that she’s ‘feminine’?” I was watching videos to figure it out. For some reason, the characters defy gender to me in a way: Helena is this Ukrainian serial killer who is now domesticated. Gender wasn’t even a concept to her; she was beyond that almost. My favorite actor on the planet is Gena Rowlands and she plays women who, to me, somehow defy gender. They are women, they are feminine, they are masculine, they are everything. There’s something exciting about that. I don’t know how to articulate it exactly. I guess it’s busting out of the archetypes a little bit and not feeling restricted.

With Suzanne, she encompasses so many things and is such a complex character, did you understand her when you first saw her? What was your thought?

ADUBA: When I first saw her, I understood it as simply a love story: this is someone who is in pursuit of love. That’s what I drafted out of what I read. It’s funny, because you were saying you didn’t think of it so much as identity, and I didn’t think of it as so much as orientation. I knew she was in love with a woman, but that did not factor, somehow, into her expression for me. I’ve seen her now fall in love, or attempt love, with someone else, and it still doesn’t hold firm for me. How we choose to define these terms has always been fascinating and curious to me—where that Webster’s definition came from. I’m currently watching and reading and playing a woman for whom that point feels so inconsequential to the action that is being asked of her. When I started, for me it was just a love story, and what I’ve I learned about her over the years is that she falls hard. She is a lover. If she sets her sight on someone, she is committed and that was what I got out of her. She is in, most times to her detriment. That was the thing I latched onto. We’ve seen her play out love in an intimate way, in a maternal way. She’s not a lover or a fighter; she’s a lover and a fighter. She can be both very easily. Suzanne doesn’t always get it right, but she knows she’s trying to do the best she can with the tools she has to make sense of life, the world, the people who love her, and the people who she feels are attacking the people that she loves.

MASLANY: The way you describe Suzanne is exactly the way I would describe Helena in our show—that lover-fighter thing. She hasn’t necessarily been equipped in a way that everyone deserves to be, but she’s doing the best with what she has and she’s learning constantly. Her heart is opening as well as her capacity to fight; the two are growing at the exact same moment. She flips between wanting to be this very socialized, “normal” person, but her instincts are more base and animal, and she has the capacity for both in her. They are in conflict and are married in her at the same time. It’s so much fun to play a character who carries two contrasting things inside of them, two polar opposite drives or instincts.

ADUBA: Are any of the clones going to die? I’m just asking… [laughs]

MASLANY: So, here’s how it ends…

ADUBA: Let me ask you this question: Would you sign up for it again, having now done it?

I would never want to do a similar thing in terms of television. I don’t know if you’ve ever done a one-woman show, but watching that on stage is my favorite thing on the planet. I’m so drawn to people who can do that and I would love to try it someday. I think that’s the closest that I’d ever get.

ADUBA: That would be so cool. I would love to see you do that.


Tatiana was on Jimmy Kimmel Live yesterday. She looked so beautiful and was so funny during this interview! Enjoy clips from the episode and screencaps/stills in the gallery.


Warning: This post contains spoilers for the “Clutch of Greed” episode of Orphan Black.

Having trouble breathing, Clone Club? After the ending of this week’s Orphan Black installment, “Clutch of Greed,” you may never breathe easily again. That’s because the second episode of the show’s final season climaxed with former Topside assassin Ferdinand (James Frain) committing clone-icide by stomping on the chest of poor M.K. until her sternum shatters. It’s an ugly, violent end to a clone who has already been through so much, and if it was upsetting for you to watch, you’d better believe it was twice as upsetting for Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany to perform. “Shooting it was really awful,” the actress tells Yahoo TV. “I was wearing this chest rig; it was just vile. Not a fun day.”

At the same time, Maslany feels that M.K.’s tragic death is in keeping with her tragic life. Born Veera Suominen in Helsinki, Finland, the mask-wearing computer expert befriended a fellow Finnish clone, Niki, who was later murdered by Ferdinand. She and the killer have been on a collision course ever since, with M.K. almost killing him last season before Sarah stopped her. In a painful twist of fate, M.K. is impersonating Sarah — who in turn is dressed as her clone nemesis, Rachel — when she confronts Ferdinand, allowing her sister to continue her search for her daughter, Kira. But he immediately sees through her disguise when he notices the telltale burns on M.K.’s face. “This is like two revenge fantasies in one,” he says, proceeding to raise his foot and bring it down over and over again on her chest.

“I was nervous about it,” Maslany admits now about M.K.’s murder. “It’s super-violent, and being so aware of the images you put out into the world as a storyteller, I was aware of what that image is.” Still, as has been previously established, the world of Orphan Black is a violent place, for clones and nonclones alike. “The story we’re telling, especially this season, is about patriarchy, male violence, and ownership of women’s bodies, and the need for women to have control over their own destiny, their own ideas and bodies and voices. To have M.K. be so brave in stepping in for Sarah knowing that she is sacrificing herself felt like the correct story point,” Maslany says. “M.K.’s always had this tragic past, and has this tragic end. I hope that people felt for her and it means something to them. And I hope they hate Ferdinand!”

According to Orphan Black co-creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, that tragic end very nearly came about in Season 4 rather than Season 5. “M.K. was scheduled to die in last season’s finale,” Fawcett says. “We streamlined it at the eleventh hour, and she was allowed to live. But we knew that Ferdinand was going to be back and exacting revenge for what she had done to him.” Had it happened last season, the duo says that the “mechanics” still would have been very similar, up to and including the fact that M.K. would be impersonating another clone at the time of her death. “The switcheroo idea was always there,” Manson says. “It was one we’d been turning over for a while.”

In the end, the duo decided that delaying M.K.’s death would deliver maximum dramatic impact. “I think it’s better at the beginning of [this] season, because it really makes the audience uncertain about the future of the Ledas,” Fawcett says. “They’re living in fear, and if the audience is living in fear for their favorite characters, that’s a good place of concern for our girls going forward. It’s a tough season — all bets are off!”

Manson drives that last point home: “Nobody’s safe. It’s the final season, and there’s going to be attrition. You’re going to have to wait and see who’s next.”

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. on BBC America.

To borrow a lyric from Hamilton, Orphan Black fans are counting on series star Tatiana Maslany to teach them how to say goodbye to a series they’ve loved for five seasons. But the Canadian actress confesses she needs her own lessons in bidding the show farewell. “It was super hard to say goodbye,” Maslany tells Yahoo TV. Part of that, of course, has to do with the fact that Maslany–who won a much-deserved Emmy last fall for her portrayal of the show’s multiple Clone Club sisters — has so many characters to part with. “I had to say goodbye to one of them a day for the last week we were shooting, and it was a grieving process each time. It was a bizarre grieving process, and I think I’ll still be going through it when the season finishes airing.” Watch Maslany’s farewell video above, and read on to learn the pieces of Clone Club memorabilia she took from set, and why Emmy night was an out-of-body experience.

Looking back on the series, which of the clones was the easiest to play? Which was the hardest?
I loved playing all of them, so it’s hard for me to pick one. Helena was always the most comfortable in terms of clothing, and Rachel and Krystal the least. All of them were characters I had never gotten to play before and I don’t know if I will after. It’s hard to pin down which is the least like me. Sarah is the one I go to the easiest, but her life is nothing like my own. In terms of the most difficult, Rachel was the hardest to feel comfortable in because she was so polar opposite to my physicality. I feel like Cosima was natural for me, and bizarrely, once I understood her better, Alison. Alison is kind of my core, my essence.e She’s very dramatic and loves musical theater. She’s an emotional creature. She is a performative person in her life and that’s who I am, too.

The first scene of the pilot — where Beth walks in front of a train while Sarah watches — was such a visceral way to begin the show. Reflecting on it now, what does that sequence mean to you?
That scene was always a really visceral one for me even in my first reading of the script. I couldn’t stop dreaming about it and thinking about it. When we finally shot it, it felt very important; it felt exciting to be standing in those boots on the platform and watching Kathryn Alexandre [Maslany’s acting double] as Beth. It was very wild. Looking back on it now, knowing everything we know about Sarah and Beth, it’s loaded with all of that history, and all of that meaning and connection. These two characters who are seemingly polar opposite human beings, and would never have crossed paths otherwise unless Beth was arresting Sarah, actually have so much in common. The sisterhood is so importantly strong. It would be cool to re-watch it now. I’m sure I look like a baby! [Laughs]

During the first season, do you remember being afraid every day that you would be fired?
Oh my god! Kevin [Hanchard, who plays Beth’s cop partner, Art] and I were talking today about how the first season was a blur of fear and a scream of panic the whole time. It was such an unusual project: I’d never led a series before, I’d never played this many characters in one go before, I’d never played a mother before! It was all super new to me. All of it was a panic. I remember being Sarah as Beth and thinking, “I can’t be a cop! I’m used to playing teens and high school kids caring about their tests. And now I’m holding a gun and pretending to be a cop.” Which actually worked for Sarah, because she’s also not a cop. She’s out of sorts and flying by the seat of her pants. So all of that worked with her circumstances.

Women in particular respond to the show very strongly. What’s the reaction you’ve heard from them?
I feel like anytime I see a complex portrayal [of a woman] onscreen in any way, I’m just grateful for it. I think I’m an intelligent person and I deserve to see something that I understand and that challenges me, and the women that watch our show are no exception. They’re grateful and eager to see characters that aren’t fitting into a box of what we’ve seen before. The whole show is about how your identity isn’t wrapped into one thing, whether that’s your sexuality, your aesthetic, the mask you wear in the world or the way you look or the money you have. These things are determining factors but they are not your true self. The show has these tropes — the grifter, the housewife, the science nerd, the cop — but we hope to dismantle them, pick them apart and find the humanity and contradiction in them. The response from women has been my greatest honor in doing the show.

Is there one response in particular that’s resonated with you?
For all of us, we’ve mentioned when young and older women have said that maybe Cosima has allowed them to come out and be themselves, and love who they love and speak to their parents or families about their sexuality. You can’t describe how much that means to us. That’s the most mindblowing takeaway we’ve had from meeting fans and doing the show.

It was thrilling for longtime fans to watch you finally win an Emmy last fall. What do you remember about that night?
I don’t remember much! [Laughs] I remember my phone was going off, because I had stupidly written [my speech] on my phone and not a piece of paper because I didn’t think I was going up there at all. I kept getting text messages and tried to close them! I didn’t recognize my name when [presenter Keifer Sutherland] first said it, because he pronounced it so creatively. It was totally an out of body experience. What was the most awesome that night was that I got to be there with Tom [Cullen], my boyfriend, who has been there with me since the beginning, and has seen this ride through with me and been my rock throughout. And getting to celebrate with the people I make the show with, and are so integral. The accolades I’ve received are completely because of them.

Where do you keep your Emmy now?
It’s in a box in the closet. I haven’t displayed it! [Laughs]