Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany, Emmy Award-winning star of “Orphan Black” — which just ended its critically-acclaimed five-season run — was honored with the Maverick Spirit Award at the Cinequest Film and VR Festival last Thursday.
In an interview with Cinequest president and co-founder Kathleen Powell, Maslany describes “Orphan Black,” a science fiction series known for its collection of clones (all played by Maslany), as a fascinating experience with not a single genre — rather, the series is comprised of both surrealism of farce, filled with characters that twist reality. On playing so many characters, Maslany stated that she enjoyed playing Helena, one of the clones, because the character “loves food,” joking that Helena was also a “domesticated serial killer.”
Maslany started acting and performing at a young age, beginning in dance and improv. She credits her improvisation background of building foundations of endowing characters to herself, especially having to dive so deeply into an incredible range of characters on “Orphan Black.” Yet the hardest characters were the ones that were so separate from her actual personality — those that were different or like an “ice queen” and filled with “entitlement,” as Maslany said.
Maslany’s preference for playing more relatable, generous characters seemed to extend to her outlook on performance as an art as well. Maslany spoke highly of her acting double, Kathryn Alexandre, who played opposite of her before Maslany’s likeness was digitally pasted in post-production to give the effect of multiple clones. Maslany described Alexandre as the “epitome of generosity” — having to play with full strength, only to be edited out in the end. Similarly, Maslany spoke of her experiences acting in films with her partner, Tom Cullen. “It’s such a privilege to work with a partner,” Maslany said. “There’s a certain intimacy with someone who knows you best.”
Maslany conversed casually throughout the entire interview, preferring to end her sentences with an enthusiastic “totally!” Maslany spoke about trying to break into the industry at a young age, feeling insecure about herself when she “didn’t look like anyone who should be on TV.” The hardest transition for her while moving from Canada to LA for the American television industry was that you “had to own who you are,” which made it — at this moment, she spoke in Helena’s signature Slavic accent, to the audience’s delight — “a little better.” Maslany prefers to look up to people who don’t conform — “contrarians or those who are themselves.” Maslany also stated that she feels “lucky to play so many weirdos,” stating endearingly that she associates and empathizes most heavily with these characters and individuals, being a self-descried weirdo herself at heart.
After the brief interview, Maslany’s new film, “Souls of Totality,” was screened. Maslany acted alongside Cullen in the short 19-minute film. Filmed partially in real-time during the eclipse last summer, the producer, director and screenwriter of the film also spoke after the screening. The film was ultimately an incredibly collaborative process, with much of the crew playing various characters in the film and having to drive U-Hauls full of equipment up to Oregon. Richard Raymond described how he pitched the idea of going up to Oregon to watch the eclipse, but while Maslany just assumed that it would be a vacation, Raymond instead proposed to create a film. The filmmakers only had one opportunity to take a crucial shot of Maslany running down the road as the sun reached totality ahead — a true cinematographic experience in itself in “Souls of Totality.”
“Souls of Totality” follows a man and woman who are part of a cult — although I don’t want to spoil it more if you ever get a chance to watch it. The filmmakers did an incredible job of staying on a low budget without sacrificing aesthetics — filming on a friend’s farm, using a gray tracksuit as the cult’s costuming. Maslany and Cullen play forbidden lovers in the cult, and their story unfolds in real time as we experience it. As Maslany’s character is “chosen,” we slowly discover what this means for her fate in comparison to the fate of Cullen’s character. Yet, we don’t know what this truly means until the end as the eclipse reaches totality and the two lovers are separated. In a short film under 30 minuses, “Souls of Totality” was able to capture my attention and present a cohesive narrative and three-act structure, versus simply existing as a musing of the filmmaker’s imagination with no true plot.
Ben Bolea and Kate Trefry, two husband and wife writers that have never collaborated on a project before, wrote “Souls of Totality.” Bolea, along with Raymond and producer James Mitchell, spoke at a post-screening panel with Maslany. In creating “Souls of Totality,” Raymond asked Bolea to write a short script, but Bolea admitted he never had any real ideas until the eclipse was almost too close, and then he was forced to scramble to write a script. I admired the scrappy nature of this film — the collaborative nature, the artistic nature — this, I thought, is truly what independent filmmaking is all about. Building projects with friends and collaborators — the group was even able to find the cinematographer of “The Witch,” a film Bolea greatly admired, and they recruited him for the film. Nevertheless, as I sat watching the film, I realized that sometimes time constraints are the best ways to come up with a narrative and story — and “Souls of Totality” certainly proves itself to be one.
The Emmy-winning ‘Orphan Black’ lead will make her New York stage debut in the off-Broadway production this summer.
Tatiana Maslany has been cast in the off-Broadway premiere of Tracy Letts’ Mary Page Marlowe, marking the Emmy-winning Orphan Black star’s New York theatrical debut.
The expansive but intimate new play by Letts, a Pulitzer and Tony winner for August: Osage County, examines the life of the title character, a seemingly ordinary Ohio accountant, through forgotten moments of pain and joy, success and failure. Maslany will be one of five actresses playing the protagonist at different points in her life, with the remaining cast to be announced.
Reviewing the play for The New York Times in its 2016 premiere at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Charles Isherwood called it “exquisite,” describing the work as a “haunting, elliptical drama about the evolutions, reversals and resurrections in a woman’s life.”
Directed by Lila Neugebauer, who drew unanimous praise last season for her staging of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves, the Second Stage Theater production will begin previews June 19 at the company’s Tony Kiser Theater, with opening night set for July 12. Neugebauer currently is represented off-Broadway with her production of Edward Albee’s At Home at the Zoo for Signature Theatre.
Maslany had previously planned to make her New York stage debut starring opposite Thomas Sadoski in the 2015 off-Broadway premiere of Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, which also was produced by Second Stage. But scheduling conflicts forced her to withdraw from that production, with Amanda Seyfried stepping into the role.
An experienced stage performer in her native Canada, Maslany recently was seen onscreen opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger; her upcoming film projects include Pink Wall with Jay Duplass, and Destroyer, in which she appears alongside Nicole Kidman.
Maverick Spirit Award Event: Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen with Souls of Totality
Event includes a moderated conversation with Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen, award presentation, and expanded conversation on their new film Souls of Totality.
This World Premiere is part of the Maverick Spirit Awards Event with Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen
Starring Tatiana Maslany and Tom Cullen, Souls of Totality is about the sacrifices we make, the things we don’t say, and love’s supernatural ability to conquer all. Guy 3 and Lady 18 have a secret. They are members of a cult which believes that during the Great American Eclipse their recently deceased souls will be taken to paradise via an astral gate only open during a total eclipse. But that’s not the secret… They are also profoundly in love. But on the morning of the eclipse, Lady 18 is chosen to stay behind and gather a new family of souls before the next eclipse. As the seconds tick down to totality, she is faced with an impossible decision; fulfill her sworn duty or fight to stay with the man she loves.
Date: Thu, Mar 8 7:30 PM
Place: California Theatre, San Jose
Tickets: Buy Tickets Here
Tatiana Maslany and Mary Elizabeth Winstead are the frontrunners for the female lead in Gemini Man, an action movie to star Will Smith.
Ang Lee is directing the movie, which hails from Skydance and Paramount.
Smith is playing two roles in the unique actioner. One is that of Henry, an aging assassin who wants to get out of the business but finds himself in a battle with the ultimate opponent: his clone, who is 25 years younger and at the peak of his abilities.
Clive Owen, meanwhile, is in talks to play the head of the cloning program, one of the villains of the movie, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Maslany and Winstead have read and are testing for the role of Danny, an operative who works for the same company as Henry and is tasked to surveil him. However, she soon teams up with him. Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) is also in the running for the female lead.
A decision for the part will be made soon as the movie is eying a February start with an international shoot that would include locations ranging from Savannah, Georgia to Budapest, Hungary.
Maslany is the award-winning actress who starred in her own clone project, Orphan Black. She starred with Jake Gyllenhaal in the drama Stronger.
Winstead is coming off a turn in season three of FX’s acclaimed Fargo.
Tatiana Maslany won’t be striking a Pose.
Earlier Wednesday, FX officially announced a series order for Ryan Murphy’s Pose, which features the most trans series regulars ever on an American television show. But noticeably absent from the release was Maslany, who had previously been cast as a modern dance teacher who develops a relationship with Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain).
Now the network has confirmed that the Orphan Black star has exited the drama, with the role having been “reconceived and rewritten to be a 50-year-old African-American woman.” This has led to the casting of ER and Law & Order: SVU alum Charlayne Woodard.
Maslany recently wrapped her five-season, Emmy-winning run on Orphan Black, in which she starred as more than 10 different clone characters. Meanwhile, in addition to joining Pose, Woodard is set to reprise her Unbreakable role as the mother of Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2019 sequel Glass.
Pose will premiere on FX in the summer of 2018.
Nominations for the 2018 Critics’ Choice Awards were announced Wednesday.
The CW will broadcast the 23rd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards live on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, from 8-10 p.m. PT. The show will again take place at The Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif.
“We are delighted to welcome the Critics’ Choice Awards back to The CW, and showcase the best of both film and television during this live event in January,” Gaye Hirsch, The CW’s head of development, previously told E! News. “As award season kicks into high gear, we’re thrilled we can bring viewers an exciting night filled with the biggest and brightest stars in Hollywood.”
The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) received nominating ballots on Dec. 1, and final ballots are due Jan. 9, 2018.
Best Actress in a Drama Series
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander (Starz)
Christine Baranski, The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Claire Foy, The Crown (Netflix)
Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black (BBC America)
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
Robin Wright, House of Cards (Netflix)
The girls sit down with Emmy-award winning actress Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) to talk special theme songs, literary crushes, and the fear of throwing up. The girls do an improv set inspired by the conversation as four young girls with a fear of killer icicles. Recorded August 15, 2017.
Tatiana Maslany, who won an Emmy for her role in Orphan Black, and Sebastian Stan from the Captain America and Avengers franchises along with the Oscar-buzzed-about I, Tonya, are in negotiations to join Nicole Kidman in the crime thriller Destroyer. The feature is being directed by Karyn Kusama from an original screenplay by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. 30WEST is fully financing the film with Fred Berger of Automatik, who will be producing alongside Hay and Manfredi.
This brings the team together of Kusama, Hay and Manfredi who were behind the critically acclaimed 2015 film The Invitation.
Destroyer follows the moral and existential odyssey of LAPD detective Erin Bell who, as a young cop, was placed undercover with a gang in the California desert with tragic results. When the leader of that gang re-emerges many years later, she must work her way back through the remaining members and into her own history with them to finally reckon with the demons that destroyed her past.
Rocket Science is handling international sales, which began at the American Film Market, where Bliss Media acquired the distribution rights to Destroyer in China. ICM Partners and CAA are representing the North American rights.
The BBC America’s Orphan Black (for which Maslany won an Emmy) finished its five-series run earlier this year. Most recently, the actress starred alongside Jake Gyllenhaal in Lionsgate’s Stronger, and has also appeared in films such as The Other Half, Two Lovers and a Bear, Woman in Gold, and The Vow.
Stan portrays Tonya Harding’s disgraced husband, Jeff Gilooly in I, Tonya. 30WEST will co-distribute the film with Neon on Dec. 8th. The actor is currently filming the next installation of the Avengers series and will reprise his role of Bucky Barnes in The Winter Soldier in Avengers: Infinity War next spring. Stan has also appeared in I’m Not Here, Logan Lucky, The Martian and Black Swan.
Maslany is repped by ICM Partners and The Characters Talent Agency; Stan is by ICM Partners and Brookside Artist Management.
Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek and Tatiana Maslany Join Ryan Murphy’s ‘Pose’
The FX pilot centers on the ball culture in 1980s New York City.
Ryan Murphy’s 1980s FX drama Pose is rounding out its cast.
Evan Peters, Kate Mara, James Van Der Beek and Tatiana Maslany have joined the pilot, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The drama looks at the juxtaposition of several segments of life and society in 1980s New York: the rise of the luxury Trump-era universe, the downtown social and literary scene and the ball culture world.
Peters and Mara, both of whom have worked with Murphy on American Horror Story, will play a New Jersey couple named Stan and Patty who get sucked into the glamor and intrigue of ’80s New York City.
Van Der Beek will portray Stan’s financial kingpin boss. Maslany is set as a modern dance teacher who takes a special interest in the talent of Damon (previously announced cast members Ryan Jamaal Swain.)
Murphy and FX made history Wednesday when it was announced that the pilot will feature five transgender actors in a series regular roles — a scripted TV record. The castings came after a six-month nationwide casting call for the project.
Murphy co-created the show with frequent collaborator Brad Falchuk (Glee, American Horror Story) and Steven Canals. Murphy’s People v. O.J. Simpson collaborators Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson as well as Alexis Martin Woodall (The Normal Heart, Feud, American Horror Story) and Sherry Marsh (Vikings) will exec produce the drama. Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions will co-produce.
If picked up to series, this would mark Murphy’s fourth at FX, joining anthologies American Crime Story, American Horror Story and Feud. He also the upcoming Fox drama 911, set to premiere midseason.
For Peters, the role comes after frequent starring roles on various iterations of American Horror Story, where he is currently starring in season seven. The actor, whose other credits include the X-Men franchise, is repped by CAA and Ziffren Brittenham.
If picked up to series, Pose would be Mara’s first series regular role since Netflix’s House of Cards. In addition to appearing on the first season of AHS, her other credits include We Are Marshall, Shooter, Brokeback Mountain and the Fantastic Four reboot. She is repped by UTA, Mosaic, and Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher, LLP.
Van Der Beek joins the Murphy-verse after most recently playing a fictional version of DJ Diplo in Vice’s first scripted series, What Would Diplo Do? The Paradigm-repped actor’s many other TV credits include Dawson’s Creek, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, Criminal Minds and CSI: Cyber.
Pose would mark Maslany’s first TV role since Orphan Black ended its run in five-season run in August. She earned an Emmy award for best actress in a drama for her work in the BBC America series and also recently starred in the Boston Marathon drama Stronger. She is repped by ICM and The Characters in Canada.