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'Orphan Black': Tatiana Maslany talks about that big premiere shocker

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Orphan Black 35
Steve Wilkie/BBC America

Orphan Black returned for season 2 tonight with a big shocker, and if you have yet to watch then you may not want to read any further. [SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Saturday’s season 2 premiere of Orphan Black.]

She’s baaaaaaaaaack! That’s right, Ukranian clone/clone killer Helena was thought to be dead after being shot by Sarah in last season’s finale and left to die in a pool of her own blood. But SURPRISE! She’s alive, and that was just one of the twists. Sarah impersonated Cosima to lay the smackdown on Rachel, and Alison got Aynsley’s part in the local community musical. (Who says watching your bestie choke via a garbage disposal doesn’t have its advantages?) We chatted with star Tatiana Maslany to get her thoughts on the big premiere episode.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First thing I gotta know: Is it difficult to take Jordan Gavaris seriously when he’s wearing assless chaps?

TATIANA MASLANY: [laughs] I feel like it’s more difficult to take him seriously when he’s NOT wearing assless chaps! I see his bum more than I see his bum in pants, I think. That’s Felix in his natural state.

EW: I’m a big Alison fan, maybe because she reminds me of my own sister. How much fun are these community theater scenes?

MASLANY: Oh my God, it was insane. Absolutely insane! It was like my dreams and Alison’s dreams coming true. And also with what Alison’s dealing with at the beginning of the season, to throw her in the spotlight – literally – and place her on stage in front of all the people who know her and who knew Aynsley — it’s just perfectly fun. It’s so fun. In one moment she’s having her dreams come true and in the same moments being completely revealed as all the worst parts of herself. So her arc for the season is really fun.

EW: There’s another scene where you’re playing a clone impersonating another clone. This time it’s when Sarah poses as Cosima to get into the Dyad party. Are those the hardest scenes for you to play?

MASLANY: Yeah, that was the first one we’ve done in a long time and it was really hard work. I don’t know why my brain could not wrap itself around that clone impersonation thing. Because I don’t know what it was, it just all felt very off in a kind of great way. But those scenes are so much fun for me but also I feel like those are the times when the gimmick or whatever could go so wrong. Where it could really fall on its face. So I think that’s when I feel most precarious — when Sarah is playing Alison, or when Sarah is playing Cosima, or whatever. It’s the time when I feel the most exposed. It’s kind of interesting.

EW: I guess you have to calibrate it. I just can’t even imagine your process for that.

MASLANY: It’s super fun. It’s fun to play with it, but it is, like, little degrees. It’s kind of adding a bit of a slip here or allowing for this to kind of come through or hiding it better.

EW: In that scene later, you get in as Sarah and smack Rachel around and jump on top of her. Are you having to do all that to your poor double, Katherine?

MASLANY: I’m doing some of that to Katherine and some of that I’m doing to absolutely nothing — like, to tennis balls kind of popping into frame as I move forward or whatever. That was a pretty intense scene. There’s one part where I’m hitting Rachel without an arm. Because I couldn’t use my arm, because it was going to be Katherine’s arm. So I had to do the gesture of hitting her without my actual arm. It was very bizarre. It was a strange day.

EW: And then there’s the big reveal at the end — Helena’s still alive. Are you psyched you still get to play that character?

MASLANY: Absolutely, absolutely. I would’ve been so sad if that had been the end. She’s an absolute riot. I love her. I love her so much, she’s so much fun, she’s a total monster. They sort of exist in this other world from all the other clones, kind of in heightened reality, almost, so it’s really fun to play with that. And all of her impulses are really base and really childlike but also really violent, and it’s really fun to play that duality. I just love her. Every scene they give me for her is just stimulating. I don’t know where it’s going to go or what things are going to come out. It’s fun to play from that place.

EW: The first thing I saw when I visited you guys on set was you in the Helena wig and make-up and I was like, WHAT THE…?!? So did you know she wasn’t dead all along and were just lying through your teeth when people like me asked?

MASLANY: I did know. We were all bulls—-ing the whole time. [laughing] The bigger acting challenge was doing interviews. “Oh, I really miss Helena…”

EW: You did a good job of selling it, and I’m sure people are now freaking people out.

MASLANY: Awesome. That’s what we aim for.

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