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Ari Millen reveals 'Orphan Black' intel on the male clones

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Steve Wilkie/BBC America

Just as we were starting to learn more about Sarah Manning and the female clones of Project Leda, BBC America’s Orphan Black threw another twist at us in the season 2 finale: male clones! Indeed, Sarah came face-to-face with psychotic-looking dude now revealed to be named Rudy. And Rudy was played by actor Ari Millen, who had already been introduced as creepy Prolethean Mark—a character the show creators had originally intended to kill off. Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, channel 105) paid a visit to the show’s set recently to chat with Millen about his ascension from Orphan Black body bag to Project Castor poster-boy and find out what we can expect from the male clones in season 3 (which premieres April 18).

EW: A lot has changed since we last spoke at Comic Con right after it was revealed you would be paying the male clones. You knew it would be a lot of work and a lot of time, but has it been what you thought it would be like?

ARI MILLEN: Well, at San Diego I didn’t even know who they were yet. We had the visual of them with the reveal in the season 2 finale, but that was all I really knew at that point and so any chance I got to talk to [creators] Graeme Manson and John Fawcett I was like, “What can you tell me? What can you tell me?” So that was something else to be thrown into at San Diego Comic Con, which was just crazy. But now we’re nearing the end of the season and the journey has been pretty incredible.

I think, for the most part, the things I thought would be difficult were easier, and the things I thought might be easier, they were the difficult things. For instance, the clones scenes and using the different camera scenes to create those things—I thought that was going to be very difficult, acting to nothing or acting to tennis balls with an earpiece and what not. But that turned out to be the easy part. The hard part, I found, was making sure that when I had a scene with two of the Castor boys in it, that you can only shoot one side of the scene at a time. So what I found difficult was remembering that I had to plan out what the other guy wanted to do in the scene as well. Because if I shot the scene with, say, Scarface and Mark in a scene together, and Scarface—or Rudy, which is his name—is up first, then I have to make sure that Mark’s voice is heard as well, otherwise we shoot Rudy and then we flip over to the Mark side and I have to work off of all the choices I made before and he might be diminished. So that was a really interesting dynamic and acting lesson—to learn both sides of a scene.

Especially when you haven’t played one side yet. Now you may have formulated how the other side is going to react in your head, but you haven’t done it yet. Do you have a regular performance double like Tatiana does with Kathryn Alexandre?

Yeah, we have a great guy named Nick Abraham. Nick and I were in theater school together at Ryerson University in Toronto, so it was very fortunate for him to be cast because there was no icebreaker needed. We already knew each other. We already had a friendship so we could go right into it. So beforehand we were taking these acting classes that the show set us up with and sort of figuring out who these guys were and planning and deciding the dynamics between the guys and formulating these relationships in this fraternity that is Project Castor. I’m sure Tat has said it many times about Kathryn, but so much of the performance that you’ll see that makes it to the final cut is influenced by Nick and I can’t thank him enough.

Let’s talk about the two clones we know you’re playing—Rudy and Mark. Let’s start with Rudy. What can you say at this point about him and his personality?

His personality is very large, that’s for sure.  Where Mark seems a bit more reserved at times, Rudy loves to play the alpha. He loves to peacock. He loves to get under people’s skin and that is his M.O. for much of the season, that’s for sure.

So what about Mark, because now that we know about Project Castor, what does that mean in terms of him last season because he was with the Proletheans and we assumed he was one of them? What does this mean now in terms of what he knew then?

I don’t want to give everything away because the writing on the season will progress and they’ll be some fun twists and turns, but what I can tell you is that the Castor boys have been self-aware from a very early age. So Mark is self-aware, but how did he get to the Proletheans? You’ll have to wait and find out.

Is Mark in love?

Definitely! Definitely. That is who Mark is.

But when people are in love on this show all it does is create problems. It’s never a good thing. It can be used as leverage against them so someone is going to be ripped away. It’s always a bad thing.

[Laughs] Definitely. Mark and Gracie eloped at the end of this last season and it starts off in season 3 with them on the run, and believe me, Project Castor is not going to let them go. Not without a fight.

You mentioned the clones are self-aware. What does that mean their feelings are about their sister clones of Project Leda?

We know a lot more about them than they know about us, and they’ve got something that we want.

What’s life been like for you since you were revealed to be the male clones?

Clone Club is incredible—probably the best set of fans any show could ever hope for. And the love and support and excitement coming over social media and seeing people on the street and what not—it’s very overwhelming. It takes some getting used to, but that’s why we do this in part, is to affect people and entertain people. It’s quite remarkable and I’m very fortunate. I can’t say that enough. I feel very fortunate.

How much do Graeme and John tell you in advance of what is going to happen on the show coming up. How much of a road map do they give you?

Oh, man, they definitely keep us on our toes in terms of what they are going to give to us—sort of spoon-feeding it to us, but only a little at a time. I think it’s a game that they play and I think they’re having a great time, but the surprises are the best part of the show.

For more ‘Orphan Black’ intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

In a related video below, the cast of Orphan Black explains the entirety of the show in just thirty seconds:

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