Fans love Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black, and the star and her castmates love their fans right back. In fact, the actress says the support they get from #CloneClub inspires team OB to keep making the best show and tell the best stories possible. With season 3 of the BBC America clone drama kicking off this evening, we chatted with Maslany about her unique connection to viewers as well as what to expect coming up on the show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: It’s funny because I’ve spoken to your castmates before in the first two seasons about what it’s like to act opposite you as different characters, but now you’re getting a taste of your own medicine because you have to now act opposite Ari Millen, who is playing multiple male clones in season 3. What was it like to be on the other side of that?
TATIANA MASLANY: It was great! It was awesome to get to watch it from the other side and see how Ari just kind of got it from day 1—which is pretty impressive because I remember it being a huge learning curve for me. It was really nice to be on the other side of those scenes and get to experience what the other actors get to do all the time, which is support, and I am always lucky to be super-supported by them so I got to take their position, which was really nice. And I got to take a little breather and not have a clone change!
Emphasis on the word “little.” I feel like every season of a show usually has a slightly different vibe or something unique about it. What would you say is the vibe of season 3 or the thing that differentiates it from the first two?
I won’t say too much about it but there’s definitely an out-of-reality element to it—something that’s not quite here and now, which is kind of fun. There’s more of an internal exploration. We’ve seen these characters so much from the outside and experienced them as we recognize their archetypes, but there’s more of an internal thing that happens in season 3 and we get into the characters in a different way—which I won’t say too much about in terms of specifics. It was really exciting to read the scripts this year because of that.
Are Alison and Donnie the comic relief of the show now, because I find myself cracking up every time they are on screen together?
Yeah, I guess they’ve sort of taken on that role and it is super fun to get to play those scenes because it is such a vastly different world than the darkness of Helena’s story or Sarah’s story. It’s like a breath of fresh of air when Kristiann and I get to be total idiots together.
We’ve talked a lot about the fan reaction to this show and these characters, but I wonder after seeing it up close at conventions whether that puts an extra pressure on you to continue doing the best job of telling these stories with your showrunners Graeme Manson and John Fawcett—stories of strong women, stories of empowerment, stories of acceptance, stories about people that maybe don’t naturally fit in.
We definitely don’t take them lightly but it’s not like there’s a burden carried by these stories. We’re bolstered by it. We see the impact of the storytelling and it just emboldens us to continue telling those stories. And I think those stories aren’t something we’re trying to tell, it’s just the nature of these characters and the nature of Graeme’s mind and John’s guidance. I don’t think it’s like we feel, Oh, crap, we have this responsibility. It’s like, Oh, awesome, we have a group of people who understand what were trying to do and they’re on board, and it affects them and they affect us. And whenever things get tough on set or we don’t know where to go from here or something, I think the fan response definitely plays into how we move forward and what inspires us. When we see fan art or when we hear these amazing stories at Comic Con or get an essay written about something or whatever, it’s like fuel for us.
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