[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched the season 3 premiere of Orphan Black.]
Sarah Manning is a dangerous woman—especially in the bedroom. James Frain’s character Ferdinand learned that the hard way in Saturday’s Orphan Black season 3 premiere. What he took to be kinky foreplay—spanking and choking—was actually Sarah (in disguise as Rachel) trying to end him to protect her other sisters. (Thankfully for the Topside cleaner, Delphine showed up just in time to save him.) We spoke to star Tatiana Maslany about filming that scene, as well as that surreal opening section, clones in disguise, and playing yet another new character—this time, a talking scorpion. (Also make sure to read our season premiere breakdown with creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson.)
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me about filming that crazy surreal dream opener at the backyard baby shower.
TATIANA MASLANY: That was one of the most exciting things I read in the first episode. We haven’t done this before. We haven’t played in the dreamscape yet. It was so fun to see how the set dressers and designers saw the inner workings of Helena’s brain and how she would kind of picture the ideal baby shower. It was sort of like an Alison-influenced thing. It was really fun. Those four clone scenes are always insane but they’re super fun and I think the more we get comfortable with the technical side of the clone scenes the more we’re going to push the boundaries of what we can do with them.
Do you find you guys can film them quicker than you used to just because of getting used to the technology?
I don’t think they go any quicker. [Laughs] They still take a ridiculous amount of time, but we just know how to do them better. The amount of time we’re taking now is to fine tune them instead of like, “Okay, we got one take, now let’s move on because we’ve been doing it for 17 hours.”
I thought it was really cool in a very jarring way to start the season.
I loved it because it was totally changing up what people were going to expect of the show. It’s not like Sarah running. It’s a whole other world.
John Fawcett told me you did all the scorpion noises, and not just the voice but all the other weird clicking noises and stuff as well.
It was awesome. It was kind of a process to come up with what that little guy was going to sound like, so I drew from my influences of Jurassic Park and beatboxing and everything good.
We also got to see Sarah pretending to be Rachel and Alison pretending to be Sarah. How much fun is it when you get to do these clones as other clones scenes?
That one was really fun because not only do we get to do two double clone situations—it was also the intro of James Frain’s character and Évelyne was in the scene and there were a lot of layers to it. I love Alison playing anybody because she’s always got an arch performance to it, and Sarah isn’t as enthusiastic about it necessarily—she’s just trying to survive. So it’s fun to come at it from their different perspectives.
I love just watching Sarah try to walk smoothly in heels.
Her feet aren’t really built for them. It doesn’t make sense to her.
What’s it like having to do a weird sexually violent scene with a new actor you’re maybe not super familiar with like you did here spanking and choking James Frain?
You really want to get in on that? [Laughs]
I don’t want to get in on that, but I do want to get into it.
James was unbelievable. We were all such huge fans of his work before we met him. But he was so game and so open to whatever we wanted to do and up for it, so there was a real sense of safety and we’re just a couple of actors doing our jobs [Laughs]—which sometimes is that. But I was so blown away by him. He was just so spontaneous and wild and fun to play opposite. Those things are always weird, but when you’re working with somebody who you feel safe with and who you respect so much it doesn’t feel too weird, it just feels fun.
Also make sure to read our season premiere breakdown with creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson. And for more ‘Orphan Black’ scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.