The Shape-Shifter

By Dan Snierson
August 02, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

With all the talented young actresses out there, why should you be paying particular attention to Tatiana Maslany? We can think of at least seven reasons — and they’re all on Orphan Black. On the addictive BBC America clone-conspiracy drama, Maslany deftly disappears into a wide range of genetically identical characters, from desperate, rebellious single mom Sarah to buttoned-up housewife Alison to feral, self-mutilating fundamentalist Helena to funky-geeky Ph.D. student Cosima. (And the characters often share screen time thanks to digital magic.) The 27-year-old Canadian is fast becoming the new Genre It Girl, scoring a Critics’ Choice award and generating tons of ”She was robbed!” outrage on Emmy-nomination morning. (In fact, Hollywood might want to figure out a way to clone her. How else will Maslany be able to keep up with the number of roles headed her way?) As for the roles she’s already playing on Orphan Black, which is set to return for its second season next April, she’s come up with a system to keep them straight in her head: ”I have different playlists for each that I feel is the rhythm of that character, whether that’s how they walk or would dance, or the internal chaos going on inside them, or the melody of their voice,” shares Maslany. ”Sarah’s music is like the Clash, Dizzee Rascal, and the Streets. Helena’s music is Antony and the Johnsons and Tom Waits. Cosima is Grimes and electro/Diplo music. Alison is show tunes, Les Miz and West Side Story.” Maslany’s just as varied in her ambitions when it comes to her dream career path. ”I’d love to do a play by Tracy Letts. His plays are just really human and raw. I would love to do a film opposite Gena Rowlands — that would be ridiculous. I’d love to voice a cartoon, in a Home Movies vein. I’d love to do a movie where I could tap dance.” Perhaps a line of clothes, too? ”What about a milk shake at Millions of Milkshakes? That would be a highlight!” Drink her up, America.

Tatiana On… The Worst Career Advice She Ever Received
”[Someone once told me,] ‘If you want to be an actor, you need to fix your teeth.’ I was like, ‘Screw you — I like my smile!”’