Orphan Black Interview

We speak to the creators of BBC America’s critically acclaimed clone thriller Orphan Black

Get ready, UK – one of the most acclaimed new science fiction shows of the year is finally making its way to our fair shores on Friday 20 September, courtesy of BBC Three. BBC America’s Orphan Black, a human-cloning conspiracy thriller, centres on a set of clones played by actress Tatiana Maslany – Brit con artist Sarah, wacky Canadian homemakerAlison,US science whiz Cosima, and Ukrainian wild cardHelena. We caught up with the show’s creators – John Fawcett and Graeme Manson – and discussed the road Sarah and her sisters travel through the show’s first ten-episode season, and where it will lead them when season two debuts next April…

SFX: How does Tatiana make each clone different? Does she have any tricks to make sure she’s in the right head?

Manson: She does. To keep all of that straight and to be able to change gears often in the same day, she’ll have to change makeup, wardrobe, everything, and come back as another character.

Fawcett: For example… If she’s doing a scene with two girls within the same scene, she’ll start as, say, Sarah. We’ll shoot everything with her as Sarah, and she’ll speak with the British accent all the time, even when we’re chatting – when the camera’s not rolling she is fully in character. When it comes time to go for the change, she’ll use that hour or so to start getting herself into the headspace of whomever she’s changing into. If it’s Alison or whoever it is. She’s got music. She’s got playlists for each of the characters, and you can often see her off to the side – she’s got dances. Each character’s got their own dance.

Manson: You should see the Cosima dance, it’s a beautiful thing!

Which clones are hard to work with?

Fawcett: Helena’s a little difficult. Helena’s a little bit crae-crae. And she’s a bit scary, she can be a bit intense. But part of the fun of Helena, and the difficultly of directing her, is that there’s a little Encino Man going on there. You know what I mean? I don’t think she’s ever seen a microwave before.

Our Orphan Black interview continues on page 2 (warning: season one spoilers from here on)