In a sit-down at Comic-Con with the cast of BBC America’s Orphan Black on Friday, Rotten Tomatoes picked up some fun facts about life on the set and what the actors think of their characters. [Caution: season two spoilers below!]
1. Not even Tatiana Maslany is sure how to feel about Helena.
When asked whether or not we’re supposed to like Helena, Maslany said, “I think you shouldn’t know how you are supposed to feel about her because I don’t know.”
Maria Doyle Kennedy who plays Mrs. S was quick to defend everyone’s favorite frizzy-haired sestra. “She had bad nurture. She didn’t learn how to do good things so we can forgive her a lot, I think.”
Jordan Gavaris (Felix) believes that maybe there’s a little bit of Helena in all of us. “We all do bad things… but I will say, many people have been in this situation before where if there was nobody around and there were no consequences — people have gotten angry enough — they would kill someone. We have to admit that about ourselves.”
“I just love that Helena is more easily forgiven than Rachel is,” Maslany added. “People are like, ‘Aw, Helena’s so cute, but Rachel.” Gavaris agreed: “She deserves a pencil in the eye.”
2. Dylan Bruce is relieved that Paul isn’t “a total douchebag.”
“I’m glad that we actually saw his true intentions at the end of the season where he was playing a double agent the whole time — and he was involved in the Castor project so you know he wasn’t a total douchebag the entire season,” Dylan Bruce (Paul Dierden) said. “I shot that Felix scene when I had to frame Felix and I was like, ‘Oh my God. People are going to hate me, and this is going to be the worst,’ but, no, he comes back and he redeems himself by helping Sarah out, and that’s about as deep as I can get with Paul because he is a man of mystery and always will be.”
3. Mrs. S’s house is everyone’s favorite set.
“There’s something really cool too that happens in Mrs. S’s house that Jordan and I have talked about,” Maslany explained. “It feels like coming home. The set is next to Felix’s loft and Alison’s rehab place, but it feels like home for some reason. Something in the air. The scenes are lit a certain way and Kira’s there and there’s just something different about it. Comforting.”
4. Alison and Donnie had a dance party during the garage scene.
Maslany and Kristian Bruun (Donnie) first met when they started shooting Orphan Black, but their behind-the-scenes rapport has helped to make them convincing as a married couple. “We spend a lot of time just being goofballs back behind the cameras, and that builds a really strong friendship that feels older than it is,” Bruun said. “That kinda helps to feed the sense of marriage and the time that those two characters have been together.”
Part of their mischief involves a stolen Bluetooth speaker. “We do a lot of dancing. If it’s one in the morning or two in the morning and we’re still filming and we’re going a little bit crazy — like in the garage scene with Leekie’s body, [after] a couple of days being in that garage covered in dirt, super-tired, super-long days — we were just getting bonkers, so we actually stole [director] T.J. Scott’s remote speakers… and we started playing music and having dance parties just to keep going so that we’d be energized to bury that damn body.”
5. Jordan Gavaris is learning taekwondo.
Gavaris doesn’t know what types of action scenes are coming Felix’s way in season three, but he is learning taekwondo (at least, we hope that wasn’t a joke). “Every time I go to these expos or these conventions or I’m doing TCAs, I’m always in a panic to say, ‘I think this is what’s going to happen.’ I have no idea what’s going to happen next year.”
One thing Gavaris is learning for Felix’s character is how to be more vulnerable as an actor. “I’ve been investigating myself a lot and trying to get myself more comfortable with telling stories about uncomfortable things like pain or heartbreak or grief,” Gavaris said. “I’m trying to be more comfortable telling those stories in my work and showing people that I know what that’s about. That’s kind of a scary thing to do as an actor because you have to admit that you are vulnerable, and you hurt, and you’ve hurt people, and you’re not always good all the time.”
6. The clone dance party was meant to be “relaxing.”
Orphan Black co-creator John Fawcett talked about the epic clone dance party that showed four of the clones interacting in the same scene — which at once delighted and made fans nervous. “[Clone Dance Party] took two days. That was a thing where we were like, ‘This episode is just going so fast, and there’s so much pace and momentum behind it, so… Let’s just have something where we can go ahhh and just relax for a little bit and do something fun.’
“And, of course, I didn’t even think — I was like, ‘This is exciting! We’ll have a clone dance party,’ but I didn’t realize none of the fans were thinking that it was a nice, relaxing moment. Everyone was on the edge of their seat, thinking that something bad was going to happen.”
7. Felix and Jordan have different clone favorites.
Everyone in the cast has a different favorite clone. Maslany joked that hers was Danielle (the dead clone whose passport Sarah found in a briefcase). Kennedy’s is Alison. Jordan Gavaris is split. Felix’s favorite clone is Sarah, but not Gavaris’s. “I love Cosima,” he said.
8. Ari Millen was supposed to be killed off in episode six.
According to co-creator Greame Manson, Ari Millen’s character Mark was supposed to die during episode six of season two. “We knew we wanted to introduce project Castor. It was part of our long-term plan, but we did not know who that was going to be — whether that was someone who was going to come from our ranks, or whether that was going to be someone new,” Manson said. “And it was largely John [Fawcett] directing Ari that was instrumental in saying, ‘We can’t kill this guy.'”
Ari Millen’s pardon came during episode six of this past season. “Because he’d done all these great scenes and done all this work, [and] we really, really liked him as an actor, we decided to not kill him,” Fawcett said. “And it was right about that time that we were like, ‘You know what? Actually, no one is going to expect this, and it makes perfect sense for the way we want to shape our mystery going forward into the following season.’ So that was exciting. It was a really cool discovery.”
9. Paul is done with Rachel, but hasn’t written off Sarah.
When asked whether or not Sarah and Paul are headed for another hook-up, Bruce is keeping his options open. “If you like a couple, you would always try to drive a wedge between them, and I think the introduction of the Cal character really did that, and I think Paul harbors some guilt over what happened to Beth so he sees redemption in Sarah and he always has. So you never know. But not with Eyepatch Rachel! I don’t think he wants none of that anymore!”
10. The writers say the plan is set.
Decisions such as reprieving Mark at the last minute and making him into one of the many Castor Project clones might make fans nervous that Orphan Black‘s Fawcett and Manson are making up too much as they go along. In the big picture, however, Fawcett assured us that they’re not.
“It’s pretty set,” Fawcett said. “How we get there changes constantly, and it evolves and gets more complex. As we get more story behind us, it becomes clearer.”
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