Tatiana Maslany is all about Orphan Black being a feminist piece
In a recent interview with AdWeek, Orphan Black‘s main star Tatiana Maslany talks about juggling her 13 clones, strong female characters, and the show being a feminist piece.
What was it like to audition for this role?
Maslany: It was pretty intense and kind of crazy, but really fun. I did a two-day marathon of playing four or five of the characters, and I didn’t know how it would go, but I was really grateful to get to play these characters for even a brief time. Then I read opposite the Felix character, and Jordan [Gavaris] and I had a lot of fun in there. We felt like we knew each other even though we’d never met before.
Does it get any easier to play multiple roles, multiple clones in a scene or clones impersonating clones?
Kind of—at least the technical side of it—because I’m used to that process now. In each different scene, we try to push and challenge ourselves more, be braver and bolder with the things we can do. So it’s always a challenge, but that’s definitely why I love the job.
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How do you think Orphan Black busts stereotypes for strong female characters?
The characters all have a complexity to them, an unapologetic individuality. They’re not physically superhuman and emotionless and without flaws. Having a strong female character doesn’t mean she’s beyond suffering and fragility. There’s a fearlessness. That to me is strong writing for women. It defies gender.
The show has such a devoted, involved fan base. Any recent encounters?
We’re lucky to have this kind of contact with the fans because it really lessens the gap between the show and the viewers. It’s exciting and fulfilling to hear stories from young women coming out, young men coming out as trans. The other day on set, an awesome girl came to visit with her beautiful fan art of the show. She’d done these gorgeous pictures of the characters. That’s always really exciting to know that the work we do inspires other people’s imagination and art.
What has playing this role done for you professionally?
It was a big learning curve for me, and I’ve learned a lot about the responsibility of leading a series. It’s given me the chance to stretch. It’s challenged my stamina and imagination. And it’s opened doors for me on who I get to collaborate with next.
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Do you see the show as a feminist piece?
I think so, though I don’t think that was the motive from the start. It was intended to be this exploration of nature/nurture, and a lead role like that may not normally go to a woman. Women aren’t often the default in movies, TV, media—there’s often very limited space for them. But it’s exciting to mine these stories and see a show that puts women at the center of it.
Since there are male clones coming in Season 3, do you think that may affect the balance of power going forward?
The show is definitely done from a woman’s perspective, and that’s something we defend. That will continue. But we will get a lot of Ari’s character [Ari Millen, playing multiple male clones] who takes on major storylines. And we have guest stars in recurring roles like James Frain. We’re expanding the world.