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Roundtable Interview: Ari Millen on ORPHAN BLACK Season 3 And The Castor Clones

The Fandom chatted with Ari Millen about the shockers and challenges in the new season of ORPHAN BLACK!

At the end of ORPHAN BLACK Season 2, everyone got a surprise– including Ari Millen. He had no idea that his character, Mark, was actually one several Project Castor “brother” clones until he received the script just before shooting.

Over the course of Season 3 shooting, the actor was thrust into a new realm of acting filled with methodical planning. Instead of discovering one character, he had to actualize multiple characters and create dynamics between them all. And despite a militant background, the foundation of the Castor clones is their brotherhood.

Just like any stretch of brothers, I guess there’s a real closeness. They like taking the piss out of each other, they can be vicious but there’s also a lot of love there … We have a certain better understanding and almost a more – we’re more cohesive. Whereas Project Leda has always been– I mean, not only are they learning who they are but they’re also figuring out who they can trust and who they can’t trust. But Project Castor is all on board with themselves and their mission. So they’re a very strong foe right off the bat.

Unlike the seestras, the Castor Clones have always been in the know and trained together, which Millen says has created a hive mind and a bit of a “frat boy mentality”. The actor worked with a set of triplets, one of whom was a part of the crew, to help recognize the unique attributes of each brother:

I think the biggest challenge was you know like because we know that Project Castor is self-aware and they grew up together, the biggest challenge for me was finding the differences within the similarities … And I guess on a multiple clone day when I was playing more than one of those Castor guys, just making that switch because they were so similar just trying to drop one and pick up the other depending on how much sleep I got the night before might have been a bit more challenging.

As for advice on how to play the characters? Tatiana Maslany didn’t try to shove any down his his throat because the two have developed different methods of approach, but she’s great at answering any questions he throws out there, especially regarding the technical approach to filming multi-clone scenes. But Ari Millen learned plenty from Maslany just by watching her work:

I find for me the best lessons that I can learn are just from watching people who are good at what they do, do it. So that’s what I would do when I was on set and she was on set I would just sort of watch her do her stuff and see little things that she was doing and say ‘Oh, that’s brilliant, What a great idea,’ and I would go on my turn I would try that little trick and if it worked for me I would keep it and if it didn’t I wouldn’t.

As each clone develops his own personality, so are more difficult to portray than others. Millen says that Rudy is easily his most intense character, but taking on that challenge is also quite fun:

What’s really fun about Rudy is that he’s – it’s often a game to him to try to push people’s buttons and sort of knock people out of their comfort zone. So you know when we see him with Sarah and then we’ll see him with some other people where he – he’s just trying to get under people’s skin and that sort of antagonistic approach is I mean that’s kind of fun – that’s kind of fun to play around with.

Still, the actor insists that Rudy is not actually the most dangerous of the Castor clones. He believes that when tested, innocent newlywed Mark, the original character Ari played in Season 2, will prove to be the most formidable enemy of all:

I think Mark is the more dangerous one because he’s very good at hiding what he’s feeling I find a lot of the time. And you don’t want to cross him. You don’t want to threaten what he’s going for because he will make you pay.

In fact, Millen hints that Mark’s dreams of a “white picket fence” life with cause plenty of trouble of its own as things heat up between Project Castor and Project Leda:

Mark has his own ideas of who he wants to be and where he sees himself going. And his brothers and Project Castor are gunning for him. They’re not going to let him go without a fight. So yes, there’s going to be some conflict there. There’s going to be some butting of heads and fights.

OPRHAN BLACK returns to BBC America on April 18, 2015.

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