Orphan Black: It's about imagination

Thursday 26 September 2013, 10:16

Tatiana Maslany Tatiana Maslany Actress

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Orphan Black on BBC Three is the story of Sarah, a young woman trying to escape a sordid past, witnessing the suicide of a woman, Beth, who looks identical to her.

Sarah being a creature of instinct and impulse steals Beth's purse and assumes her identity in order to get a quick buck and a fresh start.

However in breaking into Beth’s life Sarah meets other women who look identical to her and she falls deep into a mystery of identity.

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‘Ever got the feeling that someone looks familiar?’ A peek at the many characters Tatiana portrays

I play the main character Sarah, as well as the other characters that look like her.

The audition process was intense. In my final audition I had to play Sarah, Sarah as Beth, Alison and Cosima.

Once I got to work with the amazing cast the characters began to shift and grow. They've changed so much since those first explorations.

Music has always been a huge inspiration to me, it changes me or allows me to change. It moves me physically and emotionally.

I created playlists for each of the women based on ideas Graeme Manson, the writer and executive producer, John Fawcett, the co-creator and director, and I came up with.

I am very inspired by dancers, the way they tell stories with their bodies, their tremendous physical vocabulary. Dance for me is a place of unselfconscious freedom and expression.

I use different forms of dance to explore the physical mannerisms and rhythms of each of the women. It helps me explore the characters in a way that isn't intellectual.

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A shocking encounter sets Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) on a mysterious and dangerous journey

Playing scenes with myself is kind of like being a kid with an imaginary friend. I have to mentally create a person in the empty space in front of me.

I look insane when we shoot those scenes because ultimately I'm on an empty set talking and reacting to nothing. It's very much about imagination.

At the same time it's a highly technical process because I have to hit certain marks and my eyes have to be focused in the right place in order for the special effects to layer in seamlessly.

It's one of the biggest challenges I've faced as an actor.

I don't like to know too far in advance where the plot line of the series is heading. It keeps me guessing and in the present moment instead of anticipating what the next move will be.

I have a tremendous amount of trust in the writers.

I was immediately drawn to the writing of the series because of the strong female characters. I mean strong in that they are complex, flawed, contradictory, each with their own unique voice, world-view, all very human.

The series explores questions of nature-nurture, identity and humanity through many female points of view. That is extremely exciting to me.

Tatiana Maslany plays Sarah, Beth and others in Orphan Black.

Orphan Black continues with episode three at 9pm on Friday, 27 September on BBC Three. For further programme times please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Brilliant, love the whole thing! And one actress, all those characters....genius!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    This is one extremely talented actress and one to keep an eye on. The show itself is amazing and I can only hope season 2 is just as fast paced and gripping.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    A brilliant programme showing the value of money and the battle between that and the human conscience.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    I When is the repeat of episode three broadcast ?
    Radio Times says Saturday 28th September 12 midnight.TV guide says Family Guy
    Help please

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    I'm totally hooked. Loving this series. Tatiana is fabulous at making each character distinctive and different. The scripts are well written and I'm enjoying piecing it together alongside Sarah. More great drama from the BBC!

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Really enjoyed the first three episodes it moves along at a fast pace.The lead actress is very talented as well as captivating can't wait to watch more thanks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Wow BBC please keep this up.At last we are get money well spent. Great series and the scripts Well done all

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Fantastic job, the different parts are so believable and its so great to have such a unique story, things started to get a bit non descript on BBC, endless detective programmes, hospital dramas or comedies about school - needless to say I get pretty bored and almost gave up.. but I am hooked the writing, the ideas and the acting is top class..Amazing talent young lady :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    luv this series already cant wait to see wat happens next, i already have chills down my spine, and the actress Tatiana is brilliant on workin as all those characters and making them act so different on there personalty's.
    as said another great drama from the BBC !! xx

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Tatiana is so impressive in this role.

    One thing fascinates me though: the accents that she and Jordan Gavaris ("Felix") adopt. Their accents are supposed to be English, but do not sound at all English to me. They often sound somewhat Austrailian.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    This is an amazing series. The writer is a total genius and the cast are excellent (especially Tatiana and Jordan)

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    I thought the lead did an amazing job, even before I knew she didn't have a body double to work with.

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    Comment number 13.

    oh my god oh my god oh my god this series is amazing, and the finale, man! didn't see that coming... (sorry yeah I skipped ahead...) amazing series, definitely one to watch, I'm thinking give it a couple of years when it's more established and it could become the new Breaking Bad.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    A fantastic script but which a catch, if Tatiana could not pull this off the series was dead. But the risk is rewarded with an amazing result. When she plays multiple versions of herself which are then impersonating other versions of herself....and you still believe it !!!
    So well done to the effects and makeup teams too for making the differences enough for us to follow each character. This seriously deserves a BBC1 prime slot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    I came across this series a couple of weeks ago before I went on holiday, downloaded episodes 1&2 from I player and watched them on the plane, gripping stuff. Unfortunately I forgot to set my sky+ to record episodes 3&4 :-( have managed to download episode 4 but don't want to watch it until I've seen episode 3 but it's not on I player !!!! Anyone know where I can watch episode 3 please???

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Brilliant story - Love the humour as well as the way the story explores of the implications of cloning. Tatiana is a fantastic actress. Is there really only one of her? The effects with more than one clone are seamless.

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    Comment number 18.

    I like the series, but I felt casting a homicidal self-harming maniac as a Creationist was very unfair, Creationists believe the Bible including "Do not kill". If the character had "faith" it would stop her from killing people rather than motivate her to do it.

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    Comment number 19.

    Absolutely fascinating this, outstanding all around and no sci-fi at all. This is frontier reality about life theft (not just identity) and then out pops the all too real monitoring which is currently done with neuroscience based surveillance. What a super job playing multiple characters. I've been hooked from the beginning, and it just keeps getting better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Fantastic show. Gripping drama with an excellent story line and some very funny moments too. Great lead actor and supporting cast, fab music - what more could you want!


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