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Orphan Black: It's about imagination

Tatiana Maslany


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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.

‘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.

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, series three starts at 2.10am on Sunday, 27 September 2015 on BBC Three. Each episode will be available in BBC iPlayer for 30 days after broadcast on TV.

Orphan Black, series one, was first broadcast on BBC Three in September 2013.

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

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