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Interview: Tatiana Maslany & John Fawcett Talk About The Fans Of BBC America’s Orphan Black


Orphan Black is a new BBC America original series premiering after Doctor Who this weekend. It centers on Sarah, an orphan who finds out she’s one of many clones after stealing the identity of a woman she thought simply resembled her. We got an early look at the first episode which has lead actress Tatiana Maslany taking on the daunting task of playing several different roles with distinct accents and personalities, and in a press conference call we spoke with Maslany and co-creator/director John Fawcett. Turns out, there’s a huge amount fan reaction to a show that has yet to air. 

The Mary Sue: This question is actually for both of you. With how fast things spread on the Internet these days we see fans picking up on series that haven’t even started yet. And I was wondering for both of you if you’ve seen any fan reaction yet and if so how has that been for you?

Tatiana Maslany: I mean, I saw it at – we were at Toronto Comic Con and, you know, our show’s not out yet and we had a packed conference room of people excited about the show. And that’s insane because nobody’s seen it, you know. They’ve seen clips, they’ve seen trailers online, they got to watch an exclusive scene there at Comic Con. But it’s such an incredible fan world, the sci-fi world. It’s such an incredibly passionate fan base. And they’re excited. They’re so excited about new things and they’re so excited about intriguing new worlds and new things they can sink their teeth into.

So I feel like inherently it has this incredible community, you know, attached to it. And we’re very lucky that BBC America’s showing us right after Doctor Who and, I mean, what an honor to be right after an incredible show like that with such an insane fan base. And, you know, hopefully we’ll have some kind of a trickle from them. But it’s been amazing that there’s a response already, you know?

John Fawcett: What – hey Tat, what exclusive scene did they show at Comic Con?

Maslany: They showed the bar scene.

Fawcett: Good. That was the one I told them to show.

Maslany: Which was great. I was really happy that it was that one, yes.

Fawcett: Okay, good. From Episode 3, good.

Maslany: Yes.

TMS: What about you, John?

Fawcett: Well you know what? I’m just a massive – like I’m a sci-fi fan to begin with and – my desire to do a show – this concept and this show was because I had a lot of belief in just being a fan myself of the genre. And I – you know what? I just think that it was a concept that, you know, we had over ten years ago. And the idea for the show was sort of born, you know, back in 2002, 2003 and it started as a feature film. And we, Graeme Manson my creative partner and I, worked on it together for many – for a number of years, couldn’t solve it as a feature film, and then shelved it for two or three years. But you know, every time we get together we’d go yes, and then we’d wind up like having drinks and talking about the concept of it. And it just never went away, it never died. And I know myself well enough to know – I have a very short attention span. And for a concept like this to stick around for years and years – every time we’d talk about it we’d get excited about it. I just knew that there was something special in that.

I see an awful lot of sci-fi – I just knew in my heart that I had this passion about it because it was unique and original and exciting. And being a fan – I just kind of went you know what? There’s going to be a lot of people that are really going to dig this. I’m hoping obviously the sci-fi following, the sci-fi fans, the fans of Doctor Who, the people that go to Comic Con and the fans out there that love genre and love exciting new genre, and genre that defies expectations. I think these fans are going to…I’m hoping these fans find the show and find it as exciting as I do.

TMS: Great. And just a quick follow up Tatiana, what do you think your personal reaction would be if you ran into someone who looked exactly like you on the street?

Maslany: I’d be like, “There’s only room for one of us.” I don’t know.

Fawcett: You would tell them to come and work on our show so that you didn’t have to do all the parts.

Maslany: …so that I can have a day off?

Watch Maslany take on several roles as Orphan Black premieres March 30th as part of BBC America’s Supernatural Saturday. To find out more, watch the trailer as well as the first three minutes of the first episode!

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."