Orphan Black at PaleyFest: Cast and Creators Talk Character on the Red Carpet
The brilliant, feminist sci-fi cult favorite we all know and love, Orphan Black, returns to BBC America in June. To celebrate, the cast and creators of the show did their first-ever appearance at PaleyFest L.A. last night. I had the pleasure of chatting with them on the red carpet, and I wanted to dig into what the characters will be going through during their fifth and *sniff* final season.
First, though, you should know that this is as close as I got to Tatiana Maslany:
Sadly, she got whisked away before we were able to talk, but from what I saw she’s as lovely and sweet as you probably already imagine she is, and you’ll hear more about her in my write-up on the Orphan Black panel. Also, her dress was killer.
However, I did get to talk to everyone else in the cast, as well as the creative geniuses behind the show. From the actors, I first wanted to find out what we could expect from each of their characters in the final season:
Josh Vokey (“Scott”):
“From Scott, I think you can expect him to be ratcheting up his efforts to figure out exactly what the cause of all this is. He’s very much now at the apex of all of this, and it’s really make-or-break to me. He’s basically put his life on hold for the last four seasons. He’s put his entire life on hold to try and save his best friend. You can count on him being the voice of reason and the pragmatic guide of the show. Taking the wild twists and turns and chances and emotionality and constantly questioning and keeping everyone very honest in terms of what they’re doing. That’s kind of the purpose that he’s served a lot of the time, but with things being at the very worst now, in terms of danger that everyone ends up in at the end of Season Four, Season Five you can count on him to be kind of shaking everyone’s tree and making sure they’re very aware of what they need to be doing.”
Kristian Bruun (“Donnie Hendrix”):
“The past will come back to haunt him. So, I’m excited for people to see that. [Because] he’s done some shit…”
I had to change up the question a little for Ari Millen, because of course he (like Maslany) has had the task of playing several clones. I asked him if there was one clone character in particular whose journey he was excited about, and he said:
“Well Ira is who we’ve left off with. And he is in a very precarious position. He’s worried about his mortality, because he’s been hearing and seeing what’s happened to his brothers. This season is about him exploring his allegiances, his desire to live, and his closed-off reality that he’s been in for so long, and getting a chance to see more.”
Maria Doyle Kennedy (“Siobhan Sadler”):
(After adorably fretting over not divulging any spoilers) “I think the big thing for S. is that her relationship with Sarah goes to a new place. I think their relationship deepens, and begins to take on more — I mean, they still do all the things they normally do: they come together, they fight, you know, they’re family — but also, their relationship deepens, and I think that’s partly propelled by Mrs. S. losing her own mother. I think when that happens to you, no matter how much you think you’re already there, it’s a profound experience, and you’ve reached a new level of ownership of your place on the Earth. And somehow, you are the elder, truly the elder then, and you have to take that on. The buck stops with you. So, I think that was a huge thing for me for my journey on this last season.
Last! Oh my God, did I use that word! No! Swan song. Swan song. I’m calling it that instead.”
I was weeping on the inside.
Evelyne Brochu (“Delphine Cormier”):
“Delphine’s on a mission. She always has been. And I think the mission intensifies. Her and Cosima are in a dangerous place. They’ve been rescued, they’ve been saved, Delphine’s health is better, but they owe their lives to the people who hold them captive and won’t let them be free. And there is a metaphor there with all the clones, that you owe your lives to people who won’t set you free. So, I think the whole season is about being set free.
And Delphine made the promise I’m going to keep you and your sisters safe. And I think she’s still focused on that. And she’s a Big Picture kind of girl, so she knows that to achieve that, she needs to protect Cosima from some truths. But then, within the relationship, if you hide something from your loved one, it creates mistrust and miscommunication. So, how are they going to balance that out? That’s what we’re going to see this season.”
Kathryn Alexandre (Maslany’s Acting Double):
“I’m really excited for you to see Rachel’s journey throughout this last trip. Yeah, it’s a really interesting story arc for her this season. Lots of surprises. So, I’m excited for that one. But also Sarah. We’ve been with Sarah since the very first season, and it’ll be really exciting for the fans to see how she ends up.”
Jordan Gavaris (“Felix Dawkins”):
“The characters have been in crisis from the beginning. All of them. And this is it. This is the moment we could potentially meet the people behind the people, the ones pulling the strings, the puppet masters. We’ve been working toward this bizarre well-bottom that we’ve been traveling down since the first season. So, it’s very high-octane, it’s a pandemonium and panic and crisis, and I think that’s kind of fascinating. I’m always fascinated by characters in crisis.
In terms of Felix, he’s very much with Sarah this year. ‘Cause this is it for them, this could be their way out. He’s not headed to North Carolina to have an ancillary story about he and his sister — although, that would’ve been great, and Lauren Hammersley as Adele is fantastic and looks like my sister — but it’s them. It’s the family. We’re back to where we started. We’re going back to the beginning.”
When I asked him to clarify, without spoilers, whether that means the family remains a unit in Season 5, he said, “Sure. What I can’t say is whether or not they’re a unit geographically speaking. They’re united. But where, I cannot say!” Hmmm…
Kevin Hanchard (“Det. Art Bell”):
“Art’s got an interesting journey this season, because he’s been reinstated back on the force, so he gets to use those resources to help the sisters out. But at the same time, that poses a bit of a problem, because he’s back on the force. So there’s a good and a bad side to that. There’s some answers that he has to give, and some things he has to account for. You know, Duko’s been killed, who was a cop as well, so it’s a sticky situation. So that journey’s been a fun one to play this year.”
I then asked each of the cast members, as well as the creators of the show, which character’s journey (other than their own, for the actors) they were most excited about the audience getting to see in Season 5. Check out what the cast and creative team of Orphan Black thinks you should be looking out for this season:
“Sarah. We start with Sarah, she’s our main guide, and her journey this season is a big one. I think people are really going to like it.”
“Because I’m so close with Helena, I’m very excited about her journey. We all know that she’s in a motherly way, so that journey’s going to be very, very fascinating.”
“There’s a character that I can’t talk about who is super-cool.” When I asked if it was a new clone, he said it was not. He then followed up his answer with a nod and a wry smile as if to say, Oh yeah, this is gonna be good!
Maria Doyle Kennedy:
“Well, there’s a particular scene that Kristian Bruun’s character Donnie does. And the reason that I think that’s so funny is because it happened as a direct result of a kitchen party at my house in Toronto. He was at that party, and a whole lot of stuff broke out, Graeme Manson happened to be there and saw this, and wrote it into the show. Everyone loves Donnie anyway, but they’re really going to love this.”
“I think my favorite journey throughout the entire show, and especially this season, is Alison. She’s the one who’s changed the most, and pushed her boundaries the most, and it’s gonna keep happening this season. She’s so much fun, and she’s going to keep being wilder and wilder and more and more entertaining.”
“I’m looking forward to Delphine. Fans love the Delphine/Cosima relationship, so seeing how Delphine’s storyline comes to an end, that’ll be really exciting. And Mrs. S. as well. Mrs. S. and Felix have been with Sarah from the beginning, so that whole family unit.”
“I’m really excited for the fans to see the clone sisters in general. Honestly. And that sounds like the easy way out of the question, but it’s the absolute truth. It’s their story, and how they get through it and how they figure it out is something really exciting and really special this year.”
Graeme Manson and John Fawcett (Co-creators & Executive Producers):
John: “I think that one of the wildest, most interesting character journeys in Season 5 is Rachel. Rachel is unbelievable this year.”
Graeme: “And taken as a whole from when we met her at the end of Season 1? That woman has been on a hell of a journey. As well, I think that Sarah and Helena have a nice sister arc this year, too.”
All that, and that was just from the red carpet! Later, there’ll be more Season 5 tidbits and photos from the actual Orphan Black panel, and I may or may not give you my impressions of a certain Season Premiere! Keep checking back with TMS!
(images courtesy of the Paley Center except where indicated)
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