Watching Tatiana Maslany is a mesmerizing experience. If you’re like me, you discovered her back in 2013, when she starred in Orphan Black, a show that showed her amazing range as an actress, but she had quite the career prior to her role as Sarah Manning (and all the subsequent clones on the show) because she’s one of our most talented actresses today.
Talking with her, one thing was extremely clear: She’s just as amazing in real life as she comes across onscreen. Vibrant, fun, and open to any and all questions, Maslany talked about her admiration for Nicole Kidman (which helped form the bond between their characters, Petra and Erin, in Destroyer) as well her stint on Parks and Recreation as Nadia.
When I brought up her role in Parks, she talked about how Amy Poehler was a hero of hers and that the show was a dream come true, which just highlights her multifaceted talents. Maslany is known for playing darker characters, frequently ones who battle drug addiction, and so to see a lighter side to her with Parks was such a breath of fresh air.
With her role as Petra in Destroyer, Maslany brought her to life in the beginning of the film as a young girl who was searching for a family different than the one she grew up with, and then showed her seventeen years later, when Petra has been used by gang leader Silas and cast aside.
When I asked her about looking into Petra and how she differs from a lot of characters we see like her on screen, Maslany had this to say:
“I just feel like, for Petra, there was this seeking out for family that is kind of at the core of what she was doing in becoming a part of his gang and aligning herself with Silas. She felt really safe with him. She felt like she had a family, and to me, that was a really important aspect.”
The really cool thing about Destroyer is that a lot of the heads of departments on the production were women. It was a very female driven production, and when I asked Maslany about it, she pointed out that she just felt safe there—that she could bring all she needed to to the character without feeling judged or like she couldn’t be vulnerable.
As we talked, I asked her about the future of cinema and what she wants to see from it for women in the future, and she replied,
“I mean, I don’t actually know what that looks like yet because I think we’re so far from that actually being a reality. It is still like, remarkable, you know, that someone like Nicole [Kidman] is working on a role like this. It’s still like a thing where we say, ‘Oh, it’s interesting that she’s inhabiting a space that is normally a male space.'”
It’s interesting because that really should be our end goal, the dream of just being able to inhabit our own worlds in cinema and not have someone else trying to tell our stories. She went on to further talk about her hopes for what she would love to see out of Hollywood:
“I’m just excited for the day when we don’t need that anymore, when female stories are the default or just as much the default as male stories. That, I think, is going to be really exciting—when the structures in stories or the tropes in stories are determined by women, queer people, or people of color and that we have new form.”
You can see Tatiana Maslany on Broadway in Network with Bryan Cranston, and Destroyer is out in select theaters across the United States. She’s absolutely incredible as Petra, and this is one movie you won’t want to miss!
(image: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
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