Tatiana Maslany plays almost a dozen different characters on BBC America’s Orphan Black, with a sci-fi plot so intricately tangled, lesser actors might have run screaming from the prospect. But Maslany has earned herself a huge fan following, even if so far she’s been passed over for an Emmy or a Golden Globe. With a SAG nomination earlier this year, Maslany may be set for more official recognition, but her lack of awards is, she says, not troubling to her since the competition is so admirable. “There are just so many amazing female roles up there right now,” Maslany says. “And so many actresses who are just killing it.”
You play so many characters on Orphan it must be confusing at times–have you ever had to draw yourself a map to keep it all straight?
Honestly, when it comes to the storylines and the plot, I have to just stay in the moment because like you said, it is confusing. My brain doesn’t function in the long term, it’s more in the moment. So I think my instincts at this point are with the characters, in that I understand them to the extent that if I’m present in that moment, I trust that that’s where the character’s at. And I work with awesome directors who keep me in the right zone and make sure that it’s all moving in the right direction.
You’ve been passed over by the Emmys in the past–how do you feel about that?
I think television is the place that all of the unique characters are coming from right now. I think it’s a societal thing, and I think that women are really stepping into a place of power in TV, in terms of all leading series, Olive Kitteridge or House Of Cards or Orange Is The New Black. I mean all these series that are helmed by women. I just don’t think that my performance is…I think that I’m really lucky to have the job I do, and any actor would dive at it the way I do. But TV right now is where women are just killing it, I think.
What’s a favorite scene for you in the Season 3 finale?
The dinner scene–that whole sequence was really fun. A lot of the main cast was in those days, and a lot of them hadn’t worked together before, and it was four clones, and it was a lot of choreography but also a nice emotional lighter moment for all of the characters which we hadn’t really seen all season. Everybody gets crazy and you start laughing. It’s just good fun. But I also loved the last scene that Cosima and Delphine have together, where there’s something unspoken happening between them, and we don’t really know what’s going on with Delphine, and we don’t really know if Cosima is sensing something deeper than what’s going on. That was the last scene I shot with Evelyne [Brochu]. It was super emotional to do that.
That twerking scene– how hard was that to do?
You’re kind of naked in front of 40 men who are filming you and just kind of waiting for the day to end. For me and Kristian [Bruun], it was kind of a dream come true because he had always wanted to be in a music rap video. So it was just like getting to play out your childhood fantasy and it was just the most fun. We shot it in two takes. We had done that whole day with Rachel grieving the death of her father–it was like the most dark days you could possibly imagine. And that was the very last scene with the Alison and Donnie twerking. So it was just like a really nice release. It was so much fun.
Had you practiced, or did you already know how to twerk?
I mean, I can’t say I haven’t like done any in my room by myself…I just watched so many rap videos, but it was very spontaneous in the moment.
How do you see things evolving for next season?
I feel like there are a lot of possibilities. And again, plot, to me, is really foreign and doesn’t really mean much. But in terms of the characters growing and changing, I think that they’ve grown up so much in the past three seasons, and I think that if we continue to change them and challenge them, that’s all I’m interested in really.
What grabbed you about this show right from the beginning when you read the script?
Initially, Sarah was my ‘in’, and I think out of everybody, she was the one that we followed for the first episode at least. But there’s something so unapologetically unlikable about her initially and sort of has continued to be. I think that that’s also the most likable thing about her. So I just really valued that in terms of being a young actor and not getting to play those kind of roles yet. It was so unlike anything I had ever imagined. I’m so lucky I got it.
If you were an Emmy voter, who or what show would you vote for?
I would vote for Amy Schumer, for sure. I mean, she’s unbelievable, I’m obsessed with her. I really love Key & Peele. I think Broad City as well–Abbi [Jacobson] and Ilana [Glazer]. Basically, I’ve been watching a lot of comedy lately. I love Orange Is The New Black and I think Uzo [Aduba] will always be nominated and always deserves to be. She’s so amazing on that show. And Laverne [Cox] is amazing on that show. I just think that there’s a lot of great work coming out of that series.