Orphan Black Star Tatiana Maslany Talks Reuniting for the Virtual Table Read and Clone Club's Legacy
Almost three years after the show's series finale, Orphan Black continues to have a passionate and truly unique impact on the worlds of science fiction, feminism, and fandom. The series, which aired from 2013 to 2017 on BBC America and Space, followed the alliance of a group of women (played by Tatiana Maslany) who are genetically identical clones, as they try to reclaim their own agency and fight to stay alive. Throughout its run, Orphan Black went from a sleeper hit to a bonafide phenomenon, with Maslany winning a Best Actress Emmy in 2016 for her various roles on the show, and members of the show's fandom - dubbed "Clone Club" - continuing to foster a love for the show to this day.
On Sunday, Maslany and the Orphan Black cast will be reuniting for a live virtual table read of two of Season 1's most fan-favorite episodes, "Variations Under Domestication" and "Parts Developed in an Unusual Member". Not only does the reunion hope to provide Clone Club with comfort amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, but it is timed to both Mental Health Awareness Month and International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. Viewers of the table read are encouraged to donate to CenterLink, which supports over 250 LGBTQ+ community centers around the world, and to Sistering Toronto, which helps at-risk women and trans people.
Ahead of the virtual reunion, we chatted with Maslany about coming back to the world of Orphan Black, and the enduring impact of Clone Club as a fandom. In the process, we talked about what advice she has for her fans during these uncertain times, her love for comedy, and what media she's enjoying during quarantine.
ComicBook.com: So how did this virtual reunion come about? I saw that it originally started as an idea between you and [co-star] Kristian [Bruun].
Tatiana Maslany: Yeah! In the early days, we were just FaceTime-ing. And we had seen different TV shows kind of pop up - Big Mouth had talked about doing a table read - and we were starting to see these whisperings about that. It just felt like something. Selfishly, as actors, we're sort of in this place where we can't really do our jobs. And a lot of us are doing play readings online, or whatever, to kind of keep being creative. It felt like a great move, in terms of reconnecting with Clone Club, and being able to reach out to them because we know how isolating this time is. And how much it means for you to get to watch your favorite show suddenly again, or your favorite actor is doing Instagram Lives, or whatever. It's exciting for us, and so we felt that it would be exciting for them too.
And then also, just kind of feeling hopeless, in terms of being able to do anything to give back, or to support, or to help at this time. We thought being able to connect ourselves to a couple of charities, and raise money for them, when there's so little we can actually do, was going to be a good thing.prevnext
Revisiting Season 1
How does it feel to revisit these episodes, not only all these years later, but in a completely different sort of storytelling medium?
Even just looking at the script again, I was like, "What? How did I... How did we do that?" At one point, it was absolute muscle memory, and it was so innate to switch back and forth. And it was something I did every day on set. And just to embody that now, it's really bizarre. I'm trying to find them again. It feels like a decade ago that we did it, but it's been so fun to kind of exercise those muscles again. And hopefully, it's entertaining for the audience to see us find these people again.prevnext
Between this reunion and the Orphan Black: The Next Chapter audio series, you've gotten back into playing the clones a lot. Has your approach and your relationship to them changed at all, as you try to get back into it?
I mean, I guess in both of the mediums, you don't really have access to your whole body. So it's an odd thing to just kind of connect vocally. I don't know if the process has changed so much, except that I don't have all the external stuff that I can kind of lean into. I really wish I had a bag of wigs. [laughs] I think that would be amazing and helpful.prevnext
Both of these episodes that you guys picked for the table read have so many memorable moments. Sarah as Alison is still one of my favorite sequences ever. Is there a scene that you're most excited to revisit in the table read?
There were so many, when we were looking at these two episodes. They were just chock full of iconic moments. Like Donnie and Alison in the craft room, with her glue-gunning his chest. And the first date of Delphine and Cosima, or like their first kiss. There's the tail moment with Helena. There's Helena and Sarah's first date at the diner. There are so many things that we were excited to do.
There's also a beautiful scene between Mrs. S and Sarah and Felix and Kira that kind of sets the tone for who Mrs. S was. There's just like a lot of fun stuff in there. I don't know if there's anything specific that I'm the most excited about, but just going back to any of the hijinks is always fun.prevnext
The Legacy of Clone Club
How does it feel to have Orphan Black, and Clone Club as a fandom, still be such an active and profound thing all of these years after the finale?
It's awesome. It's such an incredibly rewarding thing, to know that people still connect to it and that it meant something to people. So many of our fans are still actively making fanart, or writing about the show, or writing about the science of the show, making videos, and cosplaying as the characters. It's just so wild to see that impact. It's really rewarding, because it's so infrequent that that kind of thing happens.prevnext
What advice would you give to Clone Club during this current moment?
That's a great question. The thing that helps me is moving my body. I've been taking dance classes online, and even when I feel so low and I can't even imagine getting up right now, that's been the thing that's gotten me up.
And then really being honest with where you're at with your friends and with your family, and reaching out to people. I'm sorry, I'm so emotional. It's just an intense time. But the thing that I've found most helpful is really using your heart to find the places that you actually feel connection. It might not be any in a place that you're expecting. I think we're all going through things, and sometimes we're not able to totally be there for each other. But other people are going to be there for you, and we're all in this together.
Finding those places where you do feel a visceral connection, and holding onto those and fostering those. This is a really beautiful time to build up your friendships and your relationships in deeper and unexpected ways than we've ever had to before. So I think just doing that, and just not being afraid to be where you're at, being really honest with that. I think that's really important.prevnext
To completely shift gears, you and I are both huge comedy fans. I'm a religious listener of Comedy Bang! Bang!, so every time you've appeared on there has just been the best of both worlds. My boyfriend and I quote the "Chastman Family" episode way too much, all the time.
Is comedy something that you want to explore more, either on podcasts or in movies or TV?
Yeah! I'd love to. I'm just in such reverence of it. Like, when you said the thin about quoting the CBB stuff. That's half of my vocabulary, just quoting that show. I listened back to old episodes of it to feel comforted because I just want to hear Mailer Daemon or whatever. It's comforting to me. Yeah. I mean, I'd love to. I'd love to. But also I'm just so happy being their fans as well. Because it's the thing that I, right now, am reaching to feel connected and feel good.
I completely feel that! I put on old episodes before I fall asleep a lot of nights, and it's honestly very much a comforting thing in that regard.
Yeah, I mean, when I was filming Orphan Black, I was so exhausted, but kind of couldn't shut my brain off as well. And I was like working, had zero life. That podcast is what I was listening to when I got home to, not fall asleep, but to be like, "My ear buddies are going to talk to me to sleep. They'll be here for me tonight."prevnext
You have such good taste in music and podcasts and everything. What are you watching or listening to during this time in quarantine?
Right now I'm obsessed with this show. I've seen it four times. It's called The Midnight Gospel. Have you seen it?
Not yet, but it's definitely on my list. It'll move further up on my list now that you've recommended it.
It's wild. It's so kinetic and distracted, but it feels really kind of prescient, and sort of very much what it feels like right now. It talks a lot about consciousness, about presence, and life and death, and everything, all of it. But then, it does it in a funny way as well. So it's really surreal and I love it. I'm watching that.
I'm also watching Drag Race, the new season, and Celebrity Drag Race. And then I'm listening to... there's a podcast called Reply All that's really fun.
Yes! I love Reply All. Oh my gosh.
Yeah! I was listening to them before this, and yeah, I love that show. And then what else? ...Brené Brown is really great. She does a podcast too, and it's just really smart and emotionally curious. So I've been listening to that too. And then music is just like chaos. As chaotic of music as I can get. [laughs]
Orphan Black's virtual table read will stream Sunday, May 17th at 3/2 pm CT on the show's Facebook page.prev