It's already been a busy Saturday (January 10) at the Television Critics Association press tour.
And while it isn't as momentous, perhaps, now it's time for a crowd favorite, with a panel for the third season of BBC America's “Orphan Black.”
We're joined by Tatiana Maslany and Jordan Gavaris, but then we have John Fawcett, representing both co-creators, and Ari Millen, who will be taking on a larger role/roles this season.
11:40 a.m. We begin with clips, lots of stuff from last season, plus the showdown with whatever we're calling Ari Millen's character/characters. It's a CASTOR clone and he's very impressed with that Sarah is made of.
11:42 a.m. Ruh-roh. Word is just now going around that Tatiana Maslany isn't here today due to illness. Well, that's likely to change the tone/direction/substance of this panel.
11:43 a.m. Oh! There's Tatiana. She's here via satellite from Toronto.
11:44 a.m. “I think Project CASTOR was always part of our original plan from the very very beginning,” Fawcett says. They always knew it would be a male close. During Season 2 they cast Ari Millen as Mark. They planned on killing the character, but he says it was an organic process to decide who was going to be the face of Project CASTOR.
11:45 a.m. Millen says that Maslany's greatest tip was to watch her, referring to going in to see the production on the Clone Dance Party. “When you have someone doing something so unique… Just watch. That's what I took away. I saw her ease and her taking time to breath and doing them one at a time,” Millen says.
11:46 a.m. “I think we have more bloopers this season than we have any other season,” Maslany says. She claims the first season didn't have any bloopers because she was too stressed and tense to let down her guard, but “now it's a little looser.”
11:47 a.m. Could there be more clone prototypes than just these two? “We're always trying to make choices that evolve the show in directions that people aren't expecting,” Fawcett says. Fawcett notes that the creators have a blue print and plan. However, “There's always room for deviations and we like to keep people on the edge of their seats,” he says.
11:49 a.m. Maslany says she did four characters in her first audition, so she knew about Beth, Sarah, Alison and Cosima, but that Helena and Rachel and Tony and Jennifer weren't initially there for her. Maslany says that she and the two creators have a very collaborative process on-set and that they discuss backstory. “I'm able to give my input and sorta help bold the characters and decide who's coming up next,” she says. “I don't think any of us knew what we were getting into,” Fawcett says.
11:50 a.m. Maslany says that the biggest change in her life are the scripts she's getting and the meetings she's been able to take. The character range has made it easier for her to get looks at different genres outside of the show.
11:52 a.m. What name do people call out when they see her? “It depends on the demographic. The young women tend to really relate to Cosima,” she says. But middle-aged couples are really into Alison. But Sarah is still the default. “Not Helena, surprising,” she says. Does she ever get into the wrong character/clone? She says that after playing the Tony/Felix dynamic for a few days, it was hard for her to switch into Sarah. “I didn't know who she was anymore. I had no idea,” she says. Jordan Gavaris agrees. “Yeah, it was strange,” he says, explaining that having a new sexual dynamic between them threw them for a loop, but he calls it a “weird cool challenge.” Technically the key is “surrendering to that craziness,” Maslany says. She says you have to leave room for breath, so that you can be present in the scene. She tries to always still surprise herself even with the precision required. She praises her Clone Double Katherine.
11:56 a.m. What's it like for Tatiana to have somebody else doing clone work? She says that she and Ari had done improv work together back in high school. She remembers how alive and scary and compelling Millen was in their first day together. “To have him take on this challenge, I felt like it was a no-brainer and it also gave me a chance to have some three-day weekends,” she laughs.
11:58 a.m. Jordan Gavaris says that he's been more exhausted this season and he decided to bring that into Felix. “The characters have been through a lot, Felix in particular,” Gavaris says. He says that Felix has always made it look like these things aren't effecting him, but this season he'll be letting it show. He says this season that Felix will be starting to think for himself and ask his own questions. Fawcett says that they've taken the Felix-Alison relationship and Felix's relationship with the other clones further. Apparently Cosima and Felix will be spending extra time together this season. “There's no disparity between them. She treats him not like an accessory, like a crisis counselor. She treats him like a friend,” Felix says.
12:00 p.m. “The deeper we get into the story and the mystery, the more challenging it becomes. This season has been the hardest to write yet,” Fawcett says of the difficulty of servicing all of the characters within a story this complicated. He calls it the biggest challenge of his career. “It's fun and terrifying and really it's just been an incredibly journey so far,” Fawcett says, thanking the “incredible talents” who are his collaborators. “I'm excited to show Season 3. It's been challenging. That's for sure,” he says.
12:02 p.m. Ari Millen clarifies that he and Tatiana “played with each other” in National Improv Games in Ottawa. Who won? “It's not important,” Tatiana laughs. “I remember you were quite a leader on your team,” Tatiana says. She also wears him wearing a hockey jersey. He remembers a theme game in which she got picked up like Simba. “I always got picked up. I was like this big,” she says. “That was one of the themes on our team: When in doubt, hoist Tat,” she laughs. And coughs. And sips water. She's being a trooper, but you can tell she's under-the-weather.
12:04 p.m. New characters this season? There will be a few. James Frain will be in Episode 1 playing “a really amazing, scary guy that's come in from Topside,” he teases. Everybody agrees that James Frain is a nice guy in real life. And then there's a character named Jason Kellerman, a new character in Alison's world. He's an old high school flame of Alison's. There's a character called The Scorpion, but Tatiana doesn't want anything said about it. Tatiana wants to talk about Ksenia Solo's character, but Fawcett doesn't.
12:07 p.m. How can they top the Clone Dance Party? “It is about topping yourself,” he admits. They all push each other to figure out the next cool big thing they can do that people aren't expecting. He says the Clone Dance Party was Graeme Manson's idea. Fawcett thought it was ridiculous when he first heard about it. Fawcett promises that for this season, there are big things coming for the finale. He calls the finale their best season-ender yet. “For us, it's always just challenging each other, challenging our technical abilities, challenging Tat and going in a direction that people aren't expecting,” Fawcett says.
12:09 p.m. Why are the CASTOR clones more beat up? Well, check out Rudy below. Millen started with a visual of the character with the scar trying to fill in the story on his own. Between seasons he was able to learn more. “The one thing you can say about Rudy is he likes to get under people's skin,” he says. Millen says that Fawcett is always saying “More dirt, more blood.” Fawcett says there's a military angle to CASTOR and that Rudy is a dangerous character, smart and ruthless. “He's a trained fighter, likely by the military,” he adds.
That's all, folks…