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April 2, 2015 11:14 AM   Subscribe

The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany [New York Times]
In portraying a horde of clones on ‘Orphan Black,’ the actress has created TV’s strangest — and most sophisticated — meditation on femininity.
Previously. Previously. Previously.
posted by Fizz (53 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
I just started Season 2 and am playing catch up before Season 3 begins and I'm so excited. Tatiana Maslany is one talented individual.
posted by Fizz at 11:18 AM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


She is amazing and it's a crime she hasn't been nominated for an Emmy. I've never seen anything like her performances in Orphan Black.
posted by lalex at 11:26 AM on April 2, 2015 [15 favorites]


Seriously. You forget that she's just one person playing all those roles. It's phenomenal.
posted by something something at 11:28 AM on April 2, 2015 [26 favorites]


I watched the first 3-4 episodes of Orphan Black and then let it slide away. But it keeps getting stronger and stronger press as time goes on, and so I might need to actually sit down and watch the series. It appears to be pretty fascinating. And the little bit I know about the new season (because I'm not averse to reading about shows I'm not watching) tells me things are getting more tangled and interesting.
posted by hippybear at 11:30 AM on April 2, 2015


She was also insanely likable on Parks & Rec

(and she used to be my neighbor in Saskatchewan!)
posted by Cosine at 11:36 AM on April 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Nthing that you forget it's only one person. More than once I've found myself musing about how they cast people that look so much ali--waitaminute!
posted by kandinski at 11:38 AM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The most amazing scenes are where she's playing clone A pretending to be clone B and it's immediately apparent, just by her acting, which is which.
posted by signal at 11:42 AM on April 2, 2015 [45 favorites]


She's fantastic. Far better than the show she is in. It's like watching Pelé turn up to a knock-around in the park.
posted by sobarel at 11:43 AM on April 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


The most amazing scenes are where she's playing clone A pretending to be clone B and it's immediately apparent, just by her acting, which is which.

Sarah pretending to be Alison midway through S1 at the potluck is one of those "oh shit" moments when you realize how talented her acting truly is.
posted by Fizz at 11:49 AM on April 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


As the article mentions, Maslany has a background in long-form improv. Her shape-shifting work on Orphan Black made so much more sense when I learned this. She demonstrates the attention to detail, playfulness and fluid physicality that is common to many of the long-form improvisers that I know.
posted by vverse23 at 11:50 AM on April 2, 2015


The clone dance party that ended season 2 is not to be missed.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:51 AM on April 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


She demonstrates the attention to detail, playfulness and fluid physicality that is common to many of the long-form improvisers that I know.

What I love is how you can see its not just a voice thing but its also very physical, small ticks, posture, the she eats or drinks, each clone is distinct. It breaks your brain sometimes.
posted by Fizz at 11:51 AM on April 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


The thing that blows my mind is when she plays one clone pretending to be another, and it just reads like of course that's how Rachel would imitate Sarah.

I'm curious to see how Ari Millen handles his similar role this season.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:58 AM on April 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Nthing the love! Re: the dance party -- I read somewhere that Maslany uses dance to get into character, or shift character (a different dance move for every character) and maybe that helps explain the physicality of the differences (and how someone got the idea for the dance party).

Lord, I love this show!
posted by Mogur at 11:58 AM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]




In any scene where Rachel is not around one of the other clones I would swear that she's at least 5 years older than them, maybe even 10. This only breaks when I see her close up with one of the others and realize they still have the same face.
posted by komara at 12:08 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


The thing that blows my mind is when she plays one clone pretending to be another, and it just reads like of course that's how Rachel would imitate Sarah.

She's even able to play one of her clones, Allison, being a really bad actor in the way that Allison would be a really bad community theater actor. The whole thing is just so amazing.

I want spinoffs of this show. I want to see Allison and Felix in a single-camera sitcom.
posted by Naberius at 12:09 PM on April 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Related: Orphan Black FanFare
posted by Fizz at 12:14 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


She is amazing and it's a crime she hasn't been nominated for an Emmy

She did win best actress at the Canadian Screen Awards last year. Her acceptance speech was so heartfelt and charming!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:21 PM on April 2, 2015


I am SO EXCITED for the new season.

She's fantastic. Far better than the show she is in. It's like watching Pelé turn up to a knock-around in the park.

I agree with this. Some of the plots are really eye-rolling, but Maslany and Jordan Gavaris (Felix) make the show.
posted by desjardins at 12:25 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was delightfully surprised to find out that Jordan Gavaris does not have a British accent. (I was not surprised to find that he's thoughtful and kind and eloquent as evidenced in that interview.)
posted by komara at 12:38 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I want spinoffs of this show. I want to see Allison and Felix in a single-camera sitcom.

My fantasy is that Helene replaces Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:39 PM on April 2, 2015 [28 favorites]


I love this show to bits. The only thing that gives me any reluctance about S3 is that I've loved the way the show has focused on relationships between women (the clones, Mrs S, Kira, etc.) and for the most part the men are subsidiary and extra the way women are in men-oriented shows like most of the rest of tv. I don't want that to change.

Maslany's superior acting really does make the show and the guy who has the clone role on the other side is going to have a hard time standing up to her.
posted by immlass at 12:45 PM on April 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


she seems smart in interviews and the other actors on the show seem to genuinely like and respect her (and each other). (at 22:36)
tat is such an awesome person to act with. there are times when she's off camera and we're doing maybe donnie's coverage where she'll be saying and throwing lines at me, just improv-ing them bc she knows it's gonna get me to a certain place. like in the rehab when you were yelling at donnie for being such an idiot and for ruining the family. off camera... she was laying into me, but for real, and i was so scared, but she was just throwing lines at me that she knew would just cut me to the core, and she did and it just floored me and this wasn't on her coverage. you will never meet a lead actor who will do that to you on your coverage, it's incredible.
also a cute bit at 9 minutes where jordan gavaris (felix) imitates helena:
(jordan as felix) "what does helena think of felix?" and she looks at me, and like cranes her neck up so slowly and she says (jordan as helena) "do you want to know, or do you want to wonder?"
posted by twist my arm at 12:47 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


i can't to rewatch this with my new boyfriend.

other than Firefly and Futurama, i don't really rewatch TV shows.
posted by sio42 at 12:54 PM on April 2, 2015


It's a very good show indeed. My sole criticism (as a British viewer) is that her accent as Sarah is almost on the level of Dick Van Dyke in its awfulness, although it is gradually improving. Her other British accent (Rachel) is fine - not 100% convincing, but passable. I do wonder why they bothered to make Sarah speak with an Estuary English accent at all, given that Maslany doesn't have an ear for it - after all, it makes very little different to the plot. Jordan Gavaris's accent is just right - the speech pattern of someone from London who's been living in the US for a while.

Sorry, I'm an accent nerd.
posted by pipeski at 1:00 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


The article is quite a turnaround for the Times.

The article and the review you quote are written by different people. I'm pretty sure the Times is not required to maintain a unified and consistent position on the acting abilities of Tatiana Maslany.
posted by neroli at 1:02 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


The article and the review you quote are written by different people. I'm pretty sure the Times is not required to maintain a unified and consistent position on the acting abilities of Tatiana Maslany.

Yep - there are plenty of similar instances where two different NYT book or film reviewers have quite different takes on the same subject.
posted by aught at 1:16 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


My fantasy is that Helena replaces Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

"Thees Sandvich?"
*TAKES GIGANTIC BITE, CHUNKS OF SANDWICH FALL TO FLOOR*
"Es Good Sandvich."
*LICKS FINGERS*
*TAKES VERY LARGE DRINK OF MILKSHAKE*
"I like Milkshake, too."
posted by leotrotsky at 1:23 PM on April 2, 2015 [48 favorites]


I should watch this? I should watch this.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:58 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


My fantasy is that Helena replaces Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

I wouldn't mind watching an all Clone version of MasterChef where they all compete against one another in cooking related challenges.
posted by Fizz at 2:00 PM on April 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


her accent as Sarah is almost on the level of Dick Van Dyke in its awfulness

YOU TAKE THAT BACK.

No seriously, accent and linguistics nerd here too, and nobody comes anywhere near the level of "nope" Dick Van Dyke brought to his "accent" in Mary Poppins. Sarah's accent isn't as good as others', but Maslany may as well be native in comparison to Dick Van Dyke.
posted by tzikeh at 2:16 PM on April 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


My fantasy is that Helena replaces Guy Fieri on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.

Only after she defeats him in one-on-one combat first. On the show, so we can all watch.
posted by tzikeh at 2:18 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Only after she defeats him in one-on-one combat first. On the show, so we can all watch.

Man, as soon as Helene jumped on Fieri's back, clinging to him like a monkey, there'd be a critical mass of weird blond hair.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:22 PM on April 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'd also like to shout out for Kathryn Alexandre, who also plays all of the clones on the show. You might not know her, since she is digitally composited out of every scene. She did have a non-clone role in one episode, but is otherwise entirely unseen in the show.
posted by autopilot at 2:35 PM on April 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


Sarah's accent isn't as good as others', but Maslany may as well be native in comparison to Dick Van Dyke

OK, point taken. Maybe a comparison with Bob Hoskins' New York accent would have been more equivalent.
posted by pipeski at 2:39 PM on April 2, 2015


Also? All of my sockpuppets are written by Tatiana Maslany. I don't know how she does it.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:46 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


neroli: " I'm pretty sure the Times is not required to maintain a unified and consistent position on the acting abilities of Tatiana Maslany."

Right, and it's about time they did have a consistent position, and that position should, by law, or at least style guide, be 'TM is the awesome', no?
posted by signal at 2:49 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maslany's superior acting really does make the show and the guy who has the clone role on the other side is going to have a hard time standing up to her.

This was my largest apprehension when the male clones were revealed. Will the other actor be able to live up to Maslany's performance or will he sink the ship? On his own, I've not found him terribly compelling.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 3:14 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


On his own, I've not found him terribly compelling

Nor me. There was some speculation last year about whether there were male clones, and if so, who it would be, and I never even thought of that character at all; to me he was just slightly-weird wallpaper. Of course, the other option would have been Beth's boyfriend/Rachel's boytoy Paul, who is nowhere near good enough to play multiple roles. So I guess I should be happy?

Enver Gjokaj would have been great as a clone, though: he was amazingly flexible and compellign in Dollhouse.
posted by suelac at 3:23 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Hm, yes, but I don't know that Mark was supposed to be compelling, necessarily, due to his role in being involved with the Proletheans - keep your head down and do what they tell you (plus they didn't know at the start of the season that they'd be picking Ari Millen as their male clone), don't stand out too much. The one male clone - Rudy? - I've seen talking in the trailers for the run-up to this season has creeped me right the heck out, though.

But yeah. Tatiana Maslany is just splendid and fascinating to watch. I keep absently watching Twitter and thinking I'm not following enough of the OB cast because I'm not following all the clones and...oh, right.
posted by angeline at 3:27 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Maslany on strong female characters:
"I don’t want to see a robotic woman in a cat suit who can kick ass."

Yes!
posted by Monochrome at 3:33 PM on April 2, 2015


That (unfair I think) review upthread that makes a comparison with Alec Guinness does at least give me an opportunity to suggest that everyone should seek out Kind Hearts and Coronets if they haven't already. Guinness plays eight members of the D'Ascoyne family - including Lady Agatha - and it's black as pitch, sharp as a needle and hi-bloody-larious.

Something to do until Orphan Black comes back on in any case!
posted by sobarel at 3:45 PM on April 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Something to do until Orphan Black comes back on in any case!

April 18 is the Season 3 premiere date in case anyone was wondering.
posted by Fizz at 4:08 PM on April 2, 2015


It makes me happy that Maslany seems like a really cool, smart person -- just fun and chill (the "thumbs up" in the "mani cam" is a perfect example).

I'm pretty curious to see what direction the show goes in with the male clones but I am willing to trust it.

One of the things I've loved about the show -- as the NYT article touches on -- is how it respects all the different options women have. All the clones are more or less the same age, but being a soccer mom is no better or worse than being a science geek or a street punk. Another show would make Sarah the absolute heroine (in terms of your typical kickass "strong female character" mode) and, in effect, make the others seem lesser. This show doesn't do that. All these women are complex and interesting. Their lives put them in different circumstances, put them in different places, but they're all equals.

(I also think, slyly, it's commenting on how women on screen are often treated as interchangeable. It's several different roles but just one actress.)

Anyway, I love this show. I hope to rewatch all of it before the new season.
posted by darksong at 6:06 PM on April 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Just one thing will make it perfect, please please please have just one more *swedish* clone turn up.
posted by sammyo at 7:44 PM on April 2, 2015


Gee, thanks, now I've had a vision of Maslany doing the Swedish clone in the voice of the Swedish Chef.
posted by plastic_animals at 8:25 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I petered out during the first season due to getting bored with the increasingly ornate plot complications, but thought her acting some of the best in a series I have seen. (As well as being incredibly beautiful, of course.) I am hoping that she gets more of the movie and premium tv roles that her skills deserve.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:59 PM on April 2, 2015


I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread: I thought Tatiana did a great job presenting as masculine when playing Tony. I mean the physicality of that has gotta be hard as hell when you didn't grow up or spend years studying/understanding how to carry yourself (or more accurately how society expects that you would carry yourself, I suppose) but I feel like she nailed it with just as much precision as the other roles.

[not to mention the great job the show's writers and producers did with having Sarah Manning be like, "sure, clone brother. Got it." and just rolling with it, no explanation or character freak-outs necessary.]
posted by komara at 9:12 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I actually didn't think Tony was well-done. That's the only clone that didn't ring true for me and, frankly, broke my suspension of disbelief. I applaud the effort but I'd be fine with Tony staying gone or in the background.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 5:26 AM on April 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I so want to see Fenix in a Price biopic.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:33 AM on April 3, 2015


Yeah, I wanted to like Tony and I think Maslany did a find job with it. The styling was just off for me. I admire the attempt but I don't think it quite worked.

I did like how it wasn't a thing for the characters on the show, though, and Felix's subtle pronoun correction was delightful. (Later, we should have a Jordan Gavaris appreciation thread. He's the essential heart of that show and helps keep it grounded. I come for Maslany and stay for Gavaris.)
posted by darksong at 5:51 PM on April 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


As someone raised in America who moved to London far too late to have any real effect on his accent, I have to agree that comparing Maslany's accent to Dick van Dyke's is beyond the pale. Ol' Dick may as well have been going "Meep mohhhrp meep I ahhhhr Breeteesh!" for all the care put into it. Notice that they didn't even have him try in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. When old acquaintances ask me in e-mail if my accent has changed, I always reply "Oh yeah, I sound just like Dick van Dyke...in Never A Dull Moment!"

Far worse, of course, is My Fair Lady: it's a musical about accents and one lead can't sing and the other can't get the accents right!

But yeah, Gavaris put the work into it. Definitely sounds like that modern estuary-soaking-up-west-indies-and-american-rap-stylings that's beginning to knead a hint of a midwestern drawl into it. Pitch-perfect!

But I don't quite buy that kids who moved when they were nine would still sound like that, especially when raised by a woman with such a stubborn vestigial brogue.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:57 AM on April 5, 2015


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