If Tatiana Maslany had to say goodbye to the extended Clone Club of characters she plays on Orphan Black, at least she got to give each of the DNA-sharing sisters a proper send-off.
As the series for which shes won a shelf full of acting trophies for her jaw-dropping range draws its fifth and final season to a close on Aug. 12, Maslany tells Mashable that after completing her final scene with each of the central characters she portrays, the production crew enabled her to say goodbye to every clone after the cameras stopped rolling and her emotional reaction to those farewells was surprising, even to her.
As production neared the end, did you get to call a wrap on each one of your characters individually?
Yeah, we did. It was sad. It was weirdly sad saying goodbye to each individual. I think there was a week there where every night was somebody different. Different crew members were sad to say goodbye to this clone, or sad to say goodbye to this one. So it was a real intense process.
Did you get to keep at least some little talisman for each one of them?
Yeah, I did. Ive got Cosimas glasses. I have some outfit from Sarah. Theres little things that I kept.
As this journey got underway, there were so many different facets of humanity that you were learning how to access to play each of these characters. What was that like?
I feel like thats always been the thing that Ive been interested in, which is characters, whether theyre like me or not. I think thats the natural state of an actor, is to try to walk in peoples shoes, and understand their lives, and empathize.
I think thats whats so great about the art form, is that at the best of times, it can be about empathy, and about connection, and understanding, and telling stories that dont necessarily get the light that other stories get. So yeah, its a total joy for me. I always want to do that.
How did it change you?
I think its just opened up my palette in terms of the kind of characters I can believe I can play… Just sort of showed me that its limitless. We all have the capacity to be so many different things. Im just lucky I get to do that.
How much were you told about the final season’s plot? How much did you learn along the way, and, once it was all said and done, how did you react to the story?
The ending is complicated, and I think always difficult for a series to end. But I think we went out in a really Orphan Black way, which is about the human beings at the center of this sort of big conspiracy, this larger mystery.
I didnt know too much going in. I knew little bits here and there. The joy of our show is that a lot of it is written as its kind of happening, because thats just how the writers room works, and its very organic, and fantastic.
How do you hope to keep challenging yourself after something this demanding and insane?
I think work-wise, its never going to be this kind of work. For me, Ive been shooting films between seasons of Orphan Black, and each of them has posed a different challenge to me, whether its an emotional depth, or exploration that Ive never done before, a character whos very far from me, or a relationship thats deep and complicated.
Its all a challenge. I never take a job that I feel like, Oh yeah, thats easy. I dont think that exists for me! Ive been working since I was nine, and Ive made myself interested, regardless of what the subject matter or the material was, because Im a working actor, and thats what you do. Ive been very lucky.
Orphan Black‘s series finale airs August 12 at 10 p.m. on BBC America.
Watch: How Orphan Black brought its crazy clone sequences to life