Saturday night’s heartbreaking episode of Orphan Black bid farewell to resident heartthrob, Paul Dierden (Dylan Bruce). Just when we were starting to peel back the layers on this man of mystery, too. Paul definitely went out with a bang: he had just enough time to confront Dr. Coady (Kyra Harper) about her dirty deeds and break Sarah (Tatiana Maslaney) out of prison, before he was stabbed multiple times and riddled with bullets. What a way to go.
Luckily, Canadian actor Dylan Bruce was on hand to help walk us through the latest Orphan Black death. Here, in an exclusive Canadian interview with The TV Junkies, he dishes on his conversations with showrunner Graeme Manson leading up to the big moment, his Clone Club fanboy within and an exciting new project that will have him back on our TV screens soon–barring a Helena-like revival on Orphan Black of course!
The TV Junkies: Who was Paul Dierden really?
Dylan Bruce: My intuition is that Paul was a part of the Castor Project from the beginning and the reason why he played the double agent and infiltrated the Leda experiment was to help find a cure for these Castor boys. These are men he served with, men that he cared about, a project he was deeply invested in. All the stuff you saw him do in the first two seasons that were very questionable, even malicious at times, were because he cared so much about this project.
TTVJ: How much of that was revealed to you when you first jumped into this character?
DB: They didn’t tell me anything in Seasons 1 and 2. Everything was very close to the vest. I really did not know the direction of the character. I had a lot of fun playing him and I had a lot of fun guessing, but it didn’t become clear to me until the end of Season 2 when you find out that he was a double agent and he was doing these things for a reason and he was part of the military still. I loved that revelation, it was amazing.
TTVJ: When did you find out you were going to die?
DB: I knew from the start of Season 3. I actually initiated the conversation with Graeme Manson. I just went up to him one day and said, ‘I’m going to die, aren’t I?’ and he was like, ‘Yep.’ [Laughs] And then we had a really nice talk at his house over a couple glasses of wine and my only request of him was to make [Paul’s] death impactful. I wanted to make sure he was going to do right by the character and let the audience see that this guy was a good guy. But yeah, getting shot twice, stabbed and blowing yourself up–I couldn’t have asked for a better exit.
TTVJ: It was a bit of overkill, no? It was kind of extreme!
DB: It was overkill, but at the same time I guess we don’t want to leave the audience thinking this guy is still alive. He’s dead. He’s very dead. Unless, in Season 4 they make Paul do a RoboCop and collect all his limbs that are probably scattered throughout the Rendition camp [laughs]. But I loved it! It reminded me of Willem Dafoe on Platoon or Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now. It was such a heroic way to go.
TTVJ: And it seemed like Paul was betrayed by his own side in the end.
DB: He was. He was betrayed at the highest levels of the military complex. But there’s no better way to go than sacrificing yourself, not only for the greater good of mankind–because Dr. Coady’s plans to weaponize the virus would have had huge repercussions–but also to right all the wrongs he did against the Leda girls and the guilt he felt over Beth’s suicide.
TTVJ: And that scene where Paul tells Sarah “It was never Beth that I loved,” We suspect we know what that means, but we want to hear you say it!
DB: Um, it was never Beth that I loved? What a manly way to say I love you, right? [Laughs] I mean, like, come on dude, just say ‘I love you!’ But I loved that. He was at the point where he just had to let her know his feelings and our wonderful director Helen Shaver gave me every opportunity to get that powerful moment right. We must have done it about 40 different ways and I hear there wasn’t a dry eye in video village, so I was like, ‘OK, I must have done my job.’ But yeah, he did love her.
TTVJ: As amazing as that moment was, our other favourite moment of the episode was that dream scene between Sarah and Beth. Seeing as Paul was the character with the most connection to Beth, albeit offscreen, what did you think?
DB: I remember reading that scene and I remember it just being a beautiful scene on the page between Tatiana and Tatiana [laughs]. I love that we’re finally giving the fans a glimpse into Beth’s world. I remember Beth saying something about how she and Paul first met and how she really fell for him. That just gutted me and it lent itself to everything that Paul does later on in the episode.
TTVJ: Is Paul Team Castor or Team Leda?
DB: He’s not Team Castor after this episode, that’s for sure. When he found out they’re trying to weaponize that virus and what they’re doing to women, using them as their test subjects, it just goes against everything he morally stood for. He thought he was trying to cure these men, cure his brothers in arms, and when he finds out the exact opposite is happening, he’s definitely Team Leda.
TTVJ: Now that Tatiana Maslany isn’t the only one playing multiple characters on Orphan Black, what was it like working with Ari Millen in his role as these Castor clones?
DB: Ari’s great, I had so much fun working with Ari. He did a great job. He was really just thrust into this, obviously following the lead of Tatiana Maslany, who is arguably the best actress on television–she’ll kill me for saying this, but I don’t see anyone outside of Meryl Streep being able to portray these characters like Tatiana can–but he did a great job. He stepped up. [Ari] plays the Castor clones with a creep factor that I don’t think a lot of actors could do either. It was a joy working off him and Tatiana in the same season.
TTVJ: What are you going to miss most about playing Paul Dierden and being a part of such an amazing show?
DB: He was such an unpredictable character and he’s so complex. I’m going to miss that. I love our military, Canadian and American, I respect the troops so much, and the research that I was able to do for this character really elevated that respect. I’ll miss playing a badass. I’ll miss playing with all my wonderful costars and being on set with an amazing crew. Everyone cared about working on the show so much and it made it a joy to come to work everyday.
TTVJ: And will you be watching the show as a fan from now on?
DB: Absolutely! I’m such a huge fan of Orphan Black. I think it’s a groundbreaking show, there’s nothing like it on television. I fanboy out over my costars probably more than a lot of the Clone Clubbers do. They’re all such wonderful people and I just root for them in life and in work.
How did you feel about Paul’s shocking death? Let us know in the comments!
Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America and Space.
Hermione Wilson is a Junkie when it comes to all things Orphan Black, Game of Thrones and Supernatural, the show that introduced her to classic rock. She is a graduate of Humber College's journalism program, a current staff writer at Dovetail Communications, and an avid reader of sci-fi novels.