It may have been a couple years since the last episode of Orphan Black aired, but thanks to HomeCon 2.0, Clone Club members who have been missing the show were in for a nice treat this Saturday. HomeCon, the virtual fan convention started by Lost Girl cast members Rachel Skarsten and Paul Amos, reunited members of the cast for a panel to discuss their time on the show. The panel, which was available to view for free on HomeCon’s Twitch channel, featured Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Kristian Bruun, Ari Millen, and Kevin Hanchard, and marks the start of a big weekend for the cast, as they will also reunite Sunday for an online table read of two episodes.
Many topics were covered during the panel, including some stories about the actors’ auditions for their roles, as well as going in depth a bit behind the scenes explaining all the technical details involved in shooting scenes where multiple Maslany clones appeared. Bruun also shared some fun moments about how his character, Donnie Hendrix, was originally supposed to die at the end of Season 1, but thanks to that infamous glue gun interrogation scene, he thinks he swayed writers to keep him around for longer.
However, the most personal and impactful moments from the panel happened when the topic of conversation turned to what each actor learned and took away from their characters. For Maslany, she found most interesting the way the show “was starting with archetypes that are quite stereotypical, and we’ve seen them a thousand times on television, especially for women. To be able to, over seasons, break apart what’s actually going on inside of that person and why those archetypes are the defense mechanism,” is what really stayed with her. She went on to explain that with characters like “Krystal, or with Alison, or with Helena, it was quite easy to go, ‘Oh, that’s that kind of brand of woman.’ It was really fun to get to destroy those expectations and play against those expectations and do the opposite.”
Maslany also brought up the way Orphan Black really showed how important it was to have queer characters on television. “One of the biggest lessons I learned with Cosima was just how important visibility, representation, and queer characters being multi-faceted, how much that impacts viewers and audiences, and how important those stories are to people’s identities and lives.” She said that telling those types of stories is what helped bond and make the show’s fandom, known as Clone Club, so strong. “Why Clone Club is such a tight-knit, amazing community is that they all hold on to each other in all of it, and really see each other, and support each other,” Maslany said.
Hanchard, who played Detective Art Bell, said “working with the clones themselves taught me about how complex people are. They are genetically identical, but yet so vastly different.” Through the clones, he was able to see “how weird and wonderful” human beings truly are. “Every time Tat would come out as a different character, you would see the same person, and they are all parts of Tat,” he explained, before adding “they are parts of her personality that come out in these characters.”
For Gavaris, playing Sarah Manning’s foster brother Felix brought about some very personal lessons as well. “I came out when I was 19, but hadn’t spoken about it public during the course of the show,” he said. Gavaris said that is something that became increasingly hard not to do as the show went on. For one reason, it’s because he was “so impressed with his voice and his fullness of self. He just was who he was, with no apology. That was something that I really loved about the character and the thing that appealed to me most when I went to go play the character for the first time. I didn’t have to apologize for anything and I feel like I’m constantly apologizing for myself in life.”
He said that Felix “taught me that I’d like to have more of that in life.” Gavaris said it’s “part of what drove me to become a more political voice or a more accidental activist.” He said that Felix “really inspired me. Playing him inspired me to just settle into myself a lot more. If he could love himself so unabashedly, then I could as well.”
Thoughts on the Orphan Black HomeCon panel? Add them below!
HomeCon 2.0 is running on the Twitch platform May 16 – 17, 2020.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.