Orphan Black premiered last week with a blast from the past and a whole lot of Beth Childs. We haven’t seen Donnie or Alison Hendrix yet, but rest assured they will return shortly! In order to get ourselves ready for what’s to come, The TV Junkies spoke exclusively with actor Kristian Bruun about what’s to come for Donnie and his family in Season 4.
The TV Junkies: When we last saw Donnie and Alison, they were caught up in the drug trade and tangling with the Portuguese mafia. Where do we find them now?
Kristian Bruun: The main thing for Alison and Donnie right now is just to find some sort of safety for their family and try to get back the normal life that they had before all this clone craziness. We kind of left last season with the feeling that we’re safe in some way. That clone dinner scene was set up to do that, but of course, this being the world of Orphan Black, nothing is safe.
TTVJ: Donnie and Alison kind of exist outside of the main action sometimes. Are we going to see them stepping into the main action this season?
KB: Yeah, we will actually. That’s kind of the fun thing about being part of Clone Club, now that Donnie is kind of fully integrated. Alison has always wanted to keep her family separated from all that, just to keep things safe, but it’s kind of inevitable that we get dragged into things and this season we get to see Donnie branch out with who he work with on the show. We have a lot of fun stuff coming up with Donnie and Cosima, and even Donnie and Krystal which is a really fun pairing.
TTVJ: Speaking of Donnie and other clones, now that Helena is living with the Hendrixes and seeing as Donnie and Alison have had their own problems, what has throwing her into the mix done to that dynamic?
KB: I would definitely say that adds pressure to the relationship. Having a crazy new roommate–not only is it Helena, but it’s a pregnant Helena who is eating us out of house and home, so [laughs] there’s some fun pressure between Alison and Helena, and Donnie gets caught in the middle of it. And of course there are more hijinks with Donnie and Helena.
TTVJ: It seems sometimes like Donnie gets along better with Helena than Alison does, like he’s found a kindred spirit in Helena or vice versa. What do you think is behind that?
KB: I think it’s because it’s such an odd pairing. At first when Helena and Donnie meet, he’s very mistrustful of her and she’s certainly not what he thinks of as a stable normal human being, and then things kind of grow between them pretty quickly, both in her desire to find a family, but also just, she’s almost childlike. There are things she actually needs to survive and I think Donnie recognizes that and quickly accepts her as part of the family. It’s one of those pairings that shouldn’t work on paper but that’s what makes it work.
TTVJ: We as the viewers forget so often that these two characters [Alison and Helena] are played by the same woman. What is it like acting opposite Tatiana [Maslany], mostly as Alison and then as Helena?
KB: I spent two seasons working mostly with Alison and all of a sudden Helena showed up in front of me. It really throws you for a loop because you’re just always used to seeing your coworker in one character and then as soon as you start working with different iterations of her, you start to really see just how amazing she is at her job. It’s very quirky, it throws you at first, but that’s also kind of what makes the show so exciting. [Laughs] it always takes me a bit of time to get used to, but it doesn’t take long for me to recognize Tat in all the getup and we get up to our regular behind the scenes hijinks.
TTVJ: Speaking of hijinks, the Hendrixes are always getting into something crazy. Can you hint at any surprising situations they’ll be involved in this season?
KB: [Laughs] Well I will say this, I think one of the main themes of this season is the past and how it affects the future. Everybody on this show has done some questionable things in their past, and in some cases many questionable things, and I think we’re really going to see the characters, Alison and Donnie included, deal with their past indiscretions or some of them, and how they either hinder their future or help it.
TTVJ: What’s your favourite part about playing Donnie?
KB: He’s kind of a bumbling everyman. He’s a suburban dad and he’s meant to be or at least start of the series as being as milquetoast as possible, and then through this crazy world that we explore in the show, he is thrust into extraordinary situations that most average suburban men don’t go through. What makes it fun is the writers challenge me every year with situations that are completely more wild than the last season and it’s just so much fun to see what they come up with. I think what’s cool about Donnie is that he’s an easily relatable character for any North American, but to get to throw him into the most insane situations possible and see how he reacts to it is so fun to play.
And [the writers] don’t just rely on me for comedy all the time, they throw dramatic scenes at me, they throw the character a curve ball every once in a while, and you don’t normally get that with TV. TV can be really repetitive and this is such a well-crafted show that they want to keep growing every character. They could just spend all the time on five clones if they wanted to, but they cover all them, they cover all the auxiliary characters, and then we have a whole spate of new characters this year that are fantastic and really well cast, and they give them their due as well. It’s the most efficient television writing I’ve ever seen.
TTVJ: This is the fourth season of Orphan Black, and it seems like the popularity of the show grows with each season. What’s it been like being a part of that?
KB: It’s pretty amazing because we didn’t know what we had on our hands in the first season. I mean, we knew we had something special, but we just didn’t know what it was and how it was going to be received. Even with my character, they didn’t know if he was going to be in three episodes or six episodes, they just didn’t know where he was going and they were toying with killing him off at one point in the first season–and I’m glad they didn’t–but we’ve really become really close. We’re a family. We love coming back to work every fall because the crew is always there and they’re such a top notch crew and so much fun to work with. And they actually care about the show, which is rare to find, and you know you have something special when the crew really really cares about the show that they’re working on, they don’t just see it as an everyday job. So everybody hunkers down to these long hours and works super hard to create this show and make it work. It’s a very challenging show to work on, both technically and also in terms of the acting and the writing, so it’s a very exciting show to be a part of.
TTVJ: Well we’re definitely excited for Season 4.
KB: So am I! I think the fans are really going to love it.
What do you think Donnie and Alison will get up to this season? Let us know in the comments!
Orphan Black airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on Space and BBC America.
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.