Orphan Black: Skyler Wexler Talks Growing Up On Set and What’s Next

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Kira has been an integral part of Orphan Black‘s narrative since the show began, and continues to be until the finale on August 12. Skyler Wexler, who has played for the role of Kira last five years, has grown up with the series. The TV Junkies spoke with Wexler about her experiences on the set of the hit show, what she thinks about clones, and what she wants to be when she grows up.

The TV Junkies: Could you tell me the story of how you got the part of Kira?

Skyler Wexler: I remember that my agent, he called me one day and said “You have an audition.” And so I went in and I actually met Tatiana [Maslany]. They had already cast her by the time I got to audition. My mom and dad were actually on a trip when [my agent] called and said that I had got the part. I was really excited because it was the first part I had gotten in a while. I had never really done a full big TV show before and I had never had a lead role in a TV show. I made a lot of friends on the show – young, old – many friends. The actors, the crew, they’re all really nice. They’re like family to me.

TTVJ: What was it like being the only kid on set most of the time?

SW: There are other kids but not many of them. I know Cynthia [Galant] who plays Charlotte, I know Millie [Davis] – she plays Gemma, and also…I don’t really know her name, but I met her when she came to do some schooling with me [off set]. She was the one with cancer who Cosima was trying to fix [Aisha Yasin, played by actress Sirena Gulamgaus].

TTVJ: Kira seems like she’s been through a lot in the last few years – she’s move around a lot, she met her dad – and it seems like this season she’s going through her rebellious teenage years. Have you played her differently this season?

SW: Yes. She’s sort of realized that she can get away with more, I guess. She realizes that she’s not being forced to listen to her mom, so she’s not going to. She’s very curious, she’s basically an explorer – she want’s to know everything about everything [laughs].

TTVJ: What was your favourite scene to shoot in the whole series so far?

SW: The scene in the first season when I got hit by the car.  I know it was a sad scene but it was my favourite one to act out.

TTVJ: Why?

SW: Because it was just something different for me to do. I’d never really had to act like I was badly hurt before and I had to do a lot of coaching. It was really fun for me because I got to learn so much. And the hospital scenes too are my favourite, like the scene where I was doing the surgery to get Cosima better, to get my bone marrow. That scene was really fun because staying in character was really hard and I learned a lot from that. Also me and Tatiana got a really cool selfie together and made really silly faces, so that was really fun.

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TTVJ: How do you deal with all the different versions of Tatiana, all the different clones she plays?

SW: You just treat them like different people.

TTVJ: Would you want to have a clone?

SW: I’ve wanted a twin sister before. All I have is a brother right now – he’s my best friend, but I’ve never really been able to sharing anything with him because he’s younger than me, first of all, and he’s a boy [laughs]. I love my brother, don’t get me wrong! But I’ve wanted a twin sister before, but I probably wouldn’t want a clone.

TTVJ: Really? How come?

SW: Because I find it almost creepy, but having a twin sister, fraternal or identical, would be really cool. I actually have cousins who are fraternal twins and I just think how they get along is really cool and how they can tell each other anything. I’m actually at the cottage with them now.

TTVJ: What’s your favourite part about being on Orphan Black?

SW: Meeting all the other actors when they come in. We have a greeting ceremony and it’s really fun.

TTVJ: What’s the greeting ceremony?

SW: Whenever we meet a new actor, one of the producers, director or one of the crew members will take them from their trailer to the set and say “This is the set” and each actor will be hiding in some part of the set and say “Hi! This is where I live!” or something like that and they’ll tell the new actor a bit about that part of the set. There’s also a really fun holiday that we did every year. Tatiana and the other actors and the crew members would throw me a giant Halloween party. They told me to come to set early on Halloween and I would take my costume, I’d get ready and Stephen [Lynch, makeup designer/key makeup artist] would do my makeup, and all the hairdressers would do my hair and I’d be fully decked out. Then I would go from trailer to trailer and set to set trick-or-treating.

TTVJ: Nice!

SW: Yeah, and sometimes they would put pumpkins outside my trailer.

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Bell Media

TTVJ: I’ve seen you singing on YouTube and I hear you’ve been doing that for a long time. Is that something you enjoy doing when you’re not acting?

SW: Well, my dream is to be on Broadway. I tried out for Mathilda before and I tried out for Les Miserables a while ago for Young Cosette. I started singing on my own and then I told my mom I wanted to take lessons, so I started take lessons with Marla Joy. She’s really awesome; she taught me a lot of technique, singing songs, we do shows together sometimes. My dad is also a singer. I was at his house the other day and he invited me to sing with his band.

TTVJ: Did you find time to go to school while you were on Orphan Black?

SW: My school is pretty flexible, that’s actually one of the reasons why we chose that school this year. They were OK with me going to set as long as I was doing homework on set when I had free time. So that was what I did, and I had a tutor on set, her name was Katelyn and she’s probably my favourite teacher ever!

TTVJ: Since Orphan Black is about biology and genetics, are you learning anything about that?

SW: I want to be a doctor when I get older, I want to be a neurosurgeon, so yes. I love sciences. I learned about cloning DNA and how they’re trying to make a certain needle, like the needle Cosima has put in her on the island. They’re trying to make one that can actually clone frog DNA and recreate some dinosaurs that aren’t carnivores.

TTVJ: Like Jurassic Park!

SW: Yeah, I read about that in a book.

TTVJ: So what’s next for you, Skyler? 

SW: I’ve been working on my singing. I’ve been doing a few auditions which is really cool. I want to continue my acting for sure.

TTVJ: Any final words about your time on Orphan Black?

SW: I learned at least two things from every single person on set there. I learned a lot – about acting, cloning, science, learning lines – so not only was it a lovable experience, it was a learning experience.

What are your thoughts on the adorable Kira? Share them with us in the comments below!

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET on Space Channel and BBC America.

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