Tatiana Gabrielle Maslany is a Canadian actress. She has starred in television series such as The Nativity, Being Erica and Heartland. In 2013, Maslany won an ACTRA for her role as Claire in the feature film Picture Day, and a Phillip Borsos Award for her performance in the independent film Cas & Dylan. Other notable films starring Maslany are Diary of the Dead and Eastern Promises, the latter of which she narrated. She is currently the series lead of the hit Canadian science fiction thriller series Orphan Black, for which she has received widespread critical acclaim; winning two Critics' Choice Television Awards, a TCA Award and a Canadian Screen Award and has also received Golden Globe and SAG nominations.
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Hey guys. It's me, Tatiana. You probably know me best from ORPHAN BLACK.
ORPHAN BLACK is on Saturdays at 9/8 central on BBC America.
Victoria will be assisting me via phone. AMA!
Update: Thank you guys for all your awesome questions! And hope we get to do this again soon.
What's it like to be repeatedly upstaged by Tatiana Maslany?
Alright I'll ask the real questions since nobody else is bothering to...
Question #1: How long does it take you in hair and makeup to transform into a scorpion?
Question #2: Did you end up getting any mangos?
Question #3: I still find it unbelieveable that characters like Allison and Helena are the same actress. How often do you surprise yourself when you watch back?
1.) giggles Long.
2.) Yeah, too many.
3.) Haha, I don't! I can always see it's me!
do you want mangoes?
But where are these mangoes?!
(This question could apply to any clone, but since she's the actress of the group) How would Allison get into character to play you?
She'd have to...eat a bunch of chocolate. And watch a lot of cartoons. Basically listen to the music that she loves also, which is shortness.
I noticed that you are now a producer on Orphan Black. What type of responsibilities come along with this new title? Does it give you the opportunity for more input in the creative process?
I've been really lucky to have always quite a collaborative relationship with John & Graham, who created the show. So the producing credit is a formality, but they've always been very good about letting me have a say in what the clones are doing, or how the new clones' personality will be - so they have definitely given me a lot of opportunity to have more say in that.
Who would you rather fight, a 100 mini Helenas or one giant Alison?
100 tiny Helenas!
Hey Tatiana, first of all I would just like to tell you how in awe I am of your performance on Orphan Black. Your acting has achieved something that almost no actor is able to achieve, full emotional investment from the viewer. The only other person in recent memory whose really been able to achieve that is Bryan Cranston with Walter White. The way you give so much life, realism and nuance to each girl is just incredible, and it’s made me fall in love with all four of them, and genuinely feel bad for the fifth.
So I have a few questions, feel free to pick & choose:
Do you think Beth still has a significant part to play in future events?
We now know that the story arch will likely come to a close in season 5. Where do you see it going?
I am of the generation cord-cutter. How can I support OB and get those numbers up while not having cable?
2 years of OB left, what’s next for you?
I know it’s been said so many times, and you’ve been so incredibly humble about it, but it’s a f**king joke with this whole Emmy snubs thing. Your performance is hands down the best on television.
P.S. Come by and say hi sometime to your friends over in /r/orphanblack
And for those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching it yet, I promise you, give it 60 seconds, that’s all it takes to hook you.
1.) I think John & Graeme - the producers and creators - are interested into delving more into Beth. Whether that be her actually being there, or her in stories - we got a little bit of insight into her from Art this last episode, so I'm sure we'll hear more about her.
2.) I don't know! And that's what I love about the show - is that I never really know where it's heading. I'm totally stupid when it comes to theories or anything like that, so I kind of feel like I'm an audience member and I get to just go along for the ride.
3.) I don't know! iTunes? Buy it on iTunes! Pay full price on iTunes!
4.) After ORPHAN BLACK? Oh! Hopefully some theater, or a movie, some chillaxing - oh god, don't put chillaxing - HAHA! And some traveling.
What do you think is each clone's favorite movie?
Oh, GREAT question!
Cosima's favorite movie is JURASSIC PARK.
Alison's favorite movie is WEST SIDE STORY.
Helena's favorite movie is CINDERELLA.
And Sarah's favorite movie is LA HAINE.
Rachel's favorite movie is CASABLANCA.
Hi Tat! Congrats on Orphan Black’s season four renewal! I’m obsessed with the show, and your acting prowess stuns me more and more with each episode. I can’t wait to see what twists and turns are up next!
What was it like the first time you did a multi-clone scene without Kathryn? You make it look natural, but I imagine it must have felt weird at first.
Also, ever since the Castor clones were revealed, I’ve been wondering: how do scenes with multiple clones from both projects come together (if there are any), and how difficult are they to film compared with Leda-exclusive multi-clone scenes? Filming the Clone Dance Party already seemed tedious enough as it was, so I can only imagine it must be even more arduous when scenes involve both Castor and Leda clones.
Thank you so much for doing this AMA!
I've never done one without Kathryn. She's always there. So... yeah. I've never done one without Kathryn.
I guess it feels a little bit like we get to share the burden of it? Ari's so good at her clone scenes. It just feels like at least we have a bit of an ally in it. Not that it makes it more difficult, but it's a new challenge.
Tatiana! Dude. I have to say, as a 19 y/o female, I didn't grow up with many ladies I honestly thought of as role models, but now I have you. and it's great. My question is: who is your lady role model? Fictional or real life. Also can you make me a mixtape? Deceptacon by Le Tigre has been my jam ever since you tweeted it. Thanks. - ariel (◍•ᴗ•◍)❤
Haha! Yes. I'll make you a mixtape.
And for me, my lady role models are Amy Poehler, Leela from Futurama, and Karen Oh, and Gena Rowlands.
Hi Tatiana! Thanks for doing this AMA. Your ability to play all your sestras is mind blowing.
As a gigantic Orphan Black and Parks and Rec fan, seeing you on Parks was a great day in TV history for me. My question is, what was it like being on Parks and Rec? Also, is Ron Swanson's mustache as glorious in person as it looks on TV?
Yes! It was incredible.
I'm terrified of him, Nick Offerman, because I think he's so funny and so dry. I didn't even know what to do, so I turned into a bumbling idiot, haha!
The craft services were AWESOME. They had like smoothies, and an omelette bar. It was very, very classy.
Hi Tatiana! One of the great things about the show is the diversity of relationships that the clones have.
It's a real riot, haha! It's great. You get to do all kinds of smoochin'.
I think that, well, Delphine and Cosima is a real pleasure for me. I love the relationship between Donnie and Alison. And I also love the relationship between Cosima and Scott.
Who's the best kisser?!?!?!
That is an outrageous question.
I refuse to answer.
I don't kiss and tell.
How do you feel about not getting nominated for every single award that exists? Because you totally deserve it.
I'm not too worried about it. It means more that the fans actually care about the show than any critics or panel of judges.
I just really wanted to express my gratitude towards you and your characterization of Rachel. Maybe it sounds strange, particularly considering what a polarizing (and often — i would argue unnecessarily demonized) character she is, but I found a lot of Rachel’s struggle with her own emotions and the dichotomy between her inner and outer lives in season 2 really resonated with me to the point where I relate to her perhaps more than I’ve ever related to another fictional character. I’m a young woman on the autism spectrum (which is a neurodevelopment disorder that is often invisible or misdiagnosed in women because of the differences in the ways in manifests in comparison to men with the same disorder) and I feel like a lot of the ways in which I express difficulty processing empathy and emotion were present in Rachel. Additionally, the movements of her hands and lips during very emotionally taxing scenes are very similar to a lot of “stims” that people with ASD use to self-regulate. Was this a conscious choice for you at all?
And for a completely unrelated question that I’ve been dying to know the answer to, what do Tony’s tattoos say?
Thanks for being constantly inspiring and just generally awesome as hell!
I love that you related to Rachel. It wasn't a conscious choice. I guess it was more just an instinctive thing that happened because Rachel, I feel, has a huge well of emotions that she doesn't know how to express, or she can't quite let out. So it's interesting that it has a link to your experience.
And I'm trying to remember what Tony's tattoos said... I think it was a name of someone. Can't remember who it was.
Do you ever watch the show and forget that it’s you playing all the clones like the rest of us do? I call this phenomenon being Maslany’d. Also, congrats on Season 4!
Definitely NOT. I'm always painfully aware that I'm there, and it's me. I hate watching myself!
i'm obsessed with Clone Club. if each clone were a Doritos flavour, which would they be?
Oh my god, are there other flavors besides Nachos?!?!?!
Helena would be... Flaming Hot Wings.
Cosima would be a Kale Chip.
Alison would be a plain Dorito, paired with a variety of nicely-made dips.
Sarah would be Cool Ranch Doritos that are expired.
Rachel would NEVER be a Dorito. She just wouldn't.
Would you ever consider going to a convention unannounced and cosplaying as one of the clones from Orphan Black to try to confuse your fans? On an unrelated note, Saskatchewan now has two awesome conventions … wink wink nudge nudge.
I think I'd cosplay as somebody else. I'd cosplay as like, Leela from FUTURAMA or Fry or something. If I went as one of the clones, it might be a bit of a giveaway.
Hi Tatiana! Big fan here.
I have there clone questions:
1.) They're all different for different reasons. This season, Rachel was particularly difficult because she's dealing with Aphasia, and she's sort of a fallen giant. So that was a big challenge for me. Any of them who have accents are hard.
2.) I love playing Alison. I love playing Helena - except when she has to eat terrible combinations of food. I love Cosima. They're all great.
3.) Hmmm. I think the one we did for the first episode of season 3, because it was a DOUBLE clone-acting-as-a-clone scene, so it was like, super-hard.
Hi Tatiana! My whole family watches Orphan Black, and we’ve been waiting for the opportunity to ask you a couple questions! Here it goes:
Is there anything you CAN’T do?
Have you ever seen Doctor Who? And if so, would you ever like to star on it?
Any tips for those interested in acting?
Haha! Uh, yeah. I can't cuddle animals, because I'm super-allergic to them. I can't go on rollercoasters, cuz I'll throw up. And I can't - what can't I do? - I can't sing publicly without a gun to my head, haha!
Um, I mean, I - the a responsibility of doing the show would be too much, I would definitely cave under the pressure, but I'm a HUGE Doctor Who fan.
Find some great classes, and get yourself, you know, scripts to read plays. Immerse yourself in learning the craft, and watching movies, and watching plays, and watching your favorite actors. And make sure that you do have a life outside of it.
Do you have any interesting stories from the set that only arose due to the technicalities of filming a scene multiple times?
The first three-clone scene we did took seventeen hours.
And that was after lunch. So we started shooting that after lunch. The day was ridiculously long.
The weirdest thing was being in the four-clone party scene and having to dance by myself.
Will you ever guest on Comedy Bang Bang TV show and/or podcast?
YES! A thousand times yes!
Hi! I would like to ask what kind of muffin did Helena eat when she was impersonating Beth in the police station?
Follow-up: how did it taste?
Follow-follow-up: did you finish said muffin?
Please and thank you and you're great.
Yeah, if there's food in front of me, I will always finish it, especially as Helena. And I think it was chocolate chip, and it tasted divine.
Hi there! If you could play just one of the current clones for the remain of the series, which one would it be and why?
OH THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE.
I hope they could all have spinoff series. Alison would be like, a suburban sitcom. Helena would be in some Ukrainian art house film. Sarah would be in a music video for M.I.A. Cosima would be in the remake of HACKERS. And Rachel would be in some corporate business video.
Do you have any habitual ways of unwinding after long shoots of playing multiple characters? Bourbon?
Bourbon, no, but burgers, yes.
Hello! There is a lot of discussion regarding cis actors playing transgender characters. How did you make sure you portrayed Tony in the most awesome, supportive way possible?
For me, it was really about letting Tony be himself, and not worrying that he get into a certain experience. That he was sort of an unconforming transman. That he wasn't defined by being trans, that he was more than that, and had multiple facets to his life and to his personality. And we're all just really aware of the politics of it, and obviously it's problematic for a cisgender person to be playing trans, but for us, the nature of our show is that I play the clones, and I'm cisgender, but we wanted to explore gender expression and how that relates to identity, because our show is that - it's a musing on identity.
Would you say that is a particularly difficult task being a producer?
For me, it's a really creative position, and it feels like an extension of what i already do on the show, which is offer input and ideas for characters and storylines.
What was it like working on Parks and Recreation ?
It was amazing!
It was a dream come true for me. I'm such a nerdy, nerdy, nerdy fan of Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones. So it was a TOTAL dream come true for me.
Hello Tatiana! Thanks so much for talking with us today. You are amazing on Orphan Black!
So I had heard that you might have been in the Star Wars spin-off movie Rogue One, but it seems now you won't be. Are you still interested in possibly being in a future Star Wars movie? I love Star Wars, and it would be amazing to see you in the Galaxy Far, Far away.
That would be a total dream.
They are film legends. So I would absolutely love to.
Which character did you find the most difficult to portray initially?
I think you're one of the most incredible and versatile actors of today.
Also, how are you doing today?
I'm great, thanks so much. How are you?
I found Alison to be the most difficult, initially.
Tat, Graeme mentioned you chose the lullbay Helena sings in episode 303, why did you chose that one? what is the meaning behind it?
I didn't choose it, one of our writers Chris Roberts chose it. He does AMAZING research. He found this poetic, dark lullaby that is sort of about a dream-thing beside a fence - like, the dream itself is sitting beside a fence. I have no idea what it means, but it meant so much to me in terms of who Helena is.
What other projects do you have coming up during the hiatus, or does Orphan Black require a year-round long commitment?
I just did a film called TWO LOVERS AND A BEAR. And it was directed by Kim Nguyen. And it's sort of an Arctic love story between myself and Dave DeHaan - we played two lost souls up in the Arctic. And it's a cool, cool movie - very surreal.
It's really nice of you to do an AMA here.
My girlfriend and I watch Orphan Black religiously and are in complete awe of your acting chops!
You more than anyone has made us realize what a profession acting really is. Thank you so much!
Okay, here are our questions:
Love from the Netherlands!
1.) I would be a...I'd love to work with kids. I'd love to be a teacher or something. For little guys and gals.
2.) Biggest surprise? I don't know. I guess the people who are aware of my work now are surprising to me. To meet directors, or other actors.
3.) I can speak a little bit of German. And I learned French in elementary school, but i haven't practiced it enough to say that I'm fluent.
What has been your oddest fan encounter?
I think the oddest fan thing was when we went to Comic-Con the first time and kinda didn't know that anybody watched the show?
And walked into an assault of love from the audience. It wasn't odd, it was just bizarre to us - totally surreal.
We had no idea that anybody really watched it!
Is it easier or harder playing disabled Rachel?
It's harder, for sure.
It's a really interesting challenge, because of where she came from, and how much power she thought she had before. Interesting to see her in this position of being at the mercy of other people.
Can you tell us if we will ever see Tony again on Orphan Black please?
Thank you for doing this AMA, and congratulations on your Season 4 renewal!
I'm not going to spoil if we see Tony again! But I sure hope we do.
Hi Tatiana! Thanks so much for being here today - your work on Orphan Black always amazes me. My coworkers and I all were dancing around the office today about S4 Renewal.
Do you have any dream roles to take on (theatre, film, or otherwise)? And do you have a favorite flavor of Jell-O?
Favorite flavor of Jell-O would be red flavor.
And dream role... hmmm.... God, there's loads of them! I don't know - I don't know if it exists yet.
Congratulations on the renewal!
My question: Is there any hope for Cosima and Delphine? Or another love interest for Cosima?
I'm not going to spoil that. But I will say that I think Cosima and Delphine - their love is extremely strong. And I hope that there's hope.
First, I’d like to both congratulate and thank you for what you do on Orphan Black. I keep forgetting that the clones are all played by the same person and I’m blown away by the level of detail you put into your performance. The big and little differences between each clone’s personality, way of talking and walking, etc are so impressive.
Here are a few questions, if you have the chance to answer them:
How hard is it to keep up with that many different characters to play?
I imagine that your workload is bigger than other actors in TV shows since you play more than 4 times as many characters. How is your schedule and how much time do you spend on Orphan Black compared to other actors?
Have you ever experienced any slip-ups, like talking like Sarah while playing Cosima for example?
How was your experience on Parks and Rec? Do you have a preference between drama and comedy?
Thank you for doing this AMA! I wish you good luck in the rest of your career, I hope to see you in many more projects :)
And here’s to many more seasons of OB!
1.) I don't know that it's hard to keep up? It's harder to slow down at the end of the night, and not keep bouncing off the walls, I think!
2.) I'm there pretty much every day, most every scene. Yeah. But Ari (who plays the Castor Clones) took a lot of the storytelling as well. So it was a bit more fairly divided.
3.) It's less talking like them, but more - just - I don't know - sometimes if I'm one clone pretending to be another, that's really where the mistakes happen. That's a fun time to have the mistake, because I kind of enjoy having them "stay" in the character!
4.) I love both. So some of both.
Hey Tatiana! My roommate met you yesterday when she was working at Porter (+ she says you're hella nice!).
I was thinking it must get overwhelming to have randos approaching you all the time though? Do you ever get used to it? Do you find yourself behaving differently in public now vs. before Orphan Black was a thing?
Bonus question: best 4am snack food in Toronto?
No, not really. I don't feel like I behave any differently. But it's like, always nice when somebody's a fan of the show and comes up and says hi.
I would say Bahn Mi Boys.
Thank you for the reply! Sorry if I was unclear. To clarify: what was it like the first time, after rehearsing the blocking with Kathryn, that you ran through a scene with her talking through an earpiece instead of physically being there with you?
That's really cool! I'm glad it's not as daunting as I'd thought.
Yeah, I was totally lost. It was like not knowing how to swim. I was totally, totally lost. But gradually I became way more used to doing that sort of bizarre thing with talking to myself in the middle of a room.
Hi Tatiana! My name is Tatianna, and I just wanted to say thank you for making my own name so awesome.
My question is, do you have any souvenirs that you keep from each of the characters you play?
I have the first costume that Sarah wore in season 1. I kept that.
Beer pong or flip cup?
Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC?
Lastly, what cancelled show would you like to see resurrected?
Huge fan. Thank you!
Whatever doesn't have drinking. Which one has no drinking?
Ummm....I think... at the time I was pretending to like the Backstreet Boys, but REALLY I liked *NSync.
VERONICA MARS is awesome. I'd like that to come back again.
I want to start out with a hard-hitting question. If you could be any inanimate object, what would you be?
A donut! Obviously!
What are a few songs you are currently listening to?
Currently - what am I listening to?
I'm listening to...these bands.
M.I.A., Kendrick Lamar, Jonesy and Alex. Perfume Genius.
Do you play video games at all? If so, do you have a favorite?
I used to play video games with my friend - I would try to force them to let me play with them. And it was TMNT and Mortal Kombat.
What is it like having a street named after you? Have you been there to see it yet?
No, I don't know that it exists just yet, but I can't wait to walk down it, and hopefully when I walk down it, there will be a popsicle stand on it!
What are some of your favorite movies? And I know you mentioned you enjoyed watching cartoons, what are some of your favorite animated series? Love you, love your work!
My favorite animated series are... ADVENTURE TIME, FUTURAMA, HOME MOVIES, and my favorite movies are A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE...and any movie I've seen up to now. LOST IN
TRANSLATION! And AMELIE.
And SHAUN OF THE DEAD!
What are your favourite tv shows to watch right now?
I just finished first season of SILICON VALLEY, which was awesome. So good. But also I've been watching - just started HALT AND CATCH FIRE... and lemme see here... I watched FARGO, that was awesome. And then INSIDE AMY SCHUMER. It's THE BEST.
what did you like most about recording 'Two lovers and a bear' in such a unique place? Love from Spain! Xx
The location was incredible. We were in the Iqaluit, Nunavut, and it was the most incredible place I've ever been. The people were amazing there, the food was amazing, the culture was amazing. A totally new experience with me. And I got to work with Dane DeHaan, and I was SO lucky to work with him. And the script is amazing. Just a very unique film.
Hi Tatiana, I'm a huge fan of the show. I've been following from the beginning, and I'm obsessed. My friends call you the Canadian Meryl Streep.
Anyways, with shows like Orphan Black, OitNB, etc. (shows lead by women - adult women) where do you see the industry headed when it comes to women's roles? There are a lot more interesting female characters on television now than there has ever been, I was wondering what your take on it is.
Who do you prefer: Cal or Daario?
Also, what are you streaming on Netflix right now?
Well, I hope that it's a thing that continues to grow, and that we don't get satisfied with where it's at right now, because it needs to change more. And I just hope that at some point, we don't notice that a show is led by women - people just see the story.
Hi Tatiana! What's your favorite episode of Broad City?
I loved the very last episode of season 2. I thought it was a perfect half-hour of television.
when playing PREGNANT Helena, is it a PILLOW inside or how does it work?
It's a pouffy foam belly with a bellybutton popped out.
Hi! What is your favourite book to read on set?
I don't have time to read a book onset. Haha!
does it scare/overwhelm you that there are funko pop dolls kinda based on your face? Lol Love from Spain! Xx
No, I love those dolls. They're awesome. Dream come true.
Do you see everything clone club do? (oops)
Dialect coach - Could one teach me to sound exactly like Sean Connery?
Um... I will ask my dialect coach and get back to you.
Hey Tatiana!! What was your favorite game to play as a kid?
I'm planning on visiting Toronto in the fall - any restaurant/bar recommendations?
Ba-ba-ba-bum... Portland Variety.
Hi Tatiana! I think you're a great actress! What is one of your best memories from working with Richard Dreyfuss?
He was SO much fun! He just made me feel like we were a couple of kids, being idiots, for a month. It was awesome. I just remember him constantly running to play, constantly coming up with new ideas, new gags, new lines, being improv'd, and he was just a little kid, the way he went about the work. It was really surprising and inspiring.
What is the best film you've recently seen?
Good question! It's a film called FORCE MAJEURE - that one was incredible. I loved that one.
I really need to ask what's with the Diego & Frida heading on your twitter? something that you like about them?
Yeah, I mean, I love her artwork so much, and I love the aesthetic of it.