EXCLUSIVE: ‘Orphan Black’ Star Tatiana Maslany Shrugs Off Sci-Fi Stigma in Favor of Telling Good Stories

by Philiana Ng 12:06 AM PDT, June 16, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

If Tatiana Maslany had any say, sci-fi dramas would be getting a fair shake during awards season.

Maslany scored her first Emmy nomination for her impeccable work on BBC America’s ambitious clone drama, Orphan Black, in 2015, but the 30-year-old actress is well aware of the rarity of such an occasion.

“There is a weird stigma around sci-fi -- because it’s not straight drama, that there’s something arched about it,” Maslany tells ET. “Some of my favorite shows and some of the best acting is happening in sci-fi.”

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The Toronto-based actress mentioned such sci-fi fare as the British drama Black Mirror and the latest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, as being prime examples of rich storytelling. She even credited genre favorite, The X-FilesGillian Anderson, for being a genre trailblazer.

If there’s one thing Maslany is optimistic of, it’s that the perceived stain of sci-fi will go away. At least, that’s her hope. “That’ll change,” she says emphatically.

If Maslany had any worries over being typecast, she’s not sweating it. “I’ve done four movies since I’ve started Orphan Black and they’ve all been vastly different,” she says. (One of those films, Woman in Gold, co-starred Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.) “I don’t feel like I’m being pigeon-holed in that world at all.”

While many have fallen in love with Maslany’s innate ability to impressively portray nearly a dozen clones on Orphan Black, sometimes in the same episode, she’s always up for the challenge of doing more.

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“As long as we’re still telling interesting stories and haven’t done this clone before or the character is vital for some reason, then I’m all for it,” Maslany says, admitting it’s a fine line between making sure new clones don’t become “a gimmick.”

At the end of the day, the exhausting hours on set are worth it, Maslany promises, though it’s never easy letting go of the clones at the end of each season.  

“There’s always a bit of a grieving process, where I have to let go of certain mannerisms or character traits and put them out of your head,” she admits. “They mean a lot to me.”

Additional reporting by Stacy Lambe.

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