The multiple clone characters Tatiana Maslany plays in BBC America's "Orphan Black" might look alike, but they definitely don't act the same.
That meant Maslany had to create histories, attitudes, accents and mannerisms for each of the very different clones viewers will meet throughout the season. Part of that process, the Canadian actress told me during a recent phone interview, involved making music playlists for each of the clones she plays.
"I played around with music, different playlists for each character, soundtracks that I felt would move me in a different way," she said. "I picked songs that were kind of heartbeat of that character, the kind of physical rhythm of that character, or the emotional rhythm or the verbal rhythm."
Maslany will share exclusively with RedEye during the season some of her character playlists and the reasons she chose the songs. I'll kick things off with the music she chose for her main character, Sarah, a young Toronto woman now posing as Beth, the detective who committed suicide in front of Sarah--and is the first of her clones she encounters:
- "Breathe," Prodigy
- "Straight to Hell," The Clash
- "Stop Dat,"
- "Graftin'," Dizzee Rascal
- "Turn the Page," The Streets
"Prodigy is what I feel Sarah would dance to. That opening riff became her pulse when I was filming; it just sunk me into her somehow. Kinda dangerous, sexy, animal," Maslany said in an email, adding, "Dizzee and The Streets are both UK rappers who tell stories that fleshed out Sarah's universe for me--where she grew up, how she lived."
You can listen to the playlist on Spotify, where we will add new songs each time we share Maslany's character playlists.
Music wasn't the only key to getting inside the heads of each of her clone characters. Maslany offered some insight into her acting process with the explanation below.
"In the early stages it was about looking at the world view of the character--the way they see the world--because that, to me, is so much of what makes us us," she said. "How I see the world determines how I move around in that world, how I respond to that world, how I receive it. If I risk it with openness, with guardedness, with distrust, with an analytical approach, with an emotional [or] an empathetic approach.
"So it was about defining that and from there--once I kind of had like the seed of that person--I played around with music ... Then I worked with dialect as well. And then I just played, just let myself be open to finding new mannerisms that kind of came out of nowhere or new ways of speaking dialogs that came out organically from the kind of intellectual work that I'd done.
"I just did all kinds of exploration as far as animal work goes. Deciding what animal each character could be. And just kind of letting myself play. It was so much about that--which is what actors do. We kind of go back to that place of childhood openness, or hope that's where we go. So for me it was tapping back into that openness."
Come back next week to hear the playlist for soccer mom clone Alison, who we met in tonight's episode, "Instinct." Maslany also tells us the trick behind filming a scene in which clones Sarah, Alison and geeky Cosima meet face to face--and Maslany is playing all three roles.
"Orphan Black" is back at 8 p.m. CT April 13 with a new episode, "Variation Under Nature."