Orphan Black EPs on Paul and Sarah's Twisted Romance, Big Alison Episode and More Clones
TVLine chatted with creator Graeme Manson and exec producers Ivan Schneeberg and David Fortier to find out if Sarah and Paul are developing real feelings for each other, whether more clones are on the way and much more.
TVLINE | What was the thinking behind the clone element? That’s a huge undertaking for a TV show.
GRAEME MANSON | I was really interested in it psychologically. We thought the nature-nurture question was really rich territory story-wise. For John [Fawcett], my partner [on] the director side, he was really excited by the visual challenges and the technical side of things, but also the fun of doppelgangers and switcheroos and that kind of thing that we like to do on the show.
TVLINE | When you have shows like this that are very mythology driven, there can be some hesitation or worry on the part of the audience about where it’s all going. Is there a show bible in place?
MANSON | We certainly had a season bible, and we have a big picture plan. We know where it’s going, and we have a lot of the answers. It’s just a matter of where those answers fall. They’re more like tentpoles along the way, and we have some big Season 2 [and] 3 ideas.
TVLINE | The execution of this show really hinges on your lead actress. David and Ivan, having worked with Tatiana [Maslany] on Being Erica, you obviously knew she had talent. But did you realize just how crazy talented she was?
IVAN SCHNEEBERG | The short answer is yes. … It’s immediately noticeable when you work with her that she’s an extremely talented actress. Frankly, very, very early on, we had a sense that she could be the right one to take on this role. And when she auditioned, that became clear to all of us.
DAVID FORTIER | Ironically, we were trying to think of things we could do with Being Erica because [it] had its own challenges in terms of keeping the stories fresh and trying to keep on building on the mythology. We had high hopes that if Being Erica was to continue, to make Tatiana a focal point of the series just because of how talented she was and what she brought to the show.
SCHNEEBERG | [To play these roles on Orphan Black] day after day, week after week, episode after episode, it’s one thing to pull it off, especially on a one-time basis, but to do it consistently it really is… There’s just an element of stamina that most people don’t have.
TVLINE | Do you have a favorite clone to write for?
MANSON | I’m a big Cosima fan. I like writing Alison, but I really, really love Cosima.
TVLINE | What’s in store for this Saturday’s episode?
MANSON | We spend a little more time with Alison, and we take Sarah to the suburbs, which is interesting. Obviously, some confluence of events from last week are continuing. All of the suspicions are continuing. It’s a really fun and very individual episode.
TVLINE | Paul and Sarah are really starting to grow on one another. How is their relationship going to evolve?
MANSON | Paul’s got some surprises up his sleeve, for sure, and Sarah’s been playing pretty fast and loose with Paul. But she’s probably denying a certain amount of attraction with Paul. And certainly, Paul has been knocked off kilter as he was falling back for Beth only to discover that it was Sarah. So he’s got a whole pack of worms on his hands with her and his emotions with her, as well as they’re under the eye, apparently, of a larger conspiracy.
TVLINE | So far, we’ve seen a lot of Alison becoming more of a character in her own right, and now it seems like Cosima’s stepping into the spotlight.
MANSON | We purposely teased it out. We didn’t want it to be really easy for them to form this super clone team and just go out and kick ass. We wanted it to take a while. They don’t trust each other. Sarah doesn’t trust anybody so she had to learn to trust them. As Sarah’s eyes open up, the audiences’ eyes open up on the other girls, as well, and we get to look into Cosima’s world. We do spend more time at the University of Minnesota and Cosima is as integral to the story, certainly, as Alison and Sarah.
TVLINE | We’ve met so many clones already. Are there more that you hope to introduce?
MANSON | There’s always the chance of another clone, but we’re very [cautious about] overdosing. It’s not a clone-of-the-week show. It’s a character drama. It’s a sci-fi character drama that happens to be populated by clones. They’re not cannon fodder. We don’t have a lot of red shirts — but maybe a few.
TVLINE | You brought up the idea of monitors watching them. How’s that going to influence the other clones’ storylines? We’ve seen Sarah’s monitor, Paul, but obviously there’s others…
MANSON | We’ll see who all has a monitor. The first thing they have to do is find that out, so I don’t want to go too far into that. But it’s an onion, and there’s layers to peel back. So whether or not they all have one, that’s certainly a first step into our mystery.
TVLINE | Random question: It’s great how Spice Girls and Cardigans songs are playing at Alison’s party in this week’s episode. Was that just a music supervisor having fun?
FORTIER | The idea was that this is the kind of music that she’d be listening to because that’s the kind of girl she is. The point is anytime we’ve got an opportunity to take advantage of that, we certainly always set aside money in the budget to do it when we can.
MANSON | And John sure loves the Alison character and loves the suburbs. He was adamant that we should get a op 40 [hit], and we should get some real cheese factor out of Alison’s taste. [Laughs]