Orphan Black is back this April with new episodes and you’re probably already wondering, “Will Cosima live or die?”
Coughing up blood in a TV or film is never a good sign for longevity but it was a good sign that she could make it out alive when the star and creator of the show both share their love for the brainy lesbian on the BBC America series.
“Cosima to me has always been the one who’s, like, kind of the most fascinated with life,” series star Tatiana Maslany, looking hotter than hot in a sleek black dress with lace shoulders and black collar, told a room of critics at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour this weekend. “It’s interesting for her to be facing her mortality and that’s really what we start to explore in Season 2. The one who appeared to maybe be the lightest and the most buoyant and the most full of life is now facing the science gone wrong.”
Series creator Graeme Manson added, “It’s hard because she’s my favorite clone and we are putting her in this really heartbreaking position and yet she’s almost as brave as Sarah in a lot of ways,” he explained. “Narratively examining her illness and looking into her own science is part of our mystery so she performs a really great story function in the second season as well going forward and trying to get to the root cause of her own illness.”
Post panel, AfterEllen asked Maslany about whether she’s modeled Cosima after other lesbian icons or images and she replied, “Most of my friends are gay and I didn’t feel like I was playing a specific type of gay woman but I never approached her with the idea of ‘and now I’m playing a lesbian character.’ To me, it’s all the same. There’s no difference…for me, it was more her intellect and her sexuality was a wonderful, beautiful part of her but her intellect was the thing that made her more unique.”
Of the costumes we’ll see her in this season, she explained, at least for Alison, “Lots of turtlenecks, lots of vests, yoga pants. Alison has one great outfit coming up [but] the least comfortable would be Rachel’s because it’s all heels and the most comfortable would be Alison’s because it’s like runners and sweatpants. It’s awesome.”
During the panel, the Golden Globe nominated Maslany returns to play the four clones currently alive–Sarah, Cosima, Alison and Rachel–and said that going back for shooting the second season wasn’t necessarily easy even though she’d been through one season already. “It was daunting to come back to it because I knew kind of what to expect, and I knew how much work it was going to be and just kind of the physical and the emotional sort of challenge of it,” she said. “But at the same time there was a sense of, ‘okay, so we’ve done this,’ [and] there’s not that pressure of ‘will this work or whatever, will people buy the kind of gimmick of it?’ (The show has revealed 10 clones total–six have died–and Manson clarified during the panel they’ve never confirmed exactly how many are out there.)
But she added the second season seizes the opportunity to get to know clones Cosima, Sarah, Allison and the supporting characters even more. “So it was time to go deeper with it, and I think that’s to me what was exciting about coming back Season 2,” Maslany explained. “I love all these characters so much and Graeme and all the writers have continued to deepen it and flesh out the worlds of each of the clones and that, to me, was what was so exciting.”
It’s no secret the show grew a rabid fan base from the start last spring and Maslany was clearly thankful for the support in spreading the word. “We were completely sort of blown away by the critical [response]…we’re a niche, odd little show that could have kind of fallen under the radar, and, I think, because TV critics and because bloggers and the Clone Club and all these people were talking about it, it got it out to a wider audience because, I think, in second repeats it sort of had an even bigger following.”
Is all the attention getting to Maslany? Nope! “It’s wild to sort of be seen differently, I guess, or have more visibility, but it’s rewarding, you know? I’m an actor, and I like having attention…there’s a reason I like being on stage. There’s a reason I like being in front of camera, and it’s that interaction.”
Like Cosima, Maslany got brainy talking about how she mentally approaches playing the clones. “I’m fascinated with psychology and with why a person walks the way they walk or why they walk into a room the way they do or why we are the way we are, and it’s not exclusive to the psychology of a character,” she shared, “but I think for me going back is a nice way to give definition to each of the characters because they are so vastly different and I would never want them to kind of get blended together.”
The actress definitely doesn’t sound like she’s going to get complacent in her varied portrayals in the new season. “For me, going for the furthest reach for each of them so that they are all from polar opposite sort of upbringings or environments or whatever, however much money they were raised with or whatever, I think that stuff is interesting as an actor. I like that nerdy work. I love it. I love writing notes. I love doing that stuff. So I try to go back as much as I can to kind of feed what happens and why they do what they do.”
Orphan Black returns for Season 2 on April 19 on BBC America.