SDCC ’13 Recap: ‘Orphan Black’ Panel

By July 20, 2013

The crowd grows restless; it’s been a long day waiting for ‘Orphan Black’ to finally begin. It’s confined to a small room – the convention organizers, it seems, didn’t anticipate just how big and passionate the BBC America show’s fan base would become – and the crowd is chanting the show’s name.

The cast and creators arrive to thunderous applause. There’s one burning question that everyone wants answered; who is everyone’s favorite clone?

Jordan Gavaris (Felix) speaks first. He knows exactly what the crowd is thinking; it’s odd to hear him without a British accent. Alison is his favorite character to play off of in a scene, but Cosima is his favorite clone overall.

Dylan Bruce (Paul) is next, and he teases that the audience hearing him without his “Batman voice” must be equally jarring. He too picks Alison: “Two words: yoga pants.”

Creator Graeme Manson admits that both Sarah and Cosima are his favorites. “I love Cosima because she’s very west coast. And she’s based on a real person” – their science adviser from the University of Michigan.

Fellow creator John Fawcett is partial toward Alison as well, but decides to pick someone new. “Helena.” Alison, it turns out, is secretly based on John’s sister.

The moderator tells us that, mere days after the season finale aired, the Supreme Court ruled that human DNA couldn’t be patented. Perhaps the justices are closet “Orphan Black” fans? Graeme tells us that it’s something they’ll be looking into; we may very well see the decision discussed on the show one way or another.

The show’s popularity skyrocketed suddenly; the moderator asks the panelists when the show’s success really sank in.

Graeme says he got incredible insight into the creativity of fans while exploring Tumblr in the writer’s room one day, and Tatiana Maslany (who plays all of the clones) admits to perusing Tumblr as well. “The artwork is incredible; it’s so beautiful and detailed. Also, the critical essays that have been written about it are insane. Feminist writers exploring the individuality of these women, [which] speaks to my heart.”

Jordan received a particularly racy Facebook message from a man in Oregon. Still, he’s in awe that anyone outside of his family is watching the show.

Dylan Googled Paul’s rear end, and the image search showed a slew of pictures of his butt. He immediately called his mom and told her, “I made it! My rear end’s on the internet. She said, ‘Son, I’m so proud of you.'”

Poor Jordan turns beet red and covers his face throughout the panel. First, the audience demands an encore of his singing performance at Nerd HQ earlier in the day. Later, a Felix montage displays his bare butt several times, much to his chagrin. “Did you all ban together collectively to embarrass me today?” he laments.

It’s his own fault, however. When he initially auditioned, he told John, “I really want to get naked.” Why? “I feel like I was a really straight laced kid my whole life,” and acting provides him the opportunity to do something different. These days, his butt and Dylan’s are on a website together. His sister sent him the link.

An exclusive video is played, explaining how the clones are seen interacting with one another. It’s a painstaking process called motion control, and each shot must be taken in triplicate–one for each clone’s part, and a third shot with no one in it. The moderator is forced to duck down behind his podium; he’s blocking the view!

A mad dash is made to the microphone; there’s little time for questions.

Though it was nerve-wracking to cast a single actress in so many roles, John claims he was confident in Tatiana’s abilities from working with her on a film called Ginger Snaps. Still, she and the other actresses who auditioned had to read for five different parts to demonstrate their versatility.

An audience member wonders what accents Tatiana would like to do – and which she’d like to avoid. Apparently, Jordan can do a phenomenal Scottish accent, but it would terrify her. She would, however, enjoy doing a wider variety of American dialects – New York or Bostonian, preferably. “It’s endless. I’m up for whatever.”

The panel ends, but the cast graciously stays as the audience members race to the front, clamoring for a photo op with Tatiana. She smiles and poses with dozens of people before the Comic-Con staff ushers her out; after all, there’s still one panel left for the day.