Having just wrapped production on the fifth and final season of Orphan Black, seestra extraordinaire Tatiana Maslany joined her fellow cast mates and show co-creators Graeme Manson and John Fawcett for a last reunion and public goodbye to their adoring Clone Club fans at their PaleyFest TV panel in Hollywood Thursday night.
Before the panel kicked off, we talked to actors Ari Millen, Kevin Hanchard and Josh Vokey on the red carpet about their last day on set, the evolution of their characters and some teases about what they're facing with the reclusive Neolution founder, P.T. Westmoreland.
Kevin Hanchard, Detective Art Bell
You just said goodbye to everyone on Tuesday night. How did you handle the last day?
It was really, really hard. When I came in that day, I saw Tatiana in the makeup chair across from me and I didn't even say hi to her because I was afraid that I would fall apart as we had 14 more hours to go. So you put on a brave face and there are moments during the day where people get wrapped ahead of you and you say goodbye and you let some of it out. But when it was over, over, over, it was the Hoover Dam. The actors and crew and the characters are family. Now we've got to let them go.
Bell started out a heavy but he's since admitted that he was in love with clone Beth back in the day, and has helped all of the seestras. What's his role this season?
He's one of their biggest advocates and allies. Art, as a police officer, has a lot of access to resources that the seestras don't have on their own. It was a big thing when he was re-instated to the force but the problem is [Neolution plant] Detective Duko didn't turn up for work on Monday, so there's a problem there and a specter hanging over his head that will unfold over the season.
Josh Vokey, Scott
Scott made it alive to the last season! Was there a season where you finally felt Scott was safe?
No, I did not feel safe. (Laughs) He was too soft and gentle and he was going to get himself killed. But I think around the third season, the stuff with Rachel was a turning point for him in terms of him becoming a more manipulative character. It was around that time he was more clever and aware and less comfortable as a background character. He always had it in him to be a lot craftier and I like that side. In Season 5, I think he continues on that journey.
Is it true that in real life, you had an interest in the topic of cloning?
Yes, I always had an interest cloning. I was really into the ethical side of it so I did a six-month project in my last year of high school. And in University, as an elective I studied Bioethics.
So should we be worried about Scott in the last season?
Things have never been harder than they are now. We start the season having to fight the biggest foe we've had, the man behind the curtain [Westmoreland ] who has been pulling all the strings. If ever there was a character smart enough to take down Scott and the Seestras, it would probably be this guy.
Ari Millen, Castor (Male) Clones
With the wrap just a few days ago, does it all feel complete now?
I don't think it's real yet. We flew right out of there to here. It's also that feeling of the last year of school, where it doesn't feel real until September. It hasn't hit me yet. Maybe in a week or when I'm on a new job when it's not the same group of phenomenal people.
You were the only cast member to get a taste of playing multiple roles like Tatiana. Looking back now, was it harder or easier than expected to execute multiple characters?
It was easier than I expected because Tat set the bar so high that I just anticipated it to be crazy difficult, because I have so much respect for her and her talent. The things I thought would be hard, were easy and the things I thought would be easy, were the hard parts. Nothing lined up with my expectations but it was an incredible ride all the way through.
In the end, which Castor clone was the most satisfying for you to play?
Ira is unlike anything I have played, or probably will ever play again. I have no instincts for him whatsoever, so it was constant pulling my hair out and questioning myself because nothing felt right. But at the same time, it didn't feel right because he is so unlike me. A lot of time you get pigeon-holed, and the rest of the Castors were more in my wheelhouse. They were all different but they were parts I would play again. Ira might be a one-off or the opening to something else. He was constant frustration but you learn the most from that.
How do you feel about how the show tied everything up in the end?
The fantastic thing about this show is there were so many plotlines that converged on each other so I don't there is a right ending in a way. We're following so many plotlines, so many characters, so many subplots that they're afforded bittersweet disappointment, happy ending/ride off into the sunset, devastation, etc. ... But as a whole, it will hit the spot.
Orphan Black returns to BBC America for a final 10-episode run on June 10.