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Trivia / Orphan Black

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  • Acting for Two:
    • Tatiana Maslany plays more than ten different clones (and a hallucinated scorpion). Made more impressive by scenes where the various clones are physically interacting with each other. Yes, it's done with CGI and one or more acting doubles, but damn...
    • A younger version of this trope applies when we see flashbacks to Rachel's childhood, before meeting Charlotte, an 8 year old clone, both played by Cynthia Galant.
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    • With Project Castor, Ari Millen is this to the male clones. He plays seven different clones and some of them interact with each other.
    • Kathryn Alexandre, Tatiana's double, also plays the clones and helps provide Tatiana with the counterpart whenever the clones are interacting with each other. This goes even further; Kathryn also plays the Prolethean schoolteacher, Alexis, that Helena threatens when she is abusive to the children.
  • California Doubling: Mostly averted as unnecessary since the show is set in Canada, but in the scenes with Cosima and Delphine at the University of Minnesota it's obvious that, despite the thick snow on the ground, they aren't actually in Minneapolis.
  • The Cameo: Peaches appears in 4.07 as the singer in the bar.
  • The Cast Show Off: Maria Doyle Kennedy gets a chance to show off her singing muscles in 3.09, with a song that she co-wrote with her husband, who was in the on-screen band. It's quite awesome.
  • The Danza:
    • Andrew Gillies plays Andrew Peckham. Subverted because it's an alias. The character's real name is Ethan Duncan.
    • Kieran Kennedy, Maria Doyle Kennedy's musician husband, plays a musician named Kieran who her character used to be in a band with, during the third-season trip to London.
  • Development Hell: The show premiered in 2013, but was conceptualized way back in 2002.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: The various costume changes and multiple shootings of the clones' interactions are no easy feat, but the cast and crew persist.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • Tatiana Maslany is Canadian, but she plays characters of British, American, German, Ukrainian, and Finnish origin. She's also the face of French, Italian, and Austrian characters.
    • Jordan Gavaris is Canadian but Felix is British.
    • Melanie Nicholls-King is Canadian, but Amelia is South African.
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  • Fan Community Nickname: Clone Club. In some circles, especially devoted fans are "Clonesbians."
  • Fan Nickname:
    • "Euroclones" for Katja, Danielle, Aryanna, and Janika, the dead European clones.
    • Rachel's fans have dubbed her "Ray Ray".
    • Rudy, the scarred Castor clone, was dubbed "Scarface".
    • Sarah, Cal and Kira are collectively referred to as "Lumberfamily".
    • "Kira the Demon Child", for her Oracular Urchin tendencies.
  • I Am Not Shazam:
    • No, Tatiana Maslany does not play "Orphan Black."
    • The clones are not called "Orphans", either, but whoever wrote the network' first season episode descriptions didn't get the memo; they refer to the main clones as such.
  • I Knew It!:
    • Helena's survival was predicted by a large enough portion of the fanbase that there was a Fan Nickname for it: "The Ballpit of Denial". Ok, fair enough. What pushes this into truly eerie territory is the explanation for her survival: she is a mirror twin, and her heart was on the reverse side of her body as everyone else's. This exact explanation was predicted by fans from the mere fact that she is left-handed; see here.
    • A few fans were correct in their prediction that the Leda and Castor originals were related — in fact, they're siblings. Twins, even - the original turns out to have been a genetic chimera who absorbed her male twin in the womb.
    • A leaked set photo spoiled the Season 3 plot point of Helena wiping out Pouchy and crew with his paper cutter blade.
    • Several fans (and apparently, the characters' actors themselves) speculated that Beth and Art may have been romantically involved. The première of season 4 proved them right.
    • That MK is a Helsinki survivor was pretty widely guessed.
    • That Evie Cho's revelation of her plot against Leda would lead Rachel to move against her was also pretty widely guessed. To be fair, the showrunners telegraphed this well in advance of it actually happening with Rachel's Death Glare at the revelation, so it's not even clear if it was intended to be a surprise. In retrospect, Rachel's hallucination of a swan was also heavy foreshadowing on this point, since a swan is, of course, inextricably linked with the myth of Leda.
  • Lying Creator: The showrunners knowingly lie about the fate of Helena. They're quite proud of it.
    • Ari Millen qualifies as well. During a red-carpet appearance just a week or two before the Season 2 finale and the reveal that Mark was a Project Castor clone, an interviewer asked him if he'd be interested in playing a clone character. A deadpan Millen claimed it would be too much work for him. Kevin Hanchard (who was standing next to Millen) cracked up on camera; the interviewer never caught on. See it here..
    • They've also admitted to lying about Delphine's fate, although that was also somewhat pragmatic as they weren't sure they'd be able to get Evelyne Brochu back. (Actor availability really wasn't a concern with Helena.)
  • Method Acting:
    • To help with getting into/staying in character for each distinctive clone, Maslany employs techniques including dance and music playlists that she associates with each character.
    • The scene where Helena gets tortured via water-boarding? Not faked. Tatiana Maslany and her stunt double actually underwent that for the scene, albeit with medical professionals on standby.
  • Only So Many Canadian Actors: Many of the actors appear on lots of other Canadian shows.
  • Plays Great Ethnics: Tatiana "Tania" Maslany, is Romanian-Canadian. A sort of female counterpart to Tony Shalhoub.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • Patrick Adams (of Suits fame) has stated that he loves Orphan Black and Helena in particular. He has a guest spot in "To Hound Nature in Her Wanderings" in which he gets to romance Helena very, very briefly, and later returns in the season three finale.
    • Ari Millen, who plays Mark Rollins and the other Castor clones, admitted to being a huge fan of the show when he auditioned. He expected getting a very minor role, but really wanted to join the cast and work with Tatiana Maslany in any capacity.
  • Queer Character, Queer Actor: Jordan Gavaris is gay like his character Felix.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Alison's adopted children, Oscar and Gemma, are played by siblings Drew and Millie Davis.
    • Maria Doyle Kennedy's real-life husband cameos as a rock guitarist in a pub late into Season 3.
    • One of the show creators' parents cameoed during Alison's campaign in Season 3.
    • Tom Cullen, who is dating Tatiana Maslany, cameoed as a man alternately seduced and interrogated by Krystal in Season 5.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • The reason Cal was Put on a Bus at the beginning of Season 3 is due to Michiel Huisman's commitment to Game of Thrones. Similarly, the reason Vic disappears after Season 2 is likely due to Michael Mando's commitment to Better Call Saul.
    • The reason only Sarah goes to the island to rescue Cosima in Season 4 is because the crew were only allowed a very limited time to shoot on the location, and Tatiana Maslany and her doubles' various costume changes would've taken a lot of prep time.
  • Screwed by the Network: The BBC in the UK showed the first two seasons only a short time after broadcast in the USA, but the third season was reduced to a weekend small-hours broadcast and a ten-episode season dump on iPlayer, with very little promotion, months after it had been broadcast in the US and all the serious fans had illegally downloaded it. They then left the fourth season to Netflix UK.
  • Shared Universe: With Ginger Snaps. Both Orphan Black and the film series take place partially in fictional suburb Bailey Downs and were created by the same people. The rehab clinic Brigitte attends in the second film is the same clinic that Alison Hendrix attends. They also share some cast, Tatiana Maslany and Eric Johnson among them.
    • A Christmas Horror Story made again with several people in connection to either or both Ginger Snaps and Orphan Black, also takes place in Bailey Downs, and at one point in the script had direct references to Ginger Snaps and Orphan Black that were cut. It also features a Shout-Out to Darknet, a series with some crew overlap to ACHS, Ginger Snaps and Orphan Black.
  • The '60s: Pop songs from the Sixties show up regularly.
    • In S01E02, Sarah (disguised as Katja) infiltrates Katja's hotel to this German cover of Nancy Sinatra's "Boots."
    • In S01E07, Sarah's and Helena's diner sitdown has Sonny and Cher's "I Got You, Babe" playing in the background.
    • In S02E06, during their roadtrip, Helena sings along (badly) to the Archies' "Sugar Sugar" playing on the car radio, to Sarah's (eventual) amusement.
    • In S03E01 opened with Helena's baby-shower fantasy, scored to Stacey Y's Ukrainian-language cover of The Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice."
    • In S03E09, Helena bounces around and lip-synchs (with a wooden mixing spoon) to the Turtles' "You Baby" while making soap in the Hendrix's garage.
  • Star-Making Role:
    • Almost nobody outside of Canada knew who Tatiana Maslany was before the show began. Now, there are few actresses on TV who are getting more praise than she is, and one of few actors on TV, male or female, getting more love from critics than the show itself. It's saying something when critics are calling her the biggest Award Snub of Emmy season (not just one of the biggest; the biggest) and that she managed to turn Orphan Black into the most high-profile Canadian TV show in years. Escalated further when she won the Emmy for season 4.
    • This is true for much of the rest of the cast, at least in Canada, many of whom were even more obscure than Maslany was. Internationally, however, the non-Maslany actors don't get even a tenth of the buzz she does. For example, Michael Mando's performance had so little impact on his global profile that once he joined Better Call Saul he instantly became associated with that show.
  • Talking to Himself: Although pretty much a given (the entire series is built around scenes where two or more clones are conversing in the same shot!), the trope gets a bizarre spin in Season 3 with the introduction of Helena's Imaginary Friend, the talking scorpion "Pupok" - who Maslany not only voices, but also provides the creature's assorted clicks and purrs, thanks to her teenage beat-boxing years.
  • Those Two Actors: Maria Doyle Kennedy (Siobhan Sadler) and James Frain (Ferdinand Chevalier) have previously worked together in The Tudors.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Elliot Page was almost cast as the Leda clone sisters before the show creators ultimately decided to go with Maslany.
    • Evelyne Brochu was in the running to play the Leda clone sisters before she was cast as Delphine.
    • Krystal was supposed to be a Red Shirt, but the show creators were so impressed with Maslany's performance of the character that they changed their minds.
  • The Wiki Rule: Orphan Black Wiki
  • Write Who You Know:

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