When we were putting together our New Hollywood issue, one of the big questions we faced was: How many times do we include Tatiana Maslany? The 27-year-old Canadian actress dazzles on the BBC America drama Orphan Black, playing seven clones and counting (including distressed single mom Sarah, type-A suburban mom Alison, misguided self-mutilator Helena, quirky Ph.D. student Cosima) who are entangled in a murky, dangerous conspiracy.
How does Maslany slip so easily into all of these different characters? Does she have a creative crutch? Turns out, she gets in tune with each role by, well, playing specific tunes.
“Music is huge,” she says. “I have different playlists for each that I feel is the rhythm of that character, whether that’s how they walk or would dance, or the internal chaos going on inside them, or the melody of their voice,” she says. “Sarah’s music is like the Clash, Dizzee Rascal, and the Streets. Helena’s music is Antony and the Johnsons and Tom Waits. Cosima is Grimes and electro/Diplo music. Alison is show tunes, Les Miz and West Side Story. In the hair and makeup trailer, I’ll annoy everybody by playing it on speakers or I’ll listen to it in headphones when I’m walking around on set or changing.”
And who is a fellow New Hollywood actor that she can’t stop singing the praises of? It’s that Sherlock chap. “I’m pretty blown away by Benedict Cumberbatch,” she says. “I just love his absolute commitment to his characters. He’s so ballsy. He’s so unafraid to really go there — to commit physically, to commit emotionally, to commit verbally, like he’s just very clear and very specific about his characters, and really unabashed in embodying them.”