NEW YORK – To the delight of the entire Internet, Tatiana Maslany received a Golden Globe nomination Thursday for her role in the BBC America sci-fi series “Orphan Black.” Make that “roles.” At last count, Maslany plays at least eight characters on the cloning drama, each with a wildly different accent, personality and hairdo. The bravura performance earned praise from critics and fans alike, and won the Canadian actress a host of celebrity admirers such as comedian Patton Oswalt, who angrily tweeted when she was overlooked in this year’s Emmy nominations.
Maslany spoke to us Thursday afternoon from set in Toronto, where she’s hard at work on the second season of “Orphan Black,” which returns to BBC America on April 19.
Q. How are you feeling?
A. Pretty surreal, pretty crazy. Really just blown away and in shock.
Q. So where are you today? Are you in Toronto?
A. I am. I’m on set shooting Season 2.
Q. How far along are you?
A. We’re just about to start Episode 7 tomorrow, so we’re more than halfway, which is pretty nuts.
Q. Season 1 ended with quite a cliffhanger. What can you tell us about Season 2?
A. I can give something very vague. It definitely picks up right where we left off, there’s no real time cut or anything. We’re following Sarah as she’s searching for Kira. So it echoes back to the beginning of Season 1, but obviously a lot has changed. Sarah is a different person than she was and the stakes are sky high. The first couple of episodes are nonstop, and it hasn’t really slowed down from there. The writers somehow managed to keep the pace up.
Q. The show came out of nowhere and became a huge favorite with critics and the online community. Were you surprised?
A. Absolutely. You know, getting the part was kind of all that I was thinking about. And then when I got it there’s so much to think about so many arcs to keep in my head, so much rich material, I never sort of thought about it being seen. We were so in the moment of how is this going to work, how can we pull this off sort of thing. So when there was a response, especially from fans and young women really responding to it, it was completely mind-blowing and really exciting and we’re in Season 2 and we have the support and audience. It’s just amazing.
Q. Who is your favorite to play?
A. This year I’m really digging Rachel (the corporate “Proclone” revealed at the end of Season 1). We got a little taste of her last year, and she’s sort of a nice stretch for me. She’s not something I’ve ever gotten to play before, and she’s a powerful woman, for better or for worse. Who is she and what’s under all these ice layers? And that’s what’s really exciting to me.
Q. Is there one that’s more of a challenge?
A. Rachel! That’s why she’s also the most exciting for me because she is so far from not only the characters that I’ve played but also the characters that I’ve been seen for. It’s only on a show where I’m given this platform that I get to play something like that. That’s a huge risk for the writers to give me something like that because you know I’m always cast younger, this isn’t my wheelhouse or whatever. It’s exciting to have writing that allows me to stretch like that, to try things and challenge myself.
Q. You’re in a very competitive category. Are you a fan of your fellow nominees?
A. Oh, God, enormous! Kerry Washington is incredible. I love “Orange is the New Black.” I was so happy to see Taylor Schilling up there because I think she’s been overlooked on a few fronts. I’m just in awe of the women I get to be in the company of, really humbled by it. And the exciting thing about it being TV and film in the same room. “12 Years a Slave” and “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” all these films that I saw this year that I think completely changed cinema and have changed the fabric of storytelling. I think it’s just amazing.
Q. Do people get your show confused with “Orange Is the New Black“?
A. There’s this “Orphan Is the New Black” mash-up thing. There’s a lot of strong women on “Orange Is the New Black,” and we’ve got a nice smattering of bad ... ladies too, so there’s allusions drawn there. What a compliment to be in that company!
Q. Are you going to celebrate, or is it just work for you today?
A. It’s work. But I get to be with the people who made it possible for me and who are my inspiration every day and my family. I’m so happy that this where I get to be today on set, with the crew and the cast. There’s no place else I’d rather be.