TV Article

'Orphan Black'

Our preview of the sci-fi conspiracy drama from this year's Comic-Con

The newest Cool Sci-fi/Conspiracy Drama You Should Be Watching — which stars Tatiana Maslany as Sarah Manning, a single mom who discovers that she is one of several clones — doesn't return until next spring, but it's never too early to start talking about season 2. The show will explore themes of motherhood, which involve Sarah's murdered birth mother (Melanie Nicholls-King) and her sketchy foster mother, Mrs. S. (Maria Doyle Kennedy), the healing-power mystery of Sarah's kidnapped daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler), and the backstory of new ''pro-clone'' Rachel, who is more complicated than she appears. ''Sarah's going to be on the run in season 2,'' hints co-creator Graeme Manson. ''There is no safe place for her.'' So how does the show pull off scenes in which Maslany interacts with the other clones — all of whom she plays herself? Let's review this ''touching'' moment between doppelgängers Sarah and Alison from season 1.

1. Maslany and stunt double Kathryn Alexandre shoot a ''master version'' of the scene with the aid of a Technodolly, a programmable camera crane that can memorize a sequence of movements and repeat it in sync to dialogue tracks.
2. Alexandre leaves, and her dialogue is fed into Maslany's earpiece so she knows when to say her lines. ''It's a weird thing to watch because she's standing on the set by herself and the camera is repeating the moves on its own,'' says co-creator John Fawcett. Maslany and Alexandre then switch characters and the process is repeated.
3. To simulate the contact of Alison placing her hand on Sarah's shoulder and Sarah slapping it down, Maslany (as Alison) puts her hand on a grip stand where Sarah's shoulder would be, and the red ''X'' on the window represents her eye line with Sarah.
4. There is a precise cue in the dialogue for the slap, as the final scene was composited from two shots — Maslany (as Sarah) slapping air and Maslany (as Alison) reacting as though her hand is being hit.

Originally posted Jul 12, 2013 Published in issue #1268 Jul 19, 2013 Order article reprints