We are Graeme Manson & John Fawcett, the creators of Orphan Black.

The new season of Orphan Black premieres Saturday April 19th at 9/8c on BBC America and Space Channel. Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfUxpTSnq4o&list=PLvMGq_h9khwV8arNiFAM85saofsIj4zsb

GM is Graeme Manson JF is John Fawcett

Ask us anything.


GM: Thanks Clone Club, thanks Reddit. Enjoy the show on Saturday. JF: We hope you love it. GM: We think your head canons will explode. You guys are the best fans. JF: We love you!

Comments: 457 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

Lizard182178 karma

I just want to say that this is one of the most fascinating shows I've come across. I find myself amazed every time Tatiana Maslany is pulling off so many complex and unique individuals. My questions are:

  1. What was the casting process like for the clones? Was it difficult to find someone like Maslany that you felt could fill the shoes of all these different people?

  2. I've heard a lot of shows figure out their plot as they go. Do you already have a good idea of where you're taking the overall series story arc?

TeamOB135 karma

  1. JF: The casting process was long and arduous. Graeme and I both knew Tatiana from previous projects and felt she was a strong contender early on. Through the casting process it became very clear that she was annihilating all the competition. GM: And then there was a moment when we paired her with Jordan in a chemistry read for the network and from that point on it was unanimous that both of them were cast.

  2. GM: Yes we have a good idea. But it's loose and flexible. JF: However we have an end game. We know what end we're working towards.

stephaniepotato105 karma

Hi Graeme and John! With Season 1, no one knew or had any opinions of the show while you were making it. Now that fans have favorite characters and aspects of the show, did that influence how you wrote Season 2? Also, too many lesbian characters die in TV shows. Please don't kill Cosima. Thanks!

TeamOB188 karma

GM: It didn't really influence how we wrote Season 2, but certain aspects certainly inspired us. The Cophine relationship, we really loved anyway and to see it get that much support and to see that people thought that it was an important relationship to be on TV made us want to continue it and bolster it. And yeah, why the hell is that? Why do lesbian characters always die in TV? RIP Tara.

froyoho74 karma


TeamOB188 karma

JF: She's not okay at all. GM: But she's still the hot clone.

marieob70 karma

Will we ever get an Orphan Black blooper reel? How about a full cast livestream?? I love you guys, thank you so much for the best TV show on TV!

TeamOB179 karma

JF: We're putting together a blooper reel. GM: I saw some bloopers just the other day and I peed my pants. I literally peed my pants. Pee came out and went in my pants. JF: Ew.

yourethepuppy70 karma

This is not a question and for that I am sorry. I just want to tell you both that Orphan Black means SO much to me. I love the science, I love the mystery, I love the characters, and I love that it’s a show about women. Something very near and dear to me is the LGBT representation. As a lesbian it’s so important for me to see queer people on TV in a not-just-for-sweeps, non-subtextual way. And you guys do it SO WELL. Orphan Black has made my life better (and I know a lot of clone club/clonesbians who would say the same)

THANK YOU. Thank you for this show. (also, the Orphan Black marketing team is probably THE BEST EVER)

TeamOB53 karma

GM: That's very touching. Thanks. Weepy smiles over here. JF: We appreciate your love for our "little baby".

majesdane60 karma

Huge OB fan, been a part of #CloneClub/the #Clonesbians since the pilot!

Why did you decide to make Cosima gay? And are any of the other clones queer (or will we ever see another queer clone)?

TeamOB175 karma

GM: It wasn't a decision to make Cosima gay as much as it was a decision to have a spectrum of sexuality and gender represented in the show. And then to not sing about it or make the sexuality of the characters their main problem, just to let them be. In the context of a show that's sort of a biological mystery, their sexuality isn't any more or less important than the colour of their eyes.

AndyWarwheels54 karma

How many tacos can you eat in one sitting?

TeamOB58 karma

JF: Wow. That's a good question. I think I've eaten 4. Maybe 5. No I've eaten 5. Medium-sized hard-shelled tacos. GM: Hard or soft? I ate 11 last night but they were soft and really soft.

starglitter52 karma

Huge Orphan Black fan! Will we learn more about the other European clones? Possibly see them in action?

TeamOB67 karma

GM: We're really interested in that. JF: Through developing the mythology of the series, we are very interested in exploring our European clones potentially prior to their death. GM: We'd love to take the show to Europe. JF: We talk about origin, potentially trying to do an origin story all the time.

brainsomnom50 karma

Which clone is the most challenging to write?

TeamOB98 karma

GM: Good question. And I'd have to say Sarah. She's the spine of the show and so she's the one that has to carry a very complex plot so a lot of her journey is very tricky to figure out. JF: It's through her eyes that the mystery unravels. GM: She makes our brains hurt and when that happens we just make her punch someone.

StateofF1ux45 karma

Who is your favorite clone character and why?

TeamOB114 karma

JF: My favourite clone character is Alison because I identify with her suburban paranoia. GM: My favourite clone is Cosima, because I love her brain and her dance moves and she's a stoner.

PhoebeP742 karma

I just have to start off by saying in no way did I expect to be this into a show as I am with Orphan Black and the fandom but it has really changed my life in great, unexpected ways so thank you for that. :)

My question is, what was it that inspired you to make a show about clones and was it a decision to make it relate to things happening in the world here and now?

And I am wondering about this illness plaguing the clones and wonder if it was in any way inspired by Dolly the sheep and how she died because of lung disease?

TeamOB46 karma

GM: Actually yes. In researching the genetics, we looked at Dolly and we looked at the theories about shortened telomeres from being a clone of an adult. Jury's still out on why Dolly actually died is my understanding.

NicholasCajun41 karma

Love the show! It is truly an impressive piece of television to behold for the acting alone, but you add in everything else and you have a rare spectacle. You guys have some very dedicated fans over at /r/orphanblack.

What I wanted to ask is:

  1. Will we ever learn more about Beth, or Katja? Or any of the other clones that are now dead?

  2. I recently learned Tatiana Maslany knows French and German. We got a little German with Katja, but will she ever use French in the show? I know the French clone is apparently dead, but I'm just wondering. Maybe a French Canadian clone!

TeamOB50 karma

  1. JF: We're definitely going to learn more about Beth in season 2. GM: But we don't want to spend too much time going backwards, we want to keep our forward momentum. JF: However, Graeme and I have had many, many discussions about the origin of the clones and Beth's backstory and it is something that we would seriously like to pursue in the future.

TeamOB51 karma

  1. JF: The international feel to the show is something that we really like and that is important to us. That this is a worldwide conspiracy. GM: We don't have immediate plans for a French clone, but if we had a French Canadian clone, it would have to be Evelyne Brochu cloned.

Gergich37 karma

One of the great things about OB is how you manage to smush a lot of diverse genres together and make it work: there's sci fi mystery, cop thriller, campus romance, suburban satire...any other genres you'll be hitting on this season?

TeamOB30 karma

GM: Musical...? Haha. The mashup tone is one of the things we're most proud of about the show. That we get to play in a bunch of different worlds. JF: It's a diverse sandbox.

AKAcourt35 karma

The fans were ecstatic over the sneak peek of the puppy conversation between Cosima & Delphine. What was the impetus, storywise, for the writers to integrate that into the show? Can we expect more nods to the fandom?

TeamOB44 karma

GM: There's an example of how the fandom inspired us. In Season 2, we've slid in a few little sly things for the Clone Club.

mymidnightmelody32 karma

I watched this show in a very short amount of time, and damn, it's amazing. Just getting in my two cents! I'm so excited to see where the show goes. The acting ability of Tatiana is almost unbelievable, in a good way.

TeamOB40 karma

GM: Thanks. We'll pass it on to Tat. Binge watching rules. JF: You'll have to not watch for the next 10 weeks and binge watch Season 2. Good luck.

ClickClackClank31 karma

Hi guys! Love the show! Tatiana Maslany has said that her audition involved doing several of the clones and was a really challenging process. I was curious if anyone else even came close to competing for the role? Or was it only Tatiana from the first time you saw her read for it?

TeamOB39 karma

GM: No, there was strong competition. It boiled down to 5 contenders, but we always felt that Tatiana was our secret weapon.

thegreenwall28 karma

My girlfriend (who I totally got addicted to OB) asks "What's the deal with Mrs. S?"

TeamOB42 karma

GM: She's evil-good and it's really fun playing the evil-good game with Maria Doyle Kennedy.

orphanblackfan27 karma

Grame - you told Larry King (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqNvuq83-8E) that your most ridiculous clone ideas were "Latina clone and fat ankle clone." We've met the western European and North American clones. Tatiana could certainly play Latina.

Why would a Latina clone be ridiculous?

TeamOB34 karma

GM: When you're on Larry King, you have to think fast. And I sort of mixed up a ridiculous clone with one of the many ideas for clones that we put on the shelf, on the side. I would love a Latina clone. Especially after seeing Rita Moreno at the GLAAD Awards.

TeamOB27 karma

GM: Tat could kill a Latina clone!

Corabal27 karma

Hi John, can we ever expect to see a revival or another sequel to the Ginger Snaps series?

TeamOB32 karma

JF: Wow. That's so cool that you're a fan of Ginger Snaps. About 3 or 4 years ago prior to Orphan Black we came very close to making it as a television series. At the time the reason why it didn't fly was because, I think it was because Vampire Diaries started to write Werewolf story lines into season 2. I would still love to make another feature film as an extension to Ginger Snaps. But I'm a little bit busy with this little TV show called Orphan Black these days.

street_map23 karma

You've received a lot of comparisons to Joss Whedon's Dollhouse, how do you respond to that?

Also what's the process of naming the clones?

TeamOB33 karma

JF: It's a bunch of stupid in-jokes from the writer's room that no one will understand except the nerds sitting around that table. GM: For instance, Aynsley is my mother's name. But I was over-ruled in the writer's room when I tried to change it, because Will Pascoe's (who wrote 106) wife's best friends are named Aynsley, Charity and Mira. I couldn't save my mother but I did get to change the spelling of her name. (Ainslie - Hi Mom!) JF: And Cosima is named after the real Cosima, our science advisor.

kelseylemon22 karma

Hello Graeme and John, big fan of the show. This show has done so much for women and their status within society as individuals and autonomy and ownership of their bodies, which I find to be very important and one of my favorite aspects of the show. My question is was this a conscious decision, to make so many complex and wonderful women? Rather than men, which is the norm? Do you think the show would be as popular if the protagonist and clones were male?

TeamOB34 karma

GM: The show wouldn't be nearly as good. And there was never a question whether our lead character would be male. JF: A big part of the science and the concept of the show revolved around female biology and Kira. GM: Motherhood and sisterhood are strong themes and we have a secret weapon in Cosima Herter, our real Cosima, who keeps our feminist themes so pertinent to the science that we're exploring.

caressespieces21 karma

Awesome show, I've been a fan from day 1 and thanks so much for this Q&A! Now, the questions:

  1. Did you audition twins/triplets/quadruplets for the lead role? Or did you know from the beginning you wanted a composite-heavy show?

  2. Is it possible that we'll see clones of other people (not Sarah/Alison/Cosima/etc.)?

  3. Two Fingers made the opening song, and it's one of Amon Tobin's side projects and I'm a HUGE Amon Tobin fan, does he have any involvement aside from contributing to the opening?

  4. How is it that none of the clones have extreme differences? (i.e.: couldn't one have gotten fat?)

  5. In this world is it possible for a clone to be a different gender the way some twins can be?

Thank you!!!

TeamOB29 karma

  1. JF: Twins/triplets/quadruplets, they don't exist with the acting ability of Tatiana.
  2. JF: We are making a clone show. Are you a clone? We're auditioning.
  3. GM: No. We just approached him with the pilot episode and got down on our electronic hands and knees and said, "Please, please, please, Amon." And I got to speak to him on the phone. Great theme, eh?
  4. GM: Extreme physical differences? Because we find their differences in who they are as people more interesting than their similarities. JF: We're going to talk to Tatiana about the fat suit for Season 3. GM: 'Cause you're right. Nurture could create very different physical presences.
  5. GM: Mo def.

starbuckluce18 karma

Hello to you both!

I am a huge UK fan and I really appreciate the time you've taken out to answer questions.

First of all, do you ever envisage going on location somewhere in the UK considering Mrs S and Sarah's background?

Secondly, I know you're not adverse to killing characters we all love considering Helena (or are you?!)... Is Cosima going to be okay?!

Finally, I just want to thank you both for your LGBTQ representation. As a young lesbian at University studying Biology, it's really nice to see Cosima and Delphine's relationship evolve.

TeamOB36 karma

GM: We just want to make crazy platonic science with you.

TeamOB27 karma

  1. GM: We would love to and we talked about doing it. The reality of taking the crazy clone show on the road to the UK is difficult but we'd still like to try to do that one day. JF: In Season 2, we really wanted to take Maria to London and shoot some parts with her but it just turned out to be impossible. GM: So we made a cardboard Big Ben and took selfies in-front of it instead. (Kidding.)

  2. JF: A big part of Season 2 is the ongoing concern about Cosima's health and the desire to find the answers to save her. It is the ticking bomb on Season 2.

maybe-me16 karma

Hello guys, thanks for the AMA.

What's your favorite dialogue from the show?

TeamOB50 karma

JF: I have a few favourite quotes. GM: Anytime Felix opens his mouth. I really like writing Felix dialogue and I really like writing Cophine scenes. JF: Adios Dragsters & the Jordan improvised line, "Fetch me something gay." And "Welcome to the trip, man." GM: "I'm kind of always late, and kind of always sorry."

refns15 karma

Hello! What is your favourite thing about Tatiana? About Jordan?

TeamOB38 karma

JF: That they're so much fun to hang out with on set. GM: They're dorks. JF: They're dorks. Complete dorks. And so are we. GM: Tatiana spends half her day pretending to be a cat. JF: Meow. [John is now impersonating Tatiana acting like a cat.] GM: And she eats like Helena. JF: She eats a lot of chocolate. And leaves wrappers lying around all over the set.

alisongluegun13 karma

I was reading an interview with you Graeme in last year's Canadian Screenwriter magazine, and you mentioned a "bible" of sorts for planning out and plotting the show.

Does that "bible" actually exist, and if so, what is it specifically made up of?

TeamOB21 karma

GM: The bible was a very detailed pitch document that we used along with the pilot script to explain a very complex show. Once we got the show green-lit, I've never looked at the bible again. But maybe I should. JF: Break out the gospel according to John & Graeme.

KrystalPistol11 karma

Do ya'll have any cool guest stars lined up for season 2?

TeamOB19 karma

JF: Ooh, yes, we do. Indeed. GM: Patrick J Adams of 'Suits'. JF: Michelle Forbes of 'The Killing' and the 'Hunger Games' movie - the one that hasn't come out yet. GM: And Michiel Huisman. JF: Of Game of Thrones. GM: Who gets to make with Tatiana, Connie Britton and Daenerys Targaryen all in one year.

jrspaceclaw10 karma

What is your process for creating clones? Do you have a list of various clone ideas to pull from, or do you create them "on the fly?"

TeamOB12 karma

GM: They're very story specific and we go to Tatiana very early in the process to say we're thinking of a clone to enter the story in this kind of fashion and then we work very hard with her and she works really hard on her own to develop the characters. JF: And the voice of the characters and the physicality of the characters. And of course we have our joke clone list to draw from.

Stephanie7710 karma

Would a glue gun really hurt THAT bad?! Although I'm guessing Alison has some sort of industrial glue gun.

TeamOB22 karma

GM: She turned it up to 11. JF: Those burns are going to turn into scabs. Have you ever been burned by a hot glue gun before? GM: Yeah. JF: You could torture someone with one. The glue gun torture scene was one of our very early ideas so it's been around for a long time.

Stoooooooo9 karma

Thanks for this AMA! Love the show!

How stressful was the process leading up to getting the green light for the show? What would you have done differently?

TeamOB21 karma

GM: It was stressful. It took a long time. JF: Everyone loved it and nobody wanted it. That's what it was like. Until BBC America came along, we thought we were dead in the water. GM: When BBC America told us they wanted to put Orphan Black on on Saturday nights after Doctor Who and go straight to series and not pilot, John and I were kicking each other under the table.

Whybambiwhy9 karma

How did it feel to win a Peabody? Where were you when you heard. Congrats! The show totally deserved it

TeamOB12 karma

GM: First of all, great username, Whybambiwhy. I've often asked the same question. I was lying in bed and my assistant Mackenzie texted me the news. It was a total shock and a huge honor. None of us saw it coming. I mean Bob Hope has a Peabody.

TeamOB9 karma

JF: We feel honored. Plus it's supposed to be a really, really cool party. GM: With Anthony Bourdain. I bet he could drink me under the table.

Elisemaartje8 karma

Just want to say that Orphan Black is amazing and i'm a huge fan! my question is: How did you come up with the ideas for the different clones? like soccer mom Alison or scientist Cosima etc?

TeamOB16 karma

GM: Sarah, Cosima and Alison were the core of the show from the very beginning. JF: It's interesting that the origins of Alison came a little bit more me centric, but the origins of Cosima were a little bit more [Graeme] specific. I grew up in suburban wasteland Calgary and [Graeme] grew up on the west coast sort of 'hippy-dippy'. GM: Sarah was always this anti-hero that we had in mind and at a certain point in the process, she became British. JF: Sarah is for us that we both identify with because she's this young, flawed.. GM: She's our hero. JF: She's our hero. GM: Someone she always gets left off the favourite clones list, but I think she's everyone's true favourite.

pistachiosociety8 karma

How did you develop each character's clothing style?

TeamOB11 karma

JF: It starts from the aspect of the different worlds that each girl is raised in. It was very important for us to build all these characters as very individualistic and then we had a cool costume designer. GM: The costumes and the hair really helped Tat, especially in the first season, really sink into these characters.

wewereonabreak8 karma

Is the entire cast as charming as they all seem? Or even more so?

TeamOB15 karma

GM: We're super lucky with our cast. JF: It's a big love-in at Orphan Black. Everyone just loves each other. GM: And I think Tatiana as the center of the show really sets the whole tone for production.

SarahAsBeth8 karma

Thanks for having us yesterday in NY! It was an amazing experience and the episode was awesome!

What other shows do you guys enjoy watching at the moment and/or which would you like to work on if you had the chance?

TeamOB9 karma

GM: I'm watching Ray Donovan. JF: I'm watching True Detective. GM: I'm also addicted to Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown. He's got a Peabody too, so I hope to meet him at the Peabody awards.

Laura_22228 karma

What would you add to or change about Orphan Black if time and money was no object?

I'd imagine that all of the editing of the clones together takes an extremely long time to shoot and edit, and might be very expensive too, but I'm just wondering what your kind of dream situation for the show is.

TeamOB17 karma

GM: I think we would want more clone scenes. JF: If we had more time and money, we would definitely want to put the clones together more often. I would build tons of sets and have a giant studio and Graeme and I would get a really nice sign on our door which we currently don't have. GM: With Clone Club art. And we'd build a submarine, just 'cause.

CVance15 karma

Having some sort of a plan for the show, is it easy for you to write out the scripts, or is it more a seeing where this goes?

I also want to say I really love the show you guys are putting out, both of you do a fantastic job. Keep it up!

TeamOB9 karma

JF: Thank you so much, CVance1! We always have a plan, but as the show sort of develops and grows and moves forward, it does sort of take on an organic nature and we're influenced by scenes and characters, things that we see occuring on set and we're constantly trying to capitalize on our own.. GM: Weirdness. JF: Weirdness.

uberlad4 karma


TeamOB8 karma

GM: How do you not say something trite. Watch Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. JF: Make a clone of yourself. GM: And don't let the bastards get you down.