OnlyOnAOL: Why 'Orphan Black' star Tatiana Maslany counts sheep

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

Tatiana Maslany on "Orphan Black"

By: Donna Freydkin

Tatiana Maslany has played a cop, an evolutionary biologist, an assassin and a CEO on the BBC mind-bending drama "Orphan Black." In an industry where many women lament the lack of one meaty roles, Maslany is swimming in them, playing a character and her numerous clones.

But there's one skill she wishes she had. "I sleep as much as I possibly can. I can't sleep at the best of times. My brain doesn't shut off," says the Emmy and Golden Globe nominee.

Her performance -- and its numerous iterations -- has dazzled critics; the season four finale airs Thursday. Given the sheer number of women she plays, Maslany relies on specific cues to keep them straight. "It depends. There's certain keys into these different characters, whether it's physicality or music or movement. There's a shorthand that my body knows. The hair and makeup and wardrobe change really helps. My cast always treats me differently depending on who I'm cast as," she says.

She appreciates the unique richness of her many roles, in an industry where many women are lucky to land just one. "It's been such a cool experience getting to play characters that I probably would normally be cast as, like high-powered executives or serial killers. It's been a fun experience to break through those limits," says Maslany.

The Canadian actress, who's headlining the drama "Stronger" about the Boston Marathon bombing (opposite Jake Gyllenhaal) says that she isn't method on set.

"There's an energy that remains. It's not like I'm walking around having people say my name as the character," says Maslany. "The biggest challenge is the technical, creative side of it -- creating someone new and trying to breathe a different life into my performance. The most rewarding thing is that same exact thing. I get to explore all these lives at the same time. I get to really mix it up."

SEE MORE:
OnlyOnAOL: Laverne Cox: 'Being an artist saved my life'
OnlyOnAOL: The secret to Jennifer Beals' ageless beauty will shock you
OnlyOnAOL: Constance Zimmer on who inspired her mean-girl 'UnREAL' persona

16 PHOTOS
Laverne Cox best style moments
See Gallery
OnlyOnAOL: Why 'Orphan Black' star Tatiana Maslany counts sheep

Laverne Cox speaks dazzled in pink during the 2015 Global Citizen Festival in New York City.

Photo by Taylor Hill via Getty Images

The actress wore a stunning teal dress to the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California.

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

Cox stuns in white at HBO's Official 2015 Emmy After Party.

Photo by JB Lacroix via Getty Images

Laverne Cox attended the Television Industry Advocacy Awards and looked simply incredible.

Photo by Tibrina Hobson via Getty Images

Cox wore a bright turquoise dress to the Prabal Gurung Spring 2016 runway show for New York Fashion Week.

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images

The actress wowed onlookers in a high-necked gown while out and about New York Fashion Week.

Photo by John Parra via Getty Images

Backstage at the Idan Cohen fashion show during Spring 2016 New York Fashion Week, the 'Orange is the New Black' star rocked a fitted two piece ensemble.

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz via Getty Images

Few women wear white as well as Laverne Cox, pictured at The Daily Front Row's Third Annual Fashion Media Awards in September.

Photo by Sonia Moskowitz via Getty Images

Cox attended the Desigual fashion show during New York Fashion Week and looked stellar in an ombre mini dress.

Photo by Monica Schipper via Getty Images

The actress donned a bright yellow mini halter dress for the 2nd Annual Delta Open Mic event and looked spectacular.

Photo by Steve Zak Photography via Getty Images

For the 'Orange Is The New Black' FYC screening, Cox went for a more sophisticated look in this neutral number and she couldn't have looked classier.

Photo by Jamie McCarthy via Getty Images

Laverne Cox attended the NYC premiere of 'Ricki And The Flash' in a periwinkle mini dress.

Photo by Debra L Rothenberg via Getty Images

The actress is seen out and about in New York City rocking a flirty navy mini dress and heels.

Photo by MPI99/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

For the 2015 BET Awards press room, Cox wore a sexy white gown and looked stunning.

Photo by Paul Archuleta via Getty Images

The actress arguably had the best dress at the 2015 amfAR Inspiration Gala.

Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo via Getty Images

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Read Full Story

From Our Partners