We got the chance to catch up with Orphan Black’s Kristian Bruun (Donnie) and Kevin Hanchard (Art) to discuss the fourth season premiere as well as what’s to come this season, including Art and Beth’s (Tatiana Maslany) relationship, Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) journey, last season’s most GIFable moment and more.
Season four goes back to the basics. The premiere took us back in time to when Beth was alive and we got to know her a little more. How often will story be taking place in the past this season?
Kevin Hanchard: I think that remains to be seen.
Kristian Bruun: [Laughs] That’s so cryptic.
Kevin: We’ll see what happens. It was heavy in the first episode. Like you said before, that is the theme of this season. We are going back to the beginning in order to go forward. That seems to be the catchphrase that really encapsulates what we are trying to do here. There’s a big story that we are telling and in order to tell it properly, we have to make sure that we have a really good foundation to jump off from.
It was nice to see Dylan Bruce again as Paul.
Kristian: It was great to have him back! I didn’t get to do any scenes with him. I still haven’t done a scene with him!
Kevin: I’ve only had one!
Kristian: What scene was that?
Kevin: That was in season one when he came to the precinct and I got up in his grill. That’s when I realized how tall Dylan Bruce is!
Kristian: I’d put my money on Dylan.
Kevin: I had him, man.
Kristian: You do pilates.
Kevin: I know kung pow.
Kevin: It’s deadly.
Kristian: Yeah, when you make it… It’s probably deadly.
We learned that Beth and Art hooked up in the season premiere. Art just kept this a secret for three seasons.
Kevin: Yeah. [Laughs]
This relationship that we’re seeing with Beth and Art gives a new dimension to your character.
Kristian: The penny drops and all of a sudden you’re just “Woah! Now I get it.”
This deeper connection with Beth solidifies his place in the Clone Club.
Kristian: He’s in love with her… Isn’t he?
Kevin: Absolutely. We definitely allude to that in season three when Art and Sarah are going to the farm and he talks about things that have happened which shouldn’t have. There’s definitely a love there. It’s complicated because it’s not just a physical sort of thing. It’s weird because it’s two partners.
And we finally got to see that as well.
Kevin: You finally got to see that. When you’ve got a partner like that who has an addiction, you wonder “Why doesn’t he just turn her in? She’s messed up. Fix her. I don’t have time for this.” There’s something that he recognizes in Beth. Something that he thinks is worth saving. It’s something that reaches and touches his soul. There’s an investment here that goes beyond the physical attraction. The physical attraction comes out of the emotional connection and the need that he has to save her… As well as redeem her.
Kristian: As an audience member, even on my end, it explained so much but it was also jarring to see them kiss. Someone can be in love with someone but until you see it, you’re like “Okay, that explains why he’s so loyal.” It was a great episode for you.
Kevin: It was a lot of fun to shoot. It was cool to see as well. It’s one thing for one person to have feelings for someone but it’s another thing to see it reciprocated. It just crystallizes that whole relationship and makes stakes that much higher. It helps people understand why Art did what he did. Why he put it all out on the line with the Maggie Chen shooting. It wasn’t just about duty to your partner.
Kristian: That was the same night!
Kevin: Yes, that was the same night. It was just a massive situation. To finally unwrap the whole thing was just a gift as an actor. As a fan of the show too, it was really wonderful to crack that open.
There’s a new Batcave for Clone Club. It reminded me of the later seasons in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when they had Giles with the magic shop.
Kristian: Yup! It’s one of my favourite sets. I remember the Hendrix house is right next door to the Rabbit Hole comic book store, so sound would always set up in there whenever we were filming in the Hendrix house. I would always just poke my nose around that set and read the comic books. If you look really closely to the posters in the store, they are all TCAF [Toronto Comic Arts Festival] posters. They have really cool easter eggs in that store.
Looks like we are scaling back on the Castor clones this season. Mark’s out there somewhere but Ari Millen’s playing a new clone named Ira. What can you tell us about this character?
Kristian: We’re not going to see him for a few episodes but it is out there that he’s playing this character.
Kevin: Ira’s just an interesting cat. As is Ari who plays Ira. It’s something that you are going to watch and that little thumb on your hand is going to go rewind and go back during scenes to see “What’s really happening here? What’s the nature of this relationship with the clones?”
Kristian: It’s really fascinating. I like that character a lot.
As for Donnie and Alison this season. Helena’s living with them and she looks up to Alison.
Kristian: There’s tension in the house for sure. Alison’s a very particular person to begin with. If you compare the clones, Alison and Helena are polar opposites, so there’s room for some high jinks and a lot of pressure to the relationship between Donnie and Alison but even Donnie and Helena. There’s a lot to explore there and we have a lot of fun with it. It’s always fun working with Helena! It’s always a laugh. There’s a lot going forward with it.
It’s a sci-fi show but there’s still that human drama element to it. Here’s Helena who is able to get pregnant while Alison and Donnie have struggled with that in the past. Will this be addressed?
Kristian: Yeah, I think that’s definitely a new experience for everybody in the house. Donnie and Alison had never gone through it before and we’ll explore that.
When you filmed the dancing on the bed in your underwear scene. Did you know that it was going to live on forever as a GIF?
Kristian: Yeah, pretty much.
Kevin: “Did you know you would break the Internet?” Is the question.
Kristian: [Laughs] I didn’t Kardashian the Internet.
Kevin: You totally broke the Internet.
Kristian: I tried to break the Internet. It’s funny. I see it pop up all the time and…
Kevin: So do I. It’s great.
Kristian: And you’re very happy that it does. Kevin just constantly texts me pictures of that scene.
Kevin: But it’s me re-enacting it!
Kristian: And that’s very strange… We knew we had something crazy. Every season they throw these wild scenes at me which are always fun to do. Every year I try to challenge the writers, “Try to top what you did last year. I don’t think you can.” Every year I don’t think they can top it, but they really do. So I know that whenever we do these scenes, I know there’s something crazy that is about to happen. I always keep my eye out on the calendar when that episode comes out because I know that my Twitter timeline is going to blow up or something funny is going to start happening. We knew at that time that there would be some GIFs from this. It’s ridiculous. They even did an extended cut of it, which is the full length of the song. I don’t know where it is. It was going to come out on the DVD for season three. Somewhere out there is a three minute version of that scene! It’s ridiculous.
Will there be a GIFable scene coming up?
Kristian: I think so. There will be some more GIFs coming around this season for sure!
What can you guys share about Felix’s (Jordan Gavaris) journey this season? He was a bit excluded last season when Sarah and Mrs. S went away with Kira. Where’s Felix’s head at when we see him again in the present day timeline?
Kevin: It’s tough for me to talk about it really because Jordan understands that journey so much more than we do. But on a surface level, it’s about the fact that Felix has had a family where the thing that connected him and Sarah was that they don’t have blood that they knew of but S was there family.
Kristian: Kendall, S, Sarah and Kira are all related.
Kevin: Once they find out that they share blood, that automatically makes Felix feel like he’s an outsider.
Kristian: All of a sudden, they’re in Iceland but he stays behind. He feels separate from those he felt were his family for most of his life.
Kevin: Right, which I think is a jump off point for a journey that he thinks he needs to go on. To sort of find out who he is and what he needs to make himself feel whole and at peace with who he is.
Kristian: It’s a great journey… Not to give anything away.
Kevin: There’s a whole lot there and Jordan does a wonderful job with it.
Orphan Black airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on Space in Canada and BBC America.