Just before Tatiana Maslany flew to Los Angeles to accept an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for Orphan Black I asked her what she’s been doing lately.
“I filmed the movie Stronger and since then I’ve been chillin’ hard,” she laughed.
The Regina, Saskatchewan-born actress may have taken some downtime over the summer, but that is likely the last time off she’ll see for the foreseeable future. Right now she defines the term ‘in demand,’ enjoying the kind of popularity usually reserved for the very top of the a-list. Her Emmy win lit the internet on fire, earning millions of mentions that made her the most talked about person on facebook and twitter that night. Currently she is shooting the last season of Orphan Black and has three movies set for release, including Stronger opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and next weekend’s Two Lovers and a Bear.
The Nunavut-shot film focuses on star-crossed lovers Lucy and Roman, played by Dane DeHaan and a talking bear. Veteran actor Gordon Pinsent lent his kindly voice to the polar bear, but Maslany says she was scared of Agee, the full-size adult female who played the carnivorous title character.
“She can smell women and doesn’t like them,” Maslany said of the bear who stands over seven feet when on her hind legs. “She’s a woman and doesn’t like them. She gets ‘Agee-tated.’ I’m so sorry about that.”
Maslany doesn’t want to discuss the movie’s twists and turns. Instead she’d like audiences to enjoy the story the way she did when she was offered the part of Lucy.
“I didn’t know what to expect at any moment when I read the script. It would flip from this very heavy romance to comedy and it sort of feels like sci fi or a thriller at the end.”
She will say her character has “a restlessness to her spirit and a need to find some stillness and peace and a desperate love of Roman. She can’t live without him and can’t be with him.”
Filmed over the course of six weeks on locations in Nunavut, the shoot for Two Lovers and a Bear was often unforgiving. “Our stills photographer lost chunks of his nose [due to the cold],” she says, but adds that shooting in the isolated location was invaluable to her performance.
“Just as having a real polar bear there,” she says, “being in the actual environment is so much easier and telling and informing in terms of character and how you move through the world. You understand more about why Roman and Lucy are the way they are by being there and living in that kind of environment. You see how two people could need each other so desperately and be the only thing the other has.”
“There are such vibrant youth there. It was really cool to be part of the community. I got to meet and be part of it and see their artwork. At the same time there are a lot of issues up there in terms of things from years back and systemic things. It has this bizarre duality to it.”
“I loved it up there,” she says. “I would go back in a heartbeat.”
Chances are good, however, given her workload and popularity she won’t have time to go North any time soon.