Send in the clones – Orphan Black is back

Winner of 10 Canadian Screen Awards, Orphan Black is back for a second amazing season of clones and conspiracy. In the heart-pounding opening episode Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) is on the run, alone, stalked by mysterious enemies, racing through a rainstorm at the corner of Coxwell and Danforth.

She takes shelter in a retro-style diner (The Bus Terminal Restaurant) as Anne Murray’s mournful Snowbird plays on the radio. Sarah desperately needs to fly away. For someone the night will be end badly.

Beach resident Inga Cadranel, left, and Tatiana Maslany on the Danforth in a scene from Orphan Black.
Beach resident Inga Cadranel, left, and Tatiana Maslany on the Danforth in a scene from Orphan Black.

The next day Sarah is brought back to the scene of the crime by tough-talking Detective Angela Deangelis (Inga Cadranel). Unlike the no-nonsense character she plays, Beach actor Cadranel has a full life outside her career and calls herself a “goofball,” always joking around on set.

Shakespeare wrote that “one man in his time plays many parts.”

Cadranel is as talented as she is beautiful. Her passion is music. She has sung opera, been lead singer in a punk band, is an actor, producer and now mother to two young children. I asked her by e-mail if she identified more with street-wise rebel Sarah or demure soccer mom Alison.

“Well I definitely related more to the Sarah character for most of my life, but have leaned towards Alison after having kids. I’m certainly not a soccer mom type, considering I’m an artist for a living.”

Cadranel and Gabriel Hogan (CBC’s Heartland) both come from acting families and try to balance busy careers with family. I asked Cadranel what attracted them to our community.

“The Beaches became our home when our son became school age, and we researched the best public schools in Toronto, and this area was head and shoulders above the rest for literacy testing. We love the outdoors and are very sporty as a family so this area definitely lends to that.”

Orphan Black films on Eastern Avenue in the Studio District, but also does a lot of location shooting all around the East End (Queen Street East near Morse Street, Cherry Beach, Bridgepoint Hospital and the old Don Jail, around the Hearn Generating Plant). It’s fun to spot the Toronto locales. How did it feel for Cadranel to work so close to home?

“It wasn’t lost on me what an amazing bonus shooting in the East End was. The studio was about seven minutes from my house. I absolutely loved that. I’ve always shot at west-end studios in the past.”

Orphan Black is not just the best show on Canadian television, it has found a home in the hearts of viewers around the world. Cadranel feels the applause:

“The support and love I’ve received from fans for Detective Deangelis is such a surprise and so appreciated. I think people assume actors get told while they are shooting that they are valid and good. But it’s really been the fans that have made this character so special to me when I see how loved she is. Strong females are rare on TV. It’s an honour to play one.”

Cadranel wants us to get out and support our local stores. In a video for Shop the Neighbourhood, the actress is just her warm self as she talks about Beaches Natural Foods and our community.

“It almost feels like a small town in the Beaches … everyone knows each other.”

If we don’t want empty storefronts, “Go Local!”

Orphan Black explores the whole question of identity. Who are we? Tatiana Maslany is a force of nature, a chameleon who richly deserves all her accolades and awards, but the whole cast and crew are at the top of their game. We can be proud of a terrific Toronto production. Check it out Saturday nights on Space and CTV.

Art: “You ever fight a woman?”

Angela: “Depends. Business or pleasure?”

Note for history buffs: The Bus Terminal Family Restaurant (originally Bus Terminal Grill) near Coxwell and Danforth has been an East End landmark since 1948, first owned by Hollinger Bus Lines (founded in 1921) which was taken over by the TTC in 1954. The subway line came along in 1966. The ominous scene in the diner is a throwback to film noir vengeance and reminiscent of David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence (2005).

Tatiana Maslany is seen in front of the Bus Terminal Restaurant on Danforth near Coxwell.
Tatiana Maslany is seen in front of the Bus Terminal Restaurant on Danforth near Coxwell.

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