Making a clone sweep

Candid Canadian

They are a modern family complete with all its idiosyncrasies. There is a catch though — they are all clones.  In BBC America’s hit science fiction series, ‘Orphan Black, Season 3’, being aired on AXN, Ari Millen, the Canadian film, television and stage actor, has been striding ahead on his multiple roles (read clones).

    To cut a long story short, he grows from being a religious cult member and multiplies as clones — he plays Rudy, and his brothers Seth, Miller and Mark.

When 33-year-old Millen, who hails from Kingston, Ontario, talks about his life — in the clone family and outside it — there is an unmistakable enthusiasm.

     “I was fortunate to have got this opportunity.  It is ultimately what one dreams of and only a very few people are able to experience it,” he exudes.

    Playing the ‘Castor Clones’ has been a challenge, he admits candidly, nevertheless not without its share of fun.

     Millen, though, seems to have always been interested in acting but it was in his senior year of high school that the acting bug bit him.

He then went on to train at Ryerson University in  Toronto. Meanwhile, the actor with volatile eyes has to his credit television series ‘Rookie Blue’, ‘The CW’s Reign’ and ‘SyFy’s 12 Monkeys’ and horror films such as ‘Monster Brawl’ and ‘Exit Humanity’. But it his portrayal in ‘Orphan Black’  that has been termed pathbreaking.

To be able to get under the skin of several characters in the same show, he says, is a dream-come-true  and he describes how he kept one different from the other.

   “It is probably the toughest challenge of my career. It was creatively exciting to be able to not only play one of the characters on the show but many  and different aspects of them. It was about finding difference between the similarities,” he says.

Can the audience spot him in any of these characters? “I don’t recognise myself in anyone. I had to push my own personal boundaries. Rudy is kind of a peacock and Mark
is very infectious,” he says.

      The Leda clones (played by actress Tatiana Maslany) in the series come from different parts of the globe and have distinct personalities. However, he says, the Castor brothers were raised together and the challenge lies there. “There are lot more similarities as, you know, it would be in any family,” explains Millen.

   “But Mark is the closest to me,” he says elaborating that the shyness and the darkness in the character that he likes to explore. In spite of all that, each of them, he says stands out on his own.

“They are deep characters. Generally, I play clones in the first part of the day. I also worked with a body double, Nick Abraham and practised with a variety of things, like tennis balls against a wall.” 

    Break away from the clone world and he is enjoying life with fiance and actress Kassandra Santos and daughter Lily.

Does the new-born daughter (crying in the background) keep him busy? “Certainly (laughs). She has brought in a different dimension. It has really been a nice break from acting.”

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