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Episode 3: What You Didn’t Know About “The Stigmata of Progress”

Here are behind-the-scenes secrets from our very own Orphan Black production team! 

This year, we increased the amount of on-screen physical connection between the clones… by a lot. One great example in this episode is when Cosima uses the ultrasound on Sarah’s cheek to get a full look at her bot. In previous seasons, this would have been something that we reconsidered doing because it is so time-consuming, but now that we are in our fourth season the crew and cast are so familiar with the steps of making the clones interact that we can accomplish more and more intricate and subtle moments of contact between them.


Believe it or not, when Alison is in the hallway listening to Helena and Donnie speak with the detectives, we utilized a brand-new way of shooting a clone scene. Tatiana-as-Alison wasn’t actually ever there on set. It was our first time shooting a clone scene in two different locations. Here’s how we did it:

First, we shot Alison on a blue screen at the studio, and then, several days later, we shot the background with Donnie and Helena at the Hendrix house location. Tatiana-as-Alison was never actually in that house location when we shot that episode. Lucky for us our DOP matched the lighting perfectly!

Fun Fact: This was also the only time this season we went to Markham, Ontario to shoot in the Hendrix’s house. Every other time you see them at home, we were on our sets.

When Ferdinand slices the neck of the dental assistant we only had one take to catch the actor, James Frain, drawing his finger across her neck. We had to digitally bend his finger and put a CG knife in his hand in order to pull off this moment.

Fun Fact: The dentist’s office you see is a real location at Queen Street East and Broadview in Toronto. However, the room where Sarah is about to be operated on was a set we built in our studios.

John Fawcett taught Hellwizard, Kira, the writers, and the on-set dresses/props master how to play the game Descent in order to film the scene where Kira throws a fit. It is a really complicated game and we aren’t sure anyone really understood how to play it, but John at least taught them enough to pull off looking like they got it!


Fun Fact: It took about five minutes to reset the game every time Kira pushed it off the table.

Fun Fact: Hellwizard is wearing a Dungeons & Dragons-brand sweater in this scene. They have been great at hooking us up with merchandise for the comic book store, and when they sent along these awesome sweaters there was no question that Hellwizard would wear them in the show. Keep your eyes peeled for more D&D swag in later episodes too!

When John and Graeme reached out to Matt Frewer to come back for our season premiere they knew that they had to ask him another big question: “Will you sit still for several hours with goop all over you and let us get a life-cast of your head?” Luckily for us, Matt Frewer was game and loved the idea that Alison and Donnie would exhume Leekie’s body. Chris Bridges built an amazing, decomposing head and bot tumor for this scene, a prosthetic prop that comes back again in the next episode.

Photo 2016-04-28, 8 07 31 AM

Fun Fact: did you notice the other new fresh cement in the garage? Between seasons, Alison and Donnie had to get rid of Rudy’s body and we decided… where else but in the garage with Leekie?!

In this episode, we get to meet Felix’s biological sister, Adele, for the first time. They were originally supposed to connect over martinis on Felix’s loft’s rooftop. However, after scouting four or five rooftops, director Ken Girotti and our production team decided that it was too complicated, and opted instead for the cool underpass park location that you see them in.


Fun Fact: Ken Girotti has been on the show since the first season.

Fun Fact: Lauren Hammersley, the actress who plays Adele, screen-tested with Jordan, and it was their ease and sense of improv that really sealed the deal on her getting the job.

We return to Rachel for the first time this season in Episode 3, and of course we start in on her amazing neolution/bionic eye! John Fawcett and Geoff Scott from Intelligent Creatures, our VFX company, created the look of the bionic eye by using the actual eye that Leekie had in his presentation/lecture in Season 1. Did you notice how similar they are?

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