Here are behind-the-scenes secrets from our very own Orphan Black production team!
The prison location used for Donnie’s incarceration is actually the basement of an old hospital in Toronto. Another production company — many years ago — built a prison set in the basement, and now the hospital rents it out to other productions in Toronto when people are looking to shoot in a jail. The majority of cast and crew have actually shot in the location before.
However, nothing is as easy as it appears in production, and our art department had to create the cafeteria out of an old and unused morgue because the standing set did not have one available. We also had to build Donnie’s cell set separately because the cells they had available at the hospital location were not big enough for the stunts and cameras.
Fun Fact: We built the cell set in the gym/auditorium at the church. Why? Because we had really busy days in our studios and it made more sense to spend two days at the church and build the set within the location than it did building it on our own studio’s stages.
Fun Fact: In early development, we played around with the idea that Donnie might run into Vic in prison. Sadly, due to schedules and having too much story to tell in the other clones’ worlds we couldn’t accommodate an appearance from Vic, but man, that would have been funny.
The fish that Susan and Charlotte are dissecting in her lab is called a Round Goby. Graeme Manson wanted to use the real species in the scene but it turned out that it wasn’t the easiest fish to come by. Luckily for us, our props master Craig Williams had a connection at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario and was able to procure the real deal fish for us to use. Turns out there was actually a study being done at the university on that particular species, and Craig’s friend was able to get us properly dissected and whole Round Gobies.