Here are behind-the-scenes secrets from our very own Orphan Black production team!
LET IT BURN
Episode 506 brings about the end of Revival, and with that we got to think up a way to burn it all down and bring the mystery back to the mainland. Grant Harvey, our director for this episode, had the job (for the second year in the row — last year he was the director of 406 when we burned up Duko’s van) of bringing the pyrotechnics and visual effects together in a visual climax at the same time as saying goodbye to two amazing characters, Susan Duncan and Ira.
Fun Fact: The fire was created by lighting effects, flame bars, one controlled fire ball explosion, and a bunch of VFX sprinkled in and around to add to practical effects. It took a lot of meetings to figure out how to pull off the burning village, make sure it was in budget, and that it would look real. Oh, and there was a long debate about which of the sets we would burn down and feature in 507.
Fun Fact: The last shot of PTW in his cabinet looking out the window as the village burns in the reflection was entirely done using VFX because none of the windows in that set look over the village. They face the opposite direction. So, Intelligent Creatures had to paint in the village’s reflections and then flames, smoke, etc. over the top of his reflection.
506 was written by David Bezmogis. He was new to the Orphan Black writers’ room this season, but it was also his first time working in TV. David is an accomplished and award-winning novelist and a filmmaker, but this was his first time venturing into the world of scripted television. You can read his blog HERE.
Fun Fact: David wrote and directed the feature film Natasha which starred Alex Ozerov who plays Ramone, Alison’s drug dealer in Orphan Black. David was sad that he didn’t get to feature Alex in his episode, but sadly the Hendrixes are on the sidelines at this point in the season.
KRYSTAL, KRYSTAL, KRYSTAL
It’s not an easy episode to create when your marching orders as a writer are to take the funniest character from the show and give her half the episode, while at the same time trying to kill two main characters in a dark and horrible revolt at the strange island village that houses the bad guys. That’s a big ask, but David and Grant somehow pulled off this tonal duality. This episode is the first time we got to meet Krystal’s roomie and the first time we got to see where she lives. John and Graeme always felt that Krystal wasn’t the cleanest of the clones and that her house should feel like a makeup bag exploded all over it. And John Dondertman did an amazing job designing the set. He referenced a Toronto photographer Maya Fuhr and stylist Chloe Wise and their “Garbage Girls” series for how Krystal’s apartment should look and feel. I think we can all agree they were definitely influenced by these images!
Fun Fact: Krystal’s boy-toy Len Sipp was hard to cast. We wanted something very specific, and it wasn’t until producer Mackenzie Donaldson and Tatiana were chatting about the script that the idea to cast Tom Cullen (for those not in the know, also Tatiana’s real-life partner) came up! Luckily for us, Tom was already scheduled to be visiting Toronto during January when we were shooting the episode, and he came in for a couple days and play.
Fun Fact: Len wasn’t going to be British until we cast Tom and were discussing if he should use an American accent or not.
Fun Fact: Writer David Bezmogis watched a LOT of Youtube makeup tutorials while writing this episode. And we mean a lot.
Fun Fact: We reused Beth’s kitchen cupboards and fridge in Krystal’s apartment. Did you notice?
Graeme has always known that Cosima was raised in a family of boaters and that she knows her way around many different watercrafts. So it was really fun that we finally let Clone Club in on that part of her childhood.
Fun Fact: The boathouse is located in our studio, not on the water, so in order for it to look like Cosima and Charlotte were moving while in the boat we had to put it on wheels and have a bunch of strong guys pull it backwards into the studio. We then replaced the background with some VFX and added some water reflections in order to pull it off.
Susan may have departed in this episode, but not before revealing to the audience PTW’s real identity: John. This could be interpreted as an ode to John Fawcett, but really the inspiration came from our production designer John Dondertman. Not that our production designer is anything like PTW, but because we wanted PTW to have a really common first name, something that made him less God like and as human as possible. We also love to honor our hard-working crew by representing them on-screen, even if it means naming our biggest baddie after them.