Interview: Jordan Gavaris Talks ‘Orphan Black,’ Fee and Clones

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Orphan Black abounds with interesting troubled characters even if most of them are clones all played by the brilliantly talented Tatiana Maslany. But even clones need a BFF and that’s actor Jordan Gavaris who is Felix Dawkins or Fee to his many friends. Felix is also a scene stealing, sarcastic rent boy as well as an outlandish, sarcastic artist. And he always gets the best lines.

Several months ago, after their segment at the Television Critics Association conference, BBC America hosted an afternoon tea party for the casts of several of their shows and The Flickcast was lucky enough to trade questions and answers with the delightful, but not sarcastic, Jordan Gavaris.

THE FLICKCAST: Can you talk about playing Felix, and will you also be going deeper into the character in this new season?

JORDAN GAVARIS: Hugely deeper. I think Season 1 Felix was very much an integral cog in the mystery and the conception of the story and in Sarah’s journey, and now I think what Season 2 helps to do is establish him outside of the clones, establish him as an individual with his own identity and as a multifaceted human and not just a plot device or not just someone who’s there to facilitate whatever Sarah’s crazy idea is that day or, you know, be the person that she calls when she’s in trouble, that he gets an identity outside of all that which is really important because he’s a living, breathing person.

I think that he has kind of just gone along and been that person who picks up the phone at 3:00 in the morning, and I think it’s safe to say that the relationship with Sarah is going to come to a head, and there’s a really tough decision that’s going to be made, and there are many tough decisions that are going to be made, and it’s not going to be easy. So, yeah, there’s a lot of relationships that are tested, particularly, Sarah’s and Felix’s.

TFC: You’ve got some of the most loyal fans, not only the Clone Club but critics as well. It was amazing how fast the show caught fire.

JG: When you are talking about the bloggers and Clone Club and everybody, too, the critics, like the endless list of people, like you guys [the press] who kind of championed the show, in the beginning you told five people who told five people who told five people who like told Dalton Ross who shoved it down EW’s throats in the office and like made everybody watch it. It made a big difference, like a huge, huge difference.

TFC: As Season 2 progresses does Felix grow close to anyone new?

JG: There are some new relationships formed within the Clone Club and outside of the Clone Club. There are definitely — whether or not these are allegiances or whether or not these are allies or enemies I don’t know. Well, I may know. Sometimes, I genuinely don’t know and I’m just going along with it. There’s some new, very tumultuous relationships that are formed. And, there is some contention between he and Sarah which I think is going to be one of the more interesting points of the season.

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TFC: What excites you the most about the second season?

JG: I always say season 1 was conception. You know we were laying the pipe and there was a lot of entertaining exposition. It was entertaining, but Season 2 is evolution. And it’s very apt considering the subject matter of the show too. I think we get to see the characters evolve and change.

TFC: Is he spiraling out or spiraling down?

JG: I think Felix has always been caught in a spiral. He’s just been circling the drain. I don’t think he’s going any further down or up than he was before. We just get to see a little more of his private life which is nice.

TFC: Their foster mother, Mrs. S, may know more than everyone’s aware. Is there a secret reason why she might have taken in Felix?

JG: It’s certainly possible. We’ll get a little taste of Felix’s backstory for a fraction of the time this season. But, I think the majority of it is still being left very open-ended. I don’t know. Anything’s possible in the Orphan Black universe as we’ve said. Things that we’ve thought we’d do and didn’t do and things we said we’d never do and tried to do and hoped we could pull off. It’s definitely left open-ended for good reason. I think the second season…is many mornings of going ‘Oh my god, how are we going to do this. Are we actually going to try this?’ And we did.

TFC: Do you have a favorite outfit that Felix wears? His wardrobe is so much fun.

JG: There was that cool shirt in episode 6 [Season 1] that was like mesh see-through. It was like bondage gear. I think it’s safe to say we’ll see a little bit of bondage gear in season 2. Whether or not you see more of me than the bondage gear, I don’t know. I do strip down a lot for the show. We’ve had that conversation where on occasion I felt that the scene didn’t warrant it as it was written and I would say, ‘Why is this happening?’ Hay, as much as the audience loves seeing my bum…being careful that that didn’t become just a running gag.

We sort of held on to the integrity of the show and protected the show and made sure if we’re going to be naked that it made sense and it wasn’t just something we were doing for a laugh that there was some kind of sensibility behind it. Private moments are always great to be naked because we get to see someone completely alone and how we react with our bodies alone is very different to how we react with people so I relish those.

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TFC: What was the biggest shock for you in Season 1?

JG: Oh, Helena’s death. I thought there’s no way they were going to kill off this character. You established this incredible relationship between Sarah and Helena and the fact that they’re twins and you kill this character off. I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is a big death.’ It’s a character with unlikely empathy. Everyone identified and loved this character in spite of her psychopathy. I thought that was an unbelievable achievement and then to just take her out of the picture all together was quite shocking.

TFC: Who was scarier Rachel or Helena?

JG: Oh, I’d say Rachel. Helena’s like just — she’s a crazy you know. She’s unabashed about her craziness. She’s nuts. Rachel, I don’t trust her.

TFC: Tatiana Maslany mentioned that she listens to certain music to get into the mood for her different clones. Is there any music you listen to before turning into Felix?

JG: Yeah, actually I have a playlist of a couple of songs from Letter from Cleo, Goldfrapp and Riding in Cars with Boys is one from Lena Del Rey that I listen to. Strict Machine from Goldfrapp is a big one. For some bizarre reason, God of Thunder by KISS, I don’t know why. Sweet Dreams by Annie Lennox. A lot of strong women too. Any kind of strong female artist is one I’ll gravitate towards for him. There’s definitely a lot of music. I don’t do it all the time, but if I’m caught or I’m playing Felix in a situation that isn’t familiar to me then I’ll usually find a song to help with how he would move in a situation.

TFC: Will he find love?

JG: At the bottom of a bottle.

TFC: Do you mean that literally?

JG: There is definitely love for alcohol in Season 2. There’s love for a couple different drugs.

TFC: Will there ever be a clone of Felix?

JG: I think the world can only handle one Felix.

ORPHAN BLACK – “To Hound Nature in her Wanderings” (S2 E6) – BBC America – May 24 6:00 PM – check schedule

GEEK NOTE: All Season titles are from the works of Sir Francis Bacon.

  • Hoang Hai
    May 30, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Thanks for this interview, I’m a big fan of Jordan Gavaris

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