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'Orphan Black' Co-Creator Graeme Manson Talks Nature Vs. Nurture and Cronenberg Influences In His Clone Drama

Photo of Alison Willmore By Alison Willmore | Indiewire March 27, 2014 at 12:27PM

Graeme Manson, the co-creator and -showrunner of "Orphan Black," talks the new season of BBC America's hit clone drama.
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'Orphan Black'
Steve Wilkie/BBC America 'Orphan Black'

One of the other things that the series has touched on is the idea of whether, if you're a clone, you're fully human -- especially with the revelation that the clones are patented creations.

Yes, we explore that a little more, although we don't want to dwell on it too much. It's a running issue as to what those patents really mean. It's part of the mystery. And contemporarily, the Supreme Court decision on patents, there's a mystery there too about what constitutes "synthetic." If you inserted a synthetic sequence in a natural plant, or, say, you're Monsanto, "Oh, I own that plant." Do you? The legal ramifications have yet to be fleshed out and tested.

The show is shot and set in Toronto, though that's not mentioned. Is that to make it more accessible in the U.S.?

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It's a practical thing that occurs when you do a co-production with networks that have different desires for not wanting it to be too this or too that. It's not my favorite part. I would like to be more specific, honestly. What we've ended up with is this "it could be anywhere." It fits the show as well, that it exists in its own little world. That's what i do like about it.

As a fan of "Cube" and John Fawcett's "Ginger Snaps," I'm curious if you feel there's a different personality to Canadian genre fare.

Well, we're all children of David Cronenberg -- maybe that’s it. We all have Cronenberg DNA. I don't know what that is but we do do our genre stuff well. I think that the Canadian sense of humor marks it as well. That's a national trait.

Do you see Cronenberg influences in "Orphan Black"?

Absolutely. Take the tail! And body horror in general. I think it's definitely territory that Cronenberg explored.

That Neolution side of things, were you looking at transhumanism when you came up with that?

Yeah, or those philosophies of self-corrective evolution, extreme body mod type things. I find that stuff really interesting and relevant and contemporary -- and very human.

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To me, it's logical that that's where we go with our technology. That we apply it to ourselves. I don't find it shocking. I think we won't be able to help ourselves from trying to affect evolution and our own evolution in our own short lifespans. It's only a matter of time. It's happening.

Is there any one theme that you'd say guides the new season?

I would say... that we are stronger together.

This article is related to: Television, TV Interviews, Interviews, BBC America, Orphan Black, Graeme Manson







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