Tatiana Maslany might get all the accolades for her varied roles on Orphan Black—and deservedly so—but the show’s other stand-out performance is from Jordan Gavaris, who plays Felix “Fee” Dawkins, Sarah’s foster brother. Felix is flamboyantly gay and British, so it’s a little jolting to hear the straight, Canadian actor speak in his normal voice. We caught up with him at his second trip to Comic-Con in San Diego—he’d been once before for his short-lived kids adventure series Unnatrual History, back in 2010 when he could walk the floor without getting mobbed by fans. “It’s a little different now,” he says. “I don’t get to see as much of the con, but the reception at the panel is unreal.”
Just as packed as the panel was BBC America’s Orphan Black fan event, where we spoke with him backstage. Here’s what he had to say:
I think the sum of the reveal has happened so many times now that I think everybody pretty much knows that I’m not actually English, but I get the odd person. There was a woman at the nerdiest conversation yesterday that when I started talking and made reference to a scene, and she actually audibly screamed. She was like, “Oh you’re so good!” And I was like. “Thank you…” It was funny.
I know they’re writing. I don’t know specifically…I have managed to get some information out of Graham last night, but you know I can’t tell you, right? I can say that I love the direction that season’s going to go in. I think that it’s…part of what I loved about season one was that it was obviously like any superhero story the reveal of the superpowers is the most exciting part, and then as sometimes it can peteroff, the drama degrades a little bit because the thrill of the reveal is gone. So the neat thing about season four is that I think we’ve got a reveal that came to what the train platform was in season one and what that meant to the characters, what it meant to Sarah. Not really knowing who the threat is, just knowing there’s this ominous blanket of—terrible expression, Jesus, ominous blanket…—just knowing there’s a threat we don’t know. We don’t know what neolution is. We don’t know what it provides. We don’t know who the players are. We don’t really know where the top is or where the bottom is, we just know it’s dangerous, and it’s going to be very interesting to learn how sarah fits into all of that because it’s important the audience is reminded why sarah is ruffling feathers to begin with. What’s she doing? Why is she…and I think that’s something we’re going to address in season four, so I’m excited.
I got to do a lot of really interesting things last year, but I think I’m looking for something that would be a little more substantial in terms of character development—something that can actually influence, something that can change him. There’s been a lot of conflict, and a lot of stuff has happened, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of growth for him. He’s stayed, and that’s important, and we are who we are, and I know that the audience has come to love many facets of him. But I know there’s a lot more to explore, and I want to explore that. I’m interested in telling a story about a gay man and what he’s going through as an artist and as a lonely, single gay man. I want to reveal what I know about loneliness. That’s the story that I would like to tell, and I think that I can tell that within the parameters of where Season 4 is going as a season.
It’s exciting for me because they become real to you—the characters become very real to you. But emotionally, the more you get to know them, the more you notice the parallels between you and the character, and you are better able to find the qualities in yourself—so long as you’re willing to be honest about who you are and can honestly self-confront and figure out. As long as you know who you are, you will better find qualities in yourself that illuminate this person and show you new sides to them—sides you didn’t think were there. And it can be cathartic because you’re exploring your own personal pain and your own experiences, and you’re hopefully telling a story with it through the body, through the veil of this character. So you’re playing yourself, but you’re not really playing yourself. You get to run in total abandon. You don’t have this safety net around. It’s a really weird job. It’s a very weird job.