Orphan Black is about to get even more complicated, with new characters joining the clone confusion. Star Ari Millen tells Chris Schulz about his expanding role in season three.

On one of his first days on the set of Orphan Black, Ari Millen was introduced to the man set to kill him.

"I was supposed to die in episode six (of season two)," Millen says about his role on the cult sci-fi show, which follows a group of female clones as they search for their origins.

"(Creator) John Fawcett introduced me to Dylan Bruce (who plays Paul Dierden) and said, 'You guys should meet because he's going to kill you."

When Millen joined the show - which begins its third season run on Soho this Monday - he thought his role as Mark Rollins was a minor one.


But when he wasn't killed off by episode six, the Canadian actor started asking questions.

"When the episode came I read the script and I wasn't dead and I asked, 'What's going on guys?' They smiled and said, 'Not yet, Ari, not yet'.

"By episode nine I still wasn't dead."

That's when producers dropped the news that not only would Mark survive - his role was expanding. Orphan Black's big reveal at the end of season two was that Mark was a male "Castor" clone. And in season three Millen plays at least four of them - Mark, Seth, Rudy and Miller.

That means his workload for season three is huge.

"I think I got three times the amount of days (shooting) as I did last year. "It can be (stressful). The days can be long and you get tired (but) who could predict anything like that? They weren't even hinting at male clones. It was pretty nice."

When it came to playing multiple characters, Millen had the perfect role model in fellow Canadian Tatiana Maslany - Orphan Black's lead who has won acclaim and a Golden Globe nomination for her performances.

One of Maslany's best scenes - a dance party featuring five of her cloned characters from the end of Orphan Black's second season - is a popular viral video.

"What I found most helpful from Tatiana was just watching her perform - like during the dance party," says Millen, who had to get used to acting alongside tennis balls representing his fellow clones in the scene.

"I find that I learn the best from watching people who are good at what they do. Just watching her manoeuvre, the technical side, and also just how great she is as an actor, from there I was able to work that into my work. I owe a lot to her skill."

Millen admits playing multiple characters can mess with your head.

"The challenge for me is finding the small things to help differentiate these guys. Certainly the visual aspect of putting on the costume helps: Rudy with the scar, Seth with the moustache, Mark with the weird haircut. I just look in that mirror ... and drop into that guy. It was most definitely a visual process for me.

"I had a very good script adviser who reminded me, 'Hey Ari, you're a little bit too Mark right now, you need to be more Rudy'."

Millen has also had to get used to attention from Orphan Black's fanatics, who formed the "Clone Club" fan group shortly after the show started airing and devour Orphan Black's smallest details and plot twists.

"Some of these fans are on the right track (with their theories) and probably know more than a lot of us working on the show. It's impressive and humbling to know we have such dedicated fans. I think the Clone Club is beyond anything anyone has ever seen. They're amazing."

And Millen promises those fans that there will be resolutions for some of the show's increasingly complicated plot strands.

"What's great about this season is we're finally going to get some answers about all of the questions from the first two seasons. I'm very happy to be a part of those answers."

What: Third season of sci-fi show Orphan Black
Where and when: Soho, Monday, 9.30pm

- TimeOut