The wild ride that has been Orphan Black season 4 is coming to an end. The season began with a look back at Beth’s days before her suicide and her relationship with Art, giving us a better understanding of why he’s made some of the decisions he has.
BuddyTV spoke with Kevin Hanchard about playing Art, his relationship with the clones, leaving Detective Duko with Mrs. S and more. Read on for the first part of the interview.
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BuddyTV: Can you talk about how far Art has come from season 1 to now? Could you have imagined that this is where he would end up back then?
Kevin Hanchard: “I don’t think I could have imagined it because I’m not creative enough as a writer to have put this whole thing together this way, but I think I could have dreamt this, that his journey would have come this far, from basically just a hard-nosed, by-the-book kind of cop to one that’s sort of had his mind blown but at the same time opened up his mind to the crazy possibility and the reality, when you think about it really, of what this whole clone conspiracy has become. It’s been a tremendous journey. And as I said, I don’t write, so I couldn’t have imagined it, but in an actor’s dream, this is exactly what one would want, to have as a character and as a character arc.”
With the flashbacks, season 4 has given us a better understanding of Beth and why she ended up on the train platform. Do you agree that we also get a better understanding of why Art has done what he has for her and the sisters? It’s one thing to know about that relationship, but another to see it.
“Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I sort of talked about this before, that I’ve had my ideas as to what the motivation has been for Art, with Beth and to sort of go as far as he has, as far as the whole situation is concerned, but when you really see it, and when you see that it wasn’t — I hope people see that it wasn’t just a physical, sort of one-night thing, there was a genuine love and an affection there that was always percolating beneath the surface — it really gives credence to all of the sacrifices and all of the risks and all of the blurring of lines and bending of the rules that Art has done on Beth’s behalf.
And now that he knows she’s officially gone and he continues to do that, not just because he wants to find out why she committed suicide, but now that he knows, he’s determined to get justice for her, so it’s been, as I said before, a really great journey.”
What was it like getting into that mindset to play Art pre-season 1?
“We didn’t know all that we know now, so I just did my regular actor’s homework and I just sort of got into the mindset of being a cop. I have a friend who works on the police force up here, and I picked his brain a whole lot and I hopped into a couple of squad cars and just sort of got into the mentality of what it is to be a cop, what it is to be a cop with a partner, what that relationship is all about because I really didn’t know how deep this whole thing would have been. I had a general idea, it was about clones and a conspiracy, but as far as I knew, it could have been a police procedural, so you sort of prepare yourself generally for the character, but leave yourself open and available to whatever the writers decide to throw at you. I’m glad that I did that because, as we said in the beginning, I couldn’t have imagined how far and how wild this ride has been thus far.”
Did you have to go back to film the season 4 premiere, to remember what it was like before you knew?
“I don’t want to say it’s become easy at this point, but we’re four seasons in, so I have a pretty good idea of who Art is and once you’ve sort of done that homework and you understand who he is and what that relationship between he and Beth is and was, you don’t really have to go back.
Now, that being said, I kind of did, just to make sure that any choices that I was making moving forward did jive with the groundwork that we’ve laid down in season 1, but it wasn’t about, ‘Oh, this is how I do this, and this is how he did that in season 1, so let’s make sure.’ It was just about making sure that the story continues to be consistent from point A to point wherever we end up.”
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Mrs. S thanks Art for sticking around, and we have someone like Alison who can never truly get out though she wants to, and then we have Art, who should maybe get out before he ends up getting killed. Why does he stay? You could argue that he has done more than enough for the sisters and Beth at this point.
“Yeah, he has. And I think that’s what’s noble about him. He really is at a point where he knows why she committed suicide, has sort of executed a level of vengeance on her behalf, but at the same time, he sees that there’s people in need, there’s people who do genuinely need his help, there’s people who he’s developed a bond and a relationship with that he can’t just walk out on at this point. He’s sort of very terse and curt in many respects, but he does have a big heart and he’s an extremely loyal person, so I think that’s why he continues.
They’ve become family, and I think that was evidenced at the end of season 3, when you had the big clone dinner and he was at that table. He broke bread with them. There’s a bond. There’s a bond between everyone who was in that room, and I think everyone’s wholly invested in the well-being and safety and longevity and prosperity of every single person involved in the storyline at this point.”
With Art and Duko, we sort of have the two sides of being a cop involved in clone business. Art’s crossed the line to protect those he cares about, but he’s still a good guy and a good cop. But with Duko, he went so far over that line, there was no coming back. Do you think that factored into Art leaving knowing Mrs. S was going to kill Duko?
“Yeah, I think so. It’s about everybody making decisions and having to be accountable for those decisions. It’s always a case of ‘there but for the grace of God go I,’ right? We all make decisions that we either regret or admire later on in life, but either way, there’s cause and effect as a result of it, and maybe one day, there’ll be some consequences for Art for walking out and allowing what happened to Duko to happen to Duko. That’s not lost on him. It wasn’t like it was an easy decision.
But at the same time he knew that Duko walked in with his eyes open and he had to pay the price and he has walked into this decision with his eyes open, and come what may, he’s comfortable with what happens at this point.”
Do you think there’s any part of Art that’s reconsidering still being a cop?
“That’s a good question. I don’t think he could be human if he didn’t do that. I think as human beings, we always do that. There’s days where I wake up and I say, ‘Why the hell did I decide to be an actor? I could’ve been an accountant or a paleontologist or something.’ But after I think those things, I go, ‘No, I couldn’t. No, I couldn’t. This is the only reason I was put on this Earth. This is the thing I could do for a living on this Earth.’ Then you go on with the daily business of doing your job, right? But having those thoughts are just human nature, so I think he definitely does that, but he honestly answered that question, the same way Kevin does on a daily basis.
And he thinks, ‘What else would I do? What else gives my life value? What else gives my life a sense of purpose?’ And when he answers that question truthfully, he realizes, ‘No, there is no other choice,’ and if it means, as many cops do, and I don’t want to paint cops generally with a broad brush, but a lot of them have demons and find ways of dealing with those demons, whether it be a the bottom of a bottle or gambling or what have you, I’m just picking a few arbitrarily out of the air, but at the end of the day, no matter what those demons are, they would never trade being a cop or a firefighter or a doctor or a lawyer for anything else in the world, and I know that’s exactly how Art feels. There’s no other career path, there is no other purpose in life for him, other than being a good father and being a cop.”
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On a show where things are so serious most of the time, we do get moments of humor here and there, like Art meeting Krystal. After Art spent some time in the dark about clones, was it fun to have him be the one dealing with someone in that position?
“Yeah, and that’s not lost on him. Just about the humor thing, it’s great to be part of those scenes that are humorous because the humor’s been left to other characters like Felix and Donnie and Alison and now Krystal, of course, and that’s fantastic, and Art’s never going to be the punchline guy, it’s just not who he is. But at the same time, because he is fully immersed now, the blinders have been taken off and he does have the ability to be in these scenes with a little bit of levity and that’s a lot of fun for me.
But yeah, that’s not lost on him at all, that he’s dealing with someone who’s in the same position he was in mere months ago, as far as this whole storyline and timeline is concerned, so he’s trying to handle her with kid gloves as best he can, but at the same time, sometimes the blind will lead the way. Although Krystal is not fully aware, she is more powerful and knows more than I think we know or even she knows for the time being.”
Is there a clone you’d like to see Art share more scenes with?
“Everybody has fun with Helena, so that’s always the easy answer. Helena is just a fun character and Tat as Helena is actually even more fun than Helena is, if that makes sense to you. Being on set with Tat portraying that character in between takes and even during takes is just a whole lot of fun to work with, so any time I read the script and I see that Art and Helena cross paths, that’s always a lot of fun. Now Krystal is rapidly catching up to Helena as far as just having a whole lot of meat on the bone to work with.
At the end of the day, any of the clones are great with me. I really had a great time working with Tony two seasons ago. That was a whole lot of fun. It blew my mind in a totally different way, so I’d love to see him come back at some point.
But even Sarah, even Sarah, who’s sort of the thankless clone, the straight-and-narrow dogged, determined clone, the scenes that I get to work with her are just really grounded and sort of good solid acting scenes.
That’s a really long way to say, ‘bring them all on.’ There’s ones that I love for different ways, but it’s like picking from your kids, which one do you love more? You can’t. You love them all for different reasons.”
Orphan Black season 4 airs Thursdays at 10pm on BBC America.
(Images courtesy of BBC America)