As Orphan Black winds down its run, we’re spending time out on the island where P.T. Westmorland has created his secret society, and in the first episode of Season 5, we found out that itÂ exists under a security presence. One of those security folks charged with keeping people in (and perhaps something out) is Amar, played by Vas Saranga, who also has a recurring role on CBS’s new summer drama Salvation, which begins Wednesday. I chatted with Saranga about both projects and his appreciation for genre fandom.
Saranga had circled roles on previous seasons of Orphan Black before Amar came his way, and he loved the character. “I auditioned many times and I wasn’t the right fit, and then this one came up. Amar is a hunter and specializes in dog tracking. He commands two Dobermans. They work at Revival, the camp based on Neolutions and run by P.T. Westmorland,” he explains.
“There’s not a whole lot that’s been revealed yet. We’re going to find out why everyone is there, what’s been going on, and how [Westmorland] has been living so long, and what allegiances people have to him vs. the clones when they come into contact with them.”
“I couldn’t have been more excited to jump into it. There’s a lot of action in the woods, a lot of running and tracking with the dogs and discovering some creepy stuff, some dangerous things going on in the woods, which we’ll learn more about as the season progresses.”
In the Season 5 premiere, we saw Amar question his colleagues about what he was seeing when they were more inclined to toe the party line, and that aspect of the character appealed to Saranga. “At this point, viewers don’t know who to trust. The instinct is, ‘trust no one,’ because they could be a Neolutionist, they could be anyone,” he says.
“To play a character that right out of the gate is questioning what is happening added a layer of depth to someone who could come off as a bad guy. I think audiences will be curious to see his arc and [relationship] with the other two hunters [Salvador and Cooper]. We can see the hierarchy between them. They’re the senior trackers who are receiving instructions from above and he’s forced to follow their lead and they need him because he is the one who controls those dogs.”
Saranga was in the dark coming into the show about whatÂ Amar’s arc would be, given the secretive nature of the production. “I knew almost nothing. You only get the scripts for the episodes you’re in, very close to when you shoot,” he points out. “You’re not allowed to talk about it. I had a very rough idea, but I was excited to get the new scripts to see what happens with my character and everyone at Camp Revival.”
As a day one fan of the show, Saranga knew about the rig work involved in shooting Tatiana Maslany in multiple roles, but says the location filming for the camp scenes was done differently, so he didn’t get to see that first hand. “There was a lot of handheld camera work. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s frenetic and quick,” he says. “There were drone shots. It’s shot differently than I thought it would be.”
In Salvation, Saranga plays a Pentagon specialist named Dexter. “It’s a really cool show. It’s a thriller about an asteroid that’s discovered to be on course with Earth. An MIT grad student and a billionaire genius take this discovery to the Pentagon and try to figure out how to save the Earth,” he says.
“It’s a very high-stakes show, super-high adrenaline. Lots of character drama. The story arc continues throughout the season. It’s not a typical procedural. The sets are really, really cool. I think it’s going to be really exciting to watch. So far, I’ve already shot five episodes.”
Similar to his Orphan Black experience, Salvation has been an exercise in “need to know.” “It’s very secretive. They don’t want any of the plot details to slip. I only find out a few days or a week before I have to shoot,” he explains. “It’s always surprising to me to see how the story develops. I hope I’m going to do a couple more.”
Saranga appeared in Season 1 of The Strain and has stayed with the show as a fan.Â Genre fandom in generalÂ isÂ important to him as an actor and a viewer. “I get a kick out of being really engrossed in the worlds that have been built. It’sÂ extra satisfying. I love being a fan of a show and following them before and after I get roles in them,” he says.
“Getting the opportunity to work in comedy or family drama or even dramedyÂ or [something more] auteur–there’s such a variety of projects right now, that being able to take part in a broad spectrum of stuff really helps you develop as an actor. There’s punchy humor, there are broad moments, there areÂ dark themes.”
“Genre is a collection of all the other types out there fused into one. Doing straight drama and comedy helps you bring those moments intoÂ a genreÂ show when you’re a guestÂ actor so you can do [all of] that well. The fan response and level of engagement with fans surpasses any other kind of work out there. It’s all love.”
Orphan Black is taking its final trip Saturdays at 10 pm/9c on BBC America. Salvation will air at 9 pm/8c Wednesdays on CBS beginning July 12th. Here are sneak peeks of the next Orphan Black and what to expect on Salvation.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People, which US audiences still have not been able…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…