Evelyne Brochu on Clone Chemistry in “Orphan Black”

The Canadian actress talked “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and acting opposite clones. 

Evelyne Brochu isn’t a scientist, but she does play one of TV. As Delphine on “Orphan Black,” the BBC America show about a mysterious cloning project and its disastrous effects, she’s impossibly bright and mathematical, but never a one-dimensional caricature of clinical aloofness. Brochu emanates warmth and complexity (not to mention, incredible sexiness) — most often in her secretive lesbian relationship with Cosima (Tatiana Maslany), one of the clones she was supposed to be monitoring. As Delphine betrays her scientific project to help Cosima and her sisters (also all played Tatiana Maslany), she puts more and more on the line. 

Before “Orphan Black” comes back for its third season, Brochu spoke to Maxim about playing Delphine, her on-screen chemistry with Tatiana Maslany, and why she loves “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” 

I’ve been getting into Season 3 and really loving it so far. And we get to see even more of Delphine. What about the character appealed to you initially?

Her focus. Even more than her strength and her incredible brain — which I’m super jealous of — I think she has the capacity of holding on to where she’s headed. She has a very clear vision of that. That’s something that I envy. Sometimes it feels a little harder for me to know exactly what I want and how I’m going to go about it. It’s a long organic process. Whereas Delphine has a very mathematical, clear-cut sort of straightforward brain and that’s super cool to play.

Is there anything about her character that you can relate to?

It’s her life, and I think that’s what makes her not be a cliché; without it, you’d have the science chick with the ice-cold eyes and the super brain and the lab coat. She’s not as cliché as that character. She’s a woman. She’s just like anybody. She’s not done discovering who she is. There’s something very appealing to someone that smart going through something she wasn’t ready for. I think a lot of life is like that.

She is very three-dimensional, especially in her relationships. Speaking of that, when do you think she first fell for Cosima and decided to betray all her work to fight for her? 

She fell for Cosima right away. It’s super cheesy, but, yeah, that’s how it felt.

You and Tatiana do have incredible chemistry on screen.

Yeah, I feel that. I feel very lucky. It’s very magical and unexplainable when it happens. Tatiana is a chemical type of actor. She’s attentive. She’s the most incredible listener. She’s extremely creative and spontaneous and grabs on to anything you throw her. It’s hard to not be super in the moment with somebody who’s that good.

How does your character develop throughout the season?

She made a promise at the end of season two: That she would love all the sisters equally that they questioned. I don’t want to reveal too much. Is she going to stand her ground and honor her word or is she going to do something shady? Is she going to honor that promise? I can also say that with season three Delphine has more power, but with that power comes a lot of really hard things like sacrifice and loneliness. It’s going to be the season of the truth, and in the world of “Orphan Black,” the truth means danger. It’s going to be a tough season for her. We’re going to see a whole side of her that we haven’t seen and she’s going to have to make difficult decisions and she’s going to have to toughen up and that means a whole new attitude.

I think a lot of people have noticed the hair is different and they’re like “what’s going on?” Sometimes we try to accelerate a change that has not happened yet from within by imposing a change on t the outside. We do that as humans. Delphine’s problem is trying as hard as she can to be who she needs to be and it’s not easy. I think the hair is part of her trying.

I was going to ask if people have reacted about the hair, because there’s such wide internet fandom about your curly hair. So now we know it was a metaphorical choice that might shock viewers. And it looks great.

Thank you! Curlgate can now be explained.

I read somewhere that you learned English watching  “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” I also love that show, and was wondering what attracted you to it as a way to become bilingual? 

It was my huge crush on Will Smith, honestly. It was also so colorful and joyful and fun, and that attracted me to watch it over the fact that I couldn’t understand it. Magically, the young human brains absorb so much. Six months into it I was like, “holy shit I totally get this show.”

What else are you working on now?

I’m working on “X Company,” a World War II drama that airs on BBC here in Canada. I play a spy so it’s a very physical role. It’s a very unusual role for a woman. I also did a couple of scenes in “Pawn Sacrifice,” with Tobey McGuire playing Bobby Fischer. I had a lot of fun with that, and it was the first time that I wasn’t playing a French girl. I went from “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” to Venice Beach!

Photos by AP