Orphan Black's Jordan Gavaris: "Felix Is Not a Stupid Person"

Orphan Black's Felix Dawkins is more than just a party boy with a toned set of buns.

In this Saturday's episode of the sci-fi drama, our favorite foster brother—played to perfection by Jordan Gavaris—is on the run with sis Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) and her daughter Kira (Skyler Wexler). We haven't seen Felix quite like this before. First of all, he's more covered up than we're used to. Remember when Sarah found him at a club high on Ecstasy and rocking ass-less chaps?

Beyond that sartorial change, Felix will also reveal a more heartbreaking side to himself, one he usually keeps hidden behind his frivolous persona. "Felix's M.O. in situations that are a little fraught and tense is to make a joke out of it," Gavaris says. "If he doesn't take something seriously, he doesn't have to acknowledge its seriousness. But when something hits a chord to such an extent where you can't deny the gravity of it, I wondered, 'What does genuine sadness look like on Felix? What does genuine fear look like on his face?'"

Felix has stood by Sarah since the beginning of her clone-exploration journey, from faking her death to the loss of Kira. It's not easy being Clone Club-adjacent, but Fee has somehow managed to be of service in thoughtful and ingenious ways. "He's not a stupid person," Gavaris says. "He's much too perceptive and anxious. I've never met a perceptive, anxious, stupid person ever." 

Check out what else Gavaris has to say about what's in store for Felix:

[Co-creator Graeme Manson] said Fee and Sarah are going to come to a head.

The relationship comes to a head. There were problems that were never really resolved when she first came into town, being that Felix was abandoned. When you're abandoned, there are latent abandonment issues inherent to anyone feeling like an alien or ostracized or not a part of the fold. They rear their ugly head when ... Felix has to grapple with the fact that he may not be the most important person in Sarah's life. That's hard for a little brother sometimes to realize. 

If this drives a wedge between them, what does an independent Felix feel like? Is he strong at it? Is he good at it?

Sarah has left town many times, but she's never up and left the way she might have to leave this time, where she's trying to survive. If she has to take off somewhere, and he doesn't follow, he may never see her again. Or if she's involved with something really bad, Felix may not be able to be with her because he actually could die. The stakes are that high. So I think he's scared and alone.

What are his resources, his skills, his abilities to survive?

I think hustling has always been kind of a mainstay. We're going to see more of that. I think Felix's resolve will surprise everybody, as well as his intelligence. 

Will we still get some lighthearted moments this season with Felix? 

You cannot deprive the audience of the comedy duo that is Alison and Felix. We're not dissolving the character completely. We're just evolving him.

Does the relationship between Felix and Alison go deeper this season?

Yes, it does. We got a glimpse of it in [Season 1, Episode 9] when he was talking her through in the bathroom, which is a sweet scene. We would like to go even further with that and develop the relationship outside his relationship with Sarah. Who is he to this person? Who is he to Alison? What does that relationship look like? Who is he to Cosima? Who is he to whoever? 

How are he and Cosima together?

That was really fun for me to play. I don't think he trusts Cosima, but she's a really cool girl and someone he would probably party with if she wasn't involved in the fold. 

The mannerisms between Alison and Felix are often mirrored in each other. Will we start seeing them share a wardrobe? 

Although the crop-tops are questionable, there is no fashion going back and forth. But we see them bond. It's so funny how it's the suburban housewife that is the most fucked up. By far the most messed up and has the most psychopathy. 

Felix has a line: "Craziness is genetic." So it's possible some sort of psychological/psychiatric issue in all the clones. Alison is only a degree below Helena!

[Laughs] It's possible. It's certainly not impossible. 

We as an audience buy that Tatiana Maslany is all of these different personalities. Do you also feel a difference playing opposite each of her clone incarnations?

Oh yes, very different. She is by far the best special effect on television. There is some work and sometimes it gets confusing outfit to outfit and moment to moment, but she really delineates these women to such an extent that it makes our job pretty easy. I think my character is the only one who actually intersects all the different clone story lines. The only thing that I have to do that's a little challenging is keep all the character arcs straight in my head. I'm like, "OK, Alison's arc is this, Cosima's arc is this. This is what she's dealing with, this is what she's dealing with." Because I'm privy to everything, so that can become a bit of a challenge, just keeping all of that straight. Felix is the most evenly spread.

We have to ask: A lot of the paintings in Felix's loft have penises hidden in them. Do you know how many there are?

I would gather about a dozen, but there are so many penises in one in particular, so maybe in the 20s then.

Are there new paintings we can look forward to?

It may not be clone portraits, but there's some incredible art that he's painted that is going to make an appearance in Season 2. I actually get to physically put strokes on a brush and strokes on a canvas. It stays, which is kind of neat. 

The decor in Fee's loft is fantastic. Is there anything else new we can look forward to? What's your favorite piece?

My favorite piece is probably the phone booth, which is acting as a closet. I made the suggestion to swap it out to a TARDIS. I thought that would be very cool. Way bigger on the inside, full walk-in closet! There's also a vintage TV that sits on one of the windowsills that people don't realize when it's on, actually plays the playback from the scene that we just shot. 

Can we look forward to any of Felix's signature wardrobe this season, like the kimono? 

My vote was to explore bondage gear a little bit more, so I think we get to see a bit of that. We get to see some really cool dark fabrics, gender fluidity fabrics like pants that should be worn by a female. Crop- tops. We're bringing back the crop-top. 

There's no denying that you're naked or almost naked in a lot of scenes.

There have been times where we've set out for him to be naked in the scene, and we get together the morning of, and we go, "It doesn't make sense. The scene is about this. Why is he taking his pants off?" So we're a little more discerning as to why, and it's never without reason. It's always something, whether it's a private moment or because of location and who he's with. It's never going to be he's naked for the sake of being naked, which I really appreciate.

But you don't want to disappoint the fans!

Apparently people really like my bum. I don't know why. I mean, you have the choice of Dylan Bruce or me, I'd would take Dylan's bum over mine.

Do you have advice on being naked so much? Perhaps extra moisturizer?

Baby oil, lunges, avoid processed carbs. Go for protein. Don't eat dairy. Don't do drugs, kids. For Felix, I'd say get a tan, but Felix can't tan. He can spray tan. 

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9pm.

Comments (16)
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May 05, 2014
Felix is one of the most fascinating characters I've seen is years, and can hold your eye even when opposite Tatiana.
May 02, 2014
Where did the actor get the impression that anyone thinks Felix is stupid?

People who watch American Idol and Suvivor are stupid.

Felix is an excellent character alongside another excellent character (or, rather, 8 of them) and the technical effects are excellent.

The show, not so much.

But Felix stupid? I wonder what moron out there in the viewing or reviewing audience called Felix stupid?
May 02, 2014
I love Felix! So glad to find out he's going to be spending more time with Alison. Some of my favorite OB moments are between Felix and Alison.
May 02, 2014
It's always weird when an actor seems to be nothing like the character. Great interview, thanks.

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