Zoe de Grand Maison joined Orphan Black in season 2 as Gracie Rollins, daughter of Bonnie and Henrik AKA leader of the Prolethans.
Audiences first meet Gracie as she serves Helena food, despite her dislike for the girl. We later see Gracie try to smother Helena. Helena however fights back and escapes, leaving Gracie responsible and imprisoned for it.
Throughout season 3, Gracie goes through quite a ride after becoming an unwilling surrogate to Helena’s eggs, fertilized in vitro with her father’s sperm. Eventually Mark, a former Prolethean and Gracie’s boyfriend breaks her free where they later wed.
Read our interview with Zoe below!
What was your audition process like for Orphan Black?
“You know, it was actually just one audition. I did it back in August, I want to say 2013. It was two scenes. It’s funny, because it’s so secretive they switched out the names, so I was just mostly talking to Helena, but they switched her name to Dorothy or something.
I watched the first season thinking Helena was dead. I had no clue who I was supposed to be talking to.
They said in the character description that Gracie was very sure of her beliefs and so I totally misinterpreted that and went for more Catholic schoolgirl [laughs]. I was way off, but they must have liked something because they called me about a month later telling me about the part, that there were never any callbacks.
I think it was supposed to be a pretty small part at first, but lucky for me, it evolved. I’m super grateful. I still have this great thing going.”
Is there any clone you wish you had more scenes with?
“I really enjoyed working with Sarah. Sarah was really fun. She’s so intense when she’s Sarah, but also there’s something about her that makes me comfortable at the same time. It’s a really interesting dynamic. I’ve never had a scene with Rachel. Rachel would be really cool for sure.”
If Gracie had a clone, what would you like her clone identity to be like?
“I think I thought of that. That’d be so fun. Well, Gracie herself is pretty crazy and weird. Somebody pretty edgy would be fun … yeah, somebody edgy I think would be cool because I feel like that’s completely opposite to what Gracie is.”
Once you found out that you got the role for Gracie, what did you do to prep and to get into character?
“Gracie’s wardrobe is so crazy. Floor-length skirts and button-up blouses that go all the way up to my neck with like a huge cardigan and a polar fleece and then the hair is wild, so just being in that outfit, which felt so weird from what I’m used to really helped me get into character. Yeah, the minute I saw myself in the mirror, I’m like, okay, I’m Gracie now. I almost felt kind of shy and uncomfortable, but I just felt like Gracie, so that definitely helped get me into character.
That’s even when I got to do the whole Breaking Amish episode [Episode 305] where I was wearing crazy fishnets, and short-shorts, and the crop top, it was kind of weird because I didn’t get to do that. I didn’t get to get into character the way I was used to, but it was still really fun. For Gracie, it was her first time wearing those kind of clothes too, so I could kind of channel that weird discomfort and make it work for the scene.”
What was it like working with Ari?
“Ari’s great. He’s so talented. Super nice guy. I really enjoy working with him. Super fun to be around. Great actor, great actor. Really easy to work with.”
Do you have a favorite clone that he portrayed?
“Mark. I love Mark. Somebody actually asked me this on Twitter a while ago, and I was like, “Mark, obviously we’re married.” He’s like, “I know.” Mark, he’s so charming. Rudy’s really fun too, but there’s something about Mark that I just adore.”
Did you have a favorite scene to film?
“Favorite scene to film would probably have to be the dance party at Mrs. S’s house with Felix and Mrs. S. That was so much fun. Dancing in that ridiculous outfit with those shoes I could barely walk in pretending to be super drunk for the first time. That was a blast. They were playing great music to dance to, so yeah, good times.”
You were also just on Rookie Blue, actually. What was that experience like?
“Rookie Blue was awesome. It was really fun. When I was a kid growing up Stick It was one of my favorite movies ever, so getting to meet Missy was pretty cool. She’s super nice, super great to work with.
Everybody on the show is so lovely and so welcoming. You never feel like you’re a guest. They talk to you and they engage with you fully and make you feel right at home. That was lots of fun to film.”
Had you watched it prior to guest starring?
“Not religiously. I didn’t follow every episode, but I had certainly seen like maybe 10 episodes here or there. It’s really fun … fun to watch.”
Had you watched Gilmore Girls?
“No, I hadn’t. All my friends have watched Gilmore Girls, and I’ve never watched it. Everybody always tells me to watch it, so now I feel like I should. David [Sutcliffe] was great to work with, and he played the dad, right? On Gilmore Girls?”
Yes! You also have a new movie coming up called A Christmas Horror Story, can you tell us a bit about that?
“It’s actually premiering today at the Fantasia Festival in Montreal. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there. It’s a horror movie that follows four different story lines and the different things that happen to these different people. You kind of find out that some of the story lines are interconnected at the end.
There are creatures and lots of twists and turns and unexpected things. It’s pretty spooky. I saw a screening of it. It wasn’t fully done yet. It was really close to being done. But, I got spooked a few times. If you want to see something scary, I recommend it.”
If you could give advice to Gracie or to Molly what would it be?
“To Gracie, I would say just be yourself. She’s so uncomfortable in her own skin, and she’s finally starting to kind of figure out who she is, but she’s always been told who she needs to be and what she needs to do and so to just kind of be able to sit back and be like, wait, this is what I want. I’d tell her to live life the way she wants to and the way she feels comfortable doing so.
That would be my advice for Gracie, and for Molly, it would be get out of the building. Get out of the building!”
“Yeah, just run. [Laughs].”
Orphan Black, Rookie Blue and Christmas Horror Story, filmed in Toronto. Do you enjoy filming in Toronto?
“I love filming in Toronto. It’s so fun. I love the city. It’s a fantastic city. Very culturally diverse. There’s so much to do. It’s pretty big. Filming at home is always fun. Then it’s nice to get to go home after a day of shooting and be in your own bed and with your family and stuff, with my dog or cat.
I love it. I love every second of it. Everybody that I’ve worked with so far has been nothing but lovely. Knock on a wood bench, that’s what I keep getting to work with.”
I don’t know if you know or you can tell us, but does that mean Gracie will be back for season 4?
“You know what, I don’t know yet. No confirmation on that yet. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Can you tell us about Plan Canada?
“They’re a fantastic organization that I sponsor a child through. Yeah, they’re great. You donate some money per month and it helps educate the kid and helps provide them with their school supplies. It just makes sure that they stay in school and don’t end up being pulled out or being involved in child marriages or working before they’ve done their studies.
It’s a great organization that provides kids with the tools they need to learn and to hopefully have a brighter future. What’s really fun is you get to write to the kids, and they’ll write back. You can send them gifts. It’s really exciting. I absolutely love it.
You’ll get pictures sometimes to see what they’re up to, to see how they’re doing. It’s so cool to get to talk to somebody who’s across the world and know that you’re really making a difference in their life. If anybody’s ever looking for something meaningful to do, it’s something that I would highly recommend for sure.”