Jordan Gavaris’ Over-the-Top Character Adds Eclectic Edge to ‘Orphan Black’

Jordan Gavaris
Michael Buckner/BAFTA LA/Getty Images

Jordan Gavaris, the 25-year-old Canadian actor, cut his teeth on indie films and local TV, but found himself floundering after “Unnatural History,” a 2010 live-action series on the Cartoon Network, was cancelled. Then, about two years later, his agent called him about the role of Felix, who’s one part avant-garde artist, one part glam-punk fashion rebel, on sci-fi series “Orphan Black.” “There is so much gender and sexual ambiguity with him,” Gavaris says. “It was the biggest hodgepodge of bizarre paint chips from pop culture blended into this palette.”

CLONE HONE

“Orphan Black” co-star Tatiana Maslany says Gavaris is fearless on the set, and challenges her to keep up. “The work he can do is imaginative, and has a real sense of play in it,” she says. “He’s not afraid to take big risks and be bold.” The role — in which he plays opposite Maslany’s seven very different clones — has won Gavaris supporting actor prizes at the Canadian Screen Awards for two consecutive years.

SOCIAL STUDIES

When Gavaris was  growing up, he wanted to be a director, but at 16, a summer school acting instructor urged him to shift his career aspirations to gigs in front the camera. She linked him with a Toronto agent, and he scored a few commercials, but he thought acting wouldn’t pan out and enrolled in college. He’d barely moved into his dorm when his agent called about Canadian indie film “45 R.P.M.” The two-month shoot collided with his classes, but he took the risk, dropping out of school and committing to acting.

THINKING BIGSCREEN

The thesp will appear later this year in the Gus Van Sant-helmed “The Sea of Trees,” with Matthew McConaughey and Naomi Watts. He’s also co-writing a screenplay inspired by the “very messy” Italian Giallo horror films of the 1970s. “What I would like to do is tighten things up, and clean things up — breathe some new life into the genre,” he says.

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