'Orphan Black' Declassified: Michiel Huisman on Cal's Life-Changing Revelation

"I can imagine the audience not accepting right away Cal not being involved," the actor, whose character has ties to Kira, tells THR.
George Kraychyk/BBC AMERICA
"Orphan Black"

[WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Saturday's episode of Orphan Black, "Mingling Its Own Nature With It"]

Talk about a fatherly bombshell.

The third episode of Orphan Black revealed that Cal Morrison, the man whose cabin Sarah and Felix crashed, may be Kira's father. The mathematics of it support that possibility: Sarah and Cal randomly met eight years ago and had a brief affair, before Sarah left without so much as a note and later had Kira. (Cal and Sarah would later rekindle that flame in the heat of the moment. Sorry, Paul-Sarah 'shippers.) But should viewers have doubts? Cal's sudden reappearance creates a rift in Sarah and Felix's fragile bond, with Felix opting out of their "happy" family portrait after being kept in the dark for eight years.

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Cal seems innocent in all of this at the moment, unaware of just how much trouble Sarah is in -- until Rachel's minion Daniel kills one of Cal's cop friends and abducts Sarah. "It felt like a mini-drama amid all the drama," Dutch actor Michiel Huisman tells The Hollywood Reporter of Cal's introductory episode.

Other revelations: Cosima learned of another clone, the late Jennifer, and bean to figuring out what caused her illness; Alison had a disastrous theater debut after doing some pill-popping and heavy drinking; Detective Bell continued to snoop around the Proletheans' compound; cracks began to form between Henrik and Gracie; and Felix's burgeoning friendship with Alison took shape.

In THR's latest installment of Orphan Black Declassified, Huisman discusses Cal's Kira revelation, the mystery surrounding his character and why there is more to Cal than meets the eye.

One of the big questions from the first season was the identity of Kira’s father. Did you feel any pressure in assuming this role?

Yeah, of course. A little bit, because as you said, it is a pivotal role but that’s what also makes it exciting -- to be part of the world that’s Orphan Black.

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What did the producers tell you early on about who they wanted this guy to be?

He opens up a little about his past to Felix. Cal is a smart guy who has a tech background and is a successful entrepreneur. He founded a company that started as a great cause creating mini drones and pollinators, but his partners sold out from underneath him to the military. That made him bitter. That made him more anti-corporation, maybe even more anti-government-involvement than he already was. I always imagined that he was there [at the cabin] to get inspired for a new plan and a new adventure. I do think he made a lot of money but he wants to press the reset button. If it were up to him, he would start something else, but this crazy girl he met eight years ago, who he was in love with and who left without any announcement, shows up again and completely messes up his life.

There were scenes where Sarah, Kira and Cal acted like a normal, happy family. Do you think they could ever achieve that?

Yes, I think so -- if it was on another show with the three of them. (Laughs.) I think they could be a really happy family. But to be serious, although Cal is completely shocked when he finds Sarah there and when he finds out he [fathered] a daughter she never bothered telling him about, it’s this love-hate thing. He really cared so much for Sarah that even though she did this terrible [thing] to him, he finds it hard to kick her out right away especially since he’s finding out he has a daughter with her. Maybe for a split second after the initial shock has come down, maybe he thinks, “Wow, maybe this is something that would be an option for us to be some sort of family.” But of course, it turns out there’s a lot more going on. They’re not going to be a happy family anytime soon.

There’s a lot of mystery surrounding Cal. Intentional?

It’s one of the main themes within Orphan Black. Who are these monitors, these people who have seemingly normal relationships with the clones but turn out to be working for Project LEDA or whatever? Without giving away too much, I can imagine the audience not accepting right away Cal not being involved.

What is the road going to be like for Cal as he attempts to be a father to Kira?

First of all, he never really seems to doubt the fact that she is his daughter because the timing makes sense. But it doesn’t [confirm] 100 percent that she is his daughter. There’s something in her that he really connects with. Her instinct is stronger than his but he also has that [trait]. I wouldn’t call it a sixth sense or anything like that but that quality of reading people and being able to go by your gut, Kira has that so he easily feels connected to her. He’s convinced this is his child. At the same time though, he has no idea how to do this. I remember when my wife [Tara Elders] and I had our child [in 2007] I had no idea how to do anything, how to be a father, but at least I had time to grow into it and slowly ease into the role. I could totally imagine what a complete shock it is to all of a sudden be responsible for an eight-year-old girl who’s supposedly your daughter.

Let’s do a hypothetical: Which of the clones do you think Cal would be least excited to meet or battle?

(Laughs.) He’d probably try to meet Cosima. She’d be fun. They could do a little nerd talk. He would be scared of Helena. I'm scared.

Every week, THR will bring in-depth, spoiler-filled chats with the producers and stars on Saturday nights following original episodes.

Orphan Black airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. on BBC America.