This is part 2 of the Warehouse 13 Q&A, with Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock, & Allison Scagliotti. If you missed part 1, check it out HERE.
On the possible H.G. Wells spinoff
Jack: Bob Goodman and I — one of the writers on the show went and pitched an idea for a spinoff for an H.G. Wells spinoff to Syfy a few weeks ago, and they really loved the idea and wanted to hear more about it. So in the business, in the TV business, before anybody can go in and officially pitch things deals have to be made and lawyers and agents and blah, blah, blah, blah.
So that all started happening. And, somehow the details of that meeting got out and it was like, “Oh, it’s a spinoff and it’s happening and here it is.” And there are so many hurdles to jump before a show gets on the air. I mean, there’s a thousand different stars that have to get into line. Everything has to be in alignment and karma and all that sort of thing.
But we were in yesterday, actually and pitching more details and more specifics and all the characters to Mark Stern and the folks at Syfy. And I think everybody’s really excited about it. Again, it’s a long way to go before it’s actually a script and on the air and being shot and all that sort of thing, but people seem to be really excited about the idea.
The character seems to leap off the page. We’re building a really cool ensemble of people, again another family to be to people, this world and this series. And I think it could be really exciting. But unfortunately I have no details because we’re still in the very early birthing stage.
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On whether or not the show will be visiting other warehouses this year
Jack Kenny: Well, kind of. We have – it’s hard to be specific but there are elements of Warehouse 7 and we’ll be – that we’ll be touching on in Mogul – in the Mongol Empire. And Warehouse 2, the beginning of the season, the stuff’s been excavated from Warehouse 2 and has been delivered to the warehouse and into a place we’re calling the Ovoid Quarantine, which is where a sort of an egg-shaped purple-lit structure that when there are large caches of artifacts brought in, that’s where they go first, into the quarantine.
So we’ll be talking a lot about Warehouse 2 and dealing with a bunch of Warehouse 2 artifacts. I don’t think we’re actually visiting any of the other – oh, yes, no, that’s not true. We’re going to, yes, we will be seeing a little bit of Warehouse 12.
You have to remember it’s been – we’re starting to shoot Episode 12 this week and I’m just – my head is just swimming with every episode getting mixed up in it, in my head.
On whether or not there is green screen work this year and Aaron’s previous experience with that
Jack: Oh my God, yes. Yes, there’s green screen work. I mean, I say that that way because it’s always so hard. What a – Saul calls it schmacting. Because it’s a lot of pretending. It’s a lot of – as it – we call green screen work schmacting and when you have to do a lot of exposition it’s call facting.
But yes, we do a fair amount of green screen stuff this year.
Aaron Ashmore: Yes, I’ve done some other sci-fi work. So, just that kind of comes with the territory. But most of the time it’s not so bad. I think it’s technically it’s, like difficult and – but again we had good people that – we’re working with directors that kind of talk you through it.
And once you’ve done it a couple times it’s like, “Oh yes, okay, so this thing’s going to be bouncing off the wall and then there’s this explosion and we’re 50 feet off the ground, and okay, yes, yes, I got that, I got that.”
But, so you do it a couple time sand you just kind of – you just go with it and you at the end of the day it looks great, so you don’t feel like you’re just hanging out there, not knowing what’s going on. They really do a nice picture for you, so it’s easy to get into it.
On the similarities & differences between working on Warehouse 13 & Smallville
Aaron: Well, television is, it’s fairly similar and the schedules and you’re working on a lot of sets and stuff like that. So that’s very similar, and in the sci-fi realm, like working on green screen and all these kind of things.
But, the stories are so different and the cast is so different. All the creative elements are totally different. I think the one thing that is really unique about Warehouse 13, just from any show I’ve ever worked on, is having Jack around on set all the time.
Because he is literally behind the monitors watching any questions, anything that you have to have your show runner and who just understands what’s going on with the show more than anybody would — more than some of the directors that come in and all that kind of stuff is so unique and so amazing.
So I think that’s the one big difference between Smallville but also between any show that I’ve ever worked on is having that, you know, creative mind on set ready to work with you and make changes as necessary or answer questions that you have about the character or the show or the plot or anything.
I mean, that’s very rare to have that resource, you know, when you’re working. So that’s probably the big difference.
Jack: Now I’m blushing.
Aaron: Oh wow. Just returning the favor.
Jack: Yes, and I’m dark-skinned.
Aaron: But it’s very true. It’s very, very, very unique and it just doesn’t happen. I’ve worked on enough TV and it just doesn’t happen. So it’s really nice.
On when we’ll learn more about Steve’s backstory
Aaron: I think that there’s some stuff in Episode 2 and then a little bit farther — I can remember what episode, maybe 6 — where, yes, you really start to see who Steve is and you get a little bit of his backstory and you really see how his life has kind of impacted who he is.
Because, he’s very different, I think, from a lot of the other characters on the show in that he is more reserved and he’s got these walls up. And so you – throughout the season I think you really start to – I think that Jack and the writers have done a great job of kind of just putting in these little kind of nuggets of character throughout particular episodes so you start to be like, “Oh, okay, well that makes more sense and I can see, you know, why this guy is how he is.”
And, a lot of times you don’t get that in shows. They just kind of like, it’s just there or they don’t even say it and it’s just kind of like implied or whatever.
So yes, I think that there’s – people will find it really interesting to see how Steve’s character develops and learn these things about his past and then understand who he is more because of knowing those things.
Jack: I think, too that, like I was saying earlier, I learn a lot about a character by – from the actor who’s playing him. And it’s not that I don’t really know anything about Aaron Ashmore’s past or his relationships or anything. I just – what I see when I look at Aaron on camera, when I look at him on the monitor it’s just – I see a guy who’s got – I see a character.
And maybe this is what Aaron brings. I see a character that’s got a complex past, maybe with some pain in it. That’s what I see when he’s playing the part. And so in my mind he comes from a complex past. Maybe when he came out or if he came out to his parents it wasn’t well-received. And maybe that’s brought some pain.
There’s other things you’ll learn about his character — because I don’t want to give away here because they come as a surprise to, you know, various members of the cast. He gets to be besties with Claudia, so they learn a lot about each other.
I get the sense that he’s been hurt in a relationship or two. And that he’s emotionally conservative. He plays his cards close to the vest. A lot because of what Aaron was saying earlier about if you can look into somebody’s eyes and tell if they’re lying to you or not that affects the way you relate to people.
You look at people differently. It’s a little bit like Sookie on True Blood where she can hear people’s thoughts — it’s kind of annoying. You don’t want to necessarily know all that.
So it’s a – I think he’s a vulnerable and tentative character who makes friends – doesn’t make friends easily but when he does he makes them forever.
On making the character more relatable to the LGBT community?
Jack: Well I don’t really look at approaching a character that way. Like I wouldn’t approach a black character trying to make him relatable to the black community. My job is to make the characters relatable to the family that I’m dealing with here.
How does Steve Jinks relate to Artie, Pete, Myka and Claudia? My – and I think that the approach to Aaron, as I say, the approach to Steve is he’s a relatively emotionally conservative guy. He’s not out there. And so we’re taking baby steps with the character. We don’t want to bring in somebody and throw him into a relationship right away.
One of the things we learned last year when we brought Pete a relationship, we brought Claudia a relationship, was that they were really hard to service. Those relationships are hard to service because our people are out in the field all the time. We had to basically stop the show to get a relationship theme with Pete and Kelly or with Claudia and Todd.
And so that’s why both of those relationships kind of went away last year. Brothers and Sisters, you can do that. On our show we’re out running around snagging, bagging and tagging so relationships kind of get in the way of that. If we can – if have an opportunity we will, but this year we’re really a lot more focused on other things.
So that really didn’t become an issue. I can’t say that next season if Aaron comes back that he wouldn’t have a relationship. Who knows? But that hasn’t been the goal. I think — because I’m gay and in my mind the great thing about where GLBT characters are these days is it’s just like he’s also blond and blue-eyed and six feet tall.
And it’s not – I wouldn’t write to his six-feet-tallness. I don’t want to write to every character’s single trait. It comes out in various fun ways. It’s not that we – it’s not that he’s not outed or that he hides it. He does talk about it and he makes jokes about it.
But it’s not like – it doesn’t define who he is. And that, I think, has always been the goal of any minority group, to have that diversity not define who you are. And I think, happily, gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgendered characters have reached that goal in a lot of ways.
Steve Jinks, it’s not that he doesn’t talk about it or deal with it, it comes out.
Aaron: Yes, and I think it really influences, you know, who he is. I mean, you know, some of the things that, you know, we’ve talked about like may have happened in his past and have influenced him and stuff. I think that that comes out through the character, as well, you know. And that I think is realistic, you know, as well.
Like, again, like, you know, we talk about his ability to lie and stuff like that but, you know, or to tell when people are lying and stuff. But I think it’s also his conservativeness and stuff like that as far as being emotional also has to do with probably, you know, as Jack said, like some of his other things that he’s gone through in his life.
And again, it’s like, you know, you don’t always talk about those things but I think they influence the character and they influence the performance and who he is and stuff.
So yes, I think that that’s – that that comes out, as well.
On making the character of Steve Jinks gay to begin with
Jack: You know, it was interesting. We had talked about it in the writer’s room a little bit when we were building the character. Drew Greenberg had brought it up to me and I said, “Hey that might be interesting.”
And then for some reason when we were pitching it to Syfy we hadn’t gotten into that yet. We were just pitching the character and how he relates and where he came from. And the executives of Syfy said, “Hey, what about if he’s gay?” And we were, “Oh, yes. We were actually thinking about that. That’s so cool that you guys think that’s cool.” I said, “Yes, why not? Let’s, you know…”
It was just sort of like, it’s like when you’re casting a character and you say, “Hey why don’t we cast a Latino in this part?” Or, you know, “What about if it was a woman instead of a man?” It’s just sort of you go, “Oh, okay.” It’s like, you know, I think when Sharon Lawrence got the part in NYPD Blue it was a male role initially. And a casting director said, “Hey, you know I met this actor, Sharon Lawrence. She might be really good for this. What about a woman in this part?”
So it was one of those, you know, suggestions that somebody made and we thought, “Oh yes, that’s a color we don’t have on the show yet. That’s something we could toy with and touch on occasionally.”
You know, but again we won’t play with it in anymore than we address the fact that Mrs. Frederick or Leena are black. It’s not what the show is. This is not a show about diversity in minorities. It’s a show about – it’s a thrilleramedy. And it’s about a family. And families tend to, you know, they tend to accept each other for who they are and then argue about the details.
On plans for some kind of cloning artifact or something similar so they can bring in Shawn on the show
Jack: I don’t know. Can we afford Shawn?
Aaron: He’ll do a favor for me. I’ll talk to Shawn.
Jack: Yes, do you have a connection there? Can we pull a string?
Aaron: Oh, yes, yes, yes.
Jack: You know, obviously we thought about it. And I don’t know if we’ll be cloning or maybe Steve has a twin brother they didn’t tell anybody about. Or maybe there a – an evil twin that he didn’t know. Who knows? I mean, there’s any number of ways we could do it.
But sure, that occurred to us. Not this season. But it certainly occurred to us that, you know. Well honestly, just if Aaron gets tired, you know, and Aaron gets all sleepy one night, because sometimes, you know, people get sleepy, you know.
Aaron: Yes. Good to have that threat where you can just be like, “Look if you’re not going to pull your weight here we can just bring your brother in because nobody’s going to know the difference.”
On being fans of sci-fi
Aaron: Yes. Yes, I certainly am. I love – well, I mean just generally, like comic books and video games and sci-fi movies and stuff. I’ve always been a big fan of that stuff. I think I read more comic books now than when I was a kid. So I think I’m definitely a big fan of the genre and fantasy and all that kind of stuff. And I like a good escape, you know, in my mind.
I love, you know, these worlds that writers and stuff create that are so different from our own. And I think a lot of it’s very intelligent. A lot of it has a lot of commentary on what’s going on in the world. So I really appreciate it as an art form.
Jack: I was not – I was, you know, I got into Star Trek when I was, you know, we get into all the reruns for a while. My husband and I used to really get into watching all the reruns of Star Trek and loved it. But more for the kitsch value than the sci-fi value, because it was just so fun to see William Shatner act.
But I – when I was a kid I was into comedy. I wanted to be a comic actor when I was six years old. My father always supported it. I did my seventh grade term paper on W.C. Fields and my eighth grade term paper on Groucho Marx. So I’ve always been enamored of comedy.
And so I’ve learned – I’ve studied them inside and out and I know all of that. And – but when I got, you know, the thing is I’ve always loved the movies that everybody loves — you know, Back to the Future, Indiana Jones, Star Wars. I saw Star Wars 11 times the summer it came out, which just dated me, but there it is.
So I was – I’ve always been into that. And when I talked to Syfy about this show, my initial interview, I just said, “This is your cross-over show. This is the show that gets people like me to watch the Syfy Channel. Because it doesn’t scare me. There’s not so much sci-fi talk that it scares away non-specialists. And there’s enough sci-fi that it’s exciting to the sci-fi fans. It’s a nice mix. Everybody can enjoy it.”
So that’s what excited me about, like getting involved with Warehouse 13.
On what power or personality trait they wished they had from any of the characters of their shows
Aaron: Oh, that’s actually a really interesting question. I think the idea of having a power — and this probably going to sound like really boring or whatever — but, you know, the idea of having a power, I think, is way more exciting than actually having it. I don’t think anybody ever thinks of the, you know, of the problems or the burdens that would come with having all these powers and stuff.
So honestly, as much as it seems exciting, you know, or if you said to me in some plane like, “Okay, so you’d be able to tell when somebody’s lying so you could, I don’t know, manipulate that in some way that would be beneficial to you.” I’d be like, “Oh, yes, that sounds really, really cool.” But then getting into the character and playing it and see what the reality of those things are it’s like, you know what? Sometimes it’s better to just kind of be normal and, you know, not have those things.
Because I think nobody ever really thinks of the negatives. Everybody just thinks of – even though I think on a lot of shows when people have powers and stuff like that, you know, they show that there’s great responsibility that comes with it. But I still don’t think people really take that into full consideration.
They’re like, “Oh, I could fly. Oh, sweet.” Or, “I would be super-strong.” But, you know, I think being normal is okay with me. I don’t think that I need a superpower. But yes, so that’s probably an incredibly boring answer, but I’m going to stick with it.
Jack: You know, it’s almost impossible to pick a – I mean, they’ve been all so different. You know, my – one of my favorite characters to ever write for was Dave, Titus’ brother because he was just – I tend to like those kind of loose cannon comedic characters. I love Pete. You know, I love writing for Pete. I loved writing for Dave.
And at the same time I loved writing for Daniel Webster in Book of Daniel. I could have written that guy for years. But a lot of it for me is filled by the actors that play those parts, you know. I’m also in love with Zack Ward, Eddie McClintock and Aiden Quinn.
Those are the people that I guess I just wish I was one of them, you know, because when I – it’s when I can get – when I get inside a character’s head is when I can write them best. And so it’s hard for me to imagine being that character when I’m really – my job is to stand on the outside, look inside, get a sense of who they are and then channel them, you know?
So I’m kind of am fortunate in that I get to be all of them. You know, it’s fun to write Mrs. Frederick. It’s fun to get inside Mrs. Frederick’s head and be that character, you know — suddenly pop into a room out of nowhere and then disappear. I love doing that. That’s one of the joys of my job is I get to be everybody.
On switching from drama to comedy and back again
Aaron: Well, you know, luckily I usually don’t have to shoot them on the same day type thing where, you know, if you have a couple days to really kind of get, you know, you go to a new set, even and the energy change is totally different. Like that – like I was saying, you know, having Jack there, I mean, that’s very unique.
You go over to a different movie or a different show, I mean, the whole environment is different, everybody that you’re working with is different. So it really changes the energy. And obviously you put the work into, you know, figuring out this different character and that. So it’s really as simple as that. You know, it’s not the easiest thing if characters are very – written very similarly but the, you know, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on projects where the characters are always interesting and different.
And just going to a different set just totally changes your mindset because you’re working with different actors, different director, you know, different hair and makeup, wardrobe, everything . You know, everything’s totally different.
So even if they’re happening in and around the same time, the projects, it’s – it really is quite easy to shift between the two. Like I said, if you’re doing one on the same day — shooting something in the afternoon and then going to a different set in the evening, well that’s a little more difficult.
But it’s just how – if you have a little bit of time you can really find the different character things just by the fact that it’s a different project and you’re working with totally different creative people.
On what people might be surprised to learn about each of them
Jack: I’m gay. I don’t know whether that comes as a surprise.
Aaron: I’m not.
Jack: Aaron’s not. Aaron?
Aaron: Something that people would be surprised about. I don’t know. It’s hard to say what people, you know, it’s hard to see – understand how people view you and stuff like that. I’m pretty, you know, quiet and laid back and stuff, and I think my personality says that, so I don’t that would be too surprising.
So I don’t know, because it’s so difficult to understand how people view you. I don’t think that, to me, anything that I do is particularly surprising. So that’s a really tough one. I don’t know. I guess I would probably mull over that one for a while.
What about you, Jack? You got anything?
Jack: Well, I would say – if I can – if you – if I may, something that surprises me about you is how circumspect you are. You’re — and again, it’s something I use to fill the character of Steve — you’re very – you yourself are very – you play things kind of close to the vest. And it’s a rare quality in most actors.
You know, a lot of actors are way more sort of out there — everything’s right on the table. And I find you to be a lot more circumspect. A lot more, I guess to say emotionally conservative and playing things close to the vest. And I find that fascinating and interesting both for an actor and for a character.
And for myself…
Aaron: It doesn’t make sense, right, as an actor?
Jack: No, it doesn’t make sense. You…
Aaron: Yes, yes, I know. It doesn’t make sense. It’s a…
Jack: No, no, it doesn’t.
Aaron: …I guess that is a strange – yes.
Jack: It’s kind of nice. I mean, you remind me a lot of David Hyde Pierce in that way. And then I guess for myself I guess people would probably be surprised to learn that I get choked up and cry very easily.
A lot of times, like when I was reading – at the table readings I read the stage directions a lot. And when I was reading the stage directions for the end of our 11th episode and they were playing the scene out I was having a hard time getting through it.
And I was embarrassed about that and I tired to hide it. But I do get choked up and cry, you know, at things that – a lot of things move me.
See more in Part 3 of our Warehouse 13 interview: HERE. (Keep checking back if not up yet! It’ll post Monday!) Remember, Warehouse 13 premieres on Monday, July 11, at 9/8c on Syfy.