Interview with Aaron Ashmore, Eddie McClintock, Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti, & Executive Producer Jack Kenny from Warehouse 13 Part 3

This is part 3 of the Warehouse 13 Q&A, with Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock, & Allison Scagliotti. If you missed parts 1 & 2, check them out HERE & HERE.

On what keeps challenging them about their roles

Saul Rubinek: Well the scripts are surprising. When you’re doing the procedural – there are a number of them on television, some of them I like. I used to like the Law and Order episodes, their procedurals are – you’re basically doing the same show every week. There are some slight variations. Some of them are a little bit more (biwrote) than others and still gets huge numbers and great fans and people like what’s predictable with variations. We don’t have that. We really don’t know, other than the fact that an artifact is going to be retrieved. We don’t know from one show to the next. We’re challenged – listen, we were very lucky, Aaron Ashmore joined our cast this year and I think that Allison and Eddie will agree with me. In order to do our show, you have to deft. You have to be able to cross quickly from doing melodrama to action, we call it schmacting, facting and acting. Schmacting in front of a green screen. Facting is exposition. Acting you’ve got to be able to do melodrama, thriller, comedy. You’ve got to do sentimental staff, tragedy. You got to jump usually, not just from one episode or one scene but sometimes from one line to the next. There’s going to be a joke that you got to get away with some wit. And that’s basically our show.

So the challenge is to be able to be (spire) enough and to wake us up to be able to see it when it’s in front of you and to keep it alive and spontaneous and jump from style to style without it looking that way. That’s our show, right? I mean, that’s…

Allison Scagliotti: We really watched out with Aaron because not only can he handle it, he’s great at it. He fills up the – at the tenets of – at the three tenets of working in Warehouse 13 which are acting, schmacting and facting.

Saul: Yes. And Eddie, you know, makes fun of himself as the buffoon of our group but the truth is and disparages the fact….

Eddie McClintock: Thank you.

Saul: …of any serious stuff that he does. But – and I know I have to tell you, I’ve been doing this for a long, long time, Eddie can handle all of it. And he has more of it to do than any of us and it wouldn’t be a great show, it would not be if he didn’t have a versatility that he does. So I’m a big fan of the guy.

Jump with us to read more.

On the directions their characters seem to be heading this season

Saul: Without giving up the spoiler? Oh, okay, well I was planning to spoil everything, but if you don’t want to, okay, all right.

[The person that asked the question then clarified that spoilers were fine!]

Saul: They’re willing to go there in a second.

Allison: I have spoiled oranges downstairs, if you want me to throw those in.

Saul: So, Eddie, how deep do we get into Pete Lattimer’s character this season?

Allison: Knuckle deep?

Saul: We should ask each other questions, honestly you’ll get great answers.

Eddie: We kind of get an insight to the people that really influenced him when he was a kid, kind of who made him who he is. We find out more about his dad. We find out more about his mother. And so we really actually – I can’t remember the name of the episode, but my storyline is pretty much centered around Pete’s past. So we’re going to get to find out what made him the way he is.

Allison: And it’s sad. Oh, not all sad. And also funny and a little frustrating.

Eddie: Lots of things.

Saul: Go ahead, Allison.

Allison: No, me? You want to save the best for last do you, Saul?

Saul: Yes.

Allison: Because you’re the most eloquent of the bunch, sure.

Saul: Because I can’t think of anything.

Allison: Okay. Well Claudia’s arc is always sort of mirrored my personal arc. This season she finally got a peer in the Warehouse in the Steve Jinks character and they developed a really close, great friendship, an almost brother-sister dynamic. Claudia is contributing in the technical field as always, building tesla grenades and periscopes in the Warehouse and whatnot.

But more than anything, she just sort of is figuring out what it means to be a part of the team which I’m figuring out along the way, what does it mean to be part of this team that makes television show every week.

Eddie: (Wacky) team.

Allison: That’s right, that’s right. So sort of wanting to be respected and, you know, just figuring out her purpose there and her function there and also dealing with her past. I think we touched on what was mentioned in Season 1 which is Claudia’s time in a mental institution which is obviously emotional and a touchy subject. But it’s been cool to explore as an actor and I’ve had a really wonderful time flushing that out this season.

All right, Saul, put all the shame now.

Eddie: What about the rock and roll?

Saul: The same. Well, third season, there – they can take some chances in where they might not have wanted to right away, they wanted people to get to know the characters. So there – they can play a little bit. We can go off character a little bit. We all get a chance to be kind of bizarre versions of ourselves in some way or another because of – certainly I do because of artifact-related incidents.

And the writers got a chance to have a little bit more fun. They know that they’ve got a core audience. They know that the show is successful, that their tone and their storylines have been on the right track, that for the most part, we’re getting incredibly positive responses from people. We have a lot of fun. And I think that what’s going on is, you know, we’re not searching, “How can we make this show work?” We’re not part of a group of people trying to figure out how to stay on the air.

We’re trying to give the fans more of what they already like. We’re really – this is the kind of show I would watch with my family. So it’s really entertaining show. It’s really unpredictable and it continues to be that way for my character certainly. I think that you get to find out how Artie fits into the Warehouse hierarchy with a little bit more depth. They continue to deal – as writers of the show, they’ve allowed the show to explore the mythology and the regions and even by putting, you know, life and death situations into the hierarchy of how the Warehouse operates.

They’re allowing themselves to explore this world as it really existed and looking at the intricacies of it. That’s really fun for fans. It’s fun for us. We – honestly, we get scripts. We’re very lucky that we read through them two days before we go into production. We have a read through around the table with some guest casts if they’re available and we’re listened into by network and studio.

And we sometimes haven’t even had time to just – except briefly read it once. And they’re like page turners for us. We’re all delighted. We’re laughing. There are surprises all the time. We’re hoping that that’s actually what’s going to happen to the fans. And it’s happening to each of the characters.

Artie’s love life is explored in a little bit more depth and ruefully and funnily. And we’re all having a great time in Season 3, yes.

Eddie: Well done.

On their favorite episode so far

Allison: I’ve got a favorite.

Saul: Was that one of the…

Allison: My favorite happens right in the middle of the season, it’s episode six, called Don’t Hate the Player. And this episode has everything. It’s probably our most absurd, to date, I think in the history of Warehouse. There are sort of Tron-meets-Dungeons-and-Dragons episode with an amazing guest cast. We all plus get to do crazy things and play sort of heightened versions of ourselves and also very different versions of ourselves. And that’s the episode that heralds the return of Mr. (Neil Grayson) to Warehouse 13.

Saul: That’s right, yes. Go ahead, Eddie.

Eddie: I would say Don’t Hate the Player is definitely one of my favorites in the – of the season. It’s things like that just start being – they just started being done on television. The fact that we got it by the network and they let us make the show, it speaks a lot towards the amount of confidence that they have in our writers and our show runner and Jack Kenny and us as actors to pull this off.

It was so much fun and like Allison said, there’s really some absurd stuff but it’s actually funny. It’s not just silly and stupid. It’s stuff that will make you laugh which obviously is always very important.

My other favorite would be, there’s an episode called Love Sick where I had to play being drunk and – and for quite a bit of it and it’s always – I’ve only had to maybe do that one other time. But it was really challenging for me to walk the line between someone playing drunk and someone who’s actually looks the part.

So because that was a big challenge for me as an actor, I’ll be interested to see how it turned out. And I hear that it turned out okay. So I guess the payoff is that it’s always nice when you’re trying to convey something and you’re able to actually do that. So those were my two favorites, I’d say.

Saul: And that episode, Love Sick, was one of my favorites too and the other one too that you mentioned, Don’t Hate the Player, I got to play a kind of Artie – you know, as if he were doing a Monty Python movie. And it was an offshoot of Artie. And in Love Sick, Artie’s bedroom is introduced and it’s an extraordinary set; gets used a couple of times during the season. Terrific times.

But what – this is an opportunity and I think Allison and Eddie will join in is to talk about the unsung hero. We’ve sung praises of Jack Kenny and our co-stars and how well we get along and we have wonderful guest stars. But the unsung hero of our series is really Franco De Cotiis, who is our production designer…

Allison: Absolutely.

Saul: …who is a magician, who has created a look for this show that I will – I really believe he should be nominated for an Emmy. I think it’s – cable is a little harder. There are less viewers and it’s a little tougher to get nominations, but if anybody deserves to be recognized in a television industry at the moment, for my money, after 30 years of doing television, I’m looking at great designers and even in feature – in the feature world, there are very few people who can do what he can do on a budget that he’s got.

The fans are getting a master craftsman who is doing masterpieces. He’s doing – he’s an incredible team, he’s got great art director, he’s got great set decorators, people who love the show, every prop, every – that he supervises, all the design, the costumes by Joanne Hansen, every aspect of the show on the design front is one of the, not talked about by you guys in the press much, and understandably, you know, we’re out there, these characters are interesting, there’s great storylines and we got great artifacts and the fantasies and adventure part of it is really fun.

But take a look, I mean, a book, a coffee table book that’s come out about Franco’s work, Joanne’s work, our costume designer, and if we look at the props that we’ve got all the different incredible props, some of them spend over $10,000 per prop, you know, when they make these things. They’re beautifully made. We walk along our Warehouse shelves and there’s little cards that you never see in close-up that are besides the little video descriptions of what’s on the shelves.

And the cards are hilarious because they’re in detail. They talk about the artifacts and what they can do and how to protect yourselves. They had a great time in depth creating the detailed look of the show. They are amazing so I wanted to take that opportunity to talk about that.

Eddie: And if I may throw another name into that hat, little (Billy Rifkin) who despite his limp is one of the finest (unintelligible) in the business and he always greets us in the morning with a smile.

Saul: Eddie. Eddie.

Allison: That was rude.

Eddie : So he’s something else.

Saul: He’s just playing with you. Allison, you were saying something intelligent, I’m sure.

Allison: Well, I don’t know if it was intelligent but it was at least agreeing with you. Yes, I think what always strikes me about the work of the people that you were talking about was that there’s so much joy that goes into the work that they do every week. Every time I have the pleasure of meeting with our wardrobe designer, all of her ideas comes from the story and the character. And it looks great because it’s motivated by what’s happening with us.

Saul: Yes, they really have fun doing the show. I wish this comes across. At least I hope you guys in the press are going to write about that. Terrific.

On romantic relationships for the characters

Allison: [There is a love interest for Claudia] very briefly. Very briefly. The love interest that happens for Claudia I don’t think is nearly as interesting as how Claudia learns to work with her new friend and partner, Steve Jinks.

Saul: We didn’t say, we don’t have time for love interest.

Allison: It’s true.

Saul: These agents are the reason why Artie didn’t have a family and these people are eventually going to discover that Artie isn’t an anomaly. When you work in the Warehouse as what happens with Pete in the first season, right, it’s very hard to hold on to a relationship, where do you have time for it.

Allison: True. Right. And as Claudia’s responsibility is increased on the job, that’s just less and less time she has for outside things. But if she does have time for outside things like open mic which I was – I do a couple of times this season, she’s going to spend them on herself because that’s what 20-year-olds need to do. I hope my family just read that.

Saul: Allison has turned into this great performer. She’s got a beautiful singing voice. You’re going to get a real treat in Season 3 when she performs on open mic. I’m not going to give away what the song is and stuff but it’s a really cool thing that the writers have allowed her to do only because she’s really developed. She’s really worked hard on her craft as a musician and as a performer and that’s going to be – that’s part of her character. It’s really cool.

Allison: That’s very sweet, Saul.

On how the show has evolved and how filming season 3 is different from filming the first 2

Allison: In terms of how the seasons are different – oh, do you want to go ahead, Eddie? You have something?

Eddie: Go ahead. Go ahead.

Allison: How the seasons are different? I think every episode is different because we learn more and more with every script and with every happy accident and every scary accident because I think Jack has said in the past and Saul, you said, as well, the only procedural aspect of our show is that we have to go find artifacts that threaten the world and the worlds they neutralize and then bring them back. But we’ve could sort of endless, you know, possibilities for what happens around that, what triggers it and what can happen as a result and what’s happening to our characters emotionally.

So I really don’t think that any two episodes are the same and as a result, it just gets to grow more and more.

Saul: The seasons are a combination of what happens as a family, how we grow, how our relationships grow, our need for each other, our worry about each other, our exploration of our dark sides and the sides of us – each other that the more we care about each other, the stakes get higher because we lose each other, it becomes more – it would be more unbearable than it would be if we were just people who are just agents.

And so there’s that one level. The second level has to do with every season that has an overriding villain. In the first season it was MacPherson, the second season H.G. Wells and this season also has an aspect of that that I can’t give away and the combination from the past as well.

And those are not stuck on. They have to do with the mythology and the past of the Warehouse and that’s what’s really cool is that they’ve deepened the show by – I was so thrilled in the second season that they were doing this and then the third season they’ve continued it. It’s a wonderful that our season closer in the season had to do with the lost warehouse in Egypt and that they really went into it, really explored it design wise and story wise. And the mythology of the Warehouse and the past of the Warehouse is continuing to be explored.

So our season is – our third season is a continuation and a deepening and an even more entertaining season than we’ve ever done before, partly because we’re – writers are more secure, partly because the budgets are really great given the fan base. They’re spending money on the show and you guys are getting the benefit of that. Our fans are getting the benefit of that.

So I think that that’s what’s really happening. And for us, look, we’re in the third season of a hit show. We feel blessed. We love going to work. We have a great time with each other. I think that comes across, at least I hope it does.

On their favorite scene they’ve filmed together

Saul: Eddie?

Eddie: I don’t think it’s happened yet.

Saul: I think our Christmas episode is going to have it. There’s something especially about these Christmas episode where all four of us are together because what you’re asking about what happens is get split up between A and B stories and so people are – we very rarely are the four of us together. The Christmas episode will have that for sure. And…

Eddie: And a lot of times when the four of us are together, it’s like we’re basically – a lot of times we have to do exposition. There’s a lot of expository things when the four of us together and we’re in the process of splitting up those scenes generally. So it would be nice to have scenes where we’re actually sitting together and able to act and relax and without having to give a lot of information. And I think in the Christmas episode, we get to do that.

Saul: We were going to do that. But, you know, the truth is that we really enjoy it because we’ve now been working together for so long that there’s a short hand between us. We have fun together. There’s some spontaneity. The way things come together before they’re shot is easier than it ever was because we know each other and we know our characters better than we ever have.

So I’m hoping that there’s actually more of the four of us together but in the nature of the storytelling, things just split us up.

On what they thought of the Myka leaving the warehouse storyline & how to get the audience to buy into that

Saul: Well, first of all, I got to say, the audience isn’t expected to buy into it. I mean, the audience is incredibly sophisticated. They would know if we had an actor who is asking for $1 million a episode or whatever and wasn’t going to be asked back because word, as you say, would leak out. And Arties was killed at the end of the first season.

There is – we’re not going to give away how it happens or what happens but the audience isn’t – nobody is trying to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes. The way you pull wool over anybody’s eyes is by saying you’ve got a great show and you don’t. When you tune in, it’s not. The writers create cliffhangers, not so much because you think they’re trying to fool you into thinking somebody’s left the show or has been killed or however a cliffhanger is because you really just want to figure out – the joy of it is figuring out how do you get out of this which is why you leave the woman on the train tracks tied up as the train is pulling up, (Simon Legree), the bad guy tackles his way in victory.

Well the audience is delighted by how you’re going to get out of this mess that you just put yourself into. How are you going to do it? And that’s part of the bargain that is struck between the writers and our production and the audience. So that’s part of the fun of the show.

Now that said, there are things that happen that are going to surprising that you are not going to expect. And that you will go, “Wow. How did they do that? Why, that’s kind of – I haven’t seen the series do that before. That’s really interesting and new.” And there are surprises in the show, maybe not the ones you’ll expect. That’s my answer to that.

Eddie: Great answer.

Allison: Yes, I don’t think either one of us could have put it better.

On how to keep the entire cast involved in all the stories so there are no throwaway characters

Allison: Collaboration.

Saul: Eddie is on set more than any of us and he really knows from the inside works. We all have ideas of it but I’d like to hear, Eddie, what do you think about that?

Eddie: Well, the first thing that came to my mind when you said that was it’s really the writing. The writers have found a way to – I mean, it’s their responsibility as to whether or not a character is going to be a throw-away character and I don’t think Jack would ever let that happen because each character is import to the show. There’s no need to have an extraneous character and there’s no time.

And so everyone gets treated with equal amounts of respect even if their part isn’t that big. I have not had any problems making my acting choices because the characters that I’m having to work off of, whether they’re there for a day or whether they’re there for three episodes, they are always really well flushed out by the writers.

Saul: The writers are like – if you got them – they’re like nine years old spiritually on some level. They really love…

Allison: Some of them. And others are like 60.

Saul: …doing the show. But they like – they really have fun with this show. And because it’s operating on a number of levels, the job is to create a fantasy adventure for the whole family. As it turns out, it’s a 9 o’clock show, perfect. I mean, it really is a show that the family watches because there’s an aspect of it that are really a 10 or 11-year-old can get but then it goes – it gets wittier and there are things that the adults in the room are going to get that the kids aren’t going to get without losing the kids.

So they’re having fun because they don’t have to take themselves 100% seriously and at the same time, they’re able to explore a fantasy world that has such fertile ground. And Eddie’s right, they haven’t got the time to create characters that are not going to be part of the storytelling. The fun part of this is that, for me, the boss character in shows has become a cliché and not on this show because I’m on the field. I’m part of the story. My past is important. It’s not like the boss character who gives out assignments in maybe once every eight episodes you find out something about their personal life like they’re an alcoholic or they have a gambling problem or an ex-wife.

Artie’s character – the past of Artie’s character has insinuated itself into the storyline, the same way that Pete and Myka’s and Allison’s character and even now you’ll find the same thing is true of Mrs. Frederic and some of the regions they are – all their past are going to help tell the story because of the things that they’ve done, much as in life.

And every show is different. One of my favorite shows in television is Justified. It’s not a fantasy adventure show. It’s a very realistic. Elmore Leonard created that tone for that kind of show and his stories are (unintelligible) and the writers have a particular job there with character and they do a great job.

Our writers are dealing at a much more comic, adventure, fantasy world and very tough to keep that alive. And it’s not just the fact that they are – the writers are there and they’re being led by the right person in Jack, it’s also – it’s just the way it, it is that it happens that this network and studio developed this for three years. They love their – it’s theirs. They didn’t acquire it. They bled for it. They put their reputations and their careers to a certain extent on the line when the network got branded with this series and they put money behind it.

So, there was a lot of stake and they took chances, tremendous chances. And it’s paid off. So that’s the reason people keep coming back.
See more in Part 4 of our Warehouse 13 interview: HERE. Remember, Warehouse 13 premieres on Monday, July 11, at 9/8c on Syfy.

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