Published: Wednesday, 03 July 2013 21:02 | Written by SciFi Vision
By Jamie Ruby
The fourth season of Warehouse 13 will conclude on Monday with the end of the three episode arc that culminated last Monday with Paracelsus, played by Anthony Head, turning Sutton (James Marsters), Charlotte (Polly Walker), and Nick (Josh Blaylock) mortal once again and killing Charlotte to hurt his brother.
Head, along with executive producer Jack Kenny, recently talked to the digital media about the end of the season, as well as a bit about the next.
Syfy Conference Call Warehouse 13 Jack Kenny and Anthony Head
June 18, 2013 2:00 pm ET
SCIFI VISION: Can you both talk a bit about Paracelsus - who he is and how he ends up in the Warehouse in the first place?
JACK KENNY: Although I don't think we can say too much, in terms of what - because I don't want to give away too much about next week's episode.
SCIFI VISION: No, but in general.
JACK KENNY: But yes, you know, Anthony plays Paracelsus, a very, very hip 16th Century alchemist, actually based on the real Paracelsus who was a very hip 16th Century alchemist who kind of bucked the trend.
ANTHONY HEAD: And he dabbles in necromancy and astrology and all sorts of things. And was - actually was remarkable. He was a forerunner of modern medicine. But there's nothing to say he lived to - that if he was drunk with his own power that he might not go a little bit dololly (?). And this is where we join him in Warehouse 13.
...He's one of the [bronzed].
JACK KENNY: "...Yes, we find out that Paracelsus is a member of our Bronze Sector.
We find out why in episode 19, the next to the last episode. We find out why he ended up in the Bronze Sector; what he did to end up there and a lot more details about him. And then many more details in 20 and into Season 5. We learned quite a bit, which we start shooting a week from today, we start unfolding even more about Paracelsus and the way he sees the world.
ANTHONY HEAD: But what I was going to say was, "If you've been encased in bronze for however many hundreds of years, you probably wouldn't be the sanest person in the room."
JACK KENNY: He does have a bone to pick. I mean, to put it mildly, he's got a little bit of a bone to pick.
And it'll be nice to see Tony working with James Marsters again too. They go head to head a little bit.
ANTHONY HEAD: Yes, that was cool.
I've not worked with James since Buffy. We've played music together, but we haven't - we share a love a music, but we've not acted together. And that was very cool.
JACK KENNY: That's how we find him. Yes we're not the ones that - someone else un-bronzes him and he does have something to do with our little family that we've been following this year, Polly Walker and James Marsters and Josh Blaylock. They're all sort of tied together and we'll find out how and why in 419 as well.
QUESTION: Speaking of Buffy...I was wondering if you could talk just a little bit about what it's like to be such a major part of a story that's inspired so many millions worldwide and continues to be a topic of doctoral level studies even a decade after concluding.
ANTHONY HEAD: I got lucky dude. All I can say is that when I first read the script, you know I - when you - I was over there for pilot season. In fact, it was mid-season, it was September, and I - you get a lot of scripts and you go out for anything that you're given pretty much.
And I got the script and I remember stopping off at my friend's house for a coffee and just saying, "I really, really want this show." I had spent the night before, you know, on my own in a restaurant, laughing - people looking at me because I was laughing out loud at the script and just like racing through to see what happened next.
And it's amazing, I mean in fact my family and I are watching reruns now; my eldest Emily is just - she's up to season 4. We watched "Once More with Feeling" last night. It's still current, it's still - you know, it's a joy to watch something which still is resonant in - it has so much to offer still that it's just an extraordinary thing.
And it's, you know, it's down to Joss Whedon, he's a remarkable man. I just watched Much Ado About Nothing and he's still surprising himself and surprising - well he probably isn't surprising himself, but he's surprising everybody else just turning out remarkable stuff.
But it was a joy to work with James again on Warehouse 13. It was great, great fun. And we shared some old times together.
QUESTION: , I wanted to find out, what maybe were some of the particular acting challenges you found portraying your Warehouse 13 character? And then for Jack, what did you enjoy most about creating this particular incarnation of this character?
ANTHONY HEAD: I did a fair amount of research about him. He's a fascinating character. He's actually worth looking at. He's a renaissance alchemist. And as I said, he actually did an enormous amount of good in his life. But unfortunately he just kept following this pattern of - he was such a rebel.
I mean Bombastus is in his name and I don't know if that's where, you know, bombastic comes from him. His full name was Theophrastus Philippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim. With a name like that you've...
JACK KENNY: It just took - it took him 20 minutes to fill out a check.
ANTHONY HEAD: Yes, with a name - yes, he was a very pompous guy and he believed in himself so fervently, which is fun to play.
I watched some great actors playing madness, which was an interesting thing to do. And just sort of, you know, little bits of it trickled down. And I you know, it was a fun role to play because he grows. He starts off way up there, but needless to say his path of madness grows.
And it's great fun to play that because it's - you know, as long as you've got people watching over you saying, "Okay Tony, too much now." You know you can have such fun with it. And you know, I've always relatively self-regulated anyway. I don't like being sort of just over the top for the sake of it. But it's just nice to have a little bit of lunacy of late. Great fun. Good fun.
JACK KENNY: I think our first exchange on the set was when you came out of the bronzer and we talked about - I talked about, "Can you give me a big laugh here, enjoying the amazement - amazingness of this moment and lean back into that light?"
And you didn't even - you just like got it. You knew exactly the image I was going for, exactly the look. It was a little bit of that madness, but well controlled and well-modulated. But you got, "Oh I got it, I've got this, I know." And it was like so - it was just great to just give a simple thing like that and have an actor go, "I know exactly what you're looking for. I know the image you want."
And it was just such a joy. And I think in terms of creating him, what I love about this show, what I love to do on this show is peak back into history, take a historical figure, either put the character on screen like we did with H.G. Wells or Paracelsus.
Or even just talk about a character this way, and just twist it a little bit; say some things - do some things with that character or say something about the character that could actually be true, may not be absolutely true, may not be completely provable one way or another, but then also add being in bronze for 500 years...
ANTHONY HEAD: Yes.
JACK KENNY: ...and just let that character explode a little bit in our imagination and take a character like Paracelsus, who was indeed everything Tony described. And that's one of the things that we found so appealing about this character was he was an envelope pusher. He fought society. He was an outlaw.
ANTHONY HEAD: He wasn't a postie.
JACK KENNY: No. No, not at all, he was a renegade. And take somebody like that, and then what we've done with him going into Season 5 as well, is give him a purity of purpose. And whenever anybody has a purity of purpose it can twist their thinking.
And so I mean, you know, from anyone from Einstein to Hitler, purity of purpose can make you - can create weirdness and create danger and create madness, or create genius. There's any number of things it can create. Sometimes a mixture of all of the above.
And so that's what we wanted to do with Paracelsus, was take this guy who was fully just believed so completely in science, scientific research, experimentation, and take it to the Nth degree. And then we put him in a world where he can actually do it; where he can actually create incredible things. And that's what, you know, that's how we wanted to do it.
ANTHONY HEAD: I was just going to add that, you know, people ask me whether I like playing bad guys, and I always answer, "I like playing people."
JACK KENNY: Yes.
ANTHONY HEAD: Because someone didn't start out to be a bad guy. Their actions may be questionable, but for them, in their head they're doing something, you know, for a good reason. It just doesn't happen to coincide with everybody else's sort of idea...
JACK KENNY: Right.
ANTHONY HEAD: ...of a good reason. So I love playing the pathology of a character the, "What makes him tick, what makes him be the person he is." It's not all black and white. And that's what makes it fun.
QUESTION: Talk about kind of dipping into Merlin territory a little bit here, it's pretty cool. So Jack, what led you to cast Anthony, besides the fact that he's a great actor of course, but what led you to kind of go into that? And then for Mr. Head, how were you approached and how did that all go?
JACK KENNY: Well he said, "Yes," so that was a big plus. No honestly, I have for quite a while been a fan of Tony's work and his presence on screen. And you know...aside from the fact that he's a wonderful actor, he brings a certain gravitas.
And when you're playing a historical character, you have to be very careful the way it's cast and the way it's played. And it has to be played - you don't want to play it all stuffy and historical and dusty, but there has to be a sense of gravitas, a sense of history about the man. And that's what Tony, you know I think in everything he plays either he's a thorough researcher for every character he plays or he just has an incredible depth behind his eyes that he brings to the character.
But you see a man there who has lived a long time and seen a lot of things. Whatever he's doing behind his eyes to bring that, that's what I'm getting. And that was so imperative to this character. We don't write just bad guys.
We always write - there're always many levels to our big bad characters, however we play them. But Tony brought so - I could see in his work. I was just so unbelievably thrilled that he said yes to this because you can see in his work a depth and a resonance and a historical gravitas that you would bring to the character and that just was - I can't imagine anybody else playing this.
ANTHONY HEAD: Thank you. Cool. In answer to your question, basically Jack sent me an email which was just really, really appealing. And just you know, just said, "Hey this is our show, we have a great time on it. It's you know, it's the flagship show of the Syfy channel. And you know, we would love you to come and play, come and join us in you know, for a couple of episodes."
And it was just so nicely written and so just bang on. And, you know, I'm a fan of Jack Kenny. That's all I can say.
JACK KENNY: Thank you Tony.
ANTHONY HEAD: God this is a big love-fest isn't it?
JACK KENNY: It is.
We'll get ugly in a little bit. We have a couple of drinks in us we'll get really ugly, "That bastard changed every word I wrote." I mean...I've got to say, "Even to the notion of the accent he brings to the character."
I mean he has a beautiful English accent anyway, which would have sufficed, because you know, you kind of buy that for European. But he brought - he said, "I'm going to add just a twinge of German, of Swiss-German, just a few accents here and there."
And it's so subtle and so beautiful, it's like another spice in an amazing dish, and you just go, "Oh that's exactly what it needed." And you never would have known that that's what it needed until you saw him add it. And you go, "Oh, that - what a beautiful icing on that cake." I mean it's just things like that, I just love it.
QUESTION: I know you guys shoot Warehouse 13 up here in Toronto. And so I was wondering if you both could speak to your experience filming [in Toronto] and how you found it.
ANTHONY HEAD: I personally, I love Toronto. I've only worked in Vancouver and Toronto. But they're both very, very different cities. And I love them both very different reasons.
I love the cosmopolitan, just the great mix of people in Toronto. And I just - you know, I just like traveling around the town. It's just got a great vibe; it's got a great energy. And I'm really - I'm flying over tomorrow and I can't wait. I'm really looking forward to it.
JACK KENNY: I would say - and that's interesting, the actor's perspective as opposed to the show-runner's perspective because I don't get to see too much of Toronto. I'm mostly lashed to a director's chair or to a monitor or something for 14 hours a day. And then on Saturday's I'm holed up in my apartment writing.
But from a producer's standpoint, it's a gold mine. Because you can make Toronto look like almost anywhere. I mean, we've shot it for Egypt, we've shot it for London; we've shot it for Paris. We've shot it for, you know, Los Angeles and New York.
And we even shot it for Toronto in one episode, which was quite a stretch. But, you know, we're shooting it for - we found an area today that we're going to shoot for 1500s Constantinople. I mean it's just filled with cool places to shoot.
And you can't find one city that has that much variety and that much spice in it; it's just a gold mine. And I think that's why so many shows are shooting up here now, because you know, the weather is, if you're not here in January or February, it's reasonable. So far we're having a decent summer and I haven't started sweating yet.
So it's you know, I mean, we have been up - I've been here sometimes in the summer it was - oh my God it was hot. But it's just - it's a paradise for production for locations. And our show is a 6 days out, you know, 1 or 2 days in, shoot so we're out on location all the time. And it's just always fun and always serves up what we need. So I love it for that.
SCIFI VISION: From this three episode arc, can you guys talk about something that was your favorite moment either on the show or behind the scenes. Just something that stood out for you.
ANTHONY HEAD: Jack, I'm really not good at favorite moments.
JACK KENNY: Well I'll tell you, I already gave up my favorite moment, and it was early on. Honestly it was - it's in Episode 18 that's coming - it's coming up at the end of Episode 18 when Paracelsus realizes what's occurred, and the joy - he just leans back and laughs.
And the joy and the history that comes out in that laugh, the relief, the excitement about the future, I mean it all comes out in this beautiful moment and he leans back into the light and laughs, and that has been one of my favorite moments.
And I'm trying to think of the other - you know, there was so many great moments in 420 for me, because I directed the finale, so I spent a lot more time with Tony. You know, and we were shooting in the rain to make it look like - and we were shooting someplace that was supposed to look like San Francisco, so the rain actually worked.
SCIFI VISION: Right.
JACK KENNY: I mean honestly, every moment - here's a quote for Tony, it doesn't mean anything coming from a cable show-runner, but every moment working with Tony Head is a favorite moment.
Because I'll tell you there are - and I'm not blowing smoke because we've already got him, and so you know, he's already locked up, he can't ask for more money, we're done...But honestly, there aren't too many actors that I would do anything with, and Tony is one of them.
I just am immediately connected with him and we immediately had a rapport and we understood what each other was trying to do. And it was just fun, I mean he brings game to the table. And everybody doesn't bring game; not right away. Some take a while to warm up, some bring it right away and it's not the right game, but Tony is just - he's just there.
We've been very lucky on this show. You know, there's a lot of people we've worked with who bring their A-game on Day 1, and that's - and I would say Tony is at the top of that list, he's just fun. I had fun. And my God, if you can't have fun in this business then you shouldn't be in it. Right, I mean doesn't everybody in the world want to be in this business?
ANTHONY HEAD: ...Absolutely. If it's purgatory, then there really is no point.
JACK KENNY: Yes really, get out, go...
ANTHONY HEAD: No I also had fun. I mean I'm trying to think of a moment, I think it was - I had a couple of scenes with James that I just - it was again, it was fun being - it was the old team.
I love the cast of the show, I mean everybody is just - for a show that's, you know, I got used to this on Buffy, that you know, for - when a show runs for a long time, it all basically stems from the guy in charge. And again this is a love-fest. But ultimately everybody is very fond of Jack.
And you can feel the love. Generally everybody is in a good place and really relates to each other. And there isn't that kind of like, "Okay you know, we've done 4 years and, you know, hopefully we're going to do 5, and okay then we go to hiatus and that's going to be great. We're going to go on hiatus and then we're going back to work," none of that. Everybody was really into it.
And it was fun, I had a great time. Which is why when they said, "Did I want to come back," I said, "Yay."
JACK KENNY: And I honestly...
ANTHONY HEAD: ...I've been moving stuff around so I can get back because (unintelligible)...
JACK KENNY: Trying to figure out what we were going to shoot.
ANTHONY HEAD: And I was saying to my agent, you know, "We have to make sure," and she was saying, "What is it with you and this Warehouse 13?" I said, "I just want to do it."
JACK KENNY: You know there was another thing that happened that I just loved, and Tony you probably do this all the time, but there's a scene where Pete and Myka are searching for Paracelsus and they hear his voice and, you know, he's talking to them. And, you know, we never see him, I mean he's never in the scene. They don't find him.
SCIFI VISION: Right.
JACK KENNY: And you know, so easily you - a script supervisor or I would have read those lines for them and it would have been fine. It would have been - that's usually what's done, you don't make an actor who doesn't appear on camera show up and sit on the set for what was essentially 6 hours while we shoot every version of this scene that we were going to shoot.
And Tony insists. I even said to him, "You know you don't have to." He said, "No, no, no, I want to come. I want to come and be there. I want to come and do the lines." And you know we set him up, we set him up, we set a microphone up, we did the whole...
And it's just that kind of thing that a lot of actors don't do that, they really don't. They "Okay, well if he's going to read it or you can read it that's great, I'll just go home." Tony stayed. Tony didn't even stay, he came for it. He wasn't called that day, the came to the set to do that only, and it was probably an hour's drive away from his hotel so that was pretty cool.
ANTHONY HEAD: It needs to be done.
JACK KENNY: Everybody doesn't feel that way, but thank you for that.
ANTHONY HEAD: Yes but - yes, the people are in acting for different reasons.
JACK KENNY: Yes, yes, yes it's true.
QUESTION: Jack, I was wondering, at the end of the last episode we saw [that Nick is] in cahoots with someone. Is this related to Anthony's appearance at all?
JACK KENNY: Yes I think - it's been several months since we wrapped these and several months since I saw the last mix. And I'm trying to remember the last scene of episode 17 because I know there's a big moment with Myka. Did we play that at the end of 17?
QUESTION: Yes, she finds out about the cancer and the...
JACK KENNY: Right, yes good. And then did we also play Nick in a car with someone?
QUESTION: I don't think so, he was just talking...
JACK KENNY: Okay that's coming up, don't want to give it away. I couldn't remember because there were two - here's a little insight into show-running, that show, that episode 17, when we looked at it on the mix stage, it had two endings. And we thought, "We can't give this two endings, it's got to have..." two kind of bomb-dropping endings.
And one was Myka finds out she might have ovarian cancer, right? You don't want to do an ending after that. You don't want to go to another scene after that, that's where the show has to end, right? That's the cliff-hanger. And then so we had another beat - and if you do it before it, it kind of undercuts it. So we were moving things around.
And I couldn't remember where we moved it to. I think it's in 18. It might be in - it might have been in 16 for all I know, but I think it's in 18. But Nick is - yes, we do find out that Nick is involved with what's going on. He is in cahoots, as you say, with some people. Exactly how he's in cahoots, I want to wait for you guys to find out. But yes, Nick has made his way into the Warehouse now. And...
QUESTION: And that's related to Anthony's playing (unintelligible)...?
JACK KENNY: Yes it is, in a very, very strong way. As a matter of fact, you might say that without Nick, Anthony wouldn't be with us.
QUESTION: Anthony, I was going to ask a question about your accent but it's been answered. But I'm overjoyed to talk to you. I've been a big fan of yours actually ever since those coffee commercials.
ANTHONY HEAD: Thank you very much. I mean I'll tell you, the accent thing basically, you know, because I've always been a - I love accents and I can do accents. And I've not been asked to do it that often in my career. And it's not something - you know I used to turn to accents all the time because it's a great way of escaping from yourself. But in this particular instance it seemed to be valid because we - the first time we meet him he's actually speaking German.
Not actually Swiss-German, because Swiss-German is the most extraordinary language I've ever heard in my life. But it's just German. And we basically we will buy it. But I thought that because he, you know, he has been encased in bronze since he was a renaissance alchemist, that his accent would still be - there would be some semblance of it.
And I wanted that sort of - just to be reminded that he was, you know, that he is European and he's not English. And Jack very sweetly said, "Absolutely." I said, "I don't want it to be a heavy, you know, let's not think he's sort of - it's not Hitler Youth." You know, this is something which is very subtle and it just underpins. And I hope, you know keep my fingers crossed, I hope that's the case. I'm obviously going to have to watch some of it before I do any more.
QUESTION: Amidst the sadness I was feeling regarding Myka's condition, it struck me that although many, many shows, especially medical shows, have dealt with the topic of cancer, genre fans would undoubtedly argue that no series did so as effectively or devastatingly as Buffy.
Did that intense sense memory connection involving cancer enter your mind at all when placing Anthony into this particular story line? Should we read it as a subliminal preparation or clue of Myka's ultimate fate?
JACK KENNY: Unfortunately, and here's something that I don't know, you may never forgive me for this, and I know maybe Anthony, well maybe this will be the end of our friendship. I've only seen a couple of episodes of Buffy. I tend to - and you know what, while we're confessing, I've only seen a couple of The X-Files.
I don't have time to watch a lot of television because I'm usually busy writing it or making it in some way. So I know there's very little TV that I can catch up on. And depending on when shows happen in my life, like Buffy probably started when I was heavily involved in something else and didn't have any time at all to watch TV so that by the time it was season 2 or 3 or 4 I thought, "I'll never catch up," and I just never dived in.
Now my former writing partner, Brian Hargrove, we were partners many years ago, and it was his favorite show ever written -- ever done. As far as Brian's concerned it is the Gospel of Television. It's the best thing ever.
So it didn't have any influence in that regard at all. What I like doing on this show is having real life interrupt our craziness. That to me is what's interesting about this show is because what they tend to forget is that there's real life too. Yes, an artifact can kill you any minute and all this stuff is happening, we're running and jumping from monsters chasing us off cliffs, but there's also cancer.
And when something like that enters a life - and also we want to not just throw the audience off their guard, but I want to throw the actors and the characters off their guard a little bit too, for them to go "Oh shit, bad things can happen."
Bad things happen. And it's not because you didn't bag the artifact, it's just that sometimes something ugly rears its head. But I will say, you know to the fans, "Don't worry, we always have your best interest at heart. I am not George R.R. Martin. I'm not planning on a Red Wedding."
We're not going to kill off everybody. But you know, things happen and they have to be dealt with and sometimes they're dangerous and scary, and sometimes people die from them. And that world has to be. It's why we killed Lena last year is, because you know, sometimes death is real.
It can't always be fixed by a metronome or a time-reversal artifact. Sometimes death happens and it has to be lived with and dealt with and gone through and healed from. And that's why we went through Lena and Arty and everybody, healing from that. And we'll go through Myka's - how she has to deal with this as well, one way or another.
QUESTION: Okay, well as Joss has said himself, Joss Whedon has said as a show-runner, "You either make TV or you watch TV..."
JACK KENNY: Yes.
QUESTION: "...it's pretty hard to do both."
JACK KENNY: Yes, I don't imagine Joss has caught a lot of our episodes either, so I hope he's not offended.
QUESTION: I thought Warehouse 13 really took a major step when they started to incorporate the drama into the show and yet still have the light episodes. I just thought the evolution just really took it on such a higher plane. When you were playing something like that Jack, do you feel that it was a bit of a risk, you know, doing something along those lines?
JACK KENNY: You know I think honestly, because life has that, that's why I think dramas have gone that way. Life has comedic and dramatic moments and melodrama and action moments and scary moments and funny moments. And usually the funny moments happen at the height of the scary moments in life you know?
When you know people - so jokes must be made. I feel like, you know...I'm gifted with actors who are very good at it. They're very good, not just at doing humor or at making a joke work, but at making a joke work in a dire situation, in a dramatic situation, in a sad situation.
They can make a joke and not make it feel like a joke, make it feel like that character is trying to lighten the mood, change the subject, get through this somehow and maybe it's humor that's getting them through it. But I feel like that, that's - that yes, that's the tenor of our show and that's kind of the way I live my life. And it's sort of I think the way most people live their lives is walking that fence between tragedy and comedy, you know?
I was going to say, it's interesting that people do turn to humor in moments of pathos. And it's also something that works very well dramatically because just in the moment you're laughing, if you turn it on a dime and pull the rug away, it's that much further to fall.
It's certainly something that Joss Whedon did back in the '90s when he first started Buffy. In fact when he first wrote the film, when he was 19, he couldn't get it made because no one got the idea of a horror film being genuinely witty with sardonic humor. And in fact, the film itself, the people who made the film said, "No, no, no, no, no, no, this is - no this is, we'll show you how to make the film," and sort of did all this larky kind of stuff that one was [not] used to in horror films.
But it's something that I think, you know, the likes of Joss Whedon and J.J. Abrams and people through now, it's a very accepted form of writing. And it just makes the whole thing work more as a little sort of microcosm of life.
QUESTION: I have to commend you on your performance coming back on Merlin as Uther, and playing a darker, even darker part. I mean I thought that was a blast. That must have been a lot of fun to go at it with Merlin.
ANTHONY HEAD: Thank you. It was - unfortunately, Uther didn't have many laughs but...
ANTHONY HEAD: I did get to play in bold...
ANTHONY HEAD: ...which was quite fun. And I got the back of my head slapped by Gaius. And I also got to fall in love with a grotesque, which is great fun, who belched and farted with the best of them, played by a very beautiful actress I have to say.
But yes, no I had a whale of a time. I had a great time on the show and it was great fun to come back as someone really moody. And again, he had his reasons. You know, as far as he was concerned, old school king, old school father. His son, you know, is way out of line, so you know, come back and give him a hard time, makes sense to me.
QUESTION: Anthony, did you always want to work in this industry while you were growing up or did you have other professions in mind?
ANTHONY HEAD: No. I'd always wanted to - in fact, my earliest memory was when I was about 6 and I was doing a show that - one of my friends used to organize a show every year or so, and I got to play the Emperor in The Emperor's New Clothes.
I hasten to add, I was in a combination suit, I was not naked. But I remember everyone looking at me as I was walking up the aisle onto the stage and just thought, "This is cool, this is where I want to be."
But it actually - it was earlier than that, when I was at a junior school - well not even junior school, like playschool, and the career asked my parents one day, she said, "It's really nice that Anthony turns up in costume every day. And it's really nice that he, you know, plays all these characters. But it would be really nice to meet Anthony one day." Because I used to dress up as my favorite TV characters. My favorite was Rusty from Rin Tin Tin.
And I used to wear the hat and everything, and the scarf. And I used to turn up, when I was Rusty, I was Rusty, no doubt about it.
So ever since - you know, and I'd always, from my early days when I was a kid I used to watch The Whirlybirds and like all the American shows that you probably won't even know, but stuff that really influenced. So I'd always wanted to go out to Hollywood and be a part of it. So when I got my chance, I went.
SCIFI VISION: This one's for you Jack, it's a question from a fan on Twitter. They want to know what your reaction is when people say that Myka and H.G. are more than friends. And also I want to add, "Is there a chance she'll be back next season?"
JACK KENNY: I currently do plan on seeing H.G. in the next - in one of the next 5 - last 6 episodes, so in the last 6 episodes.
You know Twitter confuses me a little bit. Because I actually don't go on there very much. I went on to promote the show as Syfy had asked me to, but I find that people can get very insistent on Twitter on having things done their way. And I understand where that comes from.
I just - you know...we have always played a little PLT with Myka and H.G., Pre-Lesbian Tension, and it's kind of fun. And I think that they are both women of the world enough that they would entertain, if not have in the past at some point had an experience with another woman.
And we've even said that H.G. has had other women lovers. And I think that's cool. We've always played that they are great friends, that they love each other and care very much about each other. But I think the insistence that they get together seems almost to push the relationship beyond where I think it should go.
Because - just because - I mean in a way it's sort of contradictory to what I would imagine is a solid belief in friendship and love, that two women can - and indeed two men, can love each other, care about each other, be intimately close to each other, and not necessarily have sex or become a couple.
It happens quite often in life and I don't know why it shouldn't be able to happen between these two women who clearly, clearly respect and love each other and value and admire each other to a great degree. I think that that should be a beautiful thing that is cherished rather than the insistence that they spend the rest of their lives together in, you know, in a house in the suburbs or fighting crime across the airwaves, you know, across the world.
That's a different show. It's a different - it's not that it's not a great show, and that may be where we would have gone...
ANTHONY HEAD: Hell of a spinoff dude.
JACK KENNY: Yes, listen we tried to spin H.G. off into her own series, and that indeed because she was so much more in that world, she almost went on board with bisexuality, we may have taken that series in that direction. But we've never - you know we like I say, "We've touched on it, we've flirted with it in this show and I like that."
I like that we flirted with it. I like that Pete flirts with Steve. You know, I like that Pete says, "Oh come on, come on, you want to see me with the shirt off right?" I mean it's a different kind of flirting, it's a playful, toying, you know friendship flirting, not the same kind that H.G. and Myka have. They clearly respect and love and care about each other a great deal as I've said. But I think the idea of ending the series with the two of them walking off together hand in hand in the sunset would be in many ways a betrayal of so many other elements of the series that are important and that are true to the world or to the life, that you know it strikes me more in the world of fan fiction rather than the world of Warehouse 13. Not that that's not valid, it's just not where I would take the series or where I think Syfy would want to take the series. It just feels like a different show, you know?
...And I'm gay. I'm very much in favor of gay relationships. Sorry Tony, go ahead.
ANTHONY HEAD: I was going to say, I know this is not directed at me, but I think that's the purpose of fan fiction isn't it? That they take it to places that, you know, it ain't going to go.
JACK KENNY: Absolutely.
ANTHONY HEAD: ...But you know, they just follow down that road of, "Well what if?" And you know, God bless them, let them go that way.
JACK KENNY: No, and I love the notion that people want that. I mean, there were a lot of people, I saw a lot of comments online about when Steve and Liam had an episode together, you know, "Why wasn't there a kiss at the end?"
Well you know, we're talking about an ATF agent and a U.S. Marshall in a very public place with a bunch of policemen and siren and fire. You know what, these are not two human beings, if it was a woman they wouldn't hug and kiss. It's not who they are. They're conservative federal agents.
And I'm not talking politically conservative, I mean just as human beings. Steve is a conservative human being. He's not going to lip-lock somebody in the middle of all these people. It's just not who he is. You know? Pete would do it, because Pete's Pete, you know.
SCIFI VISION: Yes, Pete would do it.
JACK KENNY: He would kiss Steve for that matter. Pete would kiss anybody in public because Pete doesn't care. But Steve and Liam, they were both so straight-laced and conservative, of course they're not going to grab each other and kiss each other in the middle of the - it would be insane. It would be - that to me would be a disservice, and also, it wouldn't be true to the characters.
And you know, so I'm very much about being honest and truthful to these characters. And [that's] not to say there isn't a world where Myka and H.G. could be together in a series, a great spinoff frankly. I would love to do that spinoff. But I don't know that it's Warehouse 13. I'm not saying, "No," I'm just saying, "We're still working on it."
QUESTION: Jack mentioned Mary Tyler Moore, and I watched a documentary recently where Mary Tyler Moore said that when she started the Dick Van Dyke show and had an especially challenging comedic scene she would think, "What would Lucy do," meaning Lucille Ball. And certainly many actresses in - after those days thought, "What would Mary Tyler Moore do?"
I'm wondering is there any inspiration that comes to your mind when you're presented with a challenging scene where you might think, "What does Person X, Y or Z, what would they do?"
ANTHONY HEAD: I have heroes. I have, you know, I always have people like Ian Holm and Anthony Hopkins in the back of my mind. In this particular instance as Paracelsus I was saying I was - I watched a few people doing mad, one of whom was Klaus Maria Brandauer in Never Say Never.
Klaus Maria Brandauer is one of the most wonderfully restrained and yet you just don't know where he's going to go. He has a wonderful danger of that. And there were a couple of moments when I wondered what Klaus Maria Brandauer would do.
JACK KENNY: I think too that the great thing about when you mention characters like Lucy and Mary or Archie or any of these...characters, they can be distilled down to what they want. Lucy wanted to be a star. And when you put that underneath any story, kind of the behavior shows itself. I think that was the genius of Lucy Ricardo is that you just had to put that in front of her.
Mary did not want to be embarrassed, "Just don't embarrass me." That's all she cared about, I mean, well not all, but one of the things. So what do you do as a writer? You put her in an embarrassing situation and you have gold because you have a character who is in a situation she knows she doesn't want to be in. How does she get out of it?
So when characters - when the actors know those characters so well, the writers know the characters, what makes them tick, that's what makes it easy to know what they would do because you just create those situation that you know they would respond to in those ways. And I mean that's why I hold those characters in such high esteem because they were brilliantly thought out.
QUESTION: In the same documentary series, it was called America in Primetime, the various show-runners talked about how series on pay channels like HBO are entirely different animals due to their production cost coming from subscriber fees rather than ad rates set via Nielson.
I'm wondering Jack, if you think NBC Universal might ever create a premium Syfy channel offshoot and what such a channel could mean for effects heavy shows like yours or Eureka or Battlestar Galactica? And if that happened, would you want to be a show-runner for that network where overnight ratings aren't the difference between life and death?
JACK KENNY: Well certainly the answer to your last question was yes because I think the rating things are going away anyway. I mean no one watches television in real-time anymore.
And the networks are finally beginning to wake up to the fact that their Nielson overnight numbers or even the Live +3s and +7s mean nothing anymore. Some people don't watch a show until they've got all the episodes recorded on their DVR and they sit down for a week and watch them all.
And they're going to have to find a way to record that. You know, they're going to have to find a way to figure out those numbers because they're going to end up canceling shows that are huge hits. And they just have to find a way to bring it up to the time, to the current time.
I think a lot more goes into when a show stays on TV and on the Syfy channel a lot more goes into it than the numbers. You know, there're all kinds of financial models that I am not privy to.
The thing I like about HBO and Showtime, at least what I've heard anyway, is that...to a great extent, they let the creators see their vision through. There are fewer interruptions or notes, if you were given, that creators are allowed.
And the channels that are ad supported, there tends to be a lot more involvement basically because they have a lot of bosses. They have a lot of people buying their time on their channel, they have to keep a lot of people happy, there are certain rules that have to be followed, there are certain, you know, mothers can't be bad, you know kids can't say X.
There're a lot of things that can't be done that you can get away with on pay channels and you can tell your story more realistically. So there's that advantage. At the same time there are very few pay, you know, premium channels, and a lot more of the rest of us. And so we're making it work.
I mean I think it's hard to separate the two anymore because these days so many amazing things are being done on cable, on free cable, on basic cable, on AMC and A&E and Syfy and USA and TNT. They're all doing incredible work that you just go, "Wow, it's a step above most of the networks," the networks still being beholden to older models. You know whereas the cable channels are able to take bigger steps.
So I think the cable universe is actually stepping up closer to the premium universe. Whereas I don't think you're going to need a premium Syfy channel, I think in a certain amount of time the Syfy channel will be behaving like a premium channel; they'll do the kind of shows that they want to do and that people will follow.
ANTHONY HEAD: Can I just add that basically fear is the greatest inhibitor; fear of stepping out of line, doing something that's not going to be acceptable. And I've encountered it all my career.
And it's you know, when you do come, in a playing field where there, you know, there is less - there's always going to be fear because ultimately, you know, they are beholden to whoever is paying the bills. But for all that, the cable, the big cable boys, they have less fear, put it that way. And it's hopefully it'll go down, you know, everybody will go down that road.
I mean I just did a show for a company who said they wanted to go down the cable route. I don't think they really did. I'm not sure they do because I don't think they know quite what it is. But it's you know, it's an ideal.
QUESTION: This question is for Mr. Head, I think at this point it's safe to say that you're considered an icon in the sci-fi community. Is this the genre in which you feel the most comfortable as an actor?
ANTHONY HEAD: I will not rest until I'm an icon in the flower selling community. No I - yes, I mean it's awesome. People say you know, "Do I choose my projects, you know because they are, you know, they end up in the sci-fi world?" No ultimately.
I mean I've done a lot of different programs, it just so happens that the more successful stuff that I've done, or the most successful stuff I've done I should say, happens to be sci-fi just because sci-fi is always story driven. It's always, you know, it's the place where the imagination can go wildest. And, you know, people like that. And, you know, a show like Buffy, which ultimately was hugely allegorical and was about life and was about, you know, about youth and about...
You know when I went to Joss Whedon, [I] said, "I don't quite know what I'm doing in this show anymore. I kind of - I'm miles - thousands of miles from my family and I'm just sort of a cypher now."
Bless his heart he said, "Okay, leave that with me," and he wrote me an episode about midlife crisis. You know, the thing about sci-fi is that it can be allegorical; it can tell us all about our lives. And at the same time it set it in a universe or a world that anything can happen.
So I just, I basically go on scripts. If someone sends me a good script, I say, "Yes." And they're just - you know, stuff like Warehouse 13, you send me a good script and I say, "Yes." That's really all it's about.
And I'm extremely happy to have been embraced by the science fiction community. They're very generous, they're very loving and they're extremely loyal. So yes, count me in.