By Jamie Ruby
Syfy's hit series Warehouse 13
is about to go into hiatus and will return in April, but first there is a shocking mid-season four cliffhanger coming. The actors of the show, Eddie McClintock, Saul Rubinek, and Allison Scagliotti, as well as the executive producer Jack Kenny, took time recently in a conference call to talk to the media about the upcoming episodes.
Syfy Conference CallWarehouse 13
Jack Kenny, Eddie McClintock, Saul Rubinek, Allison Sagliotti
September 24, 2012
12:15 pm CTSCIFI VISION:
So I just got the press release, I haven't seen it yet, but it says in the press release there's a far worse menace than what we've already seen. Can you talk at all about that without, you know, giving too much away?
MAN: Well, it's much worse than we've already seen.SCIFI VISION:
It's Saul's back hair.JACK KENNY:
Oh geez. You know, we have to amp it up - we try to amp it up every year. I mean, it's - we try to find a different - you know, when you're referring to a much worse menace, are you referring to, for the next season coming up?SCIFI VISION:
I thought it was for - I guess it's from the midseason finale into the next season.JACK KENNY:
Tonight's episode I think is going to be a bit of a shocker for everybody. I think it's - the evil that Artie's been talking about all year is I think - I'm hoping unexpected by most and quite a shock for everybody and something that will reverberate though the next ten episodes as well as the next two. I mean, the next ten happening next spring as well.ALLISON SCAGLIOTTI:
You know, in the past, the villains that we've encountered have been related to the warehouse in some way, certainly Walter Sykes had an artifact taken away from him. We've seen former warehouse agents in H.G. Wells and MacPherson but somehow we've managed to make this even more close to omen and it's disturbing.SCIFI VISION:
Can we assume that maybe it has something to do with Artie having revealed what's going on, or is it something completely different? Or can you not answer that?JACK KENNY:
You mean in this episode tonight and next week?SCIFI VISION:
Yes, yes.JACK KENNY:
Oh yes, it's definitely - we definitely will finally reach the culmination that Artie's been struggling with all year and that ultimately everybody had to struggle with as the secrets have come out. So this is a culmination of that struggle and the revelation of what the evil is that Artie released and then how Artie and our team have to deal with it and then - so it's really kind of these next two episodes are all - are both of a piece. And it's a real kind of a - both these episodes have tremendous amount of action and adventure in them. We're kind of running all over the country and then all over the world and - but I think we still maintain our sense of humor and our sense of darkness and danger all at the same time.SCIFI VISION:
Okay great. Thank you so much all of you.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
Thanks Jamie.JACK KENNY:
Do you guys want to add anything? Did I leave anything out?SAUL RUBINEK:
Some stuff.JACK KENNY:
Thank you for all your support Jamie.QUESTION:
I have a question in regards to guest stars on the show. Warehouse 13
seems to really welcome a lot of Star Trek
actors onto the show. Do you guys think ahead and say, "Hmm, which Star Trek
actor do we want to play this part?"JACK KENNY:
That's actually our promo department that does that but, yes, I mean, we do try to dip into characters that our audience will enjoy seeing play other parts. Absolutely.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
Tony Shalhoub perhaps.
I think the most important thing that we found with the amazing variety of guest stars that we've had come through not just from Star Trek but from other shows is that they've got to be able to fall in with our rhythm. We're fast and we're a very collaborative set. We have Jack to thank for that. And most of the time they can hack it and that's what makes them fit in more than their sci-fi cred, although the sci-fi cred doesn't hurt.JACK KENNY:
I will say this, everyone who showed from Star Trek
, too, has been - not only hit the ground running the way Allison's talking about but they have been a lot of fun to work with and we've all kind of - every time somebody shows up, we all become - our family gets bigger.
You know, Kate was - we saw Kate when she was in town just visiting the day we all went and hung out. Rene Auberjonois's become close will all of us. Jeri Ryan has been - we've had a great time when Jeri's been back and you'll see her again in tonight's episode. Brent Spiner, who I think is one of Saul's oldest and closest friends, has just become a big part of the family this year.
It's really been - it's fun that they're all from Star Trek
because I know the fans love that, but what's great is that they're all tremendous actors and really fit into our family and our world.SAUL RUBINEK:
When you like the show, I mean, that's one of the great things about it, is when - we're a very successful show. We get seen by a lot of people. And that helps us attract, you know, the caliber of guest stars that we're getting and we're grateful and lucky that that's happened.QUESTION:
Considering that the season starts up again in April and you have this big gap, is it really hard to keep secrets without letting something slip when you're talking to someone?SAUL RUBINEK:
Well, for Eddie, yes. As we speak, he's writing air mails to people. You know, it's not that tough. I mean...
Yes it is.JACK KENNY:
I find it excruciating.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
I find it absolutely excruciating to have to be able to get - the marching orders for every call is now remember, you can't say anything.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
Right. What are we going to talk about?JACK KENNY:
Yes, it's excruciatingly difficult and - but, you know, I don't - I kind of - I understand - I totally understand not wanting to give away spoilers. At the same time, I can't imagine anybody who heard anything about what's coming up not watching the show because they heard it, you know.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
So it's kind of weird that - it's just, again, also because of the world - the way the world is now because every word you say is immediately tweeted around the entire globe by somebody - and I'm not talking about us. Anybody. It's just - it's an entirely new PR world that's going to have to sort of be broken like a bronco and figured out how to ride, you know.SAUL RUBINEK:
It's tricky because, you know, we have a lot of people - a lot of fans who are watching the show in different ways. They're watching it online. They're watching it on TV. They're watching it on their computers. They're watching it so many different ways, whether it's on syfy.com, I guess it's even on - it's on Hulu or they're looking at past seasons on Netflix.
And people come up to us and talk to us about the show and we depend on our fans and we depend on their interaction. We're in a world where fans are interacting with all their shows, all their favorite shows, in a way that they never have been able to before.
So, you know, that makes it tough for us not to reveal stuff, you know. Frankly, the easiest thing for us to reveal are who - you know, Syfy likes to and Gary likes to hold onto who our guest stars are going to be, not that it - we don't think it makes that much difference, but we're asked not to reveal some stuff for PR reasons.
It's really easy, obviously, not to reveal major plot points. We know the reason not to do that. But as Jack says, you know, no matter what we reveal, our fans are going to show up. They really enjoy the show. And they enjoy it as a family which makes us even prouder of the show. But it's great to have people interested. We want to tell them some stuff but we don't want to just tease, you know.
What's it been like for all of you this season? Jack has really put you guys through quite a ringer in all the different angles...But what's it been like for all of you to kind of go through these journeys this year?EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
You know, for me, it all boils down to Jack. I mean, you know, if there's an award for the hardest working guy in Hollywood, it's got to go to Jack. I mean, I've never - I've been doing this long enough that I've seen plenty of show runners and I've been on plenty of shows. And I've never seen someone who has so much input on almost every aspect of the show.
I mean, this is - this show is Jack Kenny. And so, you know, to be able to take that ride with Jack - and it just seems this year - it's always been Jack's show but this year more than any. I mean, it just has his handprint on it. And it's just been...SAUL RUBINEK:
Soul print.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
Soul print, for sure. And so to be able to, you know, be a part of that and for Jack to rely on us to convey his impression of this show has been a great honor, man, and I look forward to doing more shows. It's really...
And here's the thing about this. You know, and it's not - other actors are jealous of us. We are - it's rare. You know, you get a bunch of actors getting together and we talk about our love for Jack. And that's because he loves us. We're a family and in this family, it's not that we don't have bumps and grinds, that happens. But you know, I watch Jack tell me about an episode, "And there's this moment in this episode." I said, "Yes." And he said, "Let me just show it to you because we're just in the middle of cutting it." And I said, "Yes, and we're on a break."
And he shows me his - on his computer and, you know, I look over at him and he's completely welled up. You know, I am too. It's a moving moment. But he wrote it. I mean, you know, and he's watching us go through our paces and he's emotionally involved and I have scenes to do where I'm sometimes asked to improvise a bunch of stuff and I'll say, "Geez, Jack, I'm not really sure where to go," and he'll do a version of it.
And we collaborate on every aspect and we have directors who know that that's going to happen. We're incredibly fortunate. And when Eddie says this show is Jack, it's true that we're collaborating with a network and a studio that have allowed Jack and his writers to continue to set the bar higher. Chances are taken, really guys.
And journalists who are listening to this. It's not just bullshit. Chances are taken. They're not resting on their laurels. The most successful show in their history, it would be easy for them for them to say, "Look, come on. You guys, you guys got great ratings in Season 1 and let's repeat what we've got." That's not what they're asking them to do. It's - the fact that they're letting Jack go as much as they are and he pushes us to take chances and let us - to give us the room and the care, the nurturing environment where we can fall flat on our faces, both in comedy and in drama.
We're able to - we have the right to fail with Jack in the room. And I know his writers feel the same way. So it's an extraordinary, lucky, happy family and I think, after all these years, maybe longer than any of - because I'm the oldest guy here...EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
Is that - shut up - so that's - I know how rare it is and I know that that transmits to the audience. The magic in a bottle. You can't manufacture that kind of love and collaboration. It goes across - people all over the place. When we go to conventions and we meet friends at Comic-Con or on the street when they're coming up to us and they say, You guys look like you're having so much fun." And the answer is yes, we are.JACK KENNY:
And can I answer your question - and obviously I am incredibly moved and touched by these people who I love saying such nice things about me, but I want to - in answer to your question, we get to - I get to, the writing staff gets to, push these actors to these limits, these incredibly high stakes, emotional limits where, you know, every single one of these cast members has made me cry numerous times and made me laugh out loud numerous times watching them.
And the way - the reason we get to push them so far is because they're so God damn good. They're just good. You can give them comedy. You can give them drama. You can give them pathos, action. They just jump into everything feet first and that's also incredibly rare
You just don't see that. I don't - you know, when I can run into the set and say to any one of them, "Hey, what about it you turn around and did this and that and then threw that over there and then said this," it's always, like, "Yes, sure. That'd be great." And we do it. And you can't say - a lot of actors balk and they're afraid and they don't take that step and they go, "I don't know."
These guys, they dive in, feet first, every time. And it's always been - it's so exciting and fun to be on the set with them. We have a crew that keeps up beautifully, directors - Chris Fisher, Mark Winemaker, these people that make the show happen every week - Franco De Cotiis who hands us these magnificent sets and props. And it just gets everybody excited.
And when you're surrounded by that much devotion and excitement, it makes you want to reach further and strive harder. The writers do. The actors do. Everybody does. So yes, we push them. They push themselves. They push us. We all - we're all pushing each other into these great new areas. And I think that's why we're having such a great time.SCIFI VISION:
I wanted to ask - this is for all of you - when did you realize that your show was a hit? Was it a certain moment? Do you remember what you were doing then?ALLISON SCAGLIOTTI:
: We got some emails from Syfy that our numbers (unintelligible).SAUL RUBINEK:
You know, we don't know. We're - we were shooting blind. I mean, we knew we were having fun. But you don't know whether you've catched - you don't know whether you've caught the (site guys) - you don't know - great shows have been done in the history of television, movies, art, sculpture, painting, you name it - great art, great work has been done and it's been done at the wrong time, the wrong place or the wrong audience and discovered later.
And we hit the ground running at the right time as this show was the - the network rebranded and we were the show that was exemplifying that rebranding because it became less science fiction and more science fantasy and adventure.
They wanted to attract a woman audience. We didn't know if any of that was going to work. Well, it did when we found out that the numbers were not just good for our opening - for our pilot - but they continued to grow and our audience has continued to grow.
So we came back to the second season knowing, you know, that as I said a minute ago, we could've rested on our laurels, but Jack and the network and the studio said continue to take chances and it was a wonderful thing for us to...JACK KENNY:
You know what I found was revelatory moment for me, I - when I saw the pilot I thought, okay, this could be a huge - this is Indiana Jones
for TV and Moonlighting and X-Files
all rolled into one. But you never know. I mean, there're a lot of things you look at and you go, "This is great but are the stars going to line up," the network gets behind it. Is it the right time slot? Is it the right time in history?
I think the first time I thought, oh my God. Wow, it was the screening of an episode at Comic-Con our first season. We'd only been on the air a short time. We got good numbers but numbers never - the time for numbers to mean anything to writers and actors and crew is, "Oh, we had good numbers." What does that mean? High numbers - shows have been canceled with good numbers.
Shows have stayed on the air with bad numbers. So I don't know what that necessarily means. But when we sat there in that screening - and it was not the big room yet. We were in a medium sized room. And the audience just went nuts, they just went nuts for the show. And I thought, okay, this is a hit. This is a hit because these are the people that will tell you if they hate it.
I mean, they will walk out. They don't ca- you know, this is - Comic-Con, yes, they're fans but they're a tough audience. And when it - when they went nuts for the show and then we had this really kind of raucous fun panel, I thought, okay, this is - I think we're on a good ride here. I think we're on a ride for a while.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
I kind of knew...SAUL RUBINEK:
When I got cast.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
...when I was putting a dollar in this girl's G string and she looked down from the stage and said to me, "Hey, you're that guy from Warehouse 13
," and that's when I knew.JACK KENNY:
But then the next thing she said was, "A dollar? A dollar?"EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
I gave her a bunch of dollars.SCIFI VISION:
(Laughs) All right, and I also was curious, obviously on the call you've talked a lot about your favorite artifacts and what kind of artifacts you'd like to see and all that. But can you talk about kind of where your ideas come from? I mean, does everybody throw them out? Or is it something that each writer decides? I mean, how does that happen on the show?JACK KENNY:
The artifacts tend to follow stories. I mean, if the artifacts is - if we want to do a story about somebody effecting the weather, then we look for something that would be fun that isn't necessarily a one-to-one ratio. In other words, we're not going to look for somebody's weather vane or somebody's, you know, or - like for instance, in that episode, it was a pipe that belonged to a guy who recorded the first tornado.
So, you know, we said we're going to do something about tornados, you know, I'll get on Wikipedia - tornados. And, okay, what - who saw the first one? How did that go? What was his name? What was his life like? What did he do?
And then we figure out how that artifact, whatever it could be, would be becoming viewed by whatever happened to him the first time he saw the first tornado. So we just kind of do that - we do that all over the place. You know, the first episode was about us having to find some way to turn back time, which is, you know, a common SciFi trope.
So what - the first thing that occurred to me was the 24 hour dateline. What is a - where is a place where people often say, "I don't understand how that works. How does it become another day when you cross a line? You know, how does that," - it's mysterious and wherever there's mystery, there's good fodder for an artifact. So, you know, you just - I think the artifacts really, really follow the story in a big way. And we try to have fun with them and thank God for Wikipedia.QUESTION:
Now that the show's had its season expanded from I guess 13 episodes to 20 episodes, how does that change the rhythm of the storytelling? And I guess this must be a Jack question. And Eddie, do you think that Steve and Pete are going to bond over their mommy issues? And do you think we've seen the last of Pete's issues with his mom?JACK KENNY:
Go ahead, Eddie. You do that one first.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
I'll go first so you can answer Jack. Yes, I mean, look, the more that Pete and Steve bond, I think the better it is. I think it's such a great character. And the two of them together, the relationship between this, you know, alpha hetero guy and Steve being gay, it's just a great dynamic.
Will they bond over mom issues? I - you know, I hope so. I - that would mean Kate would have to come back and that would make I think everybody here happy. So I hope so.JACK KENNY:
Well, you know, the thing about Pete and Steve, it is a good - the notion for Steve being a gay character came from the network initially which we jumped on. We had actually kicked it around a little bit in the room and we thought, "Well, let's not try to define this guy yet. Let's see who he is and how he operates."
And the network said, "Well, what if he was gay?" And we're like, "Oh, yes, cool. We thought about that but if you guys are cool with that, we'd love that." And then my kind of approach to it was I want Pete to be the absolute coolest straight guy ever, a straight guy who has not only no problem with somebody being gay, but gets to the point of like, oh, finally, somebody to appreciate all of this going on here. You know, somebody who can - so Pete - and we try to ring that bell not too often because it's not - you know, we don't do any - we don't do a lot of that kind of stuff in any regard on the show.
I mean, there's an equal amount of it on both sides. But it's really about people relating to people as human beings as opposed to their labels. But I did feel like it would be cool for Pete to be the coolest straight guy ever and I'm sure that (brightbart.com) is just going to go wild with that statement which is fine with me.
And then to answer your first question, you know, we knew we were doing 20, thank God, early on. I was told, I think, in the fall that it was going to 20 and that they we're going to do two sets of ten and the way that changes story breaking is it's a good way actually.
We get to do a ten episode art rather than a 13 episode art which is always a little bit harder, stretching it out over 13. I'm sad that we lost our Christmas episodes because it's two sets of ten as opposed to a set of 12 and a Christmas. But we basically arced out two seasons. One heavily affected by the other and the whole arc of all 20 kind of having a theme of mortality and dealing with mortality and our own mortality.
And then able to - we were able to arc out the evil arc, you know, already having created something in the first ten in a really nice cool way that culminates in a hugely important (method) session finale a week from tomorrow - or a week from tonight, but then also starts another boulder rolling down a hill for the second ten in several different ways - our characters dealing with the aftermath of that evil. Our characters dealing with what new thing has happened in Episode 411 that sparks the new arc for the second ten.
So I'd say, on the whole, it allowed us to do shorter more concise, more fun art because, you know, when you don't have to take up a lot of time, you get to really explore the arc every week and to do two big season arcs rather than just one.QUESTION:
We saw the Claudia and Steve issue seemed to be resolved. Should we, at this point, assume that that whole thing if over or is there more to that that's going to be coming up?
: ...resolved. Successfully disconnecting Steve from the metronome completely exonerates us from Claudia getting - feeling pain every time Steve gets hurt which keeps everything a little bit clearer and less complicated. But I think that experience (unintelligible) through that only deepens the bond and made the friendship more colorful.
I certainly enjoyed the peek we got into, Steve's past and why he had issues with his mom but then seeing him resolve them, like the mature adult he is. It was a wonderful episode to shoot and I really enjoyed working with (Laurie on it) but we'll - even though that's over, you will see no shortage of Claudia and Steve hijinks. No pun intended.SCIFI VISION:
I'm kind of guessing since the [first half of the season is going to be over] that we're not going to get anything about Halloween either. But what are you guys doing for Halloween?EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
Working. I mean...JACK KENNY:
Eddie, you'll be trick-or-treating on Skype with your kids, right?EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
Yes. Yes. You know, this is - this'll be the second Halloween in a row that I've missed with the boys. Last year I was in Australia. We were supposed to fly back the day before and - when Qantas Airlines went on strike, so I missed Halloween. And so, you know, they're going to dress up and we're going to do Skype and thank God for Skype, because I'll get to see them on Halloween. But they're not - up here in Canada, they're not real - it is? It's real important?ALLISON SCAGLIOTTI:
This is my first Halloween not in the States so I don't know what I'm going to do. I may take advantage of my red hair and dress up as David Bowie and just stare at people.SCIFI VISION:
All right, and I have one question that's from a fan. It's kind of a strange question, but it is unique. Who came up with Pete's purple shoes? Where did that come from?EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
Oh, that was me.SCIFI VISION:
That was you? That's what I told her it probably was (laughs).JACK KENNY:
What purple shoes?EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
You what?EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
My purple Vans.JACK KENNY:
Oh, I never saw - that's how involved I am. I don't notice shoes.EDDIE McCLINTOCK:
Yes, so...I know shoes are top of your list of priorities, Jack, so.QUESTION:
I'm just curious, how far out do you have the show mapped? Do you just go season by season or do you have ideas where you want to go for Season 5?JACK KENNY:
You know, we always have - we have a bunch of episodes - there're always a bunch of ideas up on the board, on cards on the board, for either a story or it might be a fun artifact, although like I said, we don't usually start with artifacts - that we keep in backlog, like, "Oh, that might be fine. Let's - that doesn't fit in this season but let's back pocket that or back burner it for later."
There're always a few of those, but in terms of the arcs, we kind of let - I mean, you know, I knew how this season was going to start. I knew how we'd bring the warehouse back from total destruction. And, you know, we kind of knew those sort of things, but season to season, not a lot. We kind of let things unfold in the writers - we have a very long preproduction.
This year was - this year was longer than usual but usually it's between 12 and 14 weeks that we sit around in a room, kick around stories and break out the arc of the whole season. So we do have plenty of time at the beginning of the year.QUESTION:
...Do you guys have a plan for how to end the show if that comes up?JACK KENNY:
I do. I mean, I kind of have an idea of how the series will end. Absolutely. I mean, it's - you're always thinking about those things. In every series I've ever done I've had an idea of what that last episode would be. So it's - yes, it's always in your head but who knows where it'll be then and where the series will be. It could end any number of ways. I just hope we get to end it because, you know, sometimes series don't get to end. They just - they're - they don't know they're being canceled or whatever. And I just - and it's true with any series. I'm not - there's no insight to this series in particular in that regard. I just always would prefer to end it on something exciting and fun.