Eddie McClintock & Saul Rubinek: The Boys of the Warehouse

Eddie McClintock is known for his humor on Syfy's Warehouse 13, but he has been in the business for awhile and was first a wrestler and a production assistant before he became an actor. He has starred in the television series Holding the Baby and Stark Raving Mad. He has worked on various other series, such as House, Desperate Housewives, and Bones, and appeared in films such as The Sweetest Thing and Full Frontal.

Saul Rubinek started his career early as a child actor in theater and radio in Canada. He has a long accomplished resume in acting spanning over forty years. He has worked on television in series such as Frasier, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Stargate SG-1, with even a small role on the popular series Lost. He has appeared in movies such as Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood, True Romance, and The Family Man. Rubinek has also served as director on a few movies, including Jerry and Tom, which he also produced and acted in.

On Warehouse 13 Eddie McClintock plays Pete Lattimer, who once worked for the secret service, who now works at the top-secret warehouse finding and returning strange artifacts. Saul Rubinek plays Artie Nielson, the caretaker of the warehouse, and Pete's boss.

The two sat down with the digital media to discuss Warehouse 13 and its second season finale, airing tonight at 9/8 central on Syfy.

Question > It seems like there is a lot of fun and joking that goes on in the set between everybody. Does anybody ever pull pranks or do anything to cause trouble and laughter? And can you talk about that?

Eddie McClintock > I’ll let you answer that Saul.

Saul Rubinek > Yes because he’s guilty as charged. We all like each other which is a relief since we’ve signed a long term contract because God, it could have been hell. But we all really like each other. We’ve become a family which is kind of cliché for shows. That are series - that are for months and months together.

But, we’re really not doing a clear comedy or a clear drama. We are walking a tight rope. And between the two, as a result we do joke around a lot. And some of what we do to joke around ends up on the screen every week. And it’s a balancing act, some times we learn from our mistakes that some times we go too far in one direction or another.

But we have a good time. Jack Kenny who is our wonderful show runner and head writer of the series comes out of a situation comedy series. And end drama as well, not with a huge experience and in fact with no experience before this on science fiction or fantasy adventure for that matter. But what he has been able to do is provide a, kind of a family feeling and - for the show.

And that’s what he writes towards. And he is luckily there a lot which mean - and he’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He was an actor before he was a writer. And he encourages us to make light of stuff when everything gets a little bit too tense or heavy, right?

Eddie McClintock > Yes. I think what we try and do is, you know, you’ve got to try and have a good time when you’re working 15 hours a day for five days a week. And, I think it really sets the tone for the feeling of what’s going on, on the set in general. I mean we know that we’ve got to get our work done. And I think we get our work done but we definitely try and keep it light and keep things from getting too tense on set.

Just because the, you know, by proxy the show, it can be tense because you’re under a lot of pressure to get things done. And I think it helps for when guest stars - guest casts come and they realize that it’s nice and easy on the set. And they can relax and be themselves and have fun.

Saul Rubinek > We’ve heard a lot of comments. We’ve been to Comic Con, we were just at Dragon Con in Atlanta, and Comic Con was in San Diego. We’ve been interviewed a lot. And the thing that - certainly coming from the fans is, do you guys have as much fun on the set as it looks like you’re having? And we’re really glad that that comes across. Yes, it’s a hard thing to manufacture week after week after week.

But we certainly have a good time. And the shows that I like on television you get that feeling from the people doing it.

Question > I talked you both before the show started. And kind of in the middle there at Comic Con and I just wonder, now that it’s over and we kind of know all of the things you guys were alluding to I guess. But how do you feel about the season now that it is done, or about to be done here.

Eddie McClintock > Well I, God I am really proud of it. I am really proud of, this weeks show I just thought was fantastic. There were some - some moments where Pete was kind of cracking jokes and stuff during the show. And they didn’t end up in the edit and I was okay with that. You know, because I thought that totally the show just really worked.

And I loved the fact that the people who are making the show know when Pete should be funny and when he shouldn’t be funny. I mean for me, I am such a laugh whore that I will always go for the joke. Thank God that there is somebody there that will go, you know what? We don’t need it here. And it speaks a lot about the people behind the camera that are making the show.

It shows how smart they are. And I think for a second season, you know, my - it’s my first second season after thirteen, fourteen years as an actor. And I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t be more proud. Syfy has turned out to be an incredibly classy operation. I am out here in London right now and Syfy UK and Syfy France has again, shown themselves to be incredibly well put together.

And I am proud of my network and proud of my show.

Saul Rubinek > It’s a really good second season. The writers had quite an interesting and daunting task after creating a show that turned out to be the most successful series audience wise in the history of the network. And now you have to follow it up. And one of the things that they had created which was very smart in the first season was to have an arch with a nemesis which was played by Roger Rees.

A brilliant actor and great multidimensional character and that provided a kind of a back bone to the show. That they continued this year with a very imaginative idea of cast Jaime Murray as H2 House. And my wife for example who does not want to know what happens. Does not want to, is intrigued. And my friends who are watching the show who also have asked me not to give away stuff.

They want to know how it ends. There is a lot of controversy about whether this is an evil character or not and how it worked out and why Artie is against her and whether that was. All of that stuff that they created at the beginning of their writing session last fall when they were mapping the show out has brought a lot of fruit.

And one of the things that I really like is that they’ve continued to explore the history of the place because one of the things I am - most enjoy about the show is the mythology that they’ve created about the warehouse. So that you go to Syfy.com and you can look up - with a little bit of search you can find out something about the history of what the other twelve warehouses - where the other twelve warehouses were.

And at what time period and the stories themselves have dealt with that mythology in one way or another. So while we’re still artifact hunting and there’s adventures to be had simply by the fun of an artifact can do. At the same time they’ve created an overriding arch for each season so far. That has given the show a little bit more depth than it might otherwise have had. And I am really proud of that.

I am really proud that they’ve done that. They’ve kept the characters and the relationships very close to their hearts. So that we all care about each other, the stakes get higher and higher for us. And in all good series you will see I think the common - most good series you will see a common denominator like that.

That the characters care - if the characters don’t care about each other the audience won’t. And there’s a continuing depth to the relationship and the stakes for the characters. So they’re working on a lot of levels as writers. And the writers, you know, all come to see their episodes filmed to Toronto from Los Angeles.

And they really love doing the show. That’s a very happy group of people. And as Eddie was saying, it’s unusual in anyone’s career that you’re the number one show of a network. And it is a wonderful thing to see how NBC Universal executives who come and visit us who become our friends. And the people who are responsible for the show, and how Syfy has supported it.

I certainly in a very long career have never been a part of anything that has been - where I’ve been one of the stars of the show. I mean years ago I was a recurring character on Frasier. An example of one of the most successful shows in history but it wasn’t my show the way this is with our group. So I am really thrilled with it. I couldn’t be happier.

Question > Now that we’re two seasons in, is there still an artifact you guys are waiting to play with?

Saul Rubinek > We’ve been asked this question a lot. About what our favorite artifacts are, we’ve gone to panels and is there an artifact that you would really like to see? And we make jokes, I think, somebody - was it my son I think who came up with the idea? Says an artifact that would be incredible - that would really frustrate you almost to the point of death.

And I said, "What would that be?" And he said, "The last straw." And...

Eddie McClintock > And then you can have the scene where Pete says, "Well that’s not the last straw that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back."

Saul Rubinek > Oh right. Don’t touch that one. We have fun. The writers do also throw away really funny things in episode where - don’t touch that, that’s the original can of worms. Don’t open that. There is little jokes throughout the thing about artifacts and what they can do. But for the most part what they’re - what I like is that the artifacts have to do with actual historical truths and fact.

So there are extrapolations and imaginative extrapolations about what actually existed in history. That these artifacts are imbued with the power because of the context within which they were created. They - a part of the Titanic or toequmada chain. So there is a way - I love that. I love that about this show. So there are things that we have fun with, artifact wise. But the truth is the most fun for us is we get a script about ten days before maybe - yes, about ten days before we go into shooting it.

And we have a reading of the script and because of our busy schedule it’s very often the first chance we’ve had to read it. And it’s a page tuner for us, you know? It’s really fun to get surprised about what the artifacts are going to be and what the adventures are going to be.

Question > In the last episode we almost saw Claudia take Ms. Frederic’s place. Well there was a possibility. How do you guys think she would do as caretaker?

Eddie McClintock > I think she’d have the Sex Pistols blasting over the intercom and the warehouse. And we would all have to get matching pink hair strips which I am not sure I would go for.

Saul Rubinek >
I think it’s really cool. It’s a really interesting idea that there is a caretaker. And it was certainly a surprise to CCH Pounder, when the script came up because it wasn’t part of the back story. It was something that the writers had concocted as part of the arch in the show. That when Warehouse 2 woke up it would look for its caretaker and it would be gone.

And all of this information would get downloaded. I know it was an interesting concept that the caretakers job is in a way to be a giant database, you know? I mean that’s kind of what they were saying is that the caretaker knows everything that is in the warehouse. I mean Artie certainly doesn’t. He’s got a computer. He knows some of the things that are in the warehouse. But how would you know these things have been collecting for 3000 years?

So each warehouse has its own receptacle in the mind of a certain person. I like the idea. Claudia for some reason they chose - it was obvious to the regions that - I guess, that Claudia would be the right person for that. Not Myka, not Pete, not Artie, not anyone else. That she was the right person to be that.

Eddie McClintock > Kind of was in her contract for season three.

Saul Rubinek > Oh well that would have done it then.

Question > Warehouse 13, it’s such an effects based show. Do you guys have to do a lot of green screen work and do you find that challenging?

Saul Rubinek > We call it schmacting as in acting schmacting. That’s our phrase for it. We call it schmacting. We’ve got to do some schmacting. Early morning schmacting. Schmacting early in the morning. There is a fair amount of green screen. Not as much as there was on this last episode which was - 80% of it was shot in the studio.

That was all green...

Eddie McClintock > And that can be pretty scary. Especially when there is so much schmacting going on. You just have to go, God I hope that this doesn’t look like, a purple pterodactyl. You just have to trust that these effects guys will not make you look like a fool. You don’t want to look like you’re on the original Land of the Lost, you know?

And playing with a rubber chicken. But, watching this week’s show I think for me this week’s show was kind of the real acid test for our effects guys, for our visual effects guys. And I thought they did an amazing job. I was really happy with the way things turned out. The interior of Warehouse 2, really fantastic. The medusa was great. And I was really pleased.

So it can be difficult to - when it’s that heavily laden with artifacts or with effects. But normally it’s not too bad. It may seem like a heavily, visually effected show but it’s generally - not too bad.

Saul Rubinek > No we don’t have to do too much of it. Sometimes it’s laden in the background to create depth. And I mean the show like we did where it was that heavy and the entire set was green screen is very rare for our show. Bits and pieces of the warehouse are created that way. The exterior of the warehouse we have, some of it is physically there.

And obviously some of it is not. So that is a normal thing. But, it doesn’t feel that way. I mean I have done - obviously more shows that are not like that in my career. And it doesn’t feel like that. It doesn’t feel like we’re going on to green screen, oh my God another green screen day. It’s in smaller proportions. And they’re trying to be effective with it. Some of the most effecting stuff that we do is just, you know, really good scenes between two or three people without any effects whatsoever.

And they are good at mixing it up. They’re smart enough to know that we’re not going to compete with $200 million movies. The audience is very sophisticated right now. People who are blogging and writing about the show can be very pick about special effects because of how much money is being spent on special effects on big screen stuff.

So it would be crazy for a television show, whether network or cable, to try to compete with it. It’s in the right doses, you know? Anymore and you’d start to [feel] cheated I think.

Question > What are your guys’ plans for the break?

Eddie McClintock > Right now I am in London. I’ve been in London and over in Paris doing press for the release of season two in the UK and in France. And, I am just going to spend some time with my sons. And hopefully do a couple - I just did a guest spot on a new NBC Universal show called Facing Kate with Sarah Shahi.

And yes, Saul and I are also trying to - we’re kind of working on a movie that Saul is going to write and direct. Or he co-wrote and he is going to hopefully direct. And so that’s kind of on the back burners for us.

Saul Rubinek > Yes. We’re trying to work on putting that together. That’s basically a low budget independent film that we’d like to do within the next year or so. So I finished writing it just this summer. And so we’re working on that. But I have a number of other projects that I’d written or co-wrote or producing because I’ve directed four features now.

And I work with my partner, my wife (Eleanor Reed). And we have a number of projects that we’ve developed and they are in different stages in development. So I do spend a portion of my off time working on those projects and trying to bring them to permission along with them. You know, doing other projects and do movies.

I did two or three movies in my off season last year. And there are a couple of things heating up now too. So I try and stay busy but my kids are older than Eddie’s. So it’s not as intensive as it is when they’re - when, you know, his are under five. And my daughter is in college, in her second year of college. And my son is in his second year of high school.

And so it’s not as intense with children and I have a little bit more time to my own projects that way.


Eddie McClintock > I designed these t-shirts. I was an art major in college and continue to work on my art. And I designed these t-shirts for the crew this year.

Saul Rubinek > Oh they’re beautiful.

Eddie McClintock > And I have decided to do a series of t-shirts for NBC Universal for Warehouse 13. And so I’ve been working on those designs and really having a good time trying to figure out what the people are going to like. And I am going to do a steam punk version. And I think there will be about four or five different versions of the shirt. So I have been kind of needling around with that.

And hopefully within the next couple of weeks people will be able to go to the - go to the Syfy site or go to www.EddieMcClintock.com and check them out. See how I plugged that in there?

Saul Rubinek > You do, very clever.

Eddie McClintock > Thank you.

Question > There is a number of things that I really like about your show. But one of the things that intrigues me right now is sort of - I think it is guest stars really are playing such an important part in so many different story lines. And, normally what I would do and I am sure a lot of you do it too. When you see a guest star you sort of put a clock on them because you figure, you know, they’re only going to be around for so long. They’re only going to have so much of an impact.

But obviously your show, you already - (Allison) was a guest star, you made her a cast member. So I guess we never know with your show. I am wondering, what did you like about working with Paula and Jaime and Lindsay and what can you tell us about their involvement in the next season?

Saul Rubinek > It’s collected - wonderful actors. And as the show is getting good reviews from you guys and getting such a large audience becomes easier for the network the studio to attract top level guest stars because they want to be on the show. And that’s just the way the world, that’s the way it is for a successful show and it’s great for us. And not only that, as you were saying you’re not really sure whether somebody is going to be there for a while or just for one show.

We are collecting people that have something to do with the warehouse that are - I guess we’re getting our own little extended rep company of actors. And they have been wonderful. In the Christmas show, Judd Hirsch for example plays Artie’s dad. And so there - you can see that there is a possibility for a life for the characters. Certainly there is a love interest between, you know, some kind of whom romance going on between (Lindsay’s) character and Artie.

And you can see - and she’s the doctor for the regions who find out. And it - I love the fact that there’s an extended group of people of wonderful actors that, you know, may take a recurring place in the show. But we’re not really sure, are we Eddie? Whose is...

Eddie McClintock > No.

Saul Rubinek > Coming back or who not, you know?

Eddie McClintock > Yes. It’s always nice to see them back because you make friends with them. And I mean when I met Jaime Murray she walked on the set and we shook hands and met. And the fifteen minutes later we were making out. So it’s like, okay odd. But luckily, Jaime’s a great lady and very professional and a great actress. So it’s good to have them.

Same can be said for Paula Garces, you know?

Saul Rubinek > And there are nice surprises...in the people that show up. You know, we don’t know.

Eddie McClintock > Yes, yes. And it’s always good that they can walk and talk. For instance the young guy Cody Rhodes who came from the WWE. I thought he did an amazing job, you know, he’s...

Saul Rubinek > It’s his first acting job.

Eddie McClintock > Yes. When the camera gets in front of your face and it turns around and they go, okay it is your turn. It’s your shot, it’s your close up. You know the pucker factor can go way, way up. It’s a lot of pressure. And the camera is looking right at you. It’s a giant eyeball and it’s always looking to see if you’re lying. And so to have guest casts come on and do so confident jobs it’s good for us and good for them.

Saul Rubinek > Yes there’s nice surprises. Roberta Maxwell came on the show last year as an agent who worked in Warehouse 13, 35 years ago or 40 years ago. And it was somebody - it was a Canadian actress that I hadn’t seen since I was 19, 20 years old when she was a member of the company at Stratford Ontario. And it was wonderful to see her and we didn’t expect - and suddenly she shows up again in a very moving episode that was on a couple weeks ago.

That took place in the 60’s and she came back, we didn’t know that she was going to. And it’s always nice so, you know, by collecting wonderful actors it gives impetus to the writers to say, is there a way to bring that person back because great guest stars bring something that’s indefinable to the writing. It happens with all really good actors. It’s one thing to have a wonderful script and the opportunity as a spring board.

But then when these actors come like what happened with Judd Hirsch or what happened with Lindsay Wagner. All of these people, they’ve brought them to life in a way that’s unexpected. And so - then it reciprocates by having the writers again go wow, we have to do something more with them. And I think you guys are the beneficiary of that.

It’s not a predictable show. We don’t know. I guess that’s what is really cool about it. You said it in your question, you don’t know. Are these guys going to stay around? Is this a regular? Is this going to become a regular character? We don’t know. If you take a look at an episode back when there was a super hero episode or you take a look at the episode that took place, you know, in Russia.

Where Artie is kidnapped, I mean there - it could be - like they’re episodes from two completely different series. The tone, the way they’re shot, the way the script is written. Yes they have in common the fact that we’re going after an artifact but they have kept this show, I think they’ve kept our audience on their toes. You don’t really know what to expect from this show from week to week.

We don’t as actors. I don’t know how actors do it who are on - even good procedurals where it’s one thing to watch them, it’s another thing to do them. You’re making a living. It’s great. You’re - it’s always good to be a working actor. But, you know, it could get a little tiring saying the same lines week after week in a procedural. We are working...

Eddie McClintock >Book them Danno.

Saul Rubinek > Book - yes but, we don’t know what we’re going to do from week to week. It’s completely different we have an opportunity to play with the genres in a way. They’re different it’s like doing different series every week sometimes, you know?

Eddie McClintock > People online are upset because we killed (Vulda). But what people need to realize and I think some people do. It’s like you’re never really dead in sci-fi. You know, there is always...

Saul Rubinek > Anything can happen.

Eddie McClintock > Some artifact that can - or some crazy thing that can bring you back to life. So, you’re never dead until you are dead.

Question > I have one question for each of you. Saul it looks like Artie was right all along about HG. And it looks like we’re finally going to get see the rest of the MacPherson plot line reveal itself. When we spoke to CCH Pounder she is a kid that the MacPherson plot line will likely continue into the third season of Warehouse 13. And since we’re just starting to see the Egyptian roots of the warehouse in these two episode of this season, what can you tell us about the Egyptians symbology behind the regions with the eye of horrors and the MacPherson plot line? And how will Artie play a role in all of this?

Saul Rubinek > Well I can’t tell you too much without spoiling stuff. What I can tell, you know, it’s hard to - I don’t want to give away anything. But I may - it looks like Artie is right but maybe not. There are always going to be surprises. I can give that away. So that whatever you expect is going to happen, you will find that there is a twist on it.

But as far as far as the Egyptian symbology and all of that, they do a lot research. They have fun doing research. It’s almost like they have a - it’s hilarious. It’s like their own dorm over there, the writers, and their own study group. And they...

Eddie McClintock > Nerds.

Saul Rubinek > And they have - they really go into it. And they really get off on it, you know? I mean I remember at one point I heard that Artie goes into the old - what is called? The old relics room where he is trying to match the photograph of the kid in front of the symbols with scrolls. And my son (Sam) was working as an intern in the art department and helping out making stuff this summer.

And he told me that the guy who is actually creating the ancient scroll and was doing everything vertically. And the designer came in and said - and he had been working on it for an entire day or two. Intricately creating these symbols based on real symbols. And the designer said it’s all beautiful except they have to be horizontal. And he just looked at him. And to save themselves they had to go, well is there any way that maybe it could be interesting - they went to the director. What if I went to the director and said, maybe Artie has to turn it because it’s not what he expects. And then the direction designer said, yes. You can tell him that - he’s Italian, you can suggest that but you can not tell him because you made a mistake.

...So they went to the director and they went, do you think it might be interesting that it’s vertical and it’s kind - Artie has to turn the picture around? And he went, oh yes sure that’s a good idea. Saving him, two whole days of work. So they do spend a lot of time on these symbols. And on all of the stuff that they do.

They art department is certainly one of the best in - after 35 years of working on this - on television and film. I’ve never seen a more meticulous and a more dedicated and more imaginative group of people. They kind of away from us, because we get to see the results on set. But because my son was interning in the department and I went to visit him quite often I could see.

And he told me stories about what they did and the kind of research that they do. And I am so impressed. I think it is the secret weapon of our show, is production design and the art department and the props. It’s a prop show and I think it’s the stuff that’s talked about least in all of the stuff that I have read. The writing the acting, the premise of the show, guest stars. All of that stuff is talked about a lot; even the music has been honored with an Emmy nomination. And all of that stuff is wonderful and deserves all of its accolades.

But I have to tell you that for me I really believe that key - major key to the success of this show is the dedication and brilliance of the production design in the art department.

Eddie McClintock > And the accounting department.

Saul Rubinek > Yes and the accounting department, otherwise this would not...

Eddie McClintock > Want to be best accounting departments in the business.

Saul Rubinek > Enough said.

Question > In season one Pete and Myka were still getting their sea legs and being agents as well being partners. In this season the two characters have more of like a strong sibling like bond. And might I add that I am so glad that the writers didn’t take you guys down like a romantic route with each other. But what do you think is the key to Pete and Myka’s survival as warehouse agents?

Eddie McClintock > Yes. I mean I think, I am glad the writers didn’t go down that path as well. And I don’t think that - I mean Joanne and I would have definitely lobbied against that if they had thought that that would be a way to go because I think it’s always been the thought that as soon as the main actors get together the show is basically over.

The audience wants to see the two actors get together. But I think once they do get together then they move on to the next show where the two leads are not together. So I am glad that they didn’t go down that road. What will it take to keep them, you know, that their friendship is just going to continue to grow.

And so just like my relationship with Joanne continues to develop and grow, their relationship will do the same as long as they continue to have respect for one another. And their job, I think there is a chance that they can be around the warehouse for a while. And I am not sure exactly what is going to happen.

In last weeks episode, Pete and Myka get the - they get shot by the - we don’t know what that was. So like Saul said, a lot of times we don’t know what’s coming out in the script before it comes out. So they kind of left it open in this two parter. So I am not sure exactly what is going to happen...

Saul Rubinek > That would be very surprising I think. I think it will be interesting next week.

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