By Jamie Ruby
Monday, July 11, at 9pm ET/PT, marks the return of Syfy's most successful series, Warehouse 13
. Season three will continue where last season left off with Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) having left the Warehouse team. The new character of Steve Jinks, played by Aaron Ashmore, a young ATF agent and human lie detector, will join the team and become Pete Lattimer's (Eddie McClintock) new partner.
Aaron Ashmore, along with series executive producer Jack Kenny (who SciFi Vision exclusively interviewed previously
) sat down to discuss Jinks and the new season.
Syfy Conference CallWarehouse 13
Jack Kenny and Aaron Ashmore
June 29, 2011
3:00 pm CTQUESTION:
I wanted to ask Jack how the show changed from the very beginning and why do you think it's been so successful?JACK KENNY:
It's changed in that we've -- like any show, at least that I've worked on -- the actors start to tell you a lot about the characters. And so we start to write more in the direction of the actors playing the parts and their strengths and backgrounds and things.
So that sort of makes them - it enriches the characters, makes them more real to us and to them, and allows them a certain ownership of the characters so that they can actually really invest themselves.
We've also expanded quite a bit the mythology of The Warehouse -- its history, its background, how it all works. We added Claudia, as you know, in the first season to broaden out the family. H.G. Wells last year, both good and bad -- I mean the bad guy. And she's fantastic.
And this year we've added Aaron Ashmore as Steve Jinks. Just sort of increasing our family and I use that word because that, I think, is one of the reasons the show is successful, aside from the incredible talent of everybody who participates -- the writing staff, the cast, the crew. Syfy's getting behind it so strongly.
I feel like because it's a show about a family -- I mean a made family -- I think it's more relatable to everybody. Everybody can sort of relate to that brother-sister-parent-child relationship one way or another. And I think that's what we have with this show -- a father, you know, a brother and a sister, a younger sister, and now a younger brother, and that crazy aunt who shows up once in a while.
And I feel like it's something that everybody can relate to in dynamic-wise. So I think they're willing to get on the ride with us and take that ride all the way to the end. I think they like hanging out with this family.QUESTION:
Aaron, what was it like for you to step into a show that had already been established and had such a fan base behind it?AARON ASHMORE:
Well, it's exciting in a lot of ways and also intimidating. Having watched - catching up on a bunch of episodes before I actually jumped in and just seeing how well all these actors worked together and how well the show was put together, that's exciting. But it's also like, "Oh boy, now it's my, you know, I got to jump in here and catch up.
So it's exciting but also, that first couple days it's a little intimidating until you get up to speed and figure out how you're going to fit into the new family.QUESTION:
Aaron, you haven't done as many episodes yet, but do either of you have a favorite artifact from what you've managed to play with in this time that you wish you had for yourself?JACK KENNY:
Well I had the advantage of being able to take anything I want. No, I actually often do try to get, if they make a duplicate of an artifact I try to get it for the writer of the episode if that's possible, just as a souvenir.
I mean, honestly, my favorite one from the first season was Rheticus' compass. And I think it's just because - not because of what the artifact does but because of the beauty of the construction of it. I they spent many thousands of dollars building this authentic-looking antique, you know, 500-year-old compass, and they used brass and copper and real compass material there.
It's a thing of beauty. And, it's really a work of art that I would display on a pedestal because it's so stunning. And as they do approach all of the things they build with that kind of love and care and that's the most beautiful.
I think if I had to have one I'd want the Phoenix because what could be more handy than living through fire? But, yes, Aaron -- Aaron's done actually a - quite a few of them. He's been in 11 episodes so far.AARON ASHMORE:
Yes, I mean, I don't want to give away any of the artifacts that I've had a chance to come in contact with over the season because I think everybody should tune in to find out what those are. But I am kind of in love with the Tesla gun.
Jack said it so, you know, there's so much craftsmanship and work put into all these little artifacts and all these toys or whatever that we get to play around with at the Warehouse. And I think a Tesla would be super-handy to just have. And it doesn't hurt anyone - anybody really in a long period - over the long-term.
But you could just use it to get out of situations and stuff. And I think they're so cool instead of just a regular gun, getting this, like awesome kind of space age steam punk sort of gun to play around with, I really enjoy...JACK KENNY:
That's true. When you guys start changing the lines I could just zap you.AARON ASHMORE:
It could come in really handy.JACK KENNY:
Yes, having it on the set. Then no, "Say it as written." Zap. And there you go.AARON ASHMORE:
I bet you we'll behave real quickly.AARON ASHMORE:
Aaron can you talk about how you get into the head of Steve Jinks to understand his ability to detect lying?AARON ASHMORE:
Well I think I thought about it and was maybe overcomplicating it -- this idea of being able to tell when someone's lying. But, talking to Jack and when we kind of got into it, it was a very simple thing of just looking at somebody and being able to tell whether they're lying or not.
I mean I think that the ability is quite simple in the way it works, but the way that it affects the character, I think, makes him very tentative when it comes to people and trusting people. He knows that everybody lies. And I think as human beings we know that anyways but being able to tell exactly when those things are happening, I think makes him put a little bit of a wall up around him.
And I think that that's the real thing that when you're playing - when I'm playing Steve that I had to think about him and be aware of. So I think that that's really the big part of the character that there's these walls up because of his ability to tell when people are lying.QUESTION:
Jack, what's the key to introducing a character like Steve Jinks effectively to enhance the dynamic between the characters and the show itself?JACK KENNY:
Well one of, I mean, the first key is casting -- finding somebody who fits into the family, somebody who just sort of slides right in but yet feels different enough so that you're not repeating a dynamic with anybody.
And that was - that's always very dicey when you have four people, four very different personalities and different dynamics, and we wanted to add somebody who brought a new dynamic to that group. So that - a lot of that is casting. Who do you find?
And when Aaron very happily and beautifully fell into our laps, he seemed perfect to fit that mold. It was like he's more sort of emotionally conservative than Pete. Not as uptight as Myka. Obviously closer in age to Claudia so that there was a possibility of a connection there. And he just brought everything we needed.
Plus he looked a little different than everybody else, and that's always kind of important, too. Because you don't want somebody that looks like one of the other characters because it's hard to tell the people apart.
But and then the next thing is sort of - what I do anyway, I listen to an actor's voice. Aaron and I had brunch the day before he was cast in the job. And I just - I like to hear how they talk, how they approach life, what their rhythms are so I can write to that, rather than try to force them into a mold of the character.
So I think it's really important to listen to the actor and hear what the actor brings what they can - the different rhythms are. My cat is screaming in the background. I'm trying to lock him out of the room.
So there's bringing that actor to the part. And then, just finding the fun ways that the characters can interact. What are the obstacles to their being friends and what - where are the places where they connect.
And really -- I can't think of the word -- making - really making hay out of that. Really digging into the places where they're going to drive each other crazy and dig into the places where they're really going to connect. Because that's, I think, where the real meat and potatoes is of any relationship.QUESTION:
Will we see more cross-over emphasis this season?JACK KENNY:
Yes, Fargo's coming to visit us episode 5 I believe. I'm not sure because the year order tends to be malleable. But I think it's episode 5 where Fargo comes to visit.SCIFI VISION:
Aaron, how did you become involved with the show?AARON ASHMORE:
Well it was kind of a strange process because that - the auditioning didn't kind of happen. I think that Jack and the Warehouse
folks had been kind of looking to cast this part and had looked at bunch of different options and a bunch of different people. And I think it was coming down to the wire and they hadn't found the right person.
And I happened to be up in Toronto and Jack was talking to the casting director, Robin up here and I guess my name came up. And Jack and I went and kind of had brunch and just sat down and talked about the character and talked about the role and the show.
And Jack said by the end of that meeting, Jack said, "You know what? I'm seeing you as this part. You know, I can really see you doing this." And as much as I was hopeful that that was true I was like, "This is way too easy." A lot of the times you have to go through these long casting process auditioning and testing and all this stuff.
So I left that meeting feeling very hopeful that that would be the case. But, also being like, "Ah, it's just too good to be true." And sure enough the next day or two days later I got the call and I was cast as Steve.
So it was a really interesting process and very different, and I wish more could be like that -- the casting process. But it was pretty unique.JACK KENNY:
You have to ask the - Aaron, you have to actually send a portion of your paycheck to Zuckerberg at Facebook because it was because Robin as friends with Aaron on Facebook that she knew he was in town.AARON ASHMORE:
Yes, yes.JACK KENNY:
It was such a bizarre coincidence of events. It was like we've gotten down to the wire, we couldn't find anybody that was fitting in with the part and the cast. We had chemistry reads and it just wasn't - it just didn't feel right. And then Robin spent three days before the table reading and was like, "Well now, you know, now we have to actually hire somebody who's Canadian because we don't have time to immigrate anybody."
And I was actually feeling like, "Well this may not happen. I may have to rewrite it and not have the part in the first episode." I don't know how that would work but it would be really tough to do.
But - and then Robin said, "You know, I'm Facebook friends with Aaron Ashmore and he's perfect for this but I don't know if he's in town. I think he is. Let me check." And because it was a Saturday there was no way to reach agents or anybody.
So she Facebooked him and he was like, "Yes, I'm here visiting my girlfriend." And I'm like, "Oh my God. Well let's have brunch tomorrow." It was Sunday. It was just all so - it was just - it was fate reaching in and saying this is the guy. Because as soon as I -- literally as soon as I saw him sitting in the restaurant I thought, "Oh-oh, that's him. That's they guy."
Because there's just something about it when you see the person. Everybody says at auditions you kind of know when the person walks in the room. When the actor or actress walks in the room, before they even open their mouths you can tell if they're right or not. And it's just something about an energy. And I looked at him and, "Oh, he's right. Please God, let him not be crazy."SCIFI VISION:
The powers of social media though, huh? What have you learned since you started working the show, or what's changed in your life the most?AARON ASHMORE:
That's for Jack or me?SCIFI VISION:
For both.JACK KENNY:
Go ahead, Aaron.AARON ASHMORE:
What have I learned the most? Well I have to say -- and it's not totally surprising to me but because every job you go into you learn things and working with different actors and stuff but you really pick stuff up.
But I really feel like I've gotten acting lessons in a lot of ways working on Warehouse
. Because working with Saul and - it's just like watching how he does things and is really quite interesting. And also like the other guys, I haven't done a ton of comedy shows and more dramatic stuff usually. So watching these guys and how good they are, I feel like I've learned a lot or picked up a lot.
So I would say that my skills as an actor or just certain parts of how I act I've just kind of observed a lot of things and picked up a lot of things, which is kind of unexpected. You never know when those things are going to come up but I would say that I feel like I've taken some acting lessons working on this show, as well, which is really, really nice.
And like I said, not totally surprising because you never know when those things are going to happen. But I definitely feel like I've learned a lot about myself as an actor doing this season of Warehouse 13
I think you found out how you're funny. Because a lot of actors are funny in different ways. Eddie has a certain rhythm of comedy and Allison has a different rhythm of comedy. Everybody has a different way of approaching it.
And I think what I've seen from Aaron is he's discovered how and where he's funny. How a sense of humor is a big part of our show. It's not the whole show but it's a big part of it. And everybody has moments. And everybody has a different way of approaching it.
I've learned a lot about you in terms of how to write to you. Because you can't write the same humorous moments for every actor. Everybody approaches it differently. So I've learned a lot about how to, you know, where your funny bone is and how to tap into it, because it always takes a while.
But I think it's really been kind of cool to watch you blossom into this comic actor. It's kind of fun.AARON ASHMORE:
Yes, and that's how I feel too. It's just a very interesting experience and getting to work with people who are so talented -- you guys writing stuff and the cast just knowing their characters and just being so good at what they do, it's a pretty unique experience, actually.JACK KENNY:
And I've learned what it's like to be on a show that the network is actually behind. That's been a huge, a wonderful thing. Because I've worked on a lot of shows, Book of Daniel was a big struggle, Titus had its own sort of challenges, but this is the first time I've actually been on a show that's a hit that the network loves and is eager to support. I will ride this train until it pulls into the end of the station.SCIFI VISION:
Aaron, what's been your favorite memory or moment so far from working on the show?AARON ASHMORE:
My favorite memory. Well I think a lot of the things that I've really, really enjoyed working on the show are times -- and I was just thinking -- I really enjoy working with Allison a lot. I think that she's really fun.
I think just some of the goofy things that she does is - have just been kind of memorable and really fun. Like just goofing around and stuff with her I think is probably my best memory of doing the show and stuff so far.JACK KENNY:
You guys have a great rapport.SCIFI VISION:
Do you have like a specific thing you can think of or...AARON ASHMORE:
A specific thing. Well we kind of...JACK KENNY:
I'd like to make - just suggest - I mean I think you seemed to have an awful lot of fun during the Confederate reenactment.AARON ASHMORE:
Yes, yes, that was actually good doing the Confederate reenactment where we get to dress up as Southern soldiers and that was definitely a lot of fun because who gets to do that kind of stuff? I mean, obviously the reenactors who do that are doing that all the time. But as an actor, just like as a person, to get to reenact these giant war scenes and stuff it's pretty neat.JACK KENNY:
You got to shoot that guy and you looked pretty happy doing it.AARON ASHMORE:
I'm not a violent guy but fake violence is a hell of a lot of fun.QUESTION:
Aaron, welcome to the Warehouse 13
Thank you so much. Good to be here.QUESTION:
And Jack, I've spoken with you once or twice before but it's always a pleasure. My first question has to be this -- with Steve coming in as Pete's new partner, where that leave Myka? I haven't heard anything about Joanne leaving the show and the last time I asked you, you said that she would definitely be back. I'm assuming that's still the case?JACK KENNY:
Well just to keep myself from getting into trouble I never said she would definitely be back. They'll hunt me down and shoot me. No, what I've always - what I kept saying to people is don't worry. We have our fans' best interest at heart and everybody should just relax and enjoy the ride.
Remember at the end of the first season we killed Artie. So...QUESTION:
No, that's true.JACK KENNY:
So just - everybody should just not worry. It's going to be a great year and everybody's going to be thrilled. That said, that's part of the fun of the season this year is in the first episode is Myka coming back? If she does, how is she coming back? How does Aaron fit into all this?
It's a nice fun beat. But honestly it's just, as I keep saying and I'm surprised because I never really thought about it -- Aaron fits so well into this family that it hasn't felt like an issue. There's been plenty of room in this show to have this new character. And I got to tell you, just separately of the writing and the acting and the shooting, everybody in the cast just loves Aaron.
So it would be different if we had somebody who was a jerk. But he's such a terrific human being and brings so much warmth and professionalism to the set that I think people look forward to doing scenes with him and seeing him. So it's been - it's just been a real kind of a joy this year.AARON ASHMORE:
If you guys could see me I'm blushing.JACK KENNY:
And he does blush.QUESTION:
Aaron, from your thoughts you have already talked about coming into the show itself. But can you tell us a little bit about how your character was received by the other characters in the show? I'm assuming Claudia especially would feel like you were an outsider and a replacement for Myka, so she would have the most difficulty. But am I wrong in that?AARON ASHMORE:
Well, yes. I mean, I think that the other characters are tentative like this is a very tight-knit group and it's also they're putting themselves on the line, their lives on the line. What their lives are about is servicing the Warehouse and taking care of the world.
So this new guy coming in, I mean, who's going to trust him until he proves himself? And I don't think that anybody's too comfortable with the fact that he can tell when people are lying. I mean, that's great for solving cases but this guy can come in and you can't lie to him, you can't B.S. him. He can tell what's going on.
So, yes, there's definitely some tensions. I think that what Jack was saying earlier, though it's interesting because there's ways that these characters are going to kind of clash but there's also ways that they are going to bond in certain ways. And those are very different ways but are also interesting.
So, yes, it's not all smooth coming into the Warehouse on your first day. They put you through the wringer a little bit.
I think this is our best season yet.QUESTION:
Aaron I wanted to ask what do you think was Steve's initial reaction when he finally figured out what the Warehouse agents actually do?AARON ASHMORE:
Well, I think the initial reaction is that he just doesn't fully believe. Everybody's telling him this stuff and he's seeing all these things go on. But it's almost too much to believe right off the bat.
So I think his first real interaction with an artifact and realizing how going through it himself, I think it really shocks him and makes him just feel like, "Okay, this is for real. This is not just a bunch of crazy people out here, you know, trying to, you know, run this strange warehouse. It's like, this is dangerous."
And I think it sinks in and he's on board, he's game. I think at the beginning he's a little tentative because he's just like, "This can't be true. This can't be right." But when I think that finally hits him that this is for real, Steve's very professional and very into his job, so I think that he's on board.QUESTION:
What was your biggest surprise in working on Warehouse 13
Well, I mean, I don't if it's the biggest surprise but it's the first thing that pops into my mind. When I first stepped onto the sets and saw them I couldn't believe how awesome everything looked, and the details and all the artifacts.
You walk through the Warehouse and Artie's office and all this stuff and I was just like, "Wow, this is going to be a lot of fun because this is - they take this stuff seriously. This is not like some kind of whatever. It's like they've really gone out on all the details and that."
So it was really impressive and exciting to go into something where everything was - all the details were taken care of. And even things like talking with Jack, like any questions I had, any details. Again, like everything was answered. It wasn't like me just kind of going in there and it'd be like, "Okay, whatever. I guess we're going to do this thing." It's like, it's just everything is so thought-about and the details are all taken care of. So it's quite impressive.JACK KENNY:
I've got to say, anytime I walk friends or family onto the set they're all wildly - everybody just goes, "Ahh." Because, a lot of times you walk somebody onto a set and it's disappointing because it's a set and there's fake walls and things like that.
But Artie's office is just the most awesome place to visit. It's - it looks like it does on TV.AARON ASHMORE:
Still, still right? Yes, even when you walk in it still after you've seen it before it's - I'm always still just like, "Wow, this is really, really cool."JACK KENNY:
Yes, it's really fun.QUESTION:
Hi. First will the show be visiting other warehouses this year? I know that came up once last year.JACK KENNY:
I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you. Say again?QUESTION:
Will the show be visiting other warehouses this year?JACK KENNY:
Well, kind of. We have - it's hard to be specific but there are elements of Warehouse 7 and we'll be - that we'll be touching on in Mogul - in the Mongol Empire. And Warehouse 2, the beginning of the season, the stuff's been excavated from Warehouse 2 and has been delivered to the warehouse and into a place we're calling the Ovoid Quarantine, which is where a sort of an egg-shaped purple-lit structure that when there are large caches of artifacts brought in, that's where they go first, into the quarantine.
So we'll be talking a lot about Warehouse 2 and dealing with a bunch of Warehouse 2 artifacts. I don't think we're actually visiting any of the other - oh, yes, no, that's not true. We're going to, yes, we will be seeing a little bit of Warehouse 12.
You have to remember it's been - we're starting to shoot episode 12 this week and I'm just - my head is just swimming with every episode getting mixed up in it, in my head.QUESTION:
But production, different places you...JACK KENNY:
...mentioned. You both talked about the detail in the sets and the props. Is there much - has there been much green screen work and will there be much this season?JACK KENNY:
Oh my God, yes. Yes, there's green screen work. I mean, I say that that way because it's always so hard. What a - Saul calls it schmacting. Because it's a lot of pretending. It's a lot of - as it - we call green screen work schmacting and when you have to do a lot of exposition it's call facting.
But yes, we do a fair amount of green screen stuff this year.QUESTION:
Aaron, have you done a lot of green screen work before?AARON ASHMORE:
Yes, I've done some other sci-fi work. So, just that kind of comes with the territory. But most of the time it's not so bad. I think it's technically it's, like difficult and - but again we had good people that - we're working with directors that kind of talk you through it.
And once you've done it a couple times it's like, "Oh yes, okay, so this thing's going to be bouncing off the wall and then there's this explosion and we're 50 feet off the ground, and okay, yes, yes, I got that, I got that."
But, so you do it a couple time sand you just kind of - you just go with it and you at the end of the day it looks great, so you don't feel like you're just hanging out there, not knowing what's going on. They really do a nice picture for you, so it's easy to get into it.QUESTION:
I really enjoyed the Warehouse 13
panels at Comic-Con. I have been to both of them. And so do you have any details you can share about Warehouse 13
at Comic-Con this year? And Aaron will you be able to go?JACK KENNY:
Are you going, Aaron?AARON ASHMORE:
I don't know.JACK KENNY:
I don't know either. I don't know if you're going to be there or not either. But I know that it's Friday afternoon. I think - you'll have to check with Erica -- or Erica maybe you could chime in -- I think it's 4 o'clock Friday afternoon. And it's in the big room -- one of the big rooms. And I know that the four main cast and myself will be there. I don't know anything else.
I don't know if Aaron's coming or if C.C.'s going to be there, or any of those details yet. I haven't really been - I know it's only three weeks away but I'm directing the last episode of the season and my head is kind of in that right now.ERICA RUBIN (moderator):
It's at 4:15 on Friday in Ballroom 20. 4:15 on Friday in Ballroom 20.JACK KENNY:
There you go.AARON ASHMORE:
Thank you. Thanks Erin.QUESTION:
Aaron, I've got a quick question for you. Have you found working Warehouse 13
when compared to when you worked on Smallville
Well, television is, it's fairly similar and the schedules and you're working on a lot of sets and stuff like that. So that's very similar, and in the sci-fi realm, like working on green screen and all these kind of things.
But, the stories are so different and the cast is so different. All the creative elements are totally different. I think the one thing that is really unique about Warehouse 13
, just from any show I've ever worked on, is having Jack around on set all the time.
Because he is literally behind the monitors watching any questions, anything that you have to have your show runner and who just understands what's going on with the show more than anybody would -- more than some of the directors that come in and all that kind of stuff is so unique and so amazing.
So I think that's the one big difference between Smallville
but also between any show that I've ever worked on is having that, you know, creative mind on set ready to work with you and make changes as necessary or answer questions that you have about the character or the show or the plot or anything.
I mean, that's very rare to have that resource, you know, when you're working. So that's probably the big difference.JACK KENNY:
Now I'm blushing.AARON ASHMORE:
Oh wow. Just returning the favor.JACK KENNY:
Yes, and I'm dark-skinned.AARON ASHMORE:
But it's very true. It's very, very, very unique and it just doesn't happen. I've worked on enough TV and it just doesn't happen. So it's really nice.QUESTION:
Jack a question for you now. There's a breaking news story about a month or so back about a H.G. Wells spinoff. Now it seems it was announced a little bit too soon. Could you tell me what's happened there?JACK KENNY:
Yes, I love that you refer to it as a breaking news story because it's probably months and months away from actually being shot, if it does get shot.
Yes, Bob Goodman and I -- one of the writers on the show went and pitched an idea for a spinoff for an H.G. Wells spinoff to Syfy a few weeks ago, and they really loved the idea and wanted to hear more about it. So in the business, in the TV business, before anybody can go in and officially pitch things deals have to be made and lawyers and agents and blah, blah, blah, blah.
So that all started happening. And, somehow the details of that meeting got out and it was like, "Oh, it's a spinoff and it's happening and here it is." And there are so many hurdles to jump before a show gets on the air. I mean, there's a thousand different stars that have to get into line. Everything has to be in alignment and karma and all that sort of thing.
But we were in yesterday, actually and pitching more details and more specifics and all the characters to Mark Stern and the folks at Syfy. And I think everybody's really excited about it. Again, it's a long way to go before it's actually a script and on the air and being shot and all that sort of thing, but people seem to be really excited about the idea.
The character seems to leap off the page. We're building a really cool ensemble of people, again another family to be to people, this world and this series. And I think it could be really exciting. But unfortunately I have no details because we're still in the very early birthing stage.QUESTION:
Well it sounded quite interesting from what I read and it sounded like the sort of thing that I'd actually watch. Because I kind of like a bit, you know, the way you got the theme from genre mixed in to Warehouse 13
with the Tesla guns and all the gadgets.JACK KENNY:
Yes, we were definitely made into the steam punk of it.QUESTION:
Another question [it] has to do with Warehouse 13
and Eureka. Are ever going to see anymore cross-over perhaps like we had last year? And is there going to be a chance of a perhaps more holiday episode, like the Christmas episode you did?JACK KENNY:
Well yes. Fargo is coming to visit our team in episode 5, I believe it is this year. We were not able to cross over to the Eureka because of the shooting schedules were so different we just couldn't get our - they were way ahead of us in terms of episodes having been shot, so we couldn't make that work.
But Fargo is coming to visit us. And, yes, we're doing another Christmas episode this year.
I'll completely stand alone, not having anything to do with the season, just a little Christmas present for the fans. And it's - I'm in love with the story that we're doing. I really am. I'm just in love with it.QUESTION:
I'm just thinking of all these holiday episodes of scenes that are getting made, so it takes me back to my childhood.JACK KENNY:
I think you'll love this one.
We haven't gotten a single gay question.AARON ASHMORE:
Well now do I have to change my question? Do I have to ask if you're...AARON ASHMORE:
No, no, no, no, no, no.JACK KENNY:
No, it's listed in my calendar as the gay press interview. So we're all set to talk about Aaron's character being gay and what that meant and how it impacted and blah, blah, blah.
And nobody's asked, which is - I have to say that's lovely because it just means that it's gotten to the point in society where it's like, "Oh, yes, that's cool." And it's not news. It's like, "Oh, a gay character. Yes. Got that. Fine."
So I love it. So please...go with whatever you were going to ask.QUESTION:
Well I was actually going to ask about the backstory of Steve. We found out a little bit in the premier, which was a fantastic episode. We only got a little bit of a glimpse of what makes him him. Is there a certain episode that we'll get to dig into those layers a little bit more?AARON ASHMORE:
I think that there's some stuff in episode 2 and then a little bit farther -- I can remember what episode, maybe 6 -- where, yes, you really start to see who Steve is and you get a little bit of his backstory and you really see how his life has kind of impacted who he is.
Because, he's very different, I think, from a lot of the other characters on the show in that he is more reserved and he's got these walls up. And so you - throughout the season I think you really start to - I think that Jack and the writers have done a great job of kind of just putting in these little kind of nuggets of character throughout particular episodes so you start to be like, "Oh, okay, well that makes more sense and I can see, you know, why this guy is how he is."
And, a lot of times you don't get that in shows. They just kind of like, it's just there or they don't even say it and it's just kind of like implied or whatever.
So yes, I think that there's - people will find it really interesting to see how Steve's character develops and learn these things about his past and then understand who he is more because of knowing those things.JACK KENNY:
I think, too that, like I was saying earlier, I learn a lot about a character by - from the actor who's playing him. And it's not that I don't really know anything about Aaron Ashmore's past or his relationships or anything. I just - what I see when I look at Aaron on camera, when I look at him on the monitor it's just - I see a guy who's got - I see a character.
And maybe this is what Aaron brings. I see a character that's got a complex past, maybe with some pain in it. That's what I see when he's playing the part. And so in my mind he comes from a complex past. Maybe when he came out or if he came out to his parents it wasn't well-received. And maybe that's brought some pain.
There's other things you'll learn about his character -- because I don't want to give away here because they come as a surprise to, you know, various members of the cast. He gets to be besties with Claudia, so they learn a lot about each other.
I get the sense that he's been hurt in a relationship or two. And that he's emotionally conservative. He plays his cards close to the vest. A lot because of what Aaron was saying earlier about if you can look into somebody's eyes and tell if they're lying to you or not that affects the way you relate to people.
You look at people differently. It's a little bit like Sookie on True Blood where she can hear people's thoughts -- it's kind of annoying. You don't want to necessarily know all that.
So it's a - I think he's a vulnerable and tentative character who makes friends - doesn't make friends easily but when he does he makes them forever.QUESTION:
Well I wanted to get into the whole gay (care address). That was right on my mind the whole time. I have a lot of people, some of my Twitter followers, that are wondering how is, through story or performance, how are they going to make the character more relatable to the LGBT community?AARON ASHMORE:
Well I don't really look at approaching a character that way. Like I wouldn't approach a black character trying to make him relatable to the black community. My job is to make the characters relatable to the family that I'm dealing with here.
How does Steve Jinks relate to Artie, Pete, Myka and Claudia? My - and I think that the approach to Aaron, as I say, the approach to Steve is he's a relatively emotionally conservative guy. He's not out there. And so we're taking baby steps with the character. We don't want to bring in somebody and throw him into a relationship right away.
One of the things we learned last year when we brought Pete a relationship, we brought Claudia a relationship, was that they were really hard to service. Those relationships are hard to service because our people are out in the field all the time. We had to basically stop the show to get a relationship theme with Pete and Kelly or with Claudia and Todd.
And so that's why both of those relationships kind of went away last year. Brothers and Sisters, you can do that. On our show we're out running around snagging, bagging and tagging so relationships kind of get in the way of that. If we can - if have an opportunity we will, but this year we're really a lot more focused on other things.
So that really didn't become an issue. I can't say that next season if Aaron comes back that he wouldn't have a relationship. Who knows? But that hasn't been the goal. I think -- because I'm gay and in my mind the great thing about where GLBT characters are these days is it's just like he's also blond and blue-eyed and six feet tall.
And it's not - I wouldn't write to his six-feet-tallness. I don't want to write to every character's single trait. It comes out in various fun ways. It's not that we - it's not that he's not outed or that he hides it. He does talk about it and he makes jokes about it.
But it's not like - it doesn't define who he is. And that, I think, has always been the goal of any minority group, to have that diversity not define who you are. And I think, happily, gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgendered characters have reached that goal in a lot of ways.QUESTION:
Okay, well, you're talking about - you don't have time to really get into relationships and everything. But I think there [are] other things that can define the community itself other than being in a relationship.
You've got a show like Law and Order, even though it's very procedural and they don't have a whole lot of time to get into the people's backstories, you still have things that came across about the characters that helped define them. And...JACK KENNY:
Yes, we have, as I say, Aaron talks to that. Steve Jinks, it's not that he doesn't talk about it or deal with it, it comes out.AARON ASHMORE:
Yes, and I think it really influences, you know, who he is. I mean, you know, some of the things that, you know, we've talked about like may have happened in his past and have influenced him and stuff. I think that that comes out through the character, as well, you know. And that I think is realistic, you know, as well.
Like, again, like, you know, we talk about his ability to lie and stuff like that but, you know, or to tell when people are lying and stuff. But I think it's also his conservativeness and stuff like that as far as being emotional also has to do with probably, you know, as Jack said, like some of his other things that he's gone through in his life.
And again, it's like, you know, you don't always talk about those things but I think they influence the character and they influence the performance and who he is and stuff.
So yes, I think that that's - that that comes out, as well.QUESTION:
Sci-fi and horror fans, they tend to be the hardest to win over with a gay or lesbian character and I was wondering, what is your approach trying to win over sci-fi and horror fans?AARON ASHMORE:
You know, I, in my experience talking to a lot of our fans -- I mean, I don't - because maybe it's a slightly different genre, our show -- but in talking to a lot of our fans I haven't found that. I've found that people have been pretty accepting of really anything we want to do, except of course, you know, losing their favorite character.
But, you know, because like Torchwood has gay characters, there was a gay character on Caprica. There's been - I feel like -- and maybe I'm just, you know, living in the bubble that is Los Angeles -- but I find it true in Toronto too. I feel like it's such an accepted part of life now that it doesn't feel like - especially younger viewers have no issue with it.
It doesn't - I don't think - I think new viewers to television these days don't see sexual orientation in the same way that viewers of my generation don't see race. Because it kind of, you know, not all. Obviously there's always going to be some people who are the exceptions to those rules. But I feel like we've come a long way as a television-viewing audience.
I think, you know, and I count, you know, All in the Family and Maude and those shows in the 70s for taking us there. Shows that you probably couldn't get away with doing today. But they took us to a place where they held a mirror up to society and said, "Look how silly this is."
And I think it started a trend of everybody saying, "Look how silly this is. Let's just watch these shows for entertainment. Let's accept everybody for who they are." I think little by little, you know, chisel by chisel we're getting to that - again to that nice sculpture of a society that watches a show for the entertainment value and not the color of a person's skin or their sexual orientation or their gender or anything like that.QUESTION:
[Why did you] decide to make this character gay to begin with?JACK KENNY:
You know, it was interesting. We had talked about it in the writer's room a little bit when we were building the character. Drew Greenberg had brought it up to me and I said, "Hey that might be interesting."
And then for some reason when we were pitching it to SyFy we hadn't gotten into that yet. We were just pitching the character and how he relates and where he came from. And the executives of SyFy said, "Hey, what about if he's gay?" And we were, "Oh, yes. We were actually thinking about that. That's so cool that you guys think that's cool." I said, "Yes, why not? Let's, you know..."
It was just sort of like, it's like when you're casting a character and you say, "Hey why don't we cast a Latino in this part?" Or, you know, "What about if it was a woman instead of a man?" It's just sort of you go, "Oh, okay." It's like, you know, I think when Sharon Lawrence got the part in NYPD Blue it was a male role initially. And a casting director said, "Hey, you know I met this actor, Sharon Lawrence. She might be really good for this. What about a woman in this part?"
So it was one of those, you know, suggestions that somebody made and we thought, "Oh yes, that's a color we don't have on the show yet. That's something we could toy with and touch on occasionally."
You know, but again we won't play with it in anymore than we address the fact that Mrs. Frederick or Leena are black. It's not what the show is. This is not a show about diversity in minorities. It's a show about - it's a thrilleramedy. And it's about a family. And families tend to, you know, they tend to accept each other for who they are and then argue about the details.SCIFI VISION:
I have a fan question, and they asked if there's any plans for some kind of cloning artifact or something like that so that they can bring in Shawn (Ashmore; Aaron's twin) on the show?AARON ASHMORE:
I don't know. Jack, what do you think? I think that that could be a lot of fun. I don't know if you'd thought about that.JACK KENNY:
I don't know. Can we afford Shawn?AARON ASHMORE:
He'll do a favor for me. I'll talk to Shawn.JACK KENNY:
Yes, do you have a connection there? Can we pull a string?AARON ASHMORE:
Oh, yes, yes, yes.JACK KENNY:
You know, obviously we thought about it. And I don't know if we'll be cloning or maybe Steve has a twin brother they didn't tell anybody about. Or maybe there a - an evil twin that he didn't know. Who knows? I mean, there's any number of ways we could do it.
But sure, that occurred to us. Not this season. But it certainly occurred to us that, you know. Well honestly, just if Aaron gets tired, you know, and Aaron gets all sleepy one night, because sometimes, you know, people get sleepy, you know.AARON ASHMORE:
Yes. Good to have that threat where you can just be like, "Look if you're not going to pull your weight here we can just bring your brother in because nobody's going to know the difference."JACK KENNY:
Aaron I wondered if you could talk about working on Fringe
Yes, it was great. I mean, speaking of doing work with my brother, that was awesome because I hadn't worked with Shawn for years and years and years, so getting a chance to play a character with my brother and on a show like Fringe
that I don't watch a ton, but whenever I have seen it I've really enjoyed it and I know it's got a good fan following.
But we had a lot of fun, you know, trying to be as identical as possible. Because most of the time when you're growing up a twin you're trying to define yourself separately and that role is basically, yes, can you guys act as much as you can alike and look as much as you can, you know, alike with what, you know, a wig and with facial hair and all that stuff.
So it was a really interesting experience.SCIFI VISION:
Are you both fans of sci-fi? Do you like watching it?JACK KENNY:
I certainly am. You go, Aaron.AARON ASHMORE:
Yes. Yes, I certainly am. I love - well, I mean just generally, like comic books and video games and sci-fi movies and stuff. I've always been a big fan of that stuff. I think I read more comic books now than when I was a kid. So I think I'm definitely a big fan of the genre and fantasy and all that kind of stuff. And I like a good escape, you know, in my mind.
I love, you know, these worlds that writers and stuff create that are so different from our own. And I think a lot of it's very intelligent. A lot of it has a lot of commentary on what's going on in the world. So I really appreciate it as an art form.SCIFI VISION:
How about you, Jack?JACK KENNY:
I was not - I was, you know, I got into Star Trek
when I was, you know, we get into all the reruns for a while. My husband and I used to really get into watching all the reruns of Star Trek
and loved it. But more for the kitsch value than the sci-fi value, because it was just so fun to see William Shatner act.
But I - when I was a kid I was into comedy. I wanted to be a comic actor when I was six years old. My father always supported it. I did my seventh grade term paper on W.C. Fields and my eighth grade term paper on Groucho Marx. So I've always been enamored of comedy.
And so I've learned - I've studied them inside and out and I know all of that. And - but when I got, you know, the thing is I've always loved the movies that everybody loves -- you know, Back to the Future
, Indiana Jones
, Star Wars
. I saw Star Wars
11 times the summer it came out, which just dated me, but there it is.
So I was - I've always been into that. And when I talked to SyFy about this show, my initial interview, I just said, "This is your cross-over show. This is the show that gets people like me to watch the SyFy Channel. Because it doesn't scare me. There's not so much sci-fi talk that it scares away non-specialists. And there's enough sci-fi that it's exciting to the sci-fi fans. It's a nice mix. Everybody can enjoy it."
So that's what excited me about, like getting involved with Warehouse 13
Great. Thank you very much, both of you.
So Aaron, how are you?AARON ASHMORE:
I'm good.JACK KENNY:
I was wondering.QUESTION:
I was wondering from all these shows that you've worked on throughout the years and everything, what power or personality trait would you wish that you had yourself?...From one of your characters from any of your shows?AARON ASHMORE:
Oh, that's actually a really interesting question. I think the idea of having a power -- and this probably going to sound like really boring or whatever -- but, you know, the idea of having a power, I think, is way more exciting than actually having it. I don't think anybody ever thinks of the, you know, of the problems or the burdens that would come with having all these powers and stuff.
So honestly, as much as it seems exciting, you know, or if you said to me in some plane like, "Okay, so you'd be able to tell when somebody's lying so you could, I don't know, manipulate that in some way that would be beneficial to you." I'd be like, "Oh, yes, that sounds really, really cool." But then getting into the character and playing it and see what the reality of those things are it's like, you know what? Sometimes it's better to just kind of be normal and, you know, not have those things.
Because I think nobody ever really thinks of the negatives. Everybody just thinks of - even though I think on a lot of shows when people have powers and stuff like that, you know, they show that there's great responsibility that comes with it. But I still don't think people really take that into full consideration.
They're like, "Oh, I could fly. Oh, sweet." Or, "I would be super-strong." But, you know, I think being normal is okay with me. I don't think that I need a superpower. But yes, so that's probably an incredibly boring answer, but I'm going to stick with it.QUESTION:
I don't want you to feel left out, Jack so I want your opinion on it.JACK KENNY:
On the characters that Aaron should be like?QUESTION:
I mean the shows that you've worked on what personality...JACK KENNY:
I was afraid you were going to point that at me. You know, it's almost impossible to pick a - I mean, they've been all so different. You know, my - one of my favorite characters to ever write for was Dave, Titus' brother because he was just - I tend to like those kind of loose cannon comedic characters. I love Pete. You know, I love writing for Pete. I loved writing for Dave.
And at the same time I loved writing for Daniel Webster in Book of Daniel. I could have written that guy for years. But a lot of it for me is filled by the actors that play those parts, you know. I'm also in love with Zack Ward, Eddie McClintock and Aiden Quinn.
Those are the people that I guess I just wish I was one of them, you know, because when I - it's when I can get - when I get inside a character's head is when I can write them best. And so it's hard for me to imagine being that character when I'm really - my job is to stand on the outside, look inside, get a sense of who they are and then channel them, you know?
So I'm kind of am fortunate in that I get to be all of them. You know, it's fun to write Mrs. Frederick. It's fun to get inside Mrs. Frederick's head and be that character, you know -- suddenly pop into a room out of nowhere and then disappear. I love doing that. That's one of the joys of my job is I get to be everybody.QUESTION:
I have another question for Aaron...How do you switch back from being serious with your role in Warehouse 13
to [being] in a comedy like Servitude
Well, you know, luckily I usually don't have to shoot them on the same day type thing where, you know, if you have a couple days to really kind of get, you know, you go to a new set, even and the energy change is totally different. Like that - like I was saying, you know, having Jack there, I mean, that's very unique.
You go over to a different movie or a different show, I mean, the whole environment is different, everybody that you're working with is different. So it really changes the energy. And obviously you put the work into, you know, figuring out this different character and that. So it's really as simple as that. You know, it's not the easiest thing if characters are very - written very similarly but the, you know, I've been fortunate enough to work on projects where the characters are always interesting and different.
And just going to a different set just totally changes your mindset because you're working with different actors, different director, you know, different hair and makeup, wardrobe, everything . You know, everything's totally different.
So even if they're happening in and around the same time, the projects, it's - it really is quite easy to shift between the two. Like I said, if you're doing one on the same day -- shooting something in the afternoon and then going to a different set in the evening, well that's a little more difficult.
But it's just how - if you have a little bit of time you can really find the different character things just by the fact that it's a different project and you're working with totally different creative people.QUESTION:
in the vein of, like it felt like Waiting with the power of that...AARON ASHMORE:
Yes, it's very...QUESTION:
Is it a comedy thing with servers?AARON ASHMORE:
Yes, yes. I mean, it's definitely a fairly broad comedy. And I'm playing the bad guy, which is awesome because I don't get to play the bad guy too often. But - so that was really great. And then that's another thing that makes it very different is the type of character that I was playing was easy to, you know, kind of play the bad guy in that.
But yes, it's very much in the vein of Waiting and a very broad comedy. But I think it's, you know, it's different enough that I think people - it's coming at it from a different perspective or a unique perspective. So again, and I don't like giving too much away when I'm talking about the future projects but it's a lot of fun and the cast that they got was really, really great.
And I think it has a, yes, different takes in Waiting but similar in that it's a restaurant and a bunch of disgruntled workers who are like, "What are we doing here? Can't believe we're getting paid so little to do so much work."QUESTION:
What [were] your thoughts on the final episode of Smallville
My thoughts on the final episode of Smallville
. I thought that it was really well done. I thought it was a very difficult show to wrap up and keep everybody happy when it comes to the end because so many different fans from, you know, different age groups who respond to different characters and all that kind of stuff. So I know that they had a huge task at hand to wrap that up and keep everybody happy.
Personally me watching it, I thought they did a great job. I think that they wrapped up the storylines and they really kind of, you know, put a cherry on top of the show. So I thought they did a great job.QUESTION:
So what was it like coming back for that final episode, yourself?AARON ASHMORE:
Well that was difficult because I was doing Warehouse 13
at the time and, you know, one of those things where you have to work in the morning one day and then I hopped on a flight and I flew all the way to Vancouver and worked for a day. Not even I was there for, like, 12 hours working and I came right back.
So that was very difficult but also a lot of fun to come back and see the old crew and the old folks. But, you know, at that point I was like, "This is really fun and stuff," but I'd kind of moved to I was more excited about Warehouse
at the time, because it's a new character and, you know what I mean? It's like that's where my real energy was.
So it was cool to go back and do it but I was definitely more excited to get back to work on Warehouse 13
What's something about both of you that people would be surprised to know about you?JACK KENNY:
I'm gay. I don't know whether that comes as a surprise.AARON ASHMORE:
I'm not.JACK KENNY:
Aaron's not. Aaron?AARON ASHMORE:
Something that people would be surprised about. I don't know. It's hard to say what people, you know, it's hard to see - understand how people view you and stuff like that. I'm pretty, you know, quiet and laid back and stuff, and I think my personality says that, so I don't that would be too surprising.
So I don't know, because it's so difficult to understand how people view you. I don't think that, to me, anything that I do is particularly surprising. So that's a really tough one. I don't know. I guess I would probably mull over that one for a while.
What about you, Jack? You got anything?JACK KENNY:
Well, I would say - if I can - if you - if I may, something that surprises me about you is how circumspect you are. You're -- and again, it's something I use to fill the character of Steve -- you're very - you yourself are very - you play things kind of close to the vest. And it's a rare quality in most actors.
You know, a lot of actors are way more sort of out there -- everything's right on the table. And I find you to be a lot more circumspect. A lot more, I guess to say emotionally conservative and playing things close to the vest. And I find that fascinating and interesting both for an actor and for a character.
And for myself...AARON ASHMORE:
It doesn't make sense, right, as an actor?JACK KENNY:
No, it doesn't make sense. You...AARON ASHMORE:
Yes, yes, I know. It doesn't make sense. It's a...JACK KENNY:
No, no, it doesn't.AARON ASHMORE:
...I guess that is a strange - yes.JACK KENNY:
It's kind of nice. I mean, you remind me a lot of David Hyde Pierce in that way. And then I guess for myself I guess people would probably be surprised to learn that I get choked up and cry very easily.
A lot of times, like when I was reading - at the table readings I read the stage directions a lot. And when I was reading the stage directions for the end of our 11th episode and they were playing the scene out I was having a hard time getting through it.
And I was embarrassed about that and I tired to hide it. But I do get choked up and cry, you know, at things that - a lot of things move me.