Check out the link below for my brand-new interview with Warehouse 13’s Saul Rubinek @ The Morton Report:
Posts Tagged ‘Artie Nielsen’
Are you familiar with the old adage, “No good deed goes unpunished?” Secret Service Agent Pete Lattimer certainly is. In the two-hour pilot for the new Syfy Channel series Warehouse 13, he and fellow agent Myka Bering thwart an attack on the Mexican ambassador’s daughter by a man possessed by a carved stone head known as the “Aztec Bloodstone.” When Pete fails to stop a thief, who takes the artifact and then disappears in front of the agent’s eyes in a flash of light, he is temporarily suspended pending an investigation.
The “thief” is, in fact Artie Nielsen, also a Secret Service agent and in charge of Warehouse 13, a top-secret government facility in South Dakota and home to objects, like the bloodstone, considered dangerous to the public. Much to Pete’s and Myka’s surprise, they are reassigned to help Artie track down and retrieve other artifacts. Their first assignment takes them to Iowa where a 15th century comb is wrecking havoc. Like his alter ego, Warehouse 13‘s Eddie McClintock, who plays Pete, will not soon forget his first day on the job.
“It was so freaking cold,” says McClintock laughing. “On the first day of filming it was around zero degrees and the entire crew was wearing Arctic gear, I’m not kidding you, and Joanne Kelly [Myka Bering] and I had to be dressed as though we were in Denver, Colorado on a balmy evening. I’m from Ohio, so I’m OK with the cold, but, man, this was so bad that every time they said, ‘Cut!’ Joanne and I would sprint inside just to get warm because our teeth were chattering. And as soon as they called, ‘Action,’ we’d have to stop our teeth from chattering.
“That’s the first thing that comes to mind about working on the pilot. The second thing that sticks out for me is thinking how incredibly fortunate I am to have such an amazing job. And then scene-wise, there was the ferret scene in the Warehouse where I’m standing there with Joanne, who is just fantastic, along with Saul Rubenik [Artie], whose body of work I have great respect for. The ridiculousness of me holding this ferret, which was basically up my nose for most of that scene, was just so surreal, and to be acting with Saul and Joanne was the icing on the cake. It’s one of those moments that remind me again how lucky I am to be able to do what I love, make money at it, and feed my family.”
Growing up in Ohio, McClintock was a keen wrestler, including in college where he studied design. “I thought for sure I’d end up being a graphic illustrator or designer,” notes the actor. “I always loved movies, though, and one of the major bonds I had with my dad was through films. He and I would go to the movies and then come home and recite all the lines. I was also a fan of the original Saturday Night Live cast – the Not Ready For Primetime Players – and imitating all those characters and skits, but I was never pushed in that direction as far as pursuing a career.
“After college I wanted to move to California, in particular, Los Angeles. My uncle owns an insurance company out there, so he asked me to come be a part of his company. However, he fired me after seven months, because I was useless as an insurance salesman. My heart wasn’t in it and he could tell. From there, I began working as a production assistant, and after three years I met some people from a small agency called LA Talent. They did a lot of commercial work, and with their help I wound up booking a series of Coors Light beer commercials. After that I decided, ‘I’m going to start taking [acting] classes.’ I did that for almost three years before ever going on my first audition because I knew that compared to other people I was incredibly green and didn’t want to blow any opportunities. My first national job was two lines on The Young and the Restless, and now here I am today.”
When it comes to McClintock’s role on Warehouse 13, the uninitiated might automatically assume that Pete Lattimer is just another in a long line of cookie-cutter government types. However, that was the further thing from the actor’s mind when it came time to audition.
“David Simkins[writer/executive producer] did a great job with the pilot script and I wanted to approach it a little differently,” he recalls. “With Pete being Secret Service, I figured everyone would come to the audition wearing black suits and ties, so I came in jeans and an old t-shirt and unshaven because I saw Pete as kind of down on his luck. He ends up basically getting fired from his job in the pilot because they think he stole an artifact, and I always try to find the comedy in something, even when it’s not necessarily written.
“So I read for David, and he told me later that I pretty much wasn’t even going to make it through to the next round of auditions. While my audition was entertaining, he hadn’t really seen my character that way. However, as the day went on, he thought, ‘That might be one way to do it.’ So he had me back for the network test and on that day I really tried to put a comedic bend on the material. Joanne [Kelly] and I read together, and she blew a line, so I made fun of her, and she [jokingly] punched me. Joanne was supposed to call me a ‘showboat,’ but it came out ‘showbot.’ Then I began doing the robot dance with a Michael Jackson flourish – this was before his passing, obviously.
“Joanne and I kind of forgot that we were singing for our supper and just had fun up there for a minute, which, I think, is pretty much what got us the job. Mark Stern [Executive Vice President of Original Programming at Syfy] remarked, ‘That’s the show right there. Those two doing what they were doing.’ I’ve said this before, but most actors, including me, are terrified to make a mistake when auditioning because you almost never get a second chance. So to actually be hired because of a mistake is ironic and interesting. It goes to show you that you’re allowed to make a mistake in the audition room. It’s how you then deal with it that could make all the difference.”
There was a bit of a gap between filming the Warehouse 13 pilot and the start of work on the show’s first season. As with all new roles, it took McClintock a little time to settle back into the groove of playing Agent Lattimer. “The greatest initial challenge for me with Pete was really not trying to figure out who he was, but, instead, just think, ‘I am Pete, Pete is me,’ and allow who I am to come out in my performance,” explains the actor.
“I’ve tried to make Pete who I am because it’s my desire to let everyone who’s watching know that a leading man can be funny and still be strong, loyal and heroic. Most TV programs don’t really let the hero show a silly side, and I guess it’s important to me to let people know that you can still have a good time and be competent at what you do. I appreciate, too, that our writers have made Pete a recovering alcoholic because it gives him more depth. It makes you go, ‘Wait a minute, this guy has issues.’ Guess what, people have issues, and some funny people tend to have the most issues because they use their comedy to deal with things. That’s there defense mechanism.”
Right from the start, the relationship between Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering is not unlike that of oil and water. He addresses a problem in a more off-the-cuff manner and using his gut instinct, while she prefers to employ a more serious, by-the-book approach. Like all good partnerships, they eventually come to realize that neither way is right or wrong, but that a balance of both is the best possible way to get the job done right.
“Certainly one of the biggest ways my character continues to grow is in his relationship with Myka,” says McClintock. “In the beginning, he didn’t understand Myka and really didn’t much care to. However, having now spent all this time with her, Pete has come to respect as well as care for her. He understands why she is the way she is, and he’s constantly trying to get her to be more like him. But I think Pete has learned not to push too hard and she, in turn, has warmed up and come around and kind of loosened up a bit. So that’s been a major change in my character – his willingness to accept Myka for who she is.”
One of Pete’s attributes that Myka has not quite come to share is his, and Artie’s, passion for cookies, preferably homemade. In the Warehouse 13 pilot, Artie entices Pete into the Warehouse with an offer of freshly baked cookies. “I think the whole cookie thing is great,” says McClintock with a laugh. “It’s kind of a happy mistake. I don’t know if we even planned on hitting on it that hard, but when, in the pilot, we got such a good reaction from Artie’s line, ‘I made cookies,’ and Pete’s, ‘Oooo…,’ that we decided to make my character a cookie lover. It just so happens that my wife and I are crazy about chocolate chip cookies, and every day when we get on the treadmill we ask each other, ‘Why do we like them so much?'”
In the season one Warehouse 13 episode Claudia, Artie is kidnapped by a young girl from his past, Claudia Donovan, who needs his help to re-create an experiment that she believes will bring her dead brother back to life. Their efforts are rewarded, and despite Claudia’s unconventional approach to procuring his assistance, Artie befriends her and invited Claudia to join his team. McClintock was happy to help his fellow cast and crew welcome actress Allison Scagliotti (Claudia) to the Warehouse family.
“Allison is great,” he says. “She’s sharp, sassy and young, so she brings new blood to the show, not to mention the whole geek-tech thing. And for totally selfish reasons, aside from the fact that Allison is terrific, she opens up a whole new demographic for the series, which brings in that many more viewers. I read on-line where people were talking about the fact that there’s going to be all these new Claudia icons after she did the Mr. Spock ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Vulcan salute [in the episode Burnout], and I’m thrilled about that. It means people are really buying into the show as well as the Claudia character and I couldn’t be happier.
“When you hear that they [the producers] are bringing someone new onto a show, you sometimes think, ‘Will it work? Will they fit in? We’ve got a good thing here; what if this person doesn’t make the cut?’ Frankly, not only has Allison made the cut, but she also adds to much so the series, especially in her relationship with Artie, which is fun to watch because they’re both amazingly good at what they do – the characters and the actors playing them.”
In their short time working with Artie, Pete and Myka have collected several artifacts including a Euphoria record (Resonance), capable of producing a song that immobilizes its listeners; James Braid’s chair (Magnetism), which causes those who sit in it to act out their subconscious desires; and a Native American buckskin coat (Elements) that allows its wearer to walk through solid objects. In the aforementioned Burnout, the agents race against the clock to find the Spine of the Saracen, which can turn its wearer into a killing machine capable of discharging massive amounts of electricity. When the Spine attaches itself to Pete, he must make the ultimate sacrifice in order to destroy it.
“There was a ton of exposition that I had to get out in the scene where Pete decides to commit suicide, or take a bullet as they say for the sake of the Warehouse, his country, his friends, the world,” says McClintock. “When I first read that scene it was pretty terrifying. I could just picture a giant ham sandwich,” chuckles the actor. “I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this could be so hammy if it’s not done correctly.’ So on the day of filming I said to our director, who is this amazing, guy, Constantine Makris, ‘Look, I have an idea of how this should be done.’ So he gave me free reign, and I was pleased with how it turned out. It’s probably the trickiest thing I’ve done so far acting-wise on the series.
“Not to sound artsy-fartsy or anything like that, but it was really freeing to be able to show that much emotion and be that connected to a scene. It’s kind of like running on a treadmill for six miles. When you’re done, you’re exhausted, but you feel exhilarated, and that’s why I do this [acting].”
Artie’s response to Pete’s predicament in Burnout gave viewers further insight into the relationship that is developing between both characters. “Pete’s father died when was very young, so I think he considers Artie to be his surrogate father, and Artie sees Pete as one of his kids,” says McClintock. “In Burnout, when Myka tells Artie and Claudia that the Spine was on Pete, you could tell it really hit them hard, and I like at the end of the episode where Pete is joking about how this mission really ‘killed him,’ and how Artie is truly concerned.
“There’s a wonderful family dynamic that our writers have set up and I’m so thrilled about that because it gives the show heart and makes it about a lot of different things. It’s not just about the silliness, or the artifacts, or Pete and Myka going off on a treasure hunt. In the end, it’s about a family trying in their own way to get by, and I’m so glad that the writers have given us that to play.”
Prior to Warehouse 13, McClintock was a regular in four other series, Holding the Baby, A.U.S.A., Stark Raving Mad and Crumbs. The actor has appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies and guest-starred on such shows as Friends, Felicity, House, Sex and the City, Spin City and Shark. Audience have also seen his work in recurring roles on Desperate Housewives and Bones.
“On Desperate Housewives I got to work with Eva Longoria [Gabrielle Solis] and Ricardo Chavira, who plays her husband [Carlos], and I have to tell you, he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met,” says McClintock. “He was so nice to me that I was looking around thinking, ‘Am I being punked?’ Ricardo was just a really cool dude and Eva was terrific, too. So it was a positive experience and I had a ball. To be embraced by everyone who worked there meant a lot to me as well as my confidence as an actor.
“With Bones I finally got to meet David Boreanaz [Special Agent Seeley Booth], which was interesting because for the past few years I’d been saying that I was going to write a book called Living in the Shadow of Boreanaz,” jokes the actor. “At least twice a week someone would come up to me thinking I was David and ask for my autograph or want to talk about Buffy or Angel. I’ve always found it funny, and when I was on Bones, David said to me, ‘You do know who you look like, right? Craig Sheffer.’ That’s someone else who everyone used to think I looked like, and when I actually met Craig, he said, ‘Hey, dude, you look just like me.’ I said, ‘I know, and we both look like David Boreanaz.’ And Craig said, ‘Yes, and Josh Brolin, too.’
“It was cool getting to work on Bones and I think it was also good preparation for Warehouse 13, although my character of Sully [Special Agent Tim Sullivan] wasn’t quite as loose as Pete is.”
Although McClintock might work in an industry that is devoted to make-believe, the things that make his career rewarding for him as very much real. “I could lie and tell you that it’s not fun when I’m on a plane and the stewardess says, ‘Oh, my God, you’re the guy from Warehouse 13,’ and starts jumping up and down like a teenager. After 12 years, to have somebody recognize me for who I am and for my work, and not as David Boreanaz or Craig Sheffer, that’s rewarding, not to mention fun and exciting,” says the actor.
“Another rewarding thing is being able to give my wife and children the kind of life that I think a good husband and father should provide. Then there’s being able to work with people whose careers speak for themselves. I think, ‘Hey, I must be doing something right.’ I stood nose-to-nose in a scene with James Woods when I did an episode of Shark, and that was such a rush because he’s a brilliant actor as well as an icon. It’s also rewarding to have my manager, Ric Beddingfield – who took me on when I had nothing and had done nothing – stick with me. After all this time I’m able to show him that all his hard work has been for a good cause.
“This is an incredibly difficult business, and every once in a while it will let you take a small drink of success. At least that’s been my path. I’ve continued to work, but have never had a hit series. I’ve done five shows and ten pilots, so for the Syfy Channel to fly me to New York to help ring the closing bell at NASDAQ, that was surreal. And on Saturday [August 15th, 2009] I’m throwing out the pitch at the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays game in front of something like 40,000 people. I’m terrified,” he laughs, “but it’s going to be awesome. There are so many rewards to what I’m doing, and hopefully I’ve kept in perspective the ones that truly matter, and then the ones that are just fun life experiences.”
As noted above, photos by Philippe Bosse, Heidi Gutman or Justin Stephens and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!
THE Syfy Channel has ordered 13 episodes of its smash hit original series Warehouse 13 for a second season, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Syfy’s Executive Vice President, Original Content and Co-Head Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. On track to be the biggest hit in Syfy history, Warehouse 13 is slated for a summer 2010 return. Back for a second season are series leads Eddie McClintock (Pete Lattimer), Joanne Kelly (Myka Bering), Saul Rubinek (Artie Nielsen) and Allison Scagliotti (Claudia Donovan). The first season finale airs on September 22nd @ 9 p.m. EST/PST and features guest-stars CCH Pounder (The Shield) and Roger Rees (The West Wing).
After saving the life of the President, two Secret Service agents find themselves abruptly transferred to Warehouse 13 – a massive, top secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse’s caretaker Artie, charges Pete and Myka with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the Warehouse as well as helping him control the Warehouse itself.
The series is produced for Syfy by Universal Cable Productions. Season one is executive produced by Jack Kenny (The Book of Daniel), who also serves as showrunner. David Simkins (Dresden Files) is executive producer, and Stephen Surjik (Monk, Burn Notice) is producer/director of the series.
As noted above, photo is copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!
Knock, knock – everyone is familiar with this opening to an age-old joke, right? It is no laughing matter, though, when a nameless hacker uses this as a calling card to announce that they have gained access to the US government’s top secret storage facility for a myriad of strange objects, artifacts and relics, all of which possess unusual powers. Its caretaker, Artie Nielsen, is none-too-pleased with this trespasser, and is shocked to discover that the intruder is someone from his past – Claudia Donovan. She has a proposition for him, one he cannot refuse. It is literally a matter of life and death for her, but for Allison Scagliotti, who plays Claudia in Warehouse 13, it was the start of a brand new acting venture, thanks to not one but three people from her past.
“I know a couple of the guys in the [Warehouse 13] writers’ room, Deric Hughes and Benjamin Raab; we had worked together on a web series for NBC called Gemini Division with Rosario Dawson,” says Scagliotti. “We’d stayed in touch, and when the role of Claudia surfaced among the scripts in development, they called me and said, ‘Allison, you’re so right for this part.’ They talked with the show runner, Jack Kelly, who, coincidentally, I worked with five years ago on a pilot. So everything sort of aligned perfectly. I spoke with Jack, who explained to me what the show was all about, and then said, ‘Let me send you a copy of the pilot script so you can make sure you’re even interested in being a part of it.’
“As soon as I read the pilot I was hooked. I was riveted by the chemistry between the Pete [Eddie McClintock] and Myka [Joanne Kelly] characters, not to mention how fascinating Saul Rubinek [Artie] is to watch, and, of course, with the prospect of being part of a show that balances fantasy with comedy. So I went in to audition with Central Casting at NBC, and within a week I went from a full-load school [university] curriculum to working long hours in Toronto. It was awesome.”
Scagliotti makes her Warehouse 13 debut in the aptly titled season one episode Claudia. In it, her character of Claudia Donovan kidnaps Artie from the Warehouse and takes him to an abandoned makeshift lab. Since she was a young girl, she has blamed him for an experiment that killed her brother Joshua (Tyler Hynes). Now, however, Claudia is convinced that he did not die but is, in fact, trapped in an alternate dimension and she wants Artie to re-create the experiment in order to get him back. While Artie’s colleagues, Pete Lattimer and Myka Bering, try to find him, he sees for himself that Claudia is right. The actress laughs when asked what sticks out most in her mind about her first day on the job.
“That’s easy, Saul Rubinek. I was nervous. I don’t get nervous a lot, but I love this project so much that I really wanted to make sure everything I did was just right. You can’t always be perfect, but you are capable of being great, and I remember connecting with Saul immediately. We had chemistry like we had been working together for 30 years. He is an amazing guy and I’ve learned so much from him. The scene I shot on my first day is actually my first scene in the episode, and if you saw it you know that it was long and complicated. Saul and I both worked up a sweat and I roughed him up quite a bit. I was concerned that I was going to hurt him, but Saul was like, ‘No, let’s go. Let’s commit. Let’s do this.’ After that day working with him, I felt right at home. I can’t think of a more creative, fulfilling experience than doing scenes with Saul. It’s a dream come true for me.
“As far as working on the entire episode, it was definitely a challenge because the show has this neat balance of comedy with the action-adventure of pursuing artifacts and the fantastical elements and powers they possess. So it was always in the forefront of our efforts – Saul, director Steve Surjik, and me – to make sure that there was a balance. If we were delivering witty dialogue, the emotional stakes could not be compromised, and if we were in the middle of a very dramatic moment, we didn’t want things to get too melodramatic and that there was some lightness as well. The [shooting] days were long, but I never got tired because I was having so much fun. I had never worked with that level of special effects before, so that was really interesting to watch. We were filming underground in a church, which was dressed as a lab, and they pumped dust and smoke in there every day to make it look mystical. It was just so exciting.”
Although he is an unwilling participant at first, Artie ultimately helps Claudia save her brother. In the following episode, Elements, Artie uses his influence to get Joshua a government job where he can put his scientific genius to good use. As for Claudia, it is decided that her talents would be better served working as part of the Warehouse team as opposed to against it. While it would be easy for Scagliotti to play the stereotypical brainy young know-it-all, she has made her character much more than that.
“Claudia is smart and sassy and has an attitude, but she’s also efficient and adds an important skill set to the Warehouse,” explains the actress. “She identifies set goals and goes after them with passion, whether it’s bringing her brother back from interdimensional space, or showing Artie what can be done with a sort of steampunk take on things, rather than his old, possibly crotchety, set-in-his-ways methods,” jokes Scagliotti. “You definitely see my character go from angsty, bitter and possibly lost to feeling really at home in the Warehouse as well as having a genuine gratitude and love for her newfound family and a desire to help in every possible way.
“If Artie is our all-knowing uncle, then Claudia is like the little punk sister to the Pete and Myka characters. Myka would be the overachieving, honor student, older sister, while Pete is the goofball jock. Eddie is the best. There is never a dull moment with him on-set. We’re all constantly trying to find ways to mess with each other, Eddie especially. He’s kind of a prankster. For example, right before a take, he’ll do something to make me laugh and then I’ll have to try extra hard to keep a straight face. Eddie does a Don Knotts impression that would blow you away. It’s kind of an odd impression to do, but he does it with style.”
Having started out in an effects-heavy episode, the actress has grown used to working with green screen along with other visual/special effects and is enjoying that aspect of her involvement in Warehouse 13. “There’s an episode coming up where my character becomes magnetized to the Warehouse ceiling,” she says. “I was literally 20-something feet up in the air and perched on a steel girder, while behind me it was all green screen. I got to do a lot of cool stuff up on a wire, and I used a zip-line at one point as well. In the episode after Claudia, my character is fixing what she broke while hacking into the Warehouse and she causes a little spark in the power grid that shoots off some fireworks. That was interesting because I wasn’t expecting the spark to be as big as it was during the first take. So my reaction was pretty authentic, especially when a spark landed in my hair. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer any scalp burn or hair loss,” jokes the actress.
When it comes to her favorite Warehouse 13 episode, Scagliotti wastes no time in choosing one. “It’s the one where we chase after Edgar Allen Poe’s pen,” she says. “I geeked out over that episode because I’m a huge Poe fan. In fact, the shirt I’m wearing right now has a Poe quote on it. We had the chance to shoot inside a college of theology within the University of Toronto, which was just beautiful with its high ceilings and vaulted, Gothic-style architecture. There are a lot of stunts in that episode, too, including one where I full-on tackle a guy.
“There’s also a scene in the episode, again right after Claudia, between my character and her brother Joshua wherein she becomes emotional because he’s decided to move on with his life and Claudia has to figure out what to do with hers. It’s sort of a transitional feeling, which was a challenge. It’s always a challenge to become emotional in a scene, but the director [Ken Giotti] was extremely accommodating as far as whatever I needed, and Tyler, who played Joshua, was great in the scene, so I hope it comes across as touching as we all hoped it would.”
Looking ahead to the first season finale of Warehouse 13, the actress hints at what fans can expect. “It starts hot,” notes Scagliotti. “In the opening teaser there’s a fire going on and the threat of a villain. I can’t go into specifics, but the threat is extremely real because this individual has a past connection to the Warehouse. And there’s also suspicion that security has been compromised by someone on the inside.
That’s about all I can tell you. It was very, very exciting to shoot and the director [Stephen Surjik], who also directed Claudia, is a fantastic guy. During the final days of filming, we were shooting underground in this abattoir, so it was freezing and really smelly. I didn’t have to work on those last few days, but I hung out on-set just to spend time with everyone because I could not imagine this amazing ride ending. We were there until four in the morning on that last day, but it was worth it. We’ve become quite the family team,” enthuses the actress.
At the age of five, Scagliotti did an impression of actor/comedian Bill Cosby for her family’s pool man. When her Mom saw that, she knew what she had to do. “My Mom was like, ‘We’ve got to find an outlet for this [talent],'” she recalls. “So I joined my elementary school drama department. I also took ballet for eight years and learned piano as well, so if I hadn’t moved to Los Angeles I would have gone to a performing arts high school and possibly moved to New York.
“When I was 11, I met an acting coach who was giving a seminar at a Barnes and Noble in the small town of Mandeville, Louisiana where I was living. He encouraged me to try my had at [TV] pilot season, so my Mom and I did our homework and I gave it a shot. I was very lucky to get an agent along with a manager and book a pilot with Chevy Chase, which is pretty much unheard of for an 11-year-old just starting out in the business. But that was the beginning of all this and I never looked back.”
Prior to Warehouse 13, Scagliotti appeared in a handful of made-for-TV movies as well as guest-starred on several other TV shows including One Tree Hill, Drake & Josh, ER, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and most recently in an episode of Mental, House of Mirrors, which was shot on-location in Bogota, Columbia. “I had never been to South America before,” says the actress, “so that in itself was an experience. It’s a place with a lot of layers, and [the city] is at the base of the Andes, which is just beautiful.
“The role itself was a tricky one for me. My character was born a boy, but through a botched circumcision was raised as a girl, her Mom committed suicide, and she developed a condition called dysmorphia. Even though it’s a small statistic, it’s something that does occur and I read up on the original story that this episode is based on. My main concern was making sure I was truthful as well as respectful to those who were either affected by it or know people who experienced it. It’s important to me to never fake emotions going on in a scene, so in some ways I feel like perhaps I committed too much to the emotionality of what was going on. However, I don’t regret it because I wouldn’t have wanted to fall short of my goals for the impact of the episode.
“The hardest thing to shoot was the suicide scene. The fire was all CGI [computer-generated image] except for one flame bar that they held in front of my face for the lighting. We shot that scene for a while because of the various angles and pouring that bottle of rum, which was actually water, and lighting the match. I had worked with the director [David Jackson] a couple of years ago, and the two of us sat down and talked about how it should go. I was exhausted afterwards, but at the end of the day I’m happy with the episode. I hope it resonated with people, and for people who didn’t know that that kind of thing happens, that it educated them and made them aware of this unfortunate condition.”
This summer, the actress can be seen in National Lampoon’s Endless Bummer and My Name is Jerry. Next month, she starts work on a play being directed by Alden Ehrenreich, who appeared in Frances Ford Coppola’s Tetro. Besides her acting commitments, she is a full-time college student and majoring in English. To some, this might sound like a lot to have on your plate, but Scagliotti would not have it any other way.
“I like to have focuses outside of the business,” she says. “It’s so easy to develop tunnel vision and become obsessive over projects, characters or just the way the whole machine works. And I find if I’m taking a class, it expands me as a person. I become fuller and more aware of the world as well as people and history, all of which I can bring to a performance as opposed to manufacturing it with only a script. So far I’ve been really fortunate to have professors who have worked with me and allowed me to continue to take my classes as I’m acting. If the workload gets too much, then I trim things. I took 10 units during season one of Warehouse 13 and it worked out just fine. I flew home to take my final and it was all good.”
As noted above, all photos by Justin Stephens or Philippe Bosse and copyright of The Syfy Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!
THE Sci Fi Channel is pleased to present the all-new original one-hour dramedy adventure series Warehouse 13 starring Eddie McClintock (Bones, Desperate Housewives) and Joanne Kelly (Vanished, Jeremiah). The 11-episode first season premieres with the special 2-hour pilot on Tuesday, July 7th from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST/PST. After saving the life of the President, two Secret Service agents, Pete Lattimer (McClintock) and Myka Bering (Kelly), find themselves abruptly transferred to Warehouse 13 – a massive top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government.
Pete Lattimer is a handsome, athletic Secret Service agent whose impulsive, intuitive nature often leads him to leap before he looks. There is hardly a situation so dire in which he can’t find the lighter side. Secret Service Agent Myka Bering is a woman born to be a government agent. Organized and focused, she believes in hard work, solid planning and steadfast execution. Her buttoned-up approach is the opposite of Pete’s off-the-cuff style.
Warehouse 13’s caretaker, veteran Secret Service Agent Artie Nielsen, played by Saul Rubinek (Frasier, Nero Wolfe), charges Pete and Myka with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity involving new objects that “threaten to ruin the world’s day” and safely bringing them back to the vaults of the warehouse. Three-time Emmy award nominee CCH Pounder (The Shield) guest-stars as Artie’s boss, Mrs. Frederic.
Brilliant visual effects bring Warehouse 13 to life, making it a character unto itself. Filled with palpable energy, the Warehouse comes alive as viewers learn about the artifacts that possess extraordinary powers and untold secrets.
Back on June 12th, series leads Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly along with Warehouse 13 executive producers Jack Kenny and David Simkins very kindly took time out of their busy day to speak with me as well as several other journalists about the show. The following is an edited version of their Q & A with us.
The first question is for Eddie and Joanne – can you tell us a bit about the audition process for your roles and what first attracted you to this project?
EDDIE McCLINTOCK – Joanne and I went into the audition room together to read, and it was like I’d known her for years. We just kind of hit it off, so I think that there was just a natural chemistry that came across in the room. At least that’s how I felt.
JOANNE KELLY – I messed up a line and Eddie started making fun of me in the audition. So I stopped and tried to restart the audition, and there were our two characters. I mean, it was pretty much right on the money.
EDDIE – It was Joanne/Myka taking control and Pete/Eddie basically acting the fool [jokes McClintock]. As far as what attracted me to the role, for me, the Pete character kind of encompassed all the things in one character that I’d always wanted to play. I’ve been able to play pieces of this character at different times, but Pete gets to do everything. He gets to be smart as well as funny and heroic. That, to me, is a dream [acting] job, so I love this character.
JOANNE – It was the same for me. There aren’t a lot of women characters that are written as dynamically as Myka, so I was really excited to find that she’s smart, funny, dramatic, sad, etc. She also has a history and is vulnerable at times, and strong at other times. She really is such a well-rounded character and I was drawn to her right off the bat when I read the script, so I’m quite pleased about the whole thing.
For David and Jack, what would you say were some of the initial writing and/or production challenges getting Warehouse 13 off the ground?
JACK KENNY – Any new series involves similar challenges- where are we going to go with this, are we going to arc out the first season or is each episode going to be individual, what are we going to learn about our characters, etc. One of the things we did was bring Saul, Joanne and Eddie into the writers’ room and sat together with them for a session. We talked about their characters and let them talk about their characters as well. We also talked to them personally – what do they like, what do they do, what are their hobbies, do any of them speak other languages or play instruments, what are their relationships with family members, and other topics so that we could sort of mine who they are as individuals.
Every show I’ve ever done has been a family show, whether it’s a workplace comedy or an actual family show. So in building this family of a brother/sister/father team, we want to bring who they [as actors] are to their roles. I mean, once you cast an actor in a part and once he or she takes on a role, they bring who they are to it, so you want to mold that role to them. We were all very fortunate in that these guys were so much like these characters to start with, and in crafting the pilot, I think David [Simkins] made these roles a nice fit for Jo and Eddie to slip into, and Saul as well.
So the challenges were finding the directions to take these characters in, where they could grow and learn about each other and their relationships with one another could deepen. And then, of course, because it’s got all these elements, we didn’t want to do a strictly procedural show because there’s plenty of that on TV already. These actors are so much more interesting than just, you know, standing around with a notepad asking questions. Rather than have them investigate and just follow a trail, our challenge is to make them experience the adventure at the same time as we, the viewers, are. We don’t really want the audience to learn much about what’s going on ahead of when our characters do. We want our viewers and our characters to be on the same ride. That’s been something we wanted to do and we’ve done it kind of differently in every episode. And rather than a challenge, that’s just been a goal of ours.
Pete and Myka have already been compared to Mulder and Scully [from The X-Files], so how would you describe your characters’ relationship and how do they approach situations differently?
EDDIE – I’ve been describing our relationship as Pete being kind of the younger brother who’s constantly pulling at Myka’s pigtails and she, in turn, is always punching him in the arm, and that’s actually how it goes, minus the pigtails. So that’s how I look at it right now, as them having a brother/sister-type relationship. It’s still in its infancy, too, so there’s the question of where will it [their relationship] go from here. It’s hard to say, but for the moment I think they’re brother/sister/great friends who have a tremendous amount of respect for one another, even though they constantly pick at one another. That, for me, is what makes it such a great, fun relationship to play.
JOANNE – I think Eddie hit it right on the nose. That’s definitely our [characters’] relationship, and the thing that I like about the way it progresses is that there’s so much that these characters, Pete and Myka, learn from one another. They’re so different and you see the gelling of two processes and the success that comes from that. My character is very isolated at the beginning, and Pete is, too, in a way, and you then see these two people gradually open up to one another, which I think that’s really special. And whether it be in a brother/sister way or a romantic way, you see these two people constantly learning more about the other and, you know, making fun of one another and helping each other. So it makes it very human and very real, I think.
JACK – Just in terms of my observation of noticing the different between Pete and Myka from Mulder and Scully. The thing I love about, for example, the character of Indiana Jones is that he always feels like he’s kind of, not lost, but vulnerable. He never feels like he knows much more about the situation than you know as you’re watching, but he manages to get through things and find his way. That’s the sense I get with Pete and Myka. They’re sort of thrown into these situations, a different one every time. They don’t know what’s going to happen. They don’t know how an artifact works, or all the ramifications or possibilities of what could happen, but they’re getting through it anyway using their wits as well as observational powers and all those things. That, to me, feels more like an adventure than what Mulder and Scully went on. Theirs had more of a darker kind of feel.
Eddie, what’s it like working opposite Saul Rubinek?
EDDIE – Not to sound too trite, but it’s like a dream come true for me. True Romance is one of my all-time favorite movies, and in it Saul plays a character named Lee Donowitz, and for years I’ve been quoting this man who I’ve never met. You know how guys do that; they love to quote movies. And on the day of Saul’s [screen]test, I’d been cast and he hadn’t been cast yet, and he came in and I was thinking, “Oh, I’m sitting here next to Lee Donowitz, this man who I’ve been idolizing.” Saul has done all these amazing movies and had such a great career, so the fact that I was possibly going to be helping him get his job [on Warehouse 13] was a mind-blower for me. And I continue to try to grab the pebble from his hand every day. Saul is kind of my actor’s sensi and he’s become a really great friend. So it’s awesome. Coming from Ohio and being an insurance agent out of college for seven months before I got fired by my uncle, to working in a great series with Jack, David, Joanne, Saul, CC, etc, again, I’m living the dream.
Have you guys been freaked out on-set by some of the stuff that you have to do? I know some of it is kind of freaky paranormal stuff. Have you ever thought, “Oh, no, I don’t want to do that.”
JOANNE – I think Eddie was pretty freaked out about the ferret that was trying to climb all over his face in the pilot. Sometimes when we’re walking through our set it’s like being a big kid because the stuff in there is so cool, and I can’t wait until people see the show and the artifacts outside of the pilot because they’re really neat.
EDDIE – Pete is in his own environment there. I mean, he’s in hog heaven. My character is basically a big kid and now he gets to play with adult toys, which is what he’s wanted to do his whole life, so he’s right at home there.
JACK – We keep coming up with really cool areas to explore in the warehouse, too. We’ve got the “Dark Vault” coming up where the super dangerous stuff is kept. We’ve got “The Gooery,” where the purple goo is pumped throughout the warehouse to keep objects in line with themselves, and “The Bronze Sector,” where the most frightening people in the world have been preserved, people you’ve never heard of. Not the Hitlers, but the people who would have become the Hitlers.
Our production designer, Franco De Cotiis, is just a genius. Every week we’re on an entirely different set, an entirely different location, and he designs these big mechanical, scary looking things that are just the neatest things to work with and they look amazing. And then Derick Underschultz lights everything so beautifully. They’ve created this incredible world and every week we throw new ideas at them and they create more new things. It’s amazing.
Pandora’s Box is referenced in the pilot and you just touched upon the vault. Are there any artifacts that you’ve found just a little too daunting to actually build an episode around, or was there one in particular that posed the biggest creative challenge?
DAVID SIMKINS – There is an artifact that we’ve been kicking around the writers’ room for quite a while, and that’s Hitler’s microphone. It’s a really interesting concept to sort of take something from history that we’re all very aware of and the incredible, tragic worldwide consequences of that. But what would happen if somebody got hold of that microphone and it possessed some sort of ability or power to transfer the ability to convince people to do very, very wrong things? It was an artifact that circled the writers’ room quite a bit and I think it’s still circling.
JACK – It’s an interesting debate because some people felt that they didn’t want to diminish the evil that was Adolf Hitler by saying that it was, you know, because of a microphone. Then, however, we said it wasn’t because of the microphone, but rather the microphone became imbued with the evil that was Adolf Hitler. But David is right, we’re still circling it.
DAVID – In terms of other artifacts, when we’re sitting around the writers’ room trying to come up with something, it really comes down to what artifacts can we explore that will reflect on our two characters in a really cool and interesting way. And I think part of Hitler’s microphone – and this goes for other artifacts – is that when the artifact begins to swamp or take over the characters, story or relationship we’re trying to explore, the artifact may then get sort of pushed aside. If we can do an artifact that sort of forces Pete and Myka to look at themselves or at the world around them in a different way or get the audience to sort of reconsider something, then we know we’ve come up withan artifact that we can probably run with. It really comes down to the artifact serving the story as opposed to letting it run the story.
For Eddie and Joanne, which artifact has been your favorite so far in season one, or what episode has been your favorite so far?
EDDIE –There’s an episode called “Breakdown,” where we end up kind of trapped in the warehouse. That was a favorite for me because it was so much fun and we just had a great time. There was a lot of physical stuff or comedy for me to do it in, which I just love. Hopefully I do it well, but I know I that I have a great deal of fun doing it. And then there was “Burnout” where we discover this artifact called the Spine of Serafson. That’s an episode where I really got to explore where I am right now as an actor and who I am as an actor, so that was a great challenge for me.
JOANNE – I’d have to say that my favorite artifact so far has been Lewis Carroll’s mirror because the episode itself was a huge challenge for me and a lot of fun. I got to kick up my heels a little bit. Also, I’m a big Lewis Carroll fan and have been for years and years. Alice Through the Looking Glass and Alice In Wonderland are two of my favorite books, so that episode was really special for me.
For Eddie and Joanne – did either of you come into this project with a particular buddy vibe that inspired you or informed what you did (onscreen)?
EDDIE – For me , I just come in with no expectations and, hopefully, I like the person that I’m working with. So with this I didn’t have any preconceived notions. It just so happened that Joanne and I click. It’s one of these things where there’s chemistry. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. In this case, it does.
JOANNE – The script that we auditioned for and what we ended up shooting – and are still in the process of filming – has gone through such a change. It’s grown as we’ve grown as characters and as we’ve worked more and more together, this relationship is blooming. Eddie and I are both different. Our processes are very different and the kind of energy that comes from that when two opposing forces “collide” is what you see onscreen. Eddie makes me laugh every day and I always have a great time on-set because he’s there and it’s just been a pleasure to work with him. He’s really great.
For Jack and David – was there an idea of how the buddy vibe was conceived of originally that maybe changed after Joanne and Eddie came in?
DAVID – You know, I don’t think it’s changed. I think it’s just become enhanced. The idea or the basis of these characters is something that the Sci Fi Channel had been sort of living with for a few years. They’ve had this project in development for a long time and were pretty clear about the type of relationship they were looking for. And when I came in to work on the pilot, it was just a matter of looking to them and then digging back into my own toolbox and pulling out as much of that stuff as I could. When Eddie and Joanne walked into the audition room and sort of took over these characters, it was a real eye-opening experience because I think Sci Fi and I felt we were on the right track and that where we were going with these two characters could definitely be done. And then when Eddie and Joanne took over the roles, Jack and I along with the writers have really been writing to them as well as their characters, their speaking styles and their attitudes. I have to say that writing for them has been one of the easiest things to do. It’s writing for the artifacts which is pretty difficult.
JACK – It’s interesting, too, because to me, 90% of the success of any pilot is the casting and finding the right people for the roles that are created. And then 90% of the success of a series is being able to write to these people who you’ve cast. We want to write to their strengths. We can hear their voices in our heads as we’re writing. The challenge of every writing staff in town is to key into their actors. It always takes a couple of episodes to get hold of that, but we’ve really gotten into Saul’s, Eddie’s and Jo’s rhythms and cadences as well as strengths and everything else we can find about them. The same thing is true with CCH Pounder and Allison Scagliotti, who’s joining our series later in Episode 4 [as Claudia Donovan] and Genelle Williams, who plays Leena. Writing towards their strengths is what will make the series strong, I think.
Is there a Warehouse 12 or Warehouse 15 or a Warehouse 8?
DAVID – We just finished a document that sort of tracks the chronology of the warehouses. In our mythology, the first warehouse was created by Alexander [the Great] in an effort to keep hold of the artifacts that he collected on his wars. It didn’t last long, though, because Alexander died young, but then the library at Alexandria was a warehouse, too, where various books and other items were stored. So we’ve tracked the chronology of empires and our feeling is that the warehouse has moved from empire to empire throughout the ages, moving to the country that was best able to protect it. It was in the Western Roman empire, the Byzantine empire, all the way up to the Russian empire, the British empire and then, finally, the United States. In one of the early warehouses it was established that a board of directors called The Regents would be in charge of it. They were also in charge of deciding when and where to move the warehouse. So we’ve established this long history of the number of warehouses through the ages, and eventually when we get it all polished up, maybe it will show up on the [show’s] website or something.
As noted above, all photos by Philippe Bosse or Justin Stephens and copyright of The Sci Fi Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!