Saul Rubinek as Artie Nielsen, Joanne Kelly as Myka Bering and Eddie McClintock as Pete Lattimer in Warehouse 13. Photo by Justin Stephens and copyright of The Sci Fi Channel
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.
Joanne Kelly as Myka Bering in the season one episode "Resonance." Photo by Philippe Bosse and copyright of The Sci Fi Channel
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.
Eddie McClintock as Pete Lattimer in the season one episode "Magnetism." Photo by Philippe Bosse and copyright of The Sci Fi Channel
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.
Saul Rubinek as Artie Nielsen and Allison Scagliotti as Claudia Donovan in Warehouse 13. Photo by Justin Stephens and copyright of The Sci Fi Channel
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.
Saul Rubinek as Artie Nielsen and Genelle Williams as Leena in Warehouse 13. Photo by Justin Stephens and copyright of The Sci Fi Channel
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.
CCH Pounder as Artie's boss Mrs. Frederic in Warehouse 13. Photo by Philippe Bosse and copyright of The Sci Fi Channel
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!