On Tuesday, July 7th, the SCI FI Channel rebrands itself as Syfy and celebrates by premiering its new sf/fantasy series, Warehouse 13 [9/8C] – the adventures of a pair of Secret Service agents whose job it is to track down exotic, potentially dangerous objects worth unique powers and, as Artie, Warehouse 13’s supervisor, puts it, “Hunt down whatever is threatening to ruin the world’s day and snag it, bag, and tag it.” I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a teleconference with the show’s leads, Eddie McClintock [Stark Raving Mad, Bones] and Joanne Kelly [Vanished, Diamonds], showrunner/executive producer Jack Kenny [Titus, The Book of Daniel] and executive producer David Simkins [Blade: The Series, The Dresden Files].
Also taking part were: Steve Eramo, TV Zone Magazine; Bryan Cairns, Sci Fi Wire; Troy Rogers, Deadbolt.com; Alex Davies, Flash News; Julia Diddy, Fancast.com; Blaine Kyllo, Cinema Spy; David Martindale, Hearst Newspapers; Brian Truitt, USA Weekend Magazine; Mike Hughes, TD America; Jamoe Ruby, Media Blvd, and Michael Hinman, Airlock Alpha.
Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. My first question is actually for Eddie and Joanne and I was wondering maybe if you could tell us a little bit about the audition process for your roles and maybe what first attracted you to the project.
Eddie McClintock: I’ll let Joanne go first.
Joanne Kelly: No, I want you to answer.
McClintock: Well, you know, the audition process for me, I was coming off my sixth or seventh test refusal and basically I was in tears in the waiting room and Joanne kind of talked me down off the ledge and this is right before she and I went in together.
So when we went in together, you know, I just – it was – to me it was like I’ve known Joanne for years and we just kind of hit it off and this was before we had even, you know, started to read together. So I think that there was just a natural chemistry that came across in the room, at least that’s how I felt.
Kelly: Yeah, I screwed up a line and he started making fun of me in the audition and I stopped them and told – tried to restart the audition again and those were the two characters. I mean, it was kind of right on the money.
McClintock: Yeah, Joanne/Myka taking control and Pete/Eddie McClintock acting a fool basically. And as far as what attracted me to the role, it was definitely the money. They said, you know, you’ll make a bunch of money and I was like I’m in.
No, you know, for me the character, the Pete character kind of encompassed all the things that in one character that I’d always wanted to play. I’ve been able to play pieces of this character at different times but, you know, Pete to me, he kind of gets to do everything. He gets to be smart and funny and he gets to be heroic and, you know, to me that’s the dream job. So I love the character.
Kelly: Yeah, me as well. You know, there’s not a lot of women characters that are written as dynamically as Myka is. And I was so excited that she was so smart and has a history and a past and is vulnerable at times, and strong at others, and funny and dramatic and sad. I mean, it really is such a round role and I was so drawn to it when I read the script right off the bat so I’m quite pleased — quite pleased with myself at this point.
Excellent. And then I just have a follow-up question for David and Jack if I could. And I wanted to find out from you guys if maybe you could tell us what were some of the initial maybe writing and/or production challenges getting Warehouse 13 off the ground would you say?
David Simkins: You mean the series?
Simkins: Jack why don’t you take that? This is David. Go ahead Jack.
Jack Kenny: Jack this is David, take that. Hey thanks.
Simkins: That’s one of the challenges is who goes first.
Kenny: No, any new series involves similar challenges, you know, where are we going to go, are we going to arc out the first season or is each episode going to be individual? What – we’re learning about these characters and these people.
One of the things we did was we brought Saul and Jo and Eddie into the writer’s room and we all sat together and we had a session. And we talked about the characters and let them talk about the characters, we talked about them personally, what do they like, what do they do, what are their hobbies, do any of them speak languages or play instruments. You know, what are their relationships with family members and things so that we could sort of mine who they were as individuals.
Because, you know, my approach has always been that – every show I’ve ever done is a family show whether it’s a workplace comedy or an actual family show. And so in building this family of this brother and sister and father team that we’ve got going we wanted to sort of bring who they were to the roles.
Because, you know, once you cast an actor in a part, once an actor, you know, takes on a role, they bring who they are to it so you have to kind of – you want to mold that role to them. And we were all very fortunate in that these guys were so much like these characters to start with and David in crafting the pilot I think really made it a nice fit for Jo and Eddie to slip into these parts and Saul as well.
So our challenges were, you know, going, you know, finding the directions to take these characters in where they could grow and learn about each other and the relationships could deepen. And then also of course we wanted to – we wanted to, you know, I’m starting to call this show so many things. Now I think I’m calling it an action adventure proceduromedy.
Kelly: My God, it gets bigger and bigger.
Kenny: Yeah, well because it’s got all these elements and so we didn’t want to do a strictly procedural show because there’s plenty of that on TV. And these actors are so much more interesting than just, you know, standing around with a notepad asking questions. So we, you know, our challenge was to not – 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 are.
In other words, I don’t – we don’t really want the audience to learn much about what’s going on ahead of when our characters do. We want our audience and our characters to be on the same ride. So that’s been something we wanted to do and we’ve done it kind of differently in every episode.
You know, sometimes we know what an artifact is going into it, sometimes we don’t know what it is and we’ve got to find it, but our – we’ve always wanted to sort of go on the ride with them. And that’s – rather than a challenge that’s just been a goal of ours to do. Dave?
Simkins: Well said Jack, well said.
Kenny: Oh thank you.
Kenny: Does that answer your question, or was there…
No, it does and listen, I just wanted to tell you guys I thought the pilot was great and I want to wish you the best of luck and success with the show.
Kelly: Thank you so much.
McClintock: Thank you man, thank you.
Kenny: Thank you.
Kelly: Thank you. Yea.
Kenny: Did he say no it doesn’t? Did I screw up?
Kelly: No it sounded great.
I have two questions and thanks for doing this conference call. For Eddie and Joanne — Peter and Myka have already been compared to Mulder and Scully so how would you describe your characters’ relationship and how do they approach situations differently?
McClintock: Joanne, I guess I’ll go first, yeah?
Kelly: Yeah, yeah.
McClintock: You know, I’ve kind of been describing our relationship as I’m kind of the younger brother who’s constantly pulling at her pigtails and she’s in turn always punching me in the arm, you know, and it’s actually kind of how it goes minus the pigtails. I mean, if they did a gag reel of how many times, you know, Myka/Joanne punches Pete/Eddie in the stomach or in the arm or, you know, it’s kind of – I look at it right now in it’s kind of a brother/sister relationship.
You know, it’s still in its infancy so where it will go from here it’s hard to say but, you know, I think we are a brother/sister/great friends who have a tremendous amount of respect for one another even though we constantly pick at one another. And so… which makes it just a great, fun thing to play for me.
Kelly: Yeah, yeah, I think Eddie’s right on the nose of course. That is definitely our relationship. And the thing that I like about the way that it progresses is that there’s so much that these characters learn from one another, Pete and Myka. I mean, they’re so different and you see the gelling of two processes and the success that comes from that. And you see my character is very isolated at the beginning and his too is too in a way and you see these two people gradually open up to one another and 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 the other for it and helping the other. So it makes it very human and very real I think.
Kenny: In the show and to – sorry, this is Jack but I want – just in terms of my observation of noticing the difference between Pete and Myka from Mulder and Scully. You know, the thing that I love about like the character of Indiana Jones is he always feels like he’s kind of not lost, but vulnerable. He always feels like – he never feels like he knows much more about the situation than you know as you’re watching him but he manages to get through and find his way.
And 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, they don’t know all the ramifications or possibilities what could happen but they’re getting through it anyway using their wits and their observation powers and all those things. And that to me feels more like an adventure than Mulder and Scully went on. That was a more – a darker kind of a feel. This is more of an adventure for them.
Okay. And my second question, sorry, was for David. Battlestar Galactica used Webisodes to give viewers something extra. Have you considered going that route? And if so, what are you hoping to provide content wise?
Simkins: We actually have considered Webisodes but at the moment the production is sort of taking all our energies and all our imagination to sort of make sure that we line up those ducks properly.
I’m not sure yet if Webisodes are going to be part of the first season package. My sense is it probably will but right now we’re really focusing on the show and making sure they’re as good as they can be without sort of draining off resources for the Webisodes at this moment. But I would say keep your eyes peeled. They’re going to be on the Web pretty soon.
The first question is for Eddie and Joanna or Joanne. That was Pete and Myka, I find it funny that he’s like a kid in a candy store and she thinks the assignment is a punishment. I just wonder, why doesn’t she realize that this job is bigger than protecting any president?
Kelly: Well I think when anyone is thrust into a situation where they’re not given the facts or the whole truth behind it, there is a bit of apprehension or reticence, sorry. You know, her journey opens up a lot more as the series progresses.
But I think that in life, in life when we are given a situation that is strange and at this point almost inconceivable, I mean, it’s pretty wild, it’s pretty out there, and this is somebody who thinks in black and white and she’s proven wrong by the warehouse, by the very existence of it. I don’t think this is anything that she had even dreamt could be possible. And I think the lack of answers and the lack of factual documents or the lack of guidance affect her and makes her push against that idea.
But I think that reaction as you’ll see in the series once it airs, it changes and it grows as she learns more and more about the warehouse.
Was that actual cow manure you were standing in?
Was that actual cow manure that you were standing in?
Kenny: In the pilot.
Kelly: Actual what?
Kenny: Cow manure.
McClintock: I think it was.
Simkins: Cow poop. When you were standing outside the warehouse Joanne and we had that big pile of dirt.
Kelly: Oh cow manure? Yeah I grew up on a farm. I didn’t care.
Simkins: That was part of the initiation. It was kind of a cow manure boot camp when we showed up. That was the first day of shooting so I was going to just shovel all that cow poop as a…
Kelly: Yeah and that cow mooed on cue, man.
Kenny: Nobody told her it was cow manure. Now you’ve given – now she’s going to panic retroactively.
Kelly: Yeah I grew up on a farm with goats and horses and stuff so a little bit of poo doesn’t really faze me.
Eddie I wanted to know what it’s like working opposite of Saul.
McClintock: Working opposite of Saul?
McClintock: You know, not to sound too trite but it’s like a dream come true for me. You know, True Romance is one of my all time favorite movies and Saul played this character Lee Donowitz and, you know, for years I have been quoting this man who I’ve never met. You know how guys do that. They love to quote – do movie quotes.
McClintock: And so, you know, the day of the test, you know, I actually, you know, I had been cast and Saul had not been cast yet and he came in and I just was like oh, I’m sitting here next to Lee Donowitz, this man that I’ve been idolizing. You know, plus Unforgiven and, you know, on and on, all these amazing movies that he’s done. He’s had such a great career. So the fact that I was going to be possibly helping him to get his job was a mind blower for me.
And, you know, he’s – I continue to try and grab the pebble from his hand every day. You know, he’s kind of my actor sensei and he’s become a really great friend. So it’s awesome. You know, 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 and David and Joanne and Saul and CC and Allison, it’s – I mean, I’m living the dream.
Excellent. One quick thing for Jack and David. As soon as they arrived at the warehouse I couldn’t shake thoughts of the warehouse in Indiana Jones or even the partnership in Men in Black for some reason. Were either of those inspiration for this?
Simkins: I wouldn’t say – this is David speaking. I wouldn’t say so much inspiration as opposed to just, you know, touching upon cultural touchstones and dramatic touchstones and cinematic touchstones. You know, we – Jack and I – in going back and sitting with the characters and with the characters in the writer’s room, we talk a lot about, you know, the Thin Man series, Myrna Loy, William Powell, we talk about Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy.
You know, it’s not – it goes far beyond, you know, the more sort of recent I think aspects. We’re really digging into those, past those, beyond those, and looking at real good basic storytelling archives that we can constantly sort of reflect on and occasionally, you know, use to help us tell our story.
So it’s really – I think what you’re talking about though is in those kinds of relationships and those kind of settings is just the friction. The story to me with characters like Pete and Myka, the story of those characters always lives in the space between them. You know, what they believe at a certain moment or a potential betrayal or a revelation of a hidden secret.
Those things play in any relationship whether it be in Men in Black or Indi and Marion, Indiana Jones. They’re, you know, just really, really right, you know, avenues to explore. So I would say in answer to your question a little but not really.
Kenny: And I wasn’t involved in the pilot but I have always been in favor of stealing from the best. I thought it was really cool and I didn’t make the connection until somebody else brought it up. I thought it was a cool idea for a show.
I guess my first question is now since doing the show does it make you worry what our government might be heading in some warehouse somewhere?
Kenny: You weren’t worried about that before?
Yeah I’ve always been but maybe just a little more worried.
McClintock: No, now that Cheney is out of office I’m much less worried about that.
Kelly: Yeah me too. I’m Canadian so I don’t think our government is hiding much. I don’t think we have much to hide. But I’ve always been suspicious of the government. I mean, there’s conspiracy theories floating around especially after 9/11 and all that kind of stuff. I mean, and I think it’s fascinating, I mean, that there could be certain people in power that are hiding things from the masses.
Kenny: I’m actually in favor of it. I think, you know what, there’s a certain number of things I don’t want to know.
Kelly: I want to know about Area 51, I want to know about stuff like that, you know?
Kenny: Not me. Not me, I want to go on vacation. I’m perfectly happy with the government taking care of the scary stuff.
Kelly: No, I want to know the scary stuff — totally.
Oh my God, that’s so funny. Now 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. Are you kind of like oh no, I don’t want to do that.
Kelly: I think Eddie was pretty freaked out about the ferret that was trying to climb all over his face on the pilot. Yeah, there’s some really – like walking through our set sometimes is like being a big kid because the stuff in there is so cool. Like there’s some really cool, cool, cool stuff in our warehouse and I can’t wait until people see the show and see the stuff outside of the pilot because it’s really neat.
McClintock: Pete is in his own environment there. I mean, that’s – he’s in hog heaven. And, you know, he’s basically a giant kid and now he gets to play with adult toys, you know, that are just, you know, basically what he’s wanted to do his whole life so he’s right at home there.
Kenny: And we keep coming up with – this is Jack. We keep coming up with kind of 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 the objects in line with themselves. Our art director – I’m sorry, production designer, (Franco Decotis), is just a genius.
Kelly: He is a genius, yeah.
Kenny: Just genius. He comes up with every week we’re an entirely different set, an entirely different location, and he builds these things, these big mechanical scary looking things that are just the coolest stuff to work with and it just looks amazing. And then (Derrick Undersholtz) lights it so beautifully. It’s just – they have created this incredible world and every week we throw new stuff at them and they create more stuff. It’s amazing.
Kelly: It really is.
McClintock: And the bronze vault I thought is really cool too.
Kenny: Oh yeah, the bronze sector. We’ve got this area where the – yeah, where the most frightening people in the world have been preserved, people you never heard of — not the Hitlers, but the people that would have become the Hitlers.
Kelly: Yeah, it’s almost like the fruition of your imagination. It’s like your imagination actually comes to life every week when you walk onto these sets. It’s great, you know, scary a little.
Awesome. And how do you think you guys would fare as actual Secret Service agents? Do you think you’d be okay… think Obama would be safe in your hands?
McClintock: I mean, if it meant diving in front of things, if that was my job then I think I’d be all right.
Kelly: Yeah I think you’d be great.
McClintock: As long as it didn’t include, you know, mathematics.
Kenny: Eddie wants to know if there’s going to be math on the quiz.
Kelly: I love math, I’ll take the math. I – yeah, being a Secret Service agent would be cool, man. You could wear those headsets and run around with guns all the time. I mean, what’s not fun about that, right? Diving in front of the bullets maybe not so much but…
Kenny: How often does that happen though?
McClintock: That’s why Joanne and I are so like suited for our characters because it’s true. She is the mathematician and I’m the bullet-diver.
Kenny: It works out great.
My first question is for David or Jack, whoever would rather take it. Pandora’s Box is referenced in the pilot and you just touched upon the vault. Are there any artifacts that you just found a little too daunting to actually build an episode around or was there one in particular that posed, you know, the biggest creative challenge?
Simkins: Jack can I talk about the…
Kenny: Yeah this is Jack. David go ahead.
Simkins: Okay thank you. This is David. There is an artifact that we’ve been kicking around the writer’s room for quite a while, Hitler’s microphone.
Kenny: I knew you were going to say that.
Simkins: Yeah, and…
Kenny: I had a bug up my butt to do that one.
Simkins: And yeah, I’ve got to tell you, 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 a hold of that microphone and it possessed, you know, 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 writer’s room quite a bit and I think it’s still circling.
Kenny: Well it’s an interesting debate because some people felt that they didn’t want to diminish the evil that was Adolph Hitler by saying that it was, you know, because of a microphone. But then we said it wasn’t because of the microphone, it was that the microphone became imbued with the evil that was Adolph Hitler.
But it’s like – David’s right. We’re still circling it.
Simkins: And I have to say in terms of other artifacts, it’s when we’re, you know, sitting around in the room trying to land on 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 to other artifacts — is that when the artifact begins to swamp or take over the characters or the story or the relationship we’re trying to explore, the artifact may get sort of pushed aside.
If we can do an artifact that really sort of forces Pete and Myka to look at themselves or to look at the world around them a different way or to get the audience to sort of reconsider something, then we know we’ve landed on our artifact that we can probably run with. It really comes down to the artifact serving the story as opposed to letting the artifacts run the story.
McClintock: Yeah that’s why Freddie Mercury’s mustache hasn’t made it in yet. But I’m pushing, I’m pushing hard.
It’s an amazing creative playground you have to work with here so that’s going to be fun to see what comes up. For Eddie and Joanne, what was the artifact or which episode more generally has been your favorite to work on out of season one so far?
McClintock: I guess I’ll go first Jo.
McClintock: I’ve got to tell you, there’s actually been two. The one right before this when the bottle episode for us, is that Nevermore?
McClintock: 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 such a great time. And it was – there was a lot of physical stuff for me to do which is just stuff that I love to do. I love physical comedy. I love being able to do it and hopefully I do it well but I know that I have a great deal of fun doing it.
And then so – and then there was Burnout where we discover this artifact called the Spine of (Serafson). Am I allowed to talk about it specifically or…
Kenny: I wouldn’t get into too many specifics but you can talk about…
McClintock: Yeah I won’t get too specific but, you know, it was an episode for me where I really got to kind of explore where I am right now as an actor, who I am as an actor, and so that was kind of the biggest challenge. That was a great challenge for me, that episode. So those have been my two favorites.
Kelly: For me I would have to say that my favorite artifact so far has been Lewis Carroll’s mirror probably because it was the biggest acting challenge. It really was…
McClintock: She was so great.
Kelly: Thank you, thanks Eddie.
McClintock: You were so great.
Kelly: It was a huge challenge and it was a lot of fun. It was – I got to kick up my heels a little bit. So that’s probably been my favorite along with the fact that I’m such a 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 was really kind of special. That was my own special episode so far.
Kenny: That’s one of those things and I think you mentioned that Jo in one of the first things we all had with you as actors you talked about being a Lewis Carroll fan. And I don’t remember specifically but it may have been one of the impetuses for coming up with this Lewis Carroll story because, you know, we – it’s been our goal to design these episodes in their direction.
Kelly: Yeah, it’s very funny because you always – you’ll say something when Jack and David are around and you’ll get a script the next week and it will be in it. It’s such a great thing and scary.
McClintock: It’s funny because I, you know, we haven’t done one about Mad Magazine.
Simkins: It’s copyrighted.
McClintock: You know, I don’t get it.
Kenny: I think we do Mad Magazine every week. We do Spy vs. Spy.
McClintock: Yeah Joanne is Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, and I’m Alfred E. Neuman.
Earlier I believe you were asked about working with Saul. Now all three of you have a gift for being able to go from comedy to drama in a split second because…
McClintock: Thank you.
Kelly: Thank you.
…because of the demands of the actual writing here. What are you learning from Saul in that regard? And do you have any anecdotes that you could share because from what I have heard Saul is a lot of fun on the set.
McClintock: Joanne I’ll just – I’ll [let]you go first.
Kelly: Okay, well Saul is Canadian, like me, which is kind of really exciting. The thing about Saul that I find really invigorating and amazing is that he’s old school. Like Saul will be there for off camera lines and we’ll talk about the script. And he brings a gravitas to set that is so right with the young cast like we have wouldn’t be there. We’re really, really lucky to have him.
And he’s really smart. Like Eddie said, he’s like the actor’s sensei in the sense that, you know, if you have a problem with the script or with, you know, somewhere that your character goes, you can always go run it by him and he’ll always bounce back ideas. He’s very open.
And for me, I mean, he’s been a very important figure in Canadian film and Canadian theater for a long time and it’s just been, you know, amazing to be able to work with someone of his caliber. I think he heightens the stakes, he heightens the show simply by being, you know, so creative and so artistic and so learned about the process and somebody who’s constantly discovering new things, constantly learning, enjoys what he does.
I mean, it’s really – you can look at him as a teacher and it’s been a huge learning experience for me to work with somebody of his caliber, the same as CCH Pounder, our guest stars like Michael Hogan, you know, who are just brilliant actors and you can learn so much from them, you know?
As per the anecdote, Eddie’s kind of the anecdote guy so I’m going to pass that one to him.
McClintock: I’m not sure how I feel about that. No, what I have learned from Saul is how to draw out the blocking for as long as possible so that we get our calls forced and we make an extra $900 the next day.
He is – as far as an anecdote is concerned, I don’t know. You know, Saul is – he’s just, you know, he’s kind of become our surrogate father on the set, you know, so we kind of go to him. Even though he’s really – he doesn’t earn that by age but by wisdom and experience he certainly does. And so he’s just – like I said, he’s our spiritual acting guru.
I was just wondering also on the production end with the guest stars you have coming up, we’ve already heard – I think Joanne mentioned that Michael Hogan was coming on. Who else is going to be there and what kind of artifacts are they going to be tied to?
Kenny: Well Joe Flanigan is going to join us. He’s – this is Jack speaking, sorry. Joe Flanigan is going to join us and he’s going to be – sorry, I have to do math in my head as I talk about this because like I say, sometimes not knowing what the artifact is is part of the fun of the episode and sometimes you know right up front.
So I want to make sure, it’s an episode where we’re chasing these four sculptures that create something and we don’t know what they create until the end. And Joe is one of the guys – Joe Flanigan is one of the guys chasing it, and James Naughton is kind of his nemesis also chasing them. And Pete and Myka are trying to figure out this, you know, what they’re after and why they’re after them.
And then also Roger Rees is going to be joining us for three episodes as Artie’s longtime nemesis, a former partner of Artie’s that sort of went bad about 15 years ago in the story you’ll find out in the season finale. But he rears his head a couple of times in terms of the guy that is the competition, the warehouse competition, the guy who’s also looking for a lot of the same things and for an entirely different reason.
McClintock: And the super foxy, delicious Tricia Helfer.
Kelly: Delicious, I like it. She was also like the nicest person ever in the world.
McClintock: She plays a hard core FBI agent that kind of gets under the skin of Myka but not so much Pete. Pete takes a bit of a shine to…
Kenny: Well she gets under Pete’s skin in a different way.
Kelly: What’s that? Who’s doing the porn noise?
Kenny: And oh – David I’m blanking on their names from Eureka.
Simkins: Joe Morton is going to (unintelligible).
Kenny: Oh Joe Morton, yeah.
McClintock: Oh Niall [Matter], right, and Erica [Cerra]?
Simkins: Yeah Niall and Erica from Eureka are joining us as a couple of con men that Pete and Myka stumble into in Las Vegas and Joe Morton is a prison preacher in an episode where things – nasty things are happening at a Florida state penitentiary.
Kelly: Yeah he’s an amazing – just an amazing actor as well, Joe Morton. We’re very thrilled to have him on the set.
McClintock: Brother From Outer Space, right?
Kenny: Brother From Another Planet.
McClintock: Oh yeah.
I can tell from the laughter that there’s great chemistry on this show and it does translate to the screen in the pilot.
McClintock: Thank you.
I hope that it communicates to the audience as well.
McClintock: Well we’ve got you to communicate. You have to tell them.
Kelly: Thank you so much.
The first question is for Eddie and Joanne. It does come through in the call that there is that instant chemistry that you talked about but there is a great history of buddy vibes and different takes on the buddy vibe in film and TV. Did either of you come in to this project with a particular buddy vibe that inspired you or informed what you did?
McClintock: Well for me I just, you know, I just come in with no expectations and hopefully, you know, I like the person that I’m working with.
Kelly: Uh oh.
McClintock: And we just – it so happened that Joanne and I, I mean, look, you know, Joanne – if Joanne and I ever have differences on the set we – I think we’re big enough people and we’ve created a strong enough bond that we’re able to speak about it.
Simkins: Or deliver some noogies.
McClintock: Yeah, I mean it’s – basically we give each other metaphorical noogies on the set all the time, you know, it’s like, you know, if Joanne has a problem she lets me know and I let her know, too, sometimes. And if I don’t she just does it for me and then I go yeah, okay, you’re right.
I don’t know, there – I didn’t have any preconceived notions. It just so happened that we click. You know, it’s just one of those things that I guess it’s like TV or film, you know, just there’s a chemistry, it’s there, it clicks and it works and other times it doesn’t. In this case I just think that it does.
McClintock: So that’s my answer.
Kelly: That’s a great answer. Yeah, the same with Eddie. You know, upon getting – the inception of the script that we auditioned for and what we ended up shooting has – and are still in the process of filming, it has gone through, you know, such a change and it’s grown as we’ve grown as characters and as we’ve worked together more. I mean, this relationship is blooming.
And I think that as Eddie said it was something that came very – we’re both different, our processes are very different, and the kind of energy that comes from that when two, you know, opposing forces collide is what you see on screen. And, you know, Eddie is – 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.
McClintock: Thanks Jo.
Kelly: So I’m just really – no problem dude, I’m really thankful to be part of this.
McClintock: You know, it’s kind of like when you have a friend and then you say to your friend hey you know what, let’s move in together. And then the next thing you know you’re living together and you go – you either go what have I done, you know, or, you know, it either works or it doesn’t.
And, you know, you either decide that you care enough about this person to make it work despite your differences or you know, it’s a nightmare and you get out and you pay the fine, you know. But in this case, you know, we just – we worked it out.
A follow-up then, given that, for Jack and David. Now…
Kenny: David is not moving in with me.
Well that could be a series in itself. But you’ve talked about how you sort of have done some changes to what you planned with the show based on casting Eddie and Joanne. Did – was there an idea of how the buddy vibe was conceived of originally that maybe changed after Joanne and Eddie came in?
Kenny: Well David do you want to take this question?
Simkins: Yeah this is David and I’m walking rather briskly so if it sounds like I’m walking briskly it’s because I am. 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 Sci Fi had been sort of living with for a few years.
They’ve had this project in development for a long time and they were pretty clear about the kind 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, you know, 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 stage and sort of took over these characters, it was a real eye-opening experience because I think Sci Fi and I, we all thought we were on the right track, that where we were going with these two characters could definitely be done.
And then when, you know, Eddie and Joanne took over the roles Jack and I and the writers, we really – and we’ve said it before, we really just write into them. We write into their characters, into their speaking styles, into their attitudes. And it’s been, you know, I have to say writing for them has been one of the easiest things to do. It’s writing for the artifacts which is pretty difficult.
Kenny: It’s interesting too because to me the success of any pilot, 90% of the success is the casting, is finding the right people for the roles that are created. And then the success of a series, 90% of it is being able to write to those people you’ve cast because it’s one thing, you know, it becomes just a different challenge.
You know, we want to write to their strengths. We can hear their voices in our heads as we’re writing. That’s the challenge of every writing staff in town is to key into those people. I mean, and I think, you know, it always takes a couple of episodes to get a hold of it but we’ve really gotten into Saul and Eddie and Jo’s – their rhythms, their cadences, their strengths, their weaknesses, and everything we can find about them.
And, you know, the same thing is true with CCH and with Allison Scagliotti who’s joining our series later in Episode 4 and (Janelle) who plays (Lina). You know, writing towards their strengths will – is what makes the series strong I think.
Thanks very much for that, just one last quick follow-up. I’m based in Vancouver and it might not be familiar with people who aren’t Canadian but the list of guests — welcome to Canada everybody. And it might not be familiar to everybody who’s not Canadian but the list of guest stars that you just sort of ran down, they’re all – they’ve all been involved in Canadian shot productions. So is that fluke or is there something about it?
Simkins: Well I think, you know what, it’s a connection because, you know, Sci Fi is intensely loyal to the people who work with them. And so in an effort to, you know, keep it in the family in the beginning, and keep the Sci Fi audience kind of excited, we’ve, you know, dipped into a lot of the Sci Fi series that are on the air and a lot of them are shot in Canada. So it’s actually been a – that’s been the connection. Or if you’re writing for the Canadian press, it’s because we like Canada best.
Kelly: Well I think there’s a lot of really talented actors up here too, you know, I really do. And we’ll see that as the series progresses and with the guest stars that we’ve been given who are Canadian. They’re more than capable and more than – they’re great, you know, and it excites me because being from Newfoundland it’s great to see, you know, a production that I’m involved with hiring local talent. It’s exciting.
Hi, I watched the pilot too, I enjoyed it — one thing however. Because Artie made cookies, because there were cookies, because Pete stole a cookie from the bakery and so on, by the end of the show I craved cookies.
McClintock: Tell me about it.
So there’s some subliminal messages involved, right?
Kenny: Well Sci Fi should obviously be selling cookies.
Yeah. Is Keebler a sponsor?
Kelly: The amount of cookies that Eddie has eaten on set, so…
McClintock: Oh my God, food services brings out a plate of homemade cookies every day after dinner. It’s all of our downfall.
Kelly: It’s a running theme in our working environment because we’re happy.
McClintock: Actually, David, they show up again in a couple of other episodes, the cookies take various forms. I think in Burnout a woman brings out some cookies and Eddie fills his pockets with them. It’s becoming a running character thing. Pete loves his cookies.
Kelly: He does love sugar in real life too.
McClintock: Oh my God, yes.
It’s a conspiracy to sell cookies.
Kelly: Yes, it all is.
And Keebler’s a sponsor.
Is there a Warehouse 12 or a Warehouse 15 or a Warehouse 8?
Simkins: Well interesting that you should ask that question.
Kelly: Good question.
Simkins: We just finished a document that sort of tracks the chronology of the warehouses. In our mythology the first warehouse was created by Alexander in an effort to keep hold of the artifacts that he, you know, collected on his wars. And it didn’t last – it didn’t last long because Alexander died young but then the library at Alexandria was a warehouse too where research and development and things were stored and books.
And so we’ve kind of 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 Hunnic empire, the Byzantine empire, you know, all the way up through the Russian empire, the British empire, and then finally the United States. It was always – it always located itself in the empire that was best able to protect it.
And it was early, early on in warehouse – in one of the early warehouses in iterations, it was established that a board of directors essentially would be in charge of it, an ever-changing sort of like I guess a Supreme Court called the Regents. And the Regents were in charge of deciding when and where to move the warehouse. I think the longest it lasted was in the Western Roman empire for about 500 years and the shortest was about 14 years in the – I think it was the (Khmer) empire.
So yeah, we’ve established this long history of the numbers of warehouses that have gone through the ages and eventually when we get it all polished up it will maybe show up on the Website or something. So does that answer your question?
That’s much better than saying oh it just sounded cool.
Simkins: No. No. No. It’s the 13th iteration of the warehouse. It’s – yeah.
Joanne, when you came to this, I mean, do you come to it from being fans of Sci Fi and history? I mean, do you watch like the Nazi artifact, you know, shows on History and that sort of thing? Are you Sci Fi nerds, you know, before you came here?
Kelly: Well Battlestar Galactica is an amazing show and I’ve seen some of that. I can’t wait to buy the DVDs and watch all of it in one sitting which I think is the way to watch most of them.
But for me a well written character is a well written character. It doesn’t matter what genre it’s in. And this is one of the – like I said earlier, one of the most dynamic characters that I have had the pleasure of playing. So I was quite excited when I got the script because it’s a strong female and that’s – it doesn’t happen a lot and it’s really interesting when it does. So for me it was purely from actor’s greed, you know?
So yeah, that’s why I was attracted to the show. Of course the fiction fantasy genre, I was more into books growing up, not so much TV. We didn’t have TV where I grew up so I, you know, I was a Tolkien fanatic and I love a lot of Sci Fi genre books and stuff like that. So I was excited about the imagination that the show – the sense of imagination and wonder that the pilot had as well when I read that script. That’s what attracted me to it.
McClintock: You know, for me the original Day the Earth Stood Still, Them, Day of the Triffids, The Blob, King Kong, King Kong Vs. Godzilla — all those great B Sci Fi, I mean, and then, you know, moving into Alien and John Carpenter’s The Thing, I mean, they’re all on the list of favorites.
For me, you know, growing up staying up late on a Friday night and watching horror/sci fi was just – it’s what I lived for. So getting to do a show like this for me is, you know, it’s what I’ve prepared for my whole life I guess. I guess that’s the answer to the question, I kind of lost focus a little bit.
And my other question was for David and Jack. I mean, it seems like Sci Fi is really kind of pushing this. It’s the new big show and, you know, it’s after the change of names and everything.
Simkins: I know, it’s annoying that they’re making us the big hit show on their new night.
Do you feel like you’ve got the kind of freedom to go all, you know, BSG and make this like, you know, long mythology? I mean, because you – because a lot of, you know, with a lot of these programs you don’t want to invest a lot of time because you never know if it’s going to work out or not. But it seems like Sci Fi is really behind it and you’ve got a lot of room to grow and, I mean, have they pretty much given you the green light to just go crazy?
Simkins: Yeah, I’m sorry Jack. I was going to say I think that, you know, whereas Battlestar Galactica, terrific show, was a very densely plotted, heavy in the myth and heavy in the — and I mean this in a good way — in the soap opera aspects in the best use of that term, we’re doing more stand alone episodes.
There is a, you know, I don’t want the idea of this being 13th warehouse to feel like, you know, I’m going to need a history book to enjoy the show. These are colors that we’re layering in onto the series just to give it a sense of reality and a sense of depth that is there should someone go looking for that depth.
But for the most part the shows are, you know, you can come to it — I hope you don’t — but you can come to it in Episode 3 or 4 or 7 and still really have a great ride. You won’t have missed much of anything. You know, there’s a couple of deep plot runners that we’re running through the series but for the most part when you tune in and there’s Pete and Myka and they’re going off on a mission, you’re – you’ll get it. It’s pretty accessible.
Kenny: And also to me, you know, the mythology of any series is just – is more there for us than for you because it helps us feed stories, it helps us drop little hints of things. It keeps us consistent with the background and the history of the characters and the place. But obviously every episode we deal with in the present day dynamic and we want to keep everything alive.
But in answer to your question about Sci Fi, I mean, Mark Stern, (Eric Story), (Chris Sinegas), and (Tom Levert), they could not be more excited and involved. And that’s really, I mean, that for me is rare in television. A lot of times as you say people are afraid to really invest themselves. I mean, even from an executive standpoint they’re afraid to invest themselves so much in a series because it gets cancelled, it goes away.
But they have really, I mean, Mark is so totally invested in this show he’s just – and it’s great, it’s very exciting. It results in a lot of notes which I kid him about but he’s really all over it. And they have given us license to like, you know, go out there, try things, try new stuff, you know, don’t lock yourself into, you know, one certain place or one certain way of telling a story.
You know, we haven’t really found an absolute formula for the show yet and I think Saul is very fond of saying we shouldn’t find a formula for the show. We should keep it lively and amorphous and flexible. And the way I think that you keep something flexible and alive is by understanding a really strong basis for it. I mean, the fact that we know the mythology of the warehouse and the back story of all these characters will only allow us to go even further in exploring who they are and go out on a limb with them all in various ways.
Joanne I just wanted to know a little bit more about you because you’ve made some references to it. So you grew up on – was it a real actual working farm in Newfoundland?
Kelly: It wasn’t a working farm. We had horses and a goat and a dog and it was more – I started to show jump when I was little and my parents kind of started – my dad has always been interested in horses, he’s a big western fan, saltwater cowboy type.
Oh have you gotten to get to ride in any of your roles?
Kelly: Pardon, not in – no, not yet.
Maybe they’ll write that in here. Hey your name is very Irish and yet it says you went to like a French Canadian school in Nova Scotia, is that right?
Kelly: No it’s not Canadian, it’s called Acadia University, it’s in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Yeah I went there and I studied theater and English. Yeah.
Did you have, I mean, there’s great influences up there in that part of the world, you know, there’s all kinds of great music and film and stuff like that. What were your influences that maybe (unintelligible)?
Kelly: You know, it’s funny, I grew up in a really small town, very tiny. There was no movie theaters, we had like two channels of television which we weren’t really allowed to watch anyway. So I was a kid that grew up with a huge imagination.
The best thing about growing up in a place like that is (a) it’s not dangerous so you can go and play and your parents don’t worry about you. I mean, we would spend hours in the woods making up stories and acting out these crazy fantasies which ended up being what I do for a living. So absolutely it prepared me in the sense that I had to imagine a lot when I was a kid. Yeah.
This question is for (unintelligible) and Joanne you sort of just answered part of but I’m curious how you all got started in your professions, actually especially Eddie because I realized this morning that you grew up about 60 miles from where I live.
McClintock: Oh no way, where do you live?
I’m in Western Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania’s border.
McClintock: Oh you are? Okay, yeah. I used to travel over to Erie, Pennsylvania a lot for wrestling tournaments and stuff when I was a kid.
Kenny: So how did you get started Eddie?
McClintock: How did I get started in acting?
McClintock: Well I guess the earliest thing was – that I can remember is the Not Ready for Prime Time Players on Saturday Night Live. I mean, I worshipped Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray and Jane Curtin and Gilda Radner and Garrett Morris and John Belushi. I mean, they were my heroes every Saturday night. And I started imitating them and I’d do little skits and stuff for my parents and I always kind of gained my self-worth around the amount of laughter I could bring to my family and I think it kind of worked out for me.
And I never – I was a jock in high school and in college, I wrestled for 12 years, wrestled in college, and was never really pointed in the direction of acting. I just thought – I never really considered it. I always just like to have fun and quote movies.
And so when I moved to LA after I graduated from college, I moved to LA to sell corporate insurance. I moved there to sell corporate insurance for my uncle and then he fired me after seven months and said, you know, you need to move to Hollywood.
And so I moved from West Los Angeles to Hollywood and I started working as a production assistant in commercials and I was a PA, I swept up cigarette butts and drove big trucks around. And did that for three years and made enough connections to say, you know, this isn’t really what I want to do, I think I want to be an actor. And I had an opportunity to hang out with enough actors and to be able to look at the process to go, you know, I think that it’s something that I could do.
Kenny: Where did you get your first job though Eddie, wasn’t there a story about the way you got an acting job when you were a PA? I thought you told me something.
McClintock: Yeah, I was working as an art PA and they were doing this – I was working on this project and the second AD knew that – or I’m sorry, the first AD knew that I kind of wanted to get into acting. And so he went up to the director and said listen, do you think we could – and I had been working with this company for a few months and he was like hey Eddie wants to be an actor. Can we put him in a costume and just put him up on the stage? And they – the director was like what, Eddie wants to be an actor? Yeah, of course, of course, you know, put him in.
So he put me in a costume, I was supposed to be in space or something. And so he was like Eddie say this and he was like so if we give him a line we can get him a SAG card. And so the director’s like sure, sure, okay Eddie say this. And then I said the line and kind of made him laugh and he said now say this. And before too long it just became about, you know, he was giving me all these lines and I was saying all this stuff and I had them all acting.
And then at the end of the day he came up to me and said listen, I’m doing this thing, we’re going down to Georgia to shoot this World War I fighter ace thing. I want you to play the lead guy and kind of that was it. I went from being an art PA to being the lead in this production and I guess it kind of went from there.
I saw the pilot and I really – when I was watching through it I really wanted to hate it through the whole thing but I ended up loving every minute of it.
McClintock: Oh thank you. Why did you want to hate it?
I don’t know. You know, because I think there was a couple of sneak scenes that were shown during the Battlestar finale and I don’t know if they just didn’t pick, you know, good scenes or what but I remember looking at it and I was like I don’t know if I want to do that. But, you know, I really enjoyed what you guys did. What you put together was awesome.
McClintock: Oh I appreciate it, thank you.
Kelly: Thank you so much, thank you.
With the economy there’s not the same type of budgets that we were all seeing probably a year or two ago. And I’m just wondering what some of the challenges were for that.
And the second one, is there a lot of pressure for you guys? You know, Warehouse 13 is going to be the show that pretty much launches the network’s new name and look.
Kenny: Well I can speak to the budget issue. It’s tough. You know, it’s tough all over as they say. This is Jack talking, sorry. You know, it’s been – we’re shooting basically an eight day show in seven days so the crew and the staff up here are just incredible. They really – I know everybody says that but they really are amazing.
They – we shoot a movie every episode because we’re in an entirely different location every episode. You know, like a lot of series shoot in the same town or they’re based in the same place, they have a lot of standing sets. We have maybe two standing sets and the other one’s kind of a modular set and really 80% of the episode we’re out.
So it’s really been a challenge for the crew and the production to really put together these episodes. They’ve done an amazing, amazing job. And the visual effects and special effects and, I mean, it’s really a monster every week and they really have just gone that extra mile every day. So that’s been a challenge. And, you know, the basic money challenges of the economy, when the economy shrinks everybody’s under a little bit of a challenge but that’s been our biggest one.
Simkins: As far as that, this is David. As far as the pressure on the show or the pressure on us, I have to say I don’t really — and I could be fooling myself — but I don’t really feel it and I think a lot of us don’t really feel it mainly because we’re working so hard. Not to sort of compare ourselves to that airline captain who landed the plane in the river, but when you’re doing the job you really don’t have a lot of time to sort of think about the other stuff.
And, you know, Sci Fi has to do what they need to do to promote themselves, to promote the show, and we have to do what we have to do to make the best show we can make. And, you know, it’s really not an issue for us. We’re focusing on the script and the production and the special effects and the stories and, you know, that’s where our attentions are and we’ll leave all that other stuff to the executives.
McClintock: Hey guys, David I’m sorry, I don’t mean to break in but they – I just got a call from production. They were asking me if I’m coming downstairs anytime soon so my driver is waiting for me.
McClintock: Thanks everybody.
Kelly: Thank you everyone. Thank you so much.