WAREHOUSE 13: Eddie McClintock and Saul Rubinek Interview re Season 4 (2012)

After last season’s shocking and tragic finale, WAREHOUSE 13 has some serious rebuilding to do. With Agent Steve Jinks, Mrs. Frederic and H.G. Wells all dead, and the Warehouse being blown to smithereens, it is hard to imagine what other dark times lie ahead for the spunky, stalwart and normally cheerful Warehouse Agents Artie, Myka, Pete and Claudia. But with an unprecedented 20-episodes to play with this next season, there is plenty of time to explore how they all make it back from the dark days and find a way to interject some more fun-and-games back into the world we know of in WAREHOUSE 13. In a recent press conference call, co-stars Eddie McClintock and Saul Rubinek shared their candid thoughts on what is next for the 4th season.

Can you kind of talk about the artifacts we’re going to see this season?
SAUL: It’s really hilarious how you guys ask us the one question that we can’t answer. You know that we’re going to have to spoil everything if we start talking about this. I can tell you this though, our show is not called “Giant Chasm in the Ground 13,” it’s called WAREHOUSE 13, so obviously they’re going to figure out a way to bring the Warehouse back. But we’ve had artifacts. We’ve know that there’s a downside to using them. There are always consequences. And what the writers decided was that there had to be some consequences that were irrevocable. There were consequences that would be so dark that – so it that it wouldn’t just be easy. So, “Oh, they’re dead. All right. We have an artifact for that.” “The Warehouse is gone. We have an artifact for that,” so everything becomes easy. It’s not going to be that easy. And whatever we use will have consequences for the life of this – of the characters and for the life of the series. So that’s what I can tell you is that the use of artifacts becomes a darker and more dangerous and less take-backable thing than ever before. Would you say Eddie that’s true?
EDDIE: Yes. And not necessarily that it changes the show totally, but certainly there will be fallout from the use of artifacts that we cannot take back. You know, that stay with everybody. The change, it changes everyone permanently. But from week to week you still have fun ones
SAUL: Yes.
EDDIE: And it stays light. But definitely like Saul said, we don’t want the show to become predictable, so you have to be able to know that we can’t just fix everything every time.

Can you talk about maybe some of the guest stars that are coming up?
SAUL: Yes. Lindsay Wagner comes back. Rene Auberjonois comes back. Kate Mulgrew is back. Who else do we have? Brent Spinner.

How do you feel about the longer season this year?
SAUL: Well, they’re really two seasons. It’s really a real vote of confidence from the network and the studio to do that with us. That’s how we felt. I mean, it’s a little harder I would say on those of us that have kids, and Eddie is farthest away. I don’t live that far away because I’m in New York and my kids are older, so it’s a mix. A little different. My daughter is in college and I can get back. That’s the hardest thing for Eddie, right Eddie? That longer season?
EDDIE: Yes. If my boys and my wife could be in Toronto with me all the time, it would be much, much easier. It’s a quality problem. I’m on a show that’s been on the air for four years now. I’m making a living as an actor in Hollywood in arguably one of the darkest times in the American economy, so I really have no complaints except Saul is the only one.
SAUL: Other than me.
EDDIE: Saul’s my only complaint.

So usually the scenes between you guys are pretty light and fun, but near the end of this season premier there’s a very dramatic scene between Pete and Artie. What was it like doing a really heavy scene versus like what you’re normally doing?
EDDIE: Well for me, it’s always great to be able to work with Saul – and unfortunately, we don’t get to do it as much as we would like. Not to blow too much smoke here for Saul, but I have such a great deal of respect for his work and the way he approaches his work, that anytime that I can be a part of that, I think it makes me a better actor and I think my work is better. The opportunity to really do something serious with Saul – it’s those moments for me that make all the moments of tedium worthwhile. I do all the other stuff and I love the other stuff as well, but it seems like the one you’re talking about – ones that actually move me, I don’t have to work up emotions for those scenes. Saul is present; I’m there, the writing’s good, and things just happen. Not to be too trite, but that’s the magic of what we do I guess.
SAUL: Thanks Eddie for that. I think that we’re a team. Over the last four years we’ve really become a team. We’re like a family. It’s not like we don’t have bumps with each other like any family does, but we have certainly one of the best crews in Toronto, and I know that because I’m a Toronto actor from way back and I know Toronto crews. We’re a show that other crews envy because there’s no prima donna. There’s just hard work and a lot of fun, a lot of which is because Eddie really keeps things light and entertaining. I call it his buffoonery. But it’s true and we do have a wonderful time together.
EDDIE: Why are you laughing when you say that?
SAUL: I think that you’ll find that might be a common denominator for shows that work is that when there is that team and that mutual respect and fun that’s going on and everybody’s working together, the work is fairly easy. We’re especially blessed because Jack Kenny – our show runner is available to be on the set with us. He used to be an actor. He’s incredibly collaborative. If things don’t fit in our mouths the way that they were written on the page, things are changed. We get to improvise a little bit, and we’re extremely lucky. Well, I did. Yes. That’s an example of how things are on the set with Eddie all the time. When we do serious stuff together, it’s fun, it’s quick and it’s easy, and we don’t do it enough. The way the show’s tracked out this particular year, we had less to do with each other than even before, so we’re hoping that’ll change. But we have a great time together. I’m sure that’s obvious from watching the show.

Is all of that scripted, or do you guys do a lot of improvisation?
SAUL: Well, I would say it’s about 50%, right?
EDDIE: Just to be exact on what I consider improv to be, I would never just say a line arbitrarily during the scene without first running it by Jack. Because a lot of times, Jack will go, “No. You will not say that, but you can say this.” I go to Jack and like Saul said – a lot of the stuff Jack will see or he’ll hear something and he’ll go, “Try this.” And it’s like a sitcom in that, Jack actually comes in and punches up between takes. And what I mean by that is when you do a sitcom and you do the take for the audience, and then the writers come rushing in and they say, “Okay, this worked. This worked. This didn’t work, so now I want you to say this instead.” As we move along, we get to see what works and what doesn’t. And again, that’s just a testament to how hands-on Jack Kenny is in regards to his baby, WAREHOUSE 13.

How exciting and rewarding is that for you as actors to work on WAREHOUSE 13?
SAUL: It’s an extraordinary thing. At a certain point it becomes the biggest character I’ve ever played and it’s quickly become probably the best character with the most range because of all the episodes and all the different things the writers are asking of us. There is something that I think is called series-itis that you have to be careful of. It’s incredibly exciting. First of all the positive and I’ll tell you what the dangers are, given the fact that I’m a very old man who’s been doing this for 40 years or so.
EDDIE: Very old.
SAUL: Very, very old. What’s exciting is that the audience is connected with us. We have tremendous support from the studio and the network. It’s very rare in any actor’s career that you’re doing a show that is the Number 1 show in the history of that network. That’s rare, and we’ve held on to that since the very beginning. It’s a testament to the writing and the family that we’ve created. And the fact that audiences I believe are watching – this is what I’m really proud of, because both Eddie and I are dads. We’re the only dad’s – or parents of the actors right now, right? Families watch this show together.
EDDIE: Right.
SAUL: And I’m really proud of that. People that watch AMERICAN IDOL or shows like that. There are very few shows that are in this hour-long category that audiences can watch with their family. There’s something for everybody over the age of 11 or so. And dads and moms and grandparents don’t get bored, and the kids are still delighted, and there’s great stuff. So that’s what makes me really proud. The danger is when you’re doing a show a lot, for actors doing any series, is that the test is not how quickly the crew can get home and how quickly you can do things, although we do want to do that. Is you really have to keep challenging yourself in a series. You have to keep things alive.

We always hear actors say how they create back-stories for their characters before they start and everything. So I was wondering if you did that, how has the character changed from what you thought he might be? Or if you haven’t done that, how has the – you know, has the character surprised you at all?
EDDIE: Well, I can tell you the biggest parallel that I think – between myself and my character – when we started this years ago, the character of Pete, if you remember in the pilot, he has a one-night stand with some girl he just met. He kind of gives her the boot, you know, he gently suggests that she go because he’s got to get to work. And, it turns out his work is to guard the President. So I think we see that, he doesn’t take his job all that seriously, and I think he’s a little overly egocentric. He’s pretty wrapped up in Pete. He’s a recovering alcoholic, so even though we don’t know that, it’s kind of a classic condition of the recovering alcoholic which I’m well aware of because it’s me. As we’ve gone along and as he’s made these relationships and cultivated these relationship with the people that he now calls family, I think he has realized that the world doesn’t revolve around him and he’s better served to feel that the world revolves around the protection and care of his family. You know his father died when he was young. His mom and him weren’t that close. She kept the secret that she was a Regent from him. The parallel being when I started the show, my wife and I just had started having children. Before that, Lynn and I did things for ourselves. And we realized, and especially now that my boys are five and six, just everything that I do is for my boys really, except for when I buy Prada shoes. It’s really for the boys. But I think Jack always smacks me for doing that. I would say that I have grown – I have become less selfish. It’s become more about my boys and my family, and I think that that’s kind of the journey that Pete has made and continues to make. I always look to Pete as a way to be a better man. The way Jack Kenny has written him, he’s so honest and so unjaded, and such a pure guy. He comes from such a place of pure joy that I just hope that it rubs off on me.

With things being so collaborative between you, the actors or the writers, is there anywhere you would like to take your character that hasn’t been done yet?
EDDIE: The only thing that comes to mind is I’d like for us to meet Pete’s sister to get to know what their relationship is. I’m always just along for the ride and I have such a great deal of trust in the writers and in SyFy to take the show and in whatever direction they see fit. I wouldn’t say that I have a particular direction that I want Pete to go in. I like the direction he’s going in, and I think it’s in many directions at once.

The season premier is amazing and there are a lot of shocking moments. What was it like for you guys to read that script?
SAUL: It was really exciting. Really, really exciting. But what we got to do a lot of working in front of a green screen where we have to imagine. We had a big screening with the cast and crew a couple of Sundays ago and we got to see it. And on a big screen it was kind of awesome because the special effects looked so great. And a lot of it we were just in front of a green screen with no idea of what it was going to look like, so that was pretty exciting for us to see.
EDDIE: When you take a television screen formatted show and you blow it up onto a movie theater sized screen, it can be scary because you think, “Oh, okay. Maybe we need to go back down.” Because you know, a lot of times you see the flaws. But like Saul said, the show looks huge. The special effects department does such an amazing job with the time and the budget that they get. They’re just crunched every week because we have a lot of effects. Certain shows are more effect-laden than others, but I’m really proud of the premier episode. I can’t wait to see the rest. I’m as anxious as the fans because I have no idea once we do the show and move on to the next show, I forget the previous show. I’m just not smart enough to retain – like Allison. She remembers every line of every show she’s ever done. I forget my lines after I move to the next scene. So I’m almost seeing them for the first time just as the fans are.

We’ve seen Pete and Myka change bodies. What would happen if Pete and Artie changed bodies? How would you guys like do each other?
SAUL: He’s put me on a plan – a weight loss plan immediately and I’d be in shape.
EDDIE: I’d go out cruising chicks.
SAUL: That’s a good idea. We’ll suggest it. See what happens. It’d be pretty weird as he starts giving people orders and nobody realizes it’s Pete.
EDDIE: Exactly.
SAUL: And nobody takes me seriously. I’ve got great ideas. I look like Pete and Myka doesn’t take me seriously at all. It would be a disaster.
EDDIE: “Myka, I want you to go to the store and buy four whoopee cushions.” “I won’t do it Artie. I won’t do it.”
SAUL: That’s what would happen. Yes, it’d be hilarious.

Working with Brent Spinner again this year, it’s an adversarial thing again isn’t it Saul? You’re kind of like the good guy this time and Brent’s kind of like the not-so-good guy.
SAUL: Yes. I’m not going to tell you exactly what happens, but it does – the whole nemesis thing was great. We’ve even put some clues in for our fans that relate to us having done The Most Toys. Some lines of dialog that suggest that we’ve worked together before, so that’s fun. It’ll be fun for fans to figure out. It was a great season for me because I got to work a lot with Brent. We got to renew our friendship because we live in different cities now. And we started off actually in the theater together. We did a play in New York together in 1979, and the reunion was when we did the STAR TREK TNG was in ’89. It was ten years after that and here we are, wow, 22 years after that. It was awesome. We had a great time.

Will that be a new tone that sort of prevails this season, or is that just in the beginning of the seasons and it kind of just balances out?
EDDIE: I know that as Joanne was saying at Comic-Con, and I thought it was well put, she said that we’re still painting with all the colors that we were painting with before, but we’ve added a darker color. So it’s not necessarily that the show has taken a shift tonally, but there are these great consequences. The fact that H.G. Wells is dead. The fact that Jinks is gone. The Warehouse is gone. Mrs. Frederic is gone. We have to deal with that. And to come back from that and be jokey and ridiculous, it just wouldn’t make sense. It all seems disrespectful to the show. And again don’t get me wrong; Pete is still using his comedy to protect himself from the fact that he is devastated by the loss of his friends. Saul, what do you think?
SAUL: Yes. The show is definitely darker. As I told you, there are tremendous consequences to bringing the Warehouse back, which is what will happen. That’s not going to be a spoiler. People aren’t going to be shocked by that. We always have tried to maintain a balance between the humor of the show and you really don’t know from one second to the next where the jokes are going to come. That’s still true. No matter how dark we get, there’s going to be lighter moments. We don’t take ourselves that seriously. But on the other hand, we’re not so light so that we’re just fluff. And I think people care enough about these characters and see all these different sides to them that we can stretch. On a fourth season of a very successful show, it wouldn’t be outrageous for the writers, the studio, and the network to say, “Play it safe. We’ve got our core audience. We don’t want to mix things up too much.” But what happened is that they stepped it up. I think you’ll see this season that they have taken some chances. I don’t know yet whether all those things have paid off. They seemed to when we were doing it. You don’t know until the show gets air. I can tell you that certainly in the premier it paid off big time. They’ve taken tremendous chances. The writers, the producers, executives have all decided that we’ve earned the right – that Jack has earned the right and the staff has earned the right to raise the bar and to stretch things a little bit, and that our audience will go with us. We think that’s true. And so, that’s what’s happened to us. We worked really hard – extremely hard this season because we were given stuff to do that had not been required of us for three years. So that’s what I can say without spoiling things for people. I hope the fans are the recipient of that kind of risk taking.

What episodes in the upcoming season that you’ve already filmed and so forth do you see as being important either to yourselves or your characters that we should be on the lookout for?
EDDIE: You know as I said earlier in the interview here, I mean I hardly remember what we did – I’m serious. I was very proud of some of the stuff that I did in the premier, and I remember feeling some pride along the way. So specifically, I’m sorry. I’m not really sure. Maybe Saul, you can enlighten me.
SAUL: Well, we can’t be too specific. You know, this is what’s happened for everyone. Every single character has to call on resources that they didn’t know they had because things are less certain than they ever were. And things that you’ve thought were for sure and people that you could count on for sure, you can’t anymore. And as a result, all the characters have to grow in order to survive. And that’s true for all of us. Specific moments we can’t tell you about without spoiling it for you, but as we talked about earlier, we’ve earned the right. Maybe our fans will tell us that we haven’t, but I hope that the reviewers and that you guys will say, “Yes. You know, we’re glad you took chances. We’re glad you didn’t rest on your laurels. We’re glad that things have stepped up.” I’m trying to think of any of the characters that – even our recurring characters that have not grown this season by dent of the terrible circumstances that they find themselves in and their consequences. Allison was talking about this. If there was going to be a theme for this ten episode arch it would be consequences I think. It’s great for us and great for the fans that in the fourth year what could’ve been a procedural that had a great premise and could’ve been the artifact of the week and that could’ve been fun. It was never that. Never that. They always took chances and the chances are even deeper now. I think that’s the best I can say without giving stuff away.

Do you have a favorite gadget or artifact? And if you could invent one, what would it be?
EDDIE: My favorite artifact has to be Abe Lincoln’s hat. When Pete put it on he had an uncontrollable urge to free Mrs. Fredric. I just thought that was…
SAUL: It was hilarious.
EDDIE: …brilliant and I loved the fact that we can say things like that without people freaking out about it. Because we’re able to show that we come from a good place. That gives me hope – in humanity. If I had to create an artifact, I’ve always said that it would be Janice Joplin’s back stage pass from Woodstock. The holder of the artifact could travel through time to go to any concert that has ever been. I could go to see the Doors and Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin, and all the bands that my dad turned me on to when I was a little kid but I was never old enough to go to the shows.
SAUL: That’d be a cool one. That would be really good. I’ve said the same thing for a couple of seasons, which is that I want to have an artifact that actually tells the true numbers of the audience Nielsen ratings that we’re actually getting, because I can tell you that it’s probably three times what they’re saying it is because otherwise, the advertisers would have to pay a lot more. I know from the people that stop me whether I was in France or I was in England, or all over the United States where I’ve traveled, and always in the past it’s been different movies I’ve done. Whether it’s “True Romance” or FRAZIER or “Unforgiven,” but now it’s always WAREHOUSE 13 95% of the time. And the ages of the people are from 10 to 80, and, my daughter is in college. Nobody watches television in college anymore. They watch their computers and they’re still watching commercials. And they have to do that. So I think that, you know, they’re saying we’re being watched by three million. I think it’s over twice that, so I’d like that artifact. That’d be good.

What is the most challenging thing you’ve done so far this season?
EDDIE: It’s just to not gain 30 pounds from the chocolate chip cookies that craft services bring in. I mean, every day they’re bringing hot chocolate chip cookies after lunch, so you know in regards to being that’s a big…
SAUL: Yes. I’m on Weight Watchers. I want to lose 50 pounds over the next year or so. It’s incredibly difficult. I’ve been struggling with that as a person for all my career. The shows can be really challenging to do, so I want to be healthy. So, that’s the biggest challenge. And the biggest challenge for Eddie and I, and we talk about this, is being good dads. My kids are 21 and 17, but still being a good husband and being a good dad, and trying to balance your career, that’s the hardest thing for us.
SAUL: All the rest of its fine. I can talk to you about stretching the character and all the chances that we take. But look, we have one of the best jobs in the world. By the time I got this job I was concentrating much more on writing and directing. I was not expecting this at this point in my career, to get such a great job on a television series, let alone one that was going to be a hit. But the consistent factor is trying to be a good partner to my wife and a reasonably wise and not idiotic dad, which I am occasionally. And to make sure that my kids get into the school that they want to get into and be able to afford it. That’s the struggle for most of America, isn’t it? And that’s what it’s about. I’m the old guy on the set and I want to set a good example, knowing my lines. For being there on time. For being a good support for everybody. It’s one of the things Eddie and I just talked about. Being a star on a television show or being a leader of any kind, one of the things I’ve learned all my life is that it’s not about how other people support you; leadership is about how you support everyone around you. That’s the quality of leadership, and it’s the hardest job.

Saul, do you find yourself as the father figure on the set?
SAUL: Yes, sometimes I am. Sometimes I’m an idiot dad. But sure. I am certainly recapitulated for Allison and that’s how it was set up is in a sorcerer’s apprentice, and the mentor, and the sorcerer, and she’s had to grow and change. And, Artie’s had to let go of his father role with her. That’s been an important part of the show.
EDDIE: And often times find it comforting to nestle in Saul’s ample bosom.
SAUL: Yes, he does that on a regular basis. It’s very sweet. I try to keep him away from me as often as possible, but you know – he’s a very needy guy.
EDDIE: I’m very hands-on. Very hands-on. Let’s just say that.

How would you describe each other’s character in three words?
SAUL: Oh, I can just tell you that Pete is a man-child. There. There. if you want it in three words.
EDDIE: Pete is a man-child. That’s five.
SAUL: Okay. Well, there you go. A man-child.
SAUL: Artie is Grumpy. Sleepy. Dopey.
SAUL: Okay, excellent.

Do prefer like the dramatic scenes over the comedic scenes? Or, do you just like the blend?
SAUL: Yes. The blend is what makes the show.
EDDIE: I like the blend.
SAUL: The blend is amazing. Everybody will tell you that. I think that’ll be true of any series that you see. I mean, actors want to change things up. Listen, if BREAKING BAD and DEXTER weren’t also funny they wouldn’t be hits, would they? And the actors love it. All actors love it. They want to change things up. They want fast turns. They want to be able to stretch. They don’t want to get bored.
EDDIE: Although, I have to say that I found that a lot of actors, they’re afraid of comedy. They’ve come out and said it, and then I can see the fear in their eyes. I think that, actors maybe they fear it, and I do too. No one wants to fall on their face. I don’t have a whole lot of fear, and a lot of times it does well for me and sometimes it backfires. So I don’t know why I got off on this tangent, but there you go.

Is there something that you’re looking forward for fans to see this season that you can talk about without giving away too much?
SAUL: Well, it’s hard isn’t it, to not give away stuff when you say look forward to. I think they look forward to the unexpected – it’s been every season we’ve said that. I remember the very first Comic-Con that we were at I said, “You know, every series is like the writers, the producers, the executives are sitting there saying, Is this our show? Is this concept our show? Is this a WAREHOUSE 13 idea?’” And I said, “The minute that they figure that out would – we’re screwed, because then we will be a procedural.” I challenge anybody to figure out what this show is going to be from one episode to the next. You really don’t know. They’re going to look for an artifact that’s got some downside, but that’s about all you know. You don’t know which way it’s going to go or how it’s going to – and neither do we. And I think that I want our fans to continue to say take chances. I’m absolutely positive about this. They are going to be shocked this year. Our fans will be shocked.
EDDIE: I can say this: cowboy hat, clothes pins, Harley Davidson motorcycle, bunless leather chaps.
SAUL: There you go. Good luck with that.

As one can see from the hilarious interplay between Eddie and Saul, they are having a blast filming this next season of WAREHOUSE 13, despite the dark days ahead for our heroes. WAREHOUSE 13 returns Monday, July 23rd at 9PM on Syfy for its tumultuous 4th season.

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