As part of the recent Syfy Digital Press Tour in Toronto, SciFi Mafia went on a tour of the gorgeous steampunk-y set of their flagship show Warehouse 13 and attended a Q&A panel with the cast, showrunner, and Mark Stern, President, Syfy Original Content. It was a blast.
We started out with the tour, conducted by showrunner Jack Kenny and production designer Franco de Cotiis, who gave us a quick view of a new hot set (currently ready for shooting) for an upcoming episode:
Then it was on to the sets for Leena’s Bed and Breakfast, and for the warehouse itself. All exteriors for Leena’s are actually interiors, to control lighting and weather. The hallway in Leena’s is used for the exterior of Pete’s and Mika’s rooms, and whatever other hallways may be needed.
Then it was on to the warehouse itself, starting with the iconic balcony:
We were taken through the umbilicus through which everyone enters the warehouse (and the site of an explosion or two) and into the warehouse office. As expected, the office is stunning, and includes a gorgeous iron spiral stairway to another room upstairs, and an amazing number of props everywhere.
Then it was on to the actual warehouse part of the warehouse. Although a great deal of the vast and near-limitless warehouse that we see on the show is a visual effect, there are rows upon rows of actual warehouse shelves on the set. Here are a few:
Ah yes, the metronome. It really was an enormous space, and absolutely packed with artifacts.
We ended the day with a panel discussion with the main cast members: Joanne Kelly, Eddie McClintock, Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti, and Aaron Ashmore, plus showrunner Jack Kenny and Syfy‘s President for Original Programming, Mark Stern. Here are a few favorite pictures and quotes:
“I got the last great boss role, they don’t exist any more… We crack each other up, we make each other cry, we adore each other.” Saul Rubinek
“We get to change and grow, and that’s what keeps us very interested.” – Aaron Ashmore
“Joanne and I spend so much time together and for as much as I love her and as much as I know she cares about me, we are very different people, and I know I drive her crazy. I said to her, ‘do I drive you crazy?’ and she said ‘yes, I often want to stab you in the eye with a pencil. But if you were any other way, it wouldn’t work.'” Eddie McClintock
“It’s our writers, and it is Jack (Kenny) who’s allowed these (female) characters to sometimes drive the show, and that’s why I wanted to do this show. Not an aunt or a mother or a sister, but an individual in her own right.” Joanne Kelly
“I always like to play girls that I would want to hang out with… when I’m watching something, my favorite character is always the one who surprises you, and isn’t just a two-dimensional cutout. To me. the most gratifying thing of all of this is having moms reach out to me and tell me that their 9 year old daughter wants to be Claudia for Halloween instead of Hanna Montana. That is a victory in itself.” – Allison Scagliotti
People like watching families. They understand the dynamic immediately. “You don’t have to explain why a brother hates a sister and a sister hates a brother. It’s very clear, everybody has that. So that’s why the relationships are so clean.” Jack Kenny
There was a lovely moment when it was explained that Saul Rubinek‘s relationship with technology is much like Artie’s, and that Allison Scagliotti is usually on hand to rescue him, just like Claudia. Which lead to this shot:
Kenny had some interesting insights into the fourth season, which recently had its midseason finale. If you haven’t seen the midseason finale, go watch it and come back here afterwards. Spoilers! They are currently shooting the second half of the 20-episode season.
“This entire 20 episodes has really been about mortality. How does mortality affect us? It began with the loss of everything. And then we got it back. And then, little by little, we’ve lost other pieces of it.” We’ve explored other dynamics of family, but “now we explore loss… but we don’t lose the humor. We’ll never lose the humor of this show, this show will always have humor, because that’s the only way you can get through the kind of things we get through. We would never have gone through Artie killing Leena if we weren’t able to find what could take us through that and get to the light at the other end of the tunnel, and that is humor, and finding a way to hold on to each other, and try to laugh through the tears and get out of there.”
Speaking of Leena… Yes, he was asked if the actors were told about her fate ahead of time. Kenny said that he told Genelle Williams on her first day back shooting. “’I’m sorry to tell you this, I have to kill you.’ We needed to lose somebody for real. We lost Artie in the first season, die, Steve died a couple of seasons ago, and if that keeps up then death means nothing, and so the stakes are all gone.”
We can’t wait to see how that’s going to play out…
Thanks so much once more to Joanne Kelly, Eddie McClintock, Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti, Aaron Ashmore, Jack Kenny, and Mark Stern for taking the time to talk with the press; to Jack Kenny and Franco de Cotiis for the set tour, and to Syfy for the terrific experience that was the Syfy Digital Press Tour.
Warehouse 13 returns for the second half of Season 4 in 2013 on Syfy.