Behind the Mystery Of WAREHOUSE 13’s Mrs. Fredric – Interview With CCH Pounder

Who or what is Mrs. Fredric? CCH Pounder (My Girlfriend’s Back, The Shield) plays one of the most intriguing characters on SyFy’s Warehouse 13. You may also recognize her voice from James Cameron’s Avatar as the spiritual leader and mother of Neytiri and as Amanda Waller in the animated Justice League. Check out SciFi Mafia’s interview with Pounder on her mysterious Warehouse 13 character, the enigmatic Regents and the MacPherson plotline, and her roles in Avatar and Justice League.

[Above: Artie (Saul Rubinek) with Mrs. Fredric (CCH Pounder) and the Regents in the diner]

SciFi Mafia:  Hi, CCH! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today.

CCH Pounder:  You’re welcome Lillian.

SciFi Mafia:  Regarding the regents, will we be able to learn more about the enigmatic regents and the right eye of Horus?

When we spoke to Allison Scagliotti (who plays Claudia Donovan) a couple of weeks ago, she said that regents were working class people rather than government types.

And since the last two episodes of this season are in Egypt, are we going to see more behind the Egyptian symbology, between the regents and the MacPherson plotline?

CCH Pounder:  Now, that’s really interesting that Allison, young pup, only saw what looked like working class people in that café, because in fact, there was sort of every level of humanity in that café and the surprise was, was that, they looked ordinary and that was the difference.

So, I would say that regents are ordinary looking people with extraordinary responsibility.

That’s the first thing. I think you’ll hear a lot more about the Regents because they are the big decision makers of Warehouse 13.

Now, how did that’d all come about? I have no clue.

[Above: Mrs. Fredric (CCH Pounder) and James MacPherson (Roger Rees)]

SFM:   And is there anything that you can tell us about the Egyptian symbology? I kept feeling that there was part of the McPherson plotline that wasn’t fully played out.

CCH Pounder:  Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think Warehouse 13’s probably really confident, especially when they already know that there’s – the season three is going to happen, so that maybe they didn’t have to explore everything and explain everything all together this season, because we’ve got another season to come.

And I think all those things kind of will reveal itself, but I don’t know which path that they’re going down. I don’t know whether it’s the eye of Horus path. I don’t know whether the Egyptian warehouse in Alexandria will come back up again.

And I’m kind of clueless as you are.

SFM:   I would love to learn more about that plot line. I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t – that we didn’t get more of that this season, but I’m really psyched to hear that we’ll be able to get into that next season.

CCH Pounder:  Well, particularly because Egypt basically is the origin of the warehouse, so I think the possibilities of it going back and forth there is, you know, and plumbing those stories is probably a reality for them.

But, it’s my educated guess.

SFM:  Speaking of guesses, do you have any theories about what or who Mrs. Frederic is?

CCH Pounder:  Yes, I do. I think Mrs. Frederic is a hologram.

SFM:   Oh, but she can touch things and interact with people.

CCH Pounder:  Yes, she can.

SFM:   And the mystery of how she is able to transcend time? This is a very interesting…

CCH Pounder:  Yes, how is she able to transcend time? Why doesn’t she need to enter through a door? All these things. Why is that hairstyle so prominent? Is that period that she liked and said, “Okay, I’m going to go with this for the next 400 years”.

Did she see it in the future and decide that’s a fabulous hairstyle? Is it a memory of the past? There’s, you know…

Well, I’m always trying to figure it out myself. I will tell you that, Mrs. Frederic has no legend and I don’t know if you know, that most actors are given a kind of legend or background story of who the character is. Mrs. Frederic just got a blank page and said, “Not to be divulged.”

SFM:   I think your character is one of the most amazing characters on the show, so thank you very much for bringing her alive.

CCH Pounder:   Thanks. I appreciate that.

[Above: Mrs. Fredric (CCH Pounder) with Myka (Joanne Kelly) and Pete (Eddie McClintock) in the Warehouse]

In this SyFy Q&A session, Pounder did reveal what her own version of Mrs. Fredric’s history could be. This question comes courtesy of Jamie Ruby of SciFi Vision:

SciFi Vision:  Now you talked a bit earlier about kind of that you don’t know any of Mrs. Frederic’s story, but if you could write something make whatever you wanted up, is there something that you’d either like to see have been in her back story, or see happen on the show?

CCH Pounder:  Oh yeah. Well, I told it once, so we’ll spend a little time. I envisioned that Mrs. Frederic was actually a back up girl for some singing group. And that a fellow in the audience that came to see her over and over again, and obviously this was CIA agent, but she didn’t know that at the time.

And then he came one time when he was sick, and after her performance, he approached her in the hallway backstage and said, “Can I have a drink with you?”

And then, of course, it was the ‘60’s and I think that Mr. Frederic was a white guy and they have to find a place where a black person and a white person can have this conversation.

And he tells her his entire life and who is and what he does, and that he has this information and he says, “And I want to feed it to you.” And by whatever means he does it, through blood, through transfusions, through hooking up to electrodes together, he implants all this information in the now Mrs. Frederic playing – who has moved from Show Girl background doo-op singer to the incredible brain of Warehouse 13.

There you go.

[Above: Mrs. Fredric (CCH Pounder) and Artie (Saul Rubinek) in the premiere episode, “Buried“]

What do you guys think of that for a backstory? I dig it! As we saw in the first half of the second season finale, Mrs. Fredric is the Caretaker of the Warehouse and shares a mystical bond with the organic entity that is the Warehouse. I wonder how close Pounder’s story is with what the writers have in mind?

[Center: Amanda Waller]

I also had the chance to ask Pounder about the other roles she is famous for in the world of sci-fi and superheroes:

SciFi Mafia:   Will you lend your voice again to play Amanda Waller in any upcoming animated movies involving the Justice League?

CCH Pounder:   Well, it’s very interesting, because there is actually a movie coming out and Pam Grier is playing Amanda Waller. So, that was, I believe, the third Amanda Waller that there is.

I can’t remember who the very first one was. So, I don’t know, but I do know that the Amanda Waller’s voice that I’ve done is, probably the most recognized. So it’s very possible that we could do something like that. We’ll see.

SFM:  Well, it sounds like you’ve got a really big fan base from that, as well.

CCH Pounder:  I’m very surprised. Yeah. It is pretty surprising.

Editor’s Sidenote:   [I believe Pounder is referring to Smallville’s Amanda Waller when she’s talking about Pam Grier. Angela Bassett will play the same role in the upcoming live-action Green Lantern movie.]

[Above: CCH Pounder and her character in Avatar, Moat]

SFM:   What are the different challenges do you see from doing voice acting versus doing television or movies?

CCH Pounder:   I don’t find them very, very different at all. But there’s just one thing though that I really do want to clear up, particularly for something like Avatar, which a lot of people consider that voice acting, but in fact, you’re doing like a full bodied acting where your physicality is what you’re actually seeing on the film.

What you’re not seeing is what I look like. You’re seeing what the Avatar looks like. So, a lot of people got confused by that, and it took us a really long time to explain that…oh, no this is not an animated voice thing.

This is actually actors acting, but they look physically different. But all the physical stuff that they did, all the gestures, all the eye movements, but that was all us doing the work.

So, there’s going to be a lot of changes then, because that’s basically, I think one of the new things, new parts of technology and incorporated with acting that’s going to be happening and it’s going to be a regular part of our lives.

So, the people who had not considered using their voice as, you know, part of the acting world, I think that very quickly now, they’re know, they’ll have to incorporate that too, because there’s going to be voice acting. There’s going to be performance capture acting and then they’ll be just regular everyday acting that you see now.

SFM:   That’s fascinating how much technology has changed the entertainment world.

CCH Pounder:  It really is, because I can imagine that the person who was in the silent movies and who suddenly had to go to the talkies and hearing their voice for the first time, and suddenly, you know, not be eligible because your voice sounds too squeaky or you know, you look manly, but your voice sounded too soft.

All those things are in – have to be taken into account, even from – yet going from black and white to Technicolor and now from this idea of what we see as acting now into performance capture where you put on this gear. You’ve covered in electrodes. You’re doing the acting, but you don’t see the actor. You just see the animated version of that actor or that Avatar.

And so, you can become anything now.

SFM:   And the performance comes through – the performance that you give is still captured and executed in the animation, right?

CCH Pounder:   Exactly. From now on, [people can play] any age and any race. Yeah. Equality at last.

SFM:   That is quite amazing, isn’t it?

CCH Pounder:  Yes it is.

SFM:   Well, thank you very much, CCH!

CCH Pounder:   Thank you.

Stay tuned for more coverage on Warehouse 13’s season finale!

The second half of the season finale airs next Tuesday, September 21, 2010 on SyFy at 9/8C.

Lillian 'zenbitch' Standefer
Written by Lillian 'zenbitch' Standefer

is Senior Managing Editor for SciFi, skips along between the lines of sci-fi, fantasy, and reality, and is living proof that geek girls really DO exist!