Warehouse 13 - Saul Rubinek and Aaron Ashmore Interview




Warehouse 13 is on the SyFy channel Monday nights at 9/8C.


While Allison Scagliotti (Claudia) couldn't make the call, Saul Rubinek (Artie) and Aaron Ashmore (Steve) more than made up for it in fan appreciation and love for their show. They talked for an hour about how sad they are at Warehouse 13 ending but how much they appreciate everyone they worked with, especially show runner Jack Kenny, their fellow actors, and ex-head of programming for SyFy, Mark Stern. Since this was a phone interview, I tried to be as precise as I could with things in direct quotes but most of what you read here is a paraphrase of what was said. Also due to the length and thoroughness of the answers, far fewer questions were able to be asked in the hour allotted than usual so I apologize if not all questions could be answered. In a conference call, there are usually a dozen or so people asking questions all in a queue, but I do appreciate everyone who submitted their questions. I think most of them were alluded to if not directly answered.



Season 5 - While being very close-lipped about anything spoilery, Ashmore did assure that Warehouse 13's trademark humor would still be very evident. Although the last episodes are heavier, there is a mixture of both light and dark in every episode. The heaviest stuff will be issues that need to be resolved with Claudia, presumably meaning her sister. For further information, Rubinek suggested talking to Eddie McClintock, who plays Pete, since he is apparently the least guarded when it comes to letting things slip. The only thing he would say is that the show wraps up in an odd, eccentric Warehouse-type ending.

One of both Rubinek and Ashmore's favorite episodes of this season is the one in which the cast gets stuck in a Spanish telenovela. To prepare the cast learned Spanish from a language coach so they could do part of the episode in Spanish. According to both, everyone was cracking up throughout the production and it was a lot of fun to shoot. Rubinek: "I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in anything I've ever done." In a nice twist of fate, Rubinek had portrayed a producer of a telenovela before in a guest stint on Psych, which informed part of how he approached the episode. As for Ashmore, he quipped that he laughed harder making this episode than he has at anything for the last 5 years. Part of that comes from playing a super flamboyant, ultra gay version of Steve. He had the entire cast cracking up. Originally the show wanted to hire Ashmore's twin brother, who is currently starring in The Following, to play the part but his schedule didn't permit it. Therefore, Ashmore plays two Steves in the episode.


SyFy - When they learned that SyFy was going in a different direction, Mark Stern, former head of programming, lobbied hard for Warehouse 13 to get a final season. They are very grateful to him especially on the fans' behalf. Rubinek has met several fans through conventions and is always amazed by how loyal and knowledgeable they are. He's never experienced fan love as much in all of his career. His only complaint was SyFy putting Warehouse 13 on so late in the fourth season since it is a family show. He feels that people of all ages can watch Warehouse 13 together and all enjoy it, so it should have been on before the 10:00 pm hour.


Ending / Storyline Wishes and Regrets - Going into the last season knowing it was the end was hard. Rubinek: "We didn't want our sadness to creep in it except in the most creative ways." For Rubinek, this is the first series he has been in from start to finish in a career spanning 4 decades and he describes it as "all in all the high end" of his career. He's never really thought of any storylines he wished they had gotten to before the end, but "an extensive sex life would have been fun to shoot." Mostly though he loves all the aspects of his character he got to play. He's been love struck goofy, murderous and soulless, a father figure to Claudia, and had a strange romantic relationship with Dr. Vanessa, plus much more. He's had "the luxury of these incredibly imaginative episodes." Table reads were a joy because it was always a surprise. Rubinek said story wise, "I can't tell you that I'm missing anything." Ashmore agreed, "All these characters were incredibly well-rounded." He thinks the show last so long because the writers knew the characters so well. He never had a time when he thought that Steve wouldn't say or do something they wrote. Rubinek added that if they had received a larger episode order, he thinks they would have pursued a relationship for Steve. Ashmore acknowledged that while they had touched on it in the episode in which he worked on a case with his ex, he is intrigued, given his human lie detector nature, about what "the consequences of a relationship would be." Still he is very satisfied with his role. Ashmore: "I'm very happy with everything we got to do." He misses Artie's office the most because it felt like home to him.


Character Growth / The Cast - Rubinek feels all characters were allowed "such a great range." In fact, Rubinek said, "There isn't one character you could mention that didn't." Even Mrs. Frederic grew. Rubinek finds her fascinating because it was such a serious part, but CCH Pounder is actually a goofball in real life. If Ashmore could pick only one character's growth, he would choose Claudia. Since Scagliotti was very young when she started on Warehouse 13, they wrote to her growth and maturity. He was glad fans got invested the Claudia - Steve friendship quickly, and not just because it insured he would continue on the show. Scagliotti totally embraced him as the new guy. Ashmore: "I sort of feel like it's impossible NOT to have good chemistry with Allison." He gives her massive kudos for her acting in the final season. Rubinek agrees. Scagliotti was 18 years old when she joined Warehouse 13, and at that time his daughter was 17 and his son was 14. It gave him an easy connection to her. Rubinek: "I adored her instantly and we quickly came up with a shorthand" when it came to all their exposition. It allowed the writers to build on what was naturally between them and make the exposition less dry by turning it into an argument between the two characters. Although there is over 35 years age difference between them, they were very much colleagues and Rubinek calls her a consummate professional. He enjoyed working with her because it's not common in his acting experience to form such a close personal relationship with colleagues.

Ashmore agreed, saying, "When you genuinely like someone and there's a friendship there…" it bleeds over into the scene, bringing its own energy and informing how you play the part. Rubinek continues that the relationships worked so well that some of their natural dialogue with each other actually made it into the show. He adds that both Ashmore and Scagliotti are very versatile actors with no prima donna tendencies and it was a joy working with both. When they decided to short-term kill Steve, Kenny came to Rubinek to break the news. "I'm going to start taking Allison away from you." He wanted the death to have more of a punch so he started to focus more on the Claudia-Steve relationship. Rubinek: "I didn't feel robbed of Allison because he included me in the process." He added that Ashmore came into a nerve racking situation because he was the new guy in a cast that had already bonded. His natural ability to go from being a goofball to serious at the drop of a hat helped to make him one of the group quickly. It's especially important in a "thrilleramedy" - a phrase coined by Kenny - to be versatile and Ashmore was able to adapt quickly. Rubinek describes it as a "magical cast. It's very hard to find that kind of chemistry."


Show and Personal Legacy - As for the show's legacy, Rubinek laughingly said that he hopes for a lot of residuals. More seriously, he claimed, "Netflix is a part of our show now." He hopes families find it and discover a show they can all watch together. He thinks that because the show is so full of adventure and history that it is imminently rewatchable. They finished shooting the season awhile ago and he is so happy to see these characters again. He hopes all fans feel the same way. Personally, Ashmore says that by looking on the show with a little bit of distance now, he grew confident in his profession because of Warehouse 13. Ashmore: "I found myself as an actor." He appreciates being able to stretch as a performer in so many different ways. "It was a huge learning experience and there was some of the most amazing performers and creative people." Grateful for the 3 years he had on the show, he added, "I came out the other end of it feeling very confident."

For Rubinek, this role was different than most of his career. He never expected to play one character for such a long time and that allowed for a number of creative and career challenges. It forced him to keep his acting fresh and set a high bar because the high-quality writing demanded grace and alacrity. While he is grateful to have worked with a lot of different directors and guests, he credits Warehouse 13's success to show runner Kenny. Rubinek greatly admires some things Kenny did differently like insist the writers come back early so they could break scripts and be four episodes ahead of production. This allowed him to be in Toronto when shooting started. Since he was on set over 70% of the time, he could make writing changes as they went, which kept actor frustration low because they felt like they were being heard. On normal sets, the writers and show runners are in LA and the mandate is to stick to the script. Because Kenny was on set, he could rewrite on the spot. Rubinek: "One of the reasons the guest stars wanted to come back is that they felt the collaboration." He feels that spirit of collaboration could be felt by the fans as well, helping Warehouse 13 to be successful. That amount of collaboration took a lot of planning and money, since it means paying the writers for longer. He credits Kenny for being a father figure to the writers and a leader to the actors, a model for Rubinek.


Mementoes - Ashmore jokingly claimed "we took everything we could get our hands on," but that was not true. McClintock (Pete) got the most, but Ashmore and Rubinek were more restrained. Ashmore took the metronome that brought Steve back to life. He also has a collection of seatbacks from various shows he's been on, so he took his from Warehouse 13 as well. Mainly though, he got a lot of Steve's wardrobe so he can't wait to wear them in public and have a fan recognize him through them. Rubinek got his own glasses back. Apparently the glasses he wore as Artie are the same ones he brought to a screen test. He also got some wardrobe items, but what he really wanted was the steampunk keyboard. Sadly it was too expensive. His favorite gift however, came in July as a birthday present. Jack Kenny gave him an original drawing of Artie's office by Franco de Cotiis, the production designer. That's all he really wanted. Rubinek: "The truth is for me, the memories are my artifacts." Besides, he always has the show itself.


Miscellaneous - Ashmore couldn't pick one most dangerous artifact because "it seems like they all were constantly causing problems." For Rubinek it would be the astrolabe of season 4 because of its vast consequences for his character. When asked about whether the Alphas and Warehouse 13 were in the same universe, Ashmore wasn't sure but Rubinek mentioned that Lindsay Wagner's character, Dr. Vanessa, was in both shows so they decided that it was in the same universe but very different shows. The tone of Alphas was much more serious than Warehouse 13, which would have made crossovers more difficult. It was far easier to crossover with Eureka since they were both more a combination of humor and drama.


What's Up Next for Both - Rubinek is moving back to LA this summer and is working on two projects currently. The first is a comedy he's working on with his wife. The second he is developing with Kenny, since he enjoyed working with him so much on Warehouse 13. Basically he is picking up where he started in 2009 before Warehouse 13 started. Rubinek: "Warehouse was unexpected." At that point in his career, he was looking to focus more on writing and scale back on acting, which is what he intends to do now. He's going to be selective on his acting roles, but he did shoot a double episode of Person of Interest in the fall and is interested in doing more guest spots in other shows. As for Ashmore, he recently finished shooting a pilot called Agatha for ABC. It's about a criminal who becomes an expert in criminology. Her previous incarceration caused a rift between her dad and brother, who are cops, and her. She moves back to her hometown town for a case and has to resolve her family issues as well. Ashmore calls it "Grey's Anatomy with cops." He plays her brother with Clancy Brown, aka the sheriff in Sleepy Hollow, as her father. Australian actress Bojana Novakovic, who played Mikki in Rake, stars as Agatha. The pilot is being directed by Jace Alexander, who also shot the pilot of Warehouse 13. Ashmore also recently wrapped a psychological thriller starring Ethan Hawke as a lead detective. Emma Watson of Harry Potter fame stars in it as well.


Warehouse 13 airs on SyFy Monday nights at 9/8 central.


Screencaps by Wikia, About.com, Scifi Mafia, Weird Girls, TV.com, BorgCybermage, and Oh No They Didn't.


About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and creates polls for Sleepy Hollow, Arrow, White Collar, Grimm, Teen Wolf, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts the Warehouse 13 "Endless Wonder", Sleepy Hollow "Headless," and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
Posted on April 18, 2014 .