"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Warehouse 13, the quirky Syfy dramatic comedy set against the backdrop of a secret government facility that houses supernatural objects, reaches its conclusion May 19 after a successful five-season run. When a series comes to an end, there’s always a bittersweet, nostalgic twinge to every conversation about it, but such melancholy is tempered with the likes of star Eddie McClintock on stage.
The actor, who plays Peter Lattimer, was joined at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo by co-stars Allison Scagliotti (Claudia Donovan) and Saul Rubinek (Artie Nielsen), and immediately revealed both the goofy charm McClintock brings to the series and the emotional connection that’s developed between the cast members.
Rubinek asked about a scene in the finale in which executive producer Jack Kenny tried to impress upon McClintock the significance of a final speech to the rest of the characters. Kenny apparently struck more of a nerve than he bargained for.
“I am my father’s son,” McClintock said. “[…] Maybe it’s because I’m old, I just cry. Everything makes me cry. Maybe I inherited that from my father. I cry when things make me emotional. Basically the last opportunity for Pete to get to say what he really wanted to say to everybody, and Jack walked up before we started rolling and said, ‘Remember, you will never have this opportunity again. Last time you will ever see all these people together. All right let’s roll …’”
“He couldn’t get it out,” Rubinek said. “They had to reshoot it.” Rubinek asked Kenny, “What the hell did you say to him? What did you say, that we’re all dying of cancer? What did you say to him?” Kenny admitted he told McClintock it was the last time he would address the crew, to which Rubinek replied, “Oh, brilliant.”
What came next revealed the goofball side of McClintock: The actor climbed out of his chair, adjusting his microphone cord. When Rubinek told the crowd McClintock farts a lot, McClintock responded, “I’m farting right now,” and adjusted his pants to free the cord. His childish energy filled the stage.
“So now you know that he is actually in real life–” started Rubinek.
“He is Pete,” Scagliotti interjected.
“–Pete,” Rubinek finished. “Both of his children in four years will outgrow him in every capacity.”
McClintock will have moved on to other projects by then. The cast and crew were told at the beginning of the fifth season that Warehouse 13 was being canceled. Unlike Eureka, the series was given the opportunity to wrap up with a six-episode story arc.
“Five seasons is a great run for a series,” Scagliotti said. “By the way, the finale is so beautiful I cried when I read the script. Eddie cried pretty much from the beginning of filming and didn’t stop until Comic-Con last year. [It’s a] beautiful, perfect way to wrap it up. And it doesn’t feel like Warehouse ended.”
“We had a great time,” Rubinek said. “Six great episodes, probably, certainly the funniest, one of the funniest episodes we ever did was the second to last episode where … we ended up falling into a telenovela, and it’s very, very funny. I think you’re going to really, really love the way this show comes to a close, and we certainly loved it. We’re very grateful about it. Five years of laughing every day. No matter how tired we were, there was this lunatic here [McClintock] who kept us laughing, and, you know, it was an extraordinary experience for all of us.”
Fans and the cast looked back together over the show’s run, beginning with the pilot and the fate of the ferret that appeared when a character grasped a magic kettle and wished for something that wasn’t possible.
“The ferret tried to over-negotiate its rate,” Scagliotti said.
“We et it,” McClintock said.
“We did not eat the ferret,” Scalgiotti replied. “That’s against union rules.”
“This is a legitimate question,” Rubinek said, explaining that working with animals is much more difficult than it looks. The actors “like to improvise, like to fool around,” he said, but animals are “not great at improv.”
“Basically you do shit for the pilot so you can sell it and then it goes away,” Rubinek concluded.
At about that time, Jaime Murray (H.G. Wells), hustling over from her appearance on the Defiance panel, joined the trio on stage.
For a show heavy on props – the central premise, after all, involves the the collection and storage of powerful artifacts – the cast seemed to focus more on a particular set.
“It wasn’t a thing for me,” Rubinek said. Instead, it was the Artie’s office set. When he saw it, he thought, “‘Oh, no acting required now.’ Beautiful set. And we loved being on it.” He keeps a framed drawing of the set. “I couldn’t be anywhere near when they were dismantling that set,” he said.
Props were important, but the rigors of filming took their toll. Fragile props regularly broke, such as when McClintock was playing with one just before cameras rolled. “You stupid, stupid, asshole,” Rubinek said at the time. It became a catchphrase whenever anything went wrong on set, often abbreviated to just, “You stupid, stupid, dot dot dot,” Scagliotti recalled.
She also described a magic hookah that was designed to break away when, as the script demanded, she hit McClintock with it while possessed by a fictional Dark Alice. Unfortunately, the hinge broke away too soon, and “I smacked him in the face with the magnetic joint,” she said. “As much as you think I might relish a moment like that, I did not. I felt so bad.”
“I’m all right!” shouted McClintock. “All right!”
Much of the filming involved green screens, with special effects added in post-production. Murray described one example, when she had a supposedly powerful weapon. “I would shoot it off, and … I would fire it, and I would have to look off in the distance and the thing was going, and the actual thing was just a like cork, and you would press it and the thing would go, like ‘Pffftt.’”
“Sounds like my sex life,” McClintock deadpanned, triggering a roar from the audience. “Bam! Good night, Tahoe! Tip your waitresses!”
With just moments left on stage, Scagilotti dropped a final teaser about her character’s status as the Warehouse “Caretaker,” a decision she changed her mind about several times already.
“It’s kind of like when I was a teenager and I didn’t know if I wanted to be an actor or go to college for journalism or what,” she said. “We change our minds about what we want in life. I’m still figuring it out because that’s what you do as a young person. … I think Claudia changes her mind a few more times before that fate is decided. But we definitely revisit it in season five and I’m really happy with how we resolved it.”
Then McClintock reminded his colleagues: “Four more episodes left. And this is probably most likely the last convention we’ll all be at together before the end of Warehouse 13. So goodbye, thank you, we love you.”
Warehouse 13 airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Syfy.