Q&A with Warehouse 13 executive producer Jack Kenny and Brent Spiner

Needless to say, when I got the invite to attend a Q&A that featured Brent Spiner, I got a little excited. Well, maybe more than excited – I recall bouncing around my office before RSVP’ing. And when time came to call in to speak with him (as well as Jack Kenny, Warehouse 13‘s executive producer), I was shaking and the title “fan girl” became all too appropriate.

Of course, because I was so nervous, when Spiner started laughing about the name of this site, Kenny could not help but to ask him for his own personal fan girl confession. Spiner, being the jokester, turned the question to me. So I blurted it out: I admitted to wanting to marry Data -not Brent Spiner himself, but the character he played on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Not only did we all get a good laugh, but Spiner applauded me for knowing the difference between Data and himself.

With that minor moment of embarassment aside, it was time to talk about Spiner’s guest starring role on Warehouse 13. As the mysterious Brother Adrian, Spiner captured imaginations last week and gave Warehouse 13 one of its largest audience viewings ever. That’s called star power, something Spiner has in droves.

So how did Spiner end up with the role of Brother Adrian on the series? “I went to Saul,” Kenny said, “because I knew he’d be in every scene with Brother Adrian all year. And I said, ‘So you’re friends with Brent, right?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘What would you think about for Brother Adrian?’ And Saul was ecstatic. He said, ‘Oh my god, that would be my dream come true.’

Spiner added, “And his dream did come true. And here I am. Jack and Saul called me and said, ‘Let’s have lunch,’ and I did. And they said, ‘Would you be interested in doing this?’ And ultimately I said, ‘Yes, I would be very interested in doing this.’ So I jumped on board and had a really amazing time in Toronto.”

So what is it about Brother Adrian that’s so interesting? According to Kenny, “The story line about Brother Adrian, well we always like to have a big bad in each season, and we kind of like to play with what that big bad is and what’s underneath. Even with someone like MacPherson or Sykes, it’s never black and white, “He’s just an evil guy,” there’s always a reasonable thing going on underneath, there’s a reasonable desire. It’s a grey area. Everybody has their reasons for doing what they’re doing, and Brother Adrian has his reasons for going after Artie as you’ll see in the next episode. It was really about giving Artie an arc for the season, and about giving a nemesis.”

Last week, when I spoke with Saul Rubinek, he discussed working with Brent Spiner again. The two had not only worked together on ST:TNG, but had also done a play together in the 70’s. When asked about working with Saul on Warehouse 13, Spiner said, “But it was like swimming in a rainbow to work with Saul again. Saul is an amazing actor, he’s an amazing talent, and it was just fantastic to be back on stage with him.” With some prompting from Kenny, Spiner did admit that he and Saul were only 10 years old at the time when they did the theatre production. See? Jokester.

Kenny chimed in about working with the two actors, “It’s fun watching them work because after a while it became a war of pauses. They would each say their line with so much intensity that the next one had to beat it.”

After joking around about not wearing pants underneath the cassock that Brother Adrian wears in every scene, Spiner talked a little about the challenges of playing the character. “The most complicated thing about playing Brother Adrian for me was figuring out who he was,” he said. “I never quite knew who he was until the episode after the one we were shooting would come out. When we were working on Episode 2, or my Episode 2, I sort of had an idea about how to play him until Episode 3 arrived. And I read that and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, no, no, no, I was all wrong, let me go back.’ It’s a very tricky and complicated role.”

As someone who’s interested in the artifacts on the series, I had to ask about some that maybe we have not yet seen on the show. Kenny replied, “We don’t usually approach from an artifact first, we usually approach it from a story line, an emotional story line, what’s going on with somebody that they would use something. And then we back up into what they use and what the problems of that is. I find the research into all these things incredibly exciting and unique. And another artifact, which I think a dicey one to use, but which I think would be interesting is Hitler’s microphone. A microphone that was just imbued with all the hatred of that man and hey, it falls into the hands of a radio shock jock.”

That episode sounds like one I’d watch.

When Spiner was asked about creating his own artifact, he stated that he thought Data would be a good artifact for the show. As throughout the entire interview, it was hard to tell when he’s serious and when he’s not. Obviously, I adore him for it. He’s a funny guy.

Going into artifacts we’ll see this season (not withstanding the mention of bunless chaps by Eddie McClintock last week), Kenny promised the following: an artifact that belonged to Lovecraft (ooh!), the return of Maelzel’s metronome, an artifact that creates tornadoes (keep that one away from here!), Bobby Fischer’s marbles and Scott Joplin’s cigarette case. But wait, there’s more. “We’ll also see the birth of an artifact in an upcoming episode,” Kenny said. “We’ll learn how an artifact is born, and you saw the football in Episode 1 how it keeps tracks of artifacts and that it keeps track of artifacts that we know about, that are birthed, and whether or not we have to collect them.”

So will we see Spiner as Brother Adrian again after this season? Kenny didn’t rule it out. “Essentially the Brother Adrian character wraps up in the first ten episodes. I will not rule out bringing Brent back again because I absolutely just love working with him. So if I have my druthers we’ll see Brother Adrian once again.”

I certainly hope that’s the case. Don’t miss Spiner on Warehouse 13 on Mondays on SyFy at 9/8 c.

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