Q&A with Warehouse 13’s Eddie McClintock and Saul Rubinek

My mind is still relatively blown from last season’s finale on Warehouse 13. Not only were major characters killed off, but the warehouse went BOOM! How does the team recover from that? And what can we expect from season 4 of SyFy’s most popular series? I sat down with stars Eddie McClintock (Pete) and Saul Rubinek (Artie) to find out.

Rubinek immediately put fears about the blown-up warehouse to rest. “Our show is not called Giant Chasm in the Ground 13,” he said. It’s called Warehouse 13, so obviously they’re going to figure out a way to bring the Warehouse back.” But he did go on to explain that getting the warehouse back and in full working order would not be easy. There may be an artifact (as seen in the sneak peek below) that can handle it, but there will be consequences. “What the writers decided was that there had to be some consequences that were irrevocable.”

That sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it? McClintock said, “And not necessarily that it changes the show totally, but certainly there will be fallout from the use of artifacts that we cannot take back. You know, that stay with everybody. The change, it changes everyone permanently.”

Thanks to the popularity of the show (and the dark turn this story arc will take), this season of Warehouse 13 will be a longer one, which the actors are both excited about. Rubinek stated, “It’s really a real vote of confidence from the network and the studio to do that with us.”

McClintock did mention the downside of a longer season by having to be away from his kids for such a long time, but he went on to say that he really didn’t have any complaints. Well, except for one: Saul. Yes, our Eddie is a joker, just like Pete on the series.

Rubinek laughed and later referred to McClintock as the one keeping things light on the set of the show, “I call it his buffoonery.”

This sort of banter is what the show is known for. So how much of the scenes between the two actors are improvised? Rubinek stated that it was about 50%, but McClintock went on to explain, “Just to be exact on what I consider improv to be, I would never just say a line arbitrarily during the scene without first running it by Jack [Kenney].” He clarified that when an idea came up, the actors discuss it with Kenney (the show’s writer) and then see what works.

After 40 years of being an actor, does Rubinek find enjoyment in working on Warehouse 13? The answer is a resounding yes. “It’s an extraordinary thing,” he said. “At a certain point it becomes the biggest character I’ve ever played and it’s quickly become probably the best character with themost range because of all the episodes and all the different things the writers are asking of us.”  The show also has a broad appeal, with demographics showing ages 8 to 80 sitting down to watch the series. Rubinek is proud of the fact that they’re creating something families can watch together.

So down to the nitty gritty: how much are the two actors like their characters? If this chat were any indication, I would, personally, say a lot. When asked about it, McClintock gave a serious answer: “The biggest parallel that I think – between myself and my character – when we started this years ago, the character of Pete, if you remember in the pilot, he has a one-night stand with some girl he just met. He kind of gives her the boot, you know, he gently suggests that she go because he’s got to get to work. And, it turns out his work is to guard the President. So I think we see that, he doesn’t take his job all that seriously, and I think he’s a little overly egocentric. He’s pretty wrapped up in Pete. He’s a recovering alcoholic, so even though we don’t know that, it’s kind of a classic condition of the recovering alcoholic which I’m well aware of because it’s me.”

But what about Pete now in season 4? McClintock stated, “I would say that I have grown – I have become less selfish. It’s become more about my boys and my family, and I think that that’s kind of the journey that Pete has made and continues to make.”

Rubinek spoke about being the father figure on the set, similar to Artie’s relationship with the team. “I’m the old guy on the set and I want to set a good example, knowing my lines. For being there on time. For being a good support for everybody.”

So… remember the episode where Pete and Myka change bodies? That one was hilarious, wasn’t it? So what do you think would happen if Pete and Artie switched bodies? Well, the guys had an answer for that. “He’s put me on a plan – a weight loss plan immediately and I’d be in shape,” Rubinek said.

McClintock chimed in, “I’d go out cruising chicks.”

And so the scene began to write itself. Rubinek added, “It’d be pretty weird as he starts giving people orders and nobody realizes it’s Pete. And nobody takes me seriously. I’ve got great ideas. I look like Pete and Myka doesn’t take me seriously at all. It would be a disaster.”

McClintock proceeded to write the dialogue, “‘Myka, I want you to go to the store and buy four whoopee cushions.’ ‘I won’t do it Artie. I won’t do it.’”

After the laughter settled down, Rubinek discussed working with Star Trek‘s Brent Spiner who will be guest-starring for a story arc in the new season. “We started off actually in the theater together. We did a play in New York together in 1979, and the reunion was when we did the Star Trek TNG was in ’89. It was ten years after that and here we are, wow, 22 years after that. ”

Obviously, McClintock couldn’t let that go, “When you did the play in ’79, was that by candlelight?”

Rubinek had to have been rolling his eyes at that point, just like Artie. “Thanks Eddie. Yes, gaslight.”

Obviously, this led to McClintock stating that Rubinek had gas. Yes, folks, it was that kind of interview.

I received a great question via Twitter during the Q&A and asked it. If they could invent their own artifact, what would it be? Both gave excellent answers:

McClintock: “If I had to create an artifact, I’ve always said that it would be Janice Joplin’s back stage pass from Woodstock. The holder of the artifact could travel through time to go to any concert that has ever been. I could go to see the Doors and Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin, and all the bands that my dad turned me on to when I was a little kid but I was never old enough to go to the shows.”

Rubinek: “I want to have an artifact that actually tells the true numbers of the audience Nielsen ratings that we’re actually getting, because I can tell you that it’s probably three times what they’re saying it is because otherwise, the advertisers would have to pay a lot more.”

I mentally high-fived Rubinek for that response. I’ve harped on about that subject quite a bit here on the blog.

And continuing the discussion about artifacts, McClintock gave us a sneak peek of what to expect this season: “Cowboy hat, clothes pins, Harley Davidson motorcycle, bunless leather chaps.”

You can’t top that, can you?

Don’t miss the season 4 premiere of Warehouse 13 Monday on SyFy at 9/8c. And be sure to check out the sneak peek below.

2 thoughts on “Q&A with Warehouse 13’s Eddie McClintock and Saul Rubinek

  • July 19, 2012 at 5:12 pm
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    I’ve always been a big fan of  Rubinek, so I had to check this out in Season 1. Incredibly, the whole thing keeps getting better and better. Eddie has great comic timing, which was a pleasant surprise to see in a relative “new comer” to a leading role like this one. Excellent guest stars, writing, and cast.  The show is SO good, I’m surprised SyFy hasn’t cancelled it like they seem to do habitually with their best programming. Keep up the great work, gang & many more Seasons!

    • July 19, 2012 at 5:46 pm
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      It’s the highest rated show on the network. I don’t think they dare cancel it! 🙂 I do agree, though, the show continues to get better with each season. The cast has really great chemistry, too – that was very evident in this interview.

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