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Q&A Interview with WAREHOUSE 13 Stars Eddie McClintock & Joanne Kelly and EP Jack Kenny

Maj Canton - April 29, 2013




Early last week, TV Tango participated in the NBCUniversal 2013 Summer Press Day, where WAREHOUSE 13 stars Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly and executive producer Jack Kenny dished about new story arcs in the next 10 episodes, reminisced about the stars' casting call, and discussed the show's future, including comparisons to BONES and CHEERS.



Syfy presents the Season 4.5 premiere of WAREHOUSE 13, "The Living and the Dead," tonight (Monday, April 29th) at 10pm ET/PT.

Question: Are there any particular stories that you're just saving for later or avoiding?

Jack Kenny: No. My theory is if it's a good idea, we do it as soon as possible. I don't save anything, because you never know what's going to happen. You want to put everything out there as quickly as you have a good idea. I mean, there's some ideas that might be over the top.

We did do a WIZARD OF OZ piece. Last season Steve walked by the red ruby slippers in the dark vault.  And being gay, I said to him, "Listen, you wouldn't notice" -- I am gay, yes.  You can look that up online. There's lots of pictures.

Jack Kenny (cont): And, "Steve, you have to know there that not a gay man in the world who could walk by the ruby slippers and not notice them." It can't be done. So we put this thing where you frame the slippers, go up, click three times and you get a WIZARD OF OZ scream and laugh. And we did tap that a little bit. We try to stay as accurate as possible to history. And I feel like it's a lot a fun, but you should also get some course credit for watching it, because you learn a whole boatload of stuff on our show, and you learn it through humor and action and excitement and fun. And I think that's kind of a good plus side benefit of our show.

Question: With all the current distractions available, what do you see is the current viewership trend of your show?  And also, is it better, in your estimation, to cater towards your core audience or try to capture new viewers?

Jack Kenny: Obviously, every network wants to capture new viewers. And that's kind up to the networks. It's about promotion. It's you guys [the press] getting the word out there, getting the name out. You guys, the press, controls so much of what we watch these days, anyway. I have so many friends who are press writers, and I know that you are overwhelmed with content right now. Every TV writer I know is saying, "Oh, my God, I don't have enough time to watch anything."

Jack Kenny (cont): But, so, in terms of new viewers, the network often reaches out to new audiences. I know that Syfy is doing a lot with the Internet to reach new viewers, because I don't know anybody over 30 who watches television live anyway. I don't watch television live. I binge watch, I watch on my DVR.


So we're only interested in telling good stories. I don't reach for a demographic. To me, you tell a good story, people watch, and we tell it with humor so even more people watch. Because I think anybody watches something that's funny, and our show is often very funny, thanks to these two and the rest of our incredibly talented cast. They know how to tell a joke.

Joanne Kelly: Thank you.

Jack Kenny: You're pretty good with a joke yourself. Don't short-change yourself.

Joanne Kelly: I'm reactionary.

Jack Kenny: Well, yes.

Eddie McClintock: No, no, there was that one time. [laughing]

Jack Kenny: Yeah, so I think that helps reach out to a lot of audience too, because I've never read a review from anybody that said "I don't want to watch this anymore, it's just too funny. I laughed too much. I don't think it's good." So I think writing is just telling good stories, you know. We just want to tell great stories that make good entertainment.

Question: Is Season 4.5 going to be as heavily arced as last season?  Less so?

Jack Kenny: That is a good question. I feel like I'm talking all the time, though. If you want to talk, let me know.

Eddie McClintock: These are writer questions.

Joanne Kelly: Yeah, just sea of Apples; it's a little scary.

Jack Kenny: It's a sea of writers, so they're going to ask writer questions.

Jack Kenny (cont): Yes, we do start the arc in Episode 1. Yes, it is an arc that goes through the whole season. It is not as heavy as last season, because last season's arc was all Artie. So it's kind of hard for that not to land in a major way both on him and on everybody else. This season is an external character's arc, so it's a little easier to just tap on it once and a while, like we do with HG, or like we do with psyches. So we tap on it now and again. But it is a solidly followed arc, and it does land very squarely in everybody's lap at the end.


As you all know, we had Anthony Head coming to join us, and our arc culminates in his discovery in Episode 8 and 9 and 10. They are the big play out of that. It lands very heavily in these guys' laps. Mika goes through a very big life-changing event in Episode 7. She and Pete have to deal with that. It's very emotional. They keep it to themselves. That also explodes into the finale, and it drives that a lot. We are playing arcs, but we're also stag-and-bag tag of the week. You know, we like to keep that engine going, because that's where a lot of the fun lives.

Joanne Kelly: We have stand-alones in this season. It's a nicely balanced season.

Question: The show is like one of those warhorses, WARHORSE 13.  Outside it gets good ratings, it's been on a long time, maybe like BONES in a way. What would you say to people that don't know enough about the show to get them to watch the show?

Jack Kenny: This is your Syfy gateway drug. [laughing]


I'm not a sci-fi guy. I love STAR WARS, BACK TO THE FUTURE, RAIDERS. I'm into that stuff, but I'm not the guy who knows the Klingon language. 

Jack Kenny (cont): What attracted me to first work on the show, I found about it through Eddie. I was directing him in a sitcom and he said, "Oh, my pilot got picked up," and he was telling me about it. I read it, and I thought, "I would watch this." This is something cool. This is INDIANA JONES meets MOONLIGHTING, with real characters, real lives, and real means and emotions -- and I would watch. So it was my gateway drug into sci-fi; it kind of brought me into the whole world of sci-fi, Comic-Con and all this stuff, and watching FIREFLY and FRINGE and shows that I wouldn't normally have gone to. So that's why I call it a gateway drug. It's weird that you say that we've been on [a long time] -- CHEERS was on a long time.

Eddie McClintock: BONES has been on, like, nine seasons. [Editor's note: BONES finishes its eighth season the same night WAREHOUSE 13 starts Season 4.5].

Jack Kenny: We're looking for Season 5. I feel like we're still middle-aged.

Eddie McClintock: Well, for me,  do a lot of conventions and I get people coming up to me. I get a dad with his wife and their college-aged daughter, and then their young son -- and the dad and the young son do Pete lines together. And they are, like, "We love your lines. We do your lines." And the college-age daughter watches with all her friends at her college dorm. And, the wife has her little coffee clutch with her friends. So, I mean, everyone in the family can watch this show. And that's what I always say to other people, because they're like, "Oh, you know, it's on Syfy.  I'm not a big sci-fi [fan]." The warehouse and the artifacts are really just plot devices to get to what is at the core. What I think is the core of the show is that it's a family show about relationships. And Jack, what he does so incredibly well, is he writes great interpersonal relationships. So I mean it's on Syfy, but I really don't consider it a sci-fi show. I consider it a family show that happens to be incredibly funny and heartfelt and thrilling and exciting at the same time.  As Jack said, it's a thriller already.

Joanne Kelly: Is it my turn?

Eddie McClintock: Beat that sucker.

Joanne Kelly: You know what I love about WAREHOUSE? I love the characters. I love Artie and Pete and I love Myka, and I love Claudia, and I love how dynamic and interesting each one of them are and how they connect, their relationships. I'm really proud about our show, that we have flushed out individuals, not stock-in-trade characters. It's not a sketch, it's a real living human being that people can connect to.  hat's why I wanted to be an actor, and that's what I like about the show.

Jack Kenny: And we write you like family members. We write you like brothers and sisters and daughters and sons. And we write them like family, and everybody can relate to family. Everybody has a mother or a father or a brother or a sister that drives them crazy. That's kind of what we got here. [laughing]

Eddie McClintock: I mean, it's true.  On the show, Joanne and I especially, we spend...

Joanne Kelly: So much time together.

Eddie McClintock: We spend more time together than we do with our own families.

Joanne Kelly: Anyone I've ever known. [laughing] He's crazy.

Eddie McClintock: I tend to drive her a little nuts. One day I was driving her particularly crazy.

Joanne Kelly: I remember. We were in the car.

Eddie McClintock: Yes.  And I said to her, I go,"Joanne, do I drive you crazy?" And she goes, "Sometimes I want to stab you in the eye with a pencil. [laughing] But if you were any other way, the show and our relationship, it just wouldn't be the same."

Joanne Kelly: We had a marriage relationship right off the bat. When we did our test for WAREHOUSE, I screwed up a line and Eddie started doing the moon walk to make fun of me.

Eddie McClintock: Yeah, I hadn't worked for a little while.

Joanne Kelly: He was having a nervous breakdown, basically.

Eddie McClintock: I had just had my second son, and we were testing.  We showed up to the test.  There were supposed to be, like, two people --

Joanne Kelly: There's, like, 18 people..

Eddie McClintock: Yeah, eight Pete's and eight Myka's, and all of a sudden you're like, "I'm not going to get this job either".  And then Jace Alexender, the director, comes out of the room and he says, "Hey, hey," to one of the other guys. He's like, "Come here.  Come here." And he puts his arm around this guy, this other Pete, and walks him down the hall, and I was like, that's it. You know, so I took off my tie.  I threw down my tie, I took off my jacket.

Joanne Kelly: He had these, like, sweat stains.

Eddie McClintock: I was, like, you know, my kids are at home, they're like little chicks with their necks stretched up in the air, they're like these little birds, and they're waiting for me to fly in with worms. And this is in front of all the --

Joanne Kelly: ...all the other actors...

Eddie McClintock: I'm like, "They're waiting for me to fly in the worm, and guess what, I don't have a worm. I have no worm." And, of course, you know, Joanne is sitting Indian style.

Joanne Kelly: Because you're trying to remain calm. I'm watching this poor dude have a complete and utter nervous breakdown.  I just kind of hauled him over to the side.

Eddie McClintock: She's like "Dude, dude, dude."

Joanne Kelly: You know, just take a breath.

Eddie McClintock: So, just then the casting folks are heading out the door and says, "Joanne and Eddie, it's time for you to guys to come in and test together." And we went in, and Joanne made a mistake, and I did a Michael Jackson, "he-he," and then I did this, and did the moon walk, and everybody in the room is like, "Why are you doing that?"

Joanne Kelly: Including me.

Eddie McClintock: And she punched me.

Joanne Kelly: I was, like, "Don't do that."

Eddie McClintock: And saying, "Don't mess this up for me."  And I was laughing, and we're laughing.

Joanne Kelly: We had a good time.

Eddie McClintock: And we walked out Mark Stern turned to everybody and said, "There's the show, right there."

Jack Kenny: There's Pete and Myka.

Question: Will Syfy continue to air split seasons of WAREHOUSE 13?

Jack Kenny: We have these 10 that are ready to air now, and then we're waiting for our Season 5 pickup. The writers have already started.  We're looking in terms of great new stories for Season 5, and we're looking at hopefully another 13 [episodes]. And who knows, you know. It will depend. A lot of it will depend on the numbers this season, the viewership, how does DEFIANCE do, how do we do, how do the other shows do, what do they have in development. You know how that goes.  

Jack Kenny (cont): But I'm hoping that we can be around -- for my money, this show could last forever, because there's an endless number of artifacts and stories to tell.  And honestly, these two, the relationship that is growing and changing. They did some work in the last four episodes of the season, especially the last three episodes, with the story line for Myka that I've never seen cameramen cry and laughing at the same time at what they're doing together. It's beautiful work. And I hope they get to do for a lot more episodes longer.