When we last left off on part one of our chat with Saul Rubinek and Eddie McClintock, they were discussing the joys of the set that is Artie’s office. We pick up there and move on to the character dynamics and what it means for both men to have this success now.
The actual warehouse is a combination of green screen special effects and a huge studio that Rubinek says they often walk around just see what’s on the shelves. “It’s really a magical kingdom for us,” he offers. “[We] get to be kids, [it’s] a little bit like children’s theater.”
One of the big charms about Warehouse 13 is that they haven’t gone the “will they or won’t they” route with Myka and Pete, and have instead created a more familial bond between the characters. McClintock is glad for it. “Joanne [Kelly] and I would have definitely lobbied against [a romance if TPTB] had thought that would be a way to go,” he says. While audiences in general may want to see the two main actors on a show get together, he adds, “I think it’s always been the thought that as soon as [that happens], the show is basically over.” He’s more interested in Myka and Pete’s friendship and what it will take to keep that growing. “Like my relationship with Joanne [has grown],” he says, “I think their relationship will do the same as long as they continue to have respect for one another.”
In the thick of a crisis, Pete often calls for food (especially pancakes). Rubinek theorizes it’s an arrested development tic. “[Pete] is an adolescent boy trapped in a competent man’s body. I think that coming into this particular world, it [opened] up that childlike side of him,” he says. “One of the reasons he was [hired as an agent] is that he had these qualities that were innate in him … a childlike side [that] can be annoying to people who run a serious mission … [that also allows him to] intuit things [and see what other agents can’t, since] their brains aren’t as open as his is.” He proffers that it would be interesting to go back in time and take a look at Pete as an FBI agent, when he was much more restrained.
Artie and Pete have defied (sort of, until last night, anyway) the red shirt curse of love interests. Rubinek credits that to the writers, who try to keep things grounded in reality as much as possible. “If a place like this actually existed and people had to do what [these characters] had to do, you’d find it hard to hold on to anything,” he says. “You don’t want to have characters … that don’t go through the things that people go through, [like] what do you want out of your life aside from your work?” He adds that wanting love in your life, and the impediments to that, are the stuff “of all great drama from the beginning of time … how longing is portrayed and [conflicts are dealt with]. I think that is fodder for all great drama and comedy.”
McClintock views the decision more strategically, as part of Syfy’s initiative when they rebranded. ”I think they realized that it’s always better to broaden your demographic as a network,” he says. “And we happen to be the … premier show to illustrate that … they wanted to let people know that Syfy was girl-friendly. Warehouse 13 has attracted more female viewers than any other show in Syfy’s 17-year history.” He thinks they’ve set the stage for shows now launching on the network that it’s not just about aliens and space anymore.
The new success for both actors, within the scope of long careers, means different things to them. McClintock jokes that now only eight out of ten people confuse him with David Boreanaz. Turning serious, he says, “It’s nice after all of these years, to have people recognize me as Pete. A small part of why I became an actor [was to] be recognized for my work. The fact that people are doing that now is a bit of a pay off.”
McClintock admits he was a bit starstruck when he met Rubinek, and Rubinek is genuinely appreciative of the success. He says having the recognition now and getting a great role like Artie at this point in his career was unexpected and has been a blessing. He’s delighted that the “boss” role, which could really have been boring, has instead had so many layers to it. On top of that, the show is unpredictable, so it keeps things fresh. “I certainly had a great time doing Frasier. I’ve done wonderful guest-starring roles on some great stuff,” he says. “I really have had an interesting career, but this came along out of the blue. It’s just rare to be a part of a show that’s the most successful show in a network’s history.”
Warehouse 13 wrapped its second season on Syfy last night. It returns at Christmas with a standalone episode and Season Three arrives next year. You can catch up on the latest episodes at syfy.com and Hulu.