I was recently fortunate enough to attend a live conference call with producer Jack Kenny and actor Aaron Ashmore, who plays the new character of Steve Jinks on the forthcoming third season of Warehouse 13.
Below is a brief transcript outlining some of the highlights of this call.
When asked how he feels the show has evolved since he started. Jack Kenny credits the actors with being the key to how the show has developed.
“ Like any show, at least that I’ve worked on — the actors start to tell you a lot about the characters. And so we start to write more in the direction of the actors playing the parts and their strengths and backgrounds and things.
“So that sort of makes them – it enriches the characters, makes them more real to us and to them, and allows them a certain ownership of the characters so that they can actually really invest themselves.
“We’ve also expanded quite a bit the mythology of The Warehouse — its history, its background, how it all works. We added Claudia, as you know, in the first season to broaden out the family. H.G. Wells last year, both good and bad — I mean the bad guy. And she’s fantastic.
“And this year we’ve added Aaron Ashmore as Steve Jinks. Just sort of increasing our family and I use that word because that, I think, is one of the reasons the show is successful, aside from the incredible talent of everybody who participates — the writing staff, the cast, the crew. Syfy’s getting behind it so strongly.
“I feel like because it’s a show about a family — I mean a made family — I think it’s more relatable to everybody. Everybody can sort of relate to that brother-sister-parent-child relationship one way or another. And I think that’s what we have with this show — a father, you know, a brother and a sister, a younger sister, and now a younger brother, and that crazy aunt who shows up once in a while.
“And I feel like it’s something that everybody can relate to in dynamic-wise. So I think they’re willing to get on the ride with us and take that ride all the way to the end. I think they like hanging out with this family.”
When asked how he felt about stepping into a series, which had already pretty much established itself. Aaron Ashmore described it as exciting.
“Well, it’s exciting in a lot of ways and also intimidating. Having watched – catching up on a bunch of episodes before I actually jumped in and just seeing how well all these actors worked together and how well the show was put together, that’s exciting. But it’s also like, ‘Oh boy,’ now it’s my, you know, I got to jump in here and catch up.
“So it’s exciting but also, that first couple days it’s a little intimidating until you get up to speed and figure out how you’re going to fit into the new family.”
When asked to talk about his favorite artifact to date on the show. Ashmore was playing his cards fairly close to his chest.
“I don’t want to give away any of the artifacts that I’ve had a chance to come in contact with over the season because I think everybody should tune in to find out what those are. But I am kind of in love with the Tesla gun.
“Jack said it so, you know, there’s so much craftsmanship and work put into all these little artifacts and all these toys or whatever that we get to play around with at the Warehouse. And I think a Tesla would be super-handy to just have. And it doesn’t hurt anyone – anybody really in a long period – over the long-term.
“But you could just use it to get out of situations and stuff. And I think they’re so cool instead of just a regular gun, getting this, like awesome kind of space age steam punk sort of gun to play around with, I really enjoy…”
Aaron Ashmore’s character of Steve Jinks like other Warehouse agents has a gift. He’s able to instantly tell if a person is lying. Ashmore was asked how as an actor does he relate to that and make it his own so as to convince everyone else, and he admitted to initially aganising over it.
“Well I think I thought about it and was maybe overcomplicating it — this idea of being able to tell when someone’s lying. But, talking to Jack and when we kind of got into it, it was a very simple thing of just looking at somebody and being able to tell whether they’re lying or not.
“I mean I think that the ability is quite simple in the way it works, but the way that it affects the character, I think, makes him very tentative when it comes to people and trusting people. He knows that everybody lies. And I think as human beings we know that anyways but being able to tell exactly when those things are happening, I think makes him put a little bit of a wall up around him.
“And I think that that’s the real thing that when you’re playing – when I’m playing Steve that I had to think about him and be aware of. So I think that that’s really the big part of the character that there’s these walls up because of his ability to tell when people are lying.”
When asked about casting new characters Jack Kenny revealed that it is always somewhat of an organic process and added that he can be pretty hands on when it comes to seeking out the right people for the roles. He revealed that he found Aaron Ashmore through the wonders of social networking and had brunch with him in order to discuss the role of Steve Jinks and he was pretty much cast in the role after that.
As to further Warehouse 13 and Eureka Crossovers Kenny said:
“Yes, Fargo’s coming to visit us Episode 5 I believe. I’m not sure because the year order tends to be malleable. But I think it’s Episode 5 where Fargo comes to visit..”
A question on many fans minds, and a question, which was asked is whether or not we’d see more Warehouses in the new series, and Jack Kenny revealed that we will definitely see at least one more Warehouse.
“Well, kind of. We have – it’s hard to be specific but there are elements of Warehouse 7 and we’ll be – that we’ll be touching on in Mogul – in the Mongol Empire. And Warehouse 2, the beginning of the season, the stuff’s been excavated from Warehouse 2 and has been delivered to the warehouse and into a place we’re calling the Ovoid Quarantine, which is where a sort of an egg-shaped purple-lit structure that when there are large caches of artifacts brought in, that’s where they go first, into the quarantine.
“So we’ll be talking a lot about Warehouse 2 and dealing with a bunch of Warehouse 2 artifacts. I don’t think we’re actually visiting any of the other – oh, yes, no, that’s not true. We’re going to, yes, we will be seeing a little bit of Warehouse 12.”
Fans will already know Aaron Ashmore from his time on Smallville. So when it came to my question for him. I asked how he has found working on Warehouse 13 when compared to his time on Smallville.
“It’s fairly similar and the schedules and you’re working on a lot of sets and stuff like that. So that’s very similar, and in the sci-fi realm, like working on green screen and all these kind of things.??“But, the stories are so different and the cast is so different. All the creative elements are totally different. I think the one thing that is really unique about Warehouse 13, just from any show I’ve ever worked on, is having Jack around on set all the time.??“Because he is literally behind the monitors watching any questions, anything that you have to have your show runner and who just understands what’s going on with the show more than anybody would — more than some of the directors that come in and all that kind of stuff is so unique and so amazing.
“So I think that’s the one big difference between Smallville but also between any show that I’ve ever worked on is having that, you know, creative mind on set ready to work with you and make changes as necessary or answer questions that you have about the character or the show or the plot or anything.
“I mean, that’s very rare to have that resource, you know, when you’re working. So that’s probably the big difference.”
When it came to Jack Kenny. I had to ask about the proposed HG Wells series and what had happened in terms of it being announced somewhat prematurely.
“Yes, Bob Goodman and I — one of the writers on the show went and pitched an idea for a spinoff for an H.G. Wells spinoff to Syfy a few weeks ago, and they really loved the idea and wanted to hear more about it. So in the business, in the TV business, before anybody can go in and officially pitch things deals have to be made and lawyers and agents and blah, blah, blah, blah.
“So that all started happening. And, somehow the details of that meeting got out and it was like, ‘Oh, it’s a spinoff and it’s happening and here it is.’ And there are so many hurdles to jump before a show gets on the air. I mean, there’s a thousand different stars that have to get into line. Everything has to be in alignment and karma and all that sort of thing.
“But we were in yesterday, actually and pitching more details and more specifics and all the characters to Mark Stern and the folks at Syfy. And I think everybody’s really excited about it. Again, it’s a long way to go before it’s actually a script and on the air and being shot and all that sort of thing, but people seem to be really excited about the idea.
“The character seems to leap off the page. We’re building a really cool ensemble of people, again another family to be to people, this world and this series. And I think it could be really exciting. But unfortunately I have no details because we’re still in the very early birthing stage.”
When I asked about the Eureka crossover for this year Jack revealed that due to scheduling no one from Warehouse 13 will be visiting Eureka this year, but Fargo will make a second visit to the Warehouse, and we’re even getting a second Warehouse 13 Christmas episode. And when asked how the Christmas episodes He revealed that it will be another stand alone.
“It will completely stand alone, not having anything to do with the season, just a little Christmas present for the fans. And it’s – I’m in love with the story that we’re doing. I really am. I’m just in love with it.”
One thing that was fun about this conference call was the fact that both Jack Kenny and Aaron Ashmore had been briefed that they’d likely encounter a fair few questions about Aaron’s character on the series being gay. In fact it was somewhat of a pleasant surprise to Jack that not a single question was asked about that. So much so that he raised the issue himself during the chat in a somewhat jokey way and gave credit to the Warehouse 13 fan base for being so open minded about this new element to the show.
“We haven’t gotten a single gay question,” said Kenny.
“I know” added Ashmore.
At this point one of the callers asked if they should change their question, but both Ashmore and Kenny said she’d be fine and added.
“No, it’s listed in my calendar as the gay press interview.” Joked Kenny, “So we’re all set to talk about Aaron’s character being gay and what that meant and how it impacted and blah, blah, blah.??“And nobody’s asked, which is – I have to say that’s lovely because it just means that it’s gotten to the point in society where it’s like, ‘Oh, yes, that’s cool.’ And it’s not news. It’s like, ‘Oh, a gay character. Yes. Got that. Fine.’”
One question asked was if there were any key episodes in the season where we learn more about Steve Jinks backstory, and get an idea of what makes him tick. A question that Aaron Ashmore was more than happy to answer, but again without giving to much away.
“I think that there’s some stuff in Episode 2 and then a little bit farther — I can remember what episode, maybe 6 — where, yes, you really start to see who Steve is and you get a little bit of his backstory and you really see how his life has kind of impacted who he is.
“Because, he’s very different, I think, from a lot of the other characters on the show in that he is more reserved and he’s got these walls up. And so you – throughout the season I think you really start to – I think that Jack and the writers have done a great job of kind of just putting in these little kind of nuggets of character throughout particular episodes so you start to be like, “Oh, okay, well that makes more sense and I can see, you know, why this guy is how he is.”
“And, a lot of times you don’t get that in shows. They just kind of like, it’s just there or they don’t even say it and it’s just kind of like implied or whatever.
“So yes, I think that there’s – people will find it really interesting to see how Steve’s character develops and learn these things about his past and then understand who he is more because of knowing those things.”
Warehouse 13 will start its third season on the Syfy Channel on Monday July 11. Keep an eye open for my forthcoming interview with Jack Kenny, which will feature both on SciFiPulse and SFP-Now nearer to the series three premier.
Follow us on Twitter @SciFiPulse.
By Ian M. Cullen