The “Creating Warehouse 13 and the Agents” panel on Saturday in the Marriott was a pleasure as creator/writer Jane Espenson and writer Deric Hughes joined agents Eddie McClintock, Saul Rubinek, and Aaron Ashmore onstage.
One of the themes of the panel was how unique it was to work on the show. Jack Kenny, one of the show’s executive producers, is on set on a regular basis. Everyone agreed that it was a rare luxury and that actors on other shows are jealous of them. Hughes and Espenson also said that Kenny is responsible for bringing out the show’s comedic tone. Kenny comes from a comedic background. Also, having Kenny and the writers on set allows for the show to be punched up as it is shot. So, if a scene isn’t working during shooting, then Kenny and the writers can work directly with the actors to help fix it. Rubinek noted that after 30 years in the business, he’s never seen that happen on a drama.
Espenson noted that her first incarnations of Warehouse 13 were very different. Originally, the warehouse was going to be a building full of boxes, and each week, the agents would unpack a new box and have to figure out what it was and what it did. Rubinek also said that when he originally auditioned for Artie, the character was very different and that Artie’s balance of love and hate for the warehouse was missing. In fact, Rubinek improvised 10%-20% of his audition because he simply wasn’t there on the page yet.
Similarly, much of Pete Lattimer came from McClintock himself. He auditioned for the show with a pool of other Petes who were reading with a pool of other Myka Berings. Finally, he read opposite Joanne Kelly, and during their read, he started goofing around. She punched him in the arm playfully and told him to cut it out. The show runner at the time, David Simkins, turned to someone and said, “That’s our show.”
Ashmore’s character was created as a way specifically to “break Claudia [Donovan’s] heart.” They wanted to spend a lot of time bonding Claudia (played by Allison Scagliotti) to Ashmore’s Steve Jinks. He got the role last-minute, just a few days before he started filming. There were still a lot of questions about who the character was, but Kenny said that they’d find the character as they go. The writers and the show runner really do use the characteristics of the individual actors when crafting their stories.
“The fun that you see we’re having on set, that’s all real,” Rubinek said.
Hughes concluded the panel by thanking all the fans and giving a shout-out to the entire writing staff. The whole room was caught up in the stories the panelists were telling, and the hour went by entirely too quickly.