Saying Goodbye – Warehouse 13 Panel at MCM London Comic Con

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Nothing ever lasts forever, but the advance knowledge of looming endings somehow never makes them easier when they arrive. As the much-loved Warehouse 13 finally draws to a close, emotions have been running high amongst its cast and crew. Three of the series’ actors, Eddie McClintock, Saul Rubinek and Kelly Hu (who play Pete Lattimer, Artie Nielsen and Abigail Chau) attended MCM London Comic Con to share with fans their memories of working on the series and what the experience has meant to each of them.

Asked which of his memories of the show he would cherish most, McClintock immediately picked out working on the series’ finale as something that would stay with him forever:

“We did a lot of group hugs, those last few weeks”, McClintock laughed, but clearly hidden behind the humour was a deeper sadness to be leaving that world behind.

Meanwhile Kelly Hu, who joined the series later than her co-stars, talked more generally about how much she’d enjoyed hanging out with the team, “goofing around” off-camera. Evidently the joker of the group, Rubinek responded by saying that things weren’t much different even while the cameras were rolling.

“It was like walking into an insane asylum!” Hu exclaimed, describing her first encounter with the rest of the Warehouse 13 team.

IMG_4176Showing a more serious side, Rubinek expressed his respect for her, explaining to the audience that she’d done a very difficult thing in joining them three and a half seasons in – though not before he’d told her that if Warehouse 13 was an insane asylum, then she must be some sort of nutjob herself, since she fitted right in with them all!

The next question for the panel was about another sort of goodbye. The actors were asked how they felt about the recent loss of one of the show’s major characters, who could not be named for potential spoiler reasons. Both Hu and McClintock agreed that it had been tough to leave them behind. After spending about 16 hours a day for 9-10 months of the year with people in a place where you don’t really know anyone else (the production was based in Toronto, far away from where most of the cast and crew live), it’s no surprise that your colleagues soon start to feel more like a family.

“Unless of course you don’t like them,” Rubinek joked.

Following this, another audience member asked about the artefacts in the show, whose strange, supernatural properties are at the heart of the team’s investigations and adventures. There are plenty of diverse objects to choose from, but which of these had been their favourites? McClintock was the first to answer, saying that he’d most enjoyed Abe Lincoln’s hat because when Pete put it on he’d had an irresistible urge to free Mrs Frederick. Kelly’s favourite piece, on the other hand, was an ancient Hawaiian artefact, which had been a source of amazement to her because of how much work had gone into making it. Not only had the props department turned out something convincing in a remarkably short space of time, but a lot of cultural and historical research had gone into designing it. As a Hawaiian herself, Hu had been interested in how this artefact had explored her own cultural heritage. Rubinek, too, was impressed by the amount of research that went into creating all of the objects and their stories, but said that if he could have any artefact in real life, it would be one that showed off Warehouse 13’s ratings, to prevent the show from getting cancelled. Ultimately, however, he felt that the show’s greatest artefact had always been its audience.

The next question inadvertently steered the conversation back towards the subject of the show’s cancellation, with both McClintock and Rubinek waxing sentimental after being asked which scene they had found toughest to film. McClintock spoke first about a monologue he had been asked to perform to fellow cast members right at the end of the series. Just before he started, Executive Producer Jack Kenny had reminded him that he would never say these words again to this group of people in this place. It had brought the sense of the show’s ending that bit closer, enough to tip him over the edge into tears as he delivered the lines. At first, the other actors has assumed that his emotions were staged, but as McClintock struggled to get his words out, it became increasingly clear that he was speaking with genuine grief. As a result, said Rubinek, pretty soon they were all “gone”.

Rubinek’s own most emotional moment also came whilst filming the last episode, when he was sitting on a car that they had used for the show. At this point, he had suddenly remembered sitting in the same car with his son, back when the pilot was being made. At the time, his son had been 12. He has now left home for college. As it suddenly hit home how much his life had been tied up in the show, he told the crew to start shooting a monologue that he had been struggling to get right before. The emotions came easily then, but the hardest part was yet to come. The toughest thing, Rubinek said, that he had ever had to do, was the second take of that scene.

IMG_4202A little more lightheartedly, Kelly Hu spoke about a time when she’d been trying desperately not to laugh whilst filming a serious scene just after having been told something funny. She never did say what the joke was, but it sounds rather like it came with an NSFW warning…

So, now that Warehouse 13 is all over for them (if not yet for us), what other projects do the actors have lined up?

“I have nothing,” said McClintock simply, opening the way for Rubinek’s inevitable out-of-work jibes, though these were quickly tempered with a fairer explanation.

“Eddie turns things down!” Rubinek said, as McClintock told the audience of his decision to stay at home for a while to be a dad. “His career is fine.”

Rubinek himself, meanwhile, will soon be appearing in a double episode of Person of Interest, but for now, he’s spending a lot of time writing. Kelly, too, is keeping busy: she’s currently working on a video game for EA, the title of which has yet to be announced. We can reveal, however, that it’s a first person shooter, intended for a more “mature” audience, and will feature a character designed to look like Hu herself.

A more episode-specific question then cropped up, with one fan asking about how the cast had prepared for the “body swap” episode, since their impersonations of each other had been so accurate. As it turned out though, there was little specific preparation done for this: McClintock put its success down to the amount of time that they all spent with each other.

“I finally got to make fun of Joanne in public and in front of her,” he chuckled, describing their mutual mocking in a way that seemed amicable rather than mean-spirited.

Asking the actors to step into the shoes of the show’s writers for a moment, another audience member asked how they would have chosen to end the series, given the choice. The answer was unanimous – they’d have done it just the same way as it now is.

“I couldn’t have thought of anything better,” said Rubinek.

Finally, the group were asked about which other TV shows they’d like to work on.

“Game of Thrones!” McClintock volunteered immediately.

“Is that why you’re growing out your hair?” Hu bantered.

“Yes,” McClintock replied with a grin, and proceeded to rattle off a list of favourites. “There’s a show called Vikings, and a Stephen Merchant show called Hello Ladies. Also I loved Life’s Too Short. Warwick Davis is hilarious!”

Warehouse 13’s final season will be aired in the UK on Syfy next year.

 

Photos by Sarah Tsang.

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