Warehouse 13: Interview: Eddie McClintock

Whether he’s joking with the fans at conventions, or teasing journalists on a conference call, it’s clear to anyone who spends any time with Warehouse 13 star Eddie McClintock that he really enjoys his role as Pete Lattimer. Sci-Fi Bulletin caught up with him to find out what he thinks of the latest season – and his character’s very Star Trek-heavy family connections with former Captain Janeway Kate Mulgrew playing his mother Jane, and Borg Seven of Nine, aka Jeri Ryan, as his ex-wife…

What was your reaction when you found out who Pete’s family was going to be in terms of the casting?

I never watched Voyager, but I knew of Kate Mulgrew. And I definitely knew of Jeri Ryan. You don’t have to be a Star Trek fan to know who Jeri Ryan is. Plus I actually did a show called Shark a couple of years ago with James Woods and she played an attorney on that show. So although we didn’t work together at that time, we were in the same room together. So I had that going for me.

Then when I found out that a sci-fi icon was going to be my ex-wife… as I told her when I saw her for the first time, “Do you realize that my stud cred has just increased like 10-fold?”

And then when I found out that a Starfleet captain was my mom I just thought that that was so awesome. And it just turned out that both ladies were really cool and good to have around. So yes, I feel like I’m in pretty good company in that regard.

What was it like working with Kate Mulgrew as your mother?

If you went to Dragon*Con or if you ended up at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention you would see that Kate and I get along better than I could have ever even dreamed of. She’s the kind of person that after I had known her for five minutes I had basically told her my life story. And it’s not a long story but she stood there and listened to everything I had to say.

I was kind of going through some stuff and some family stuff; I was just like, “Hi I’m Eddie, oh, and by the way this is my life,” and she told me some stuff about herself to let me know that she was in the conversation and was willing to listen. We just have struck up a great friendship.

So to have her play my mom seems completely natural. Although she’d had to have been like four when she had me, which you know, we’re going to have to overlook.

In an interview just before this series began, Allison [Scagliotti, who plays Claudia] mentioned she’d quite like to see her character go dark for a time, not permanently, but for a time. What sort of changes would you like to happen to Pete? Not necessarily for just one episode or for a whole season, but for an arc of say three or four episodes?

I want Pete to change just as we do in real life. As we change, we grow, but no drastic changes.

I love what they’ve done with the character. I love the fact that Pete can be insanely childish and silly sometimes. And he loves that about himself. And then he also is incredibly brave and strong and loyal and loving. I get to play all sorts of things. I get to play comedy, I get to play drama, I get to play action, I get to play romance. And to me that’s the perfect combination.

I’ve read that some fans think Pete is stupid or a goof, and that always kind of has hit me the wrong way, because I just think Pete is putting on. He’s just having fun. He likes to pull Myka’s strings. He likes to pull Artie’s strings. He likes to get everybody going and everybody kind of riled up. And apparently it’s worked with the fans too.

I think people love or hate Pete and some people say, “Hey he’s supposed to be a Secret Service Agent so he should be more serious.” And that will never be my character – I hope. But I would never go to the writers and ask them to do anything differently in regards to the character. I would just say, “Please continue to make me all the things that you’ve made him so far.”

It seems as if Pete’s sixth sense for danger hasn’t been as noticeable this year as it has in the past?

I don’t know, we were recently talking about this. We just found out that his mother also has vibes. So, there’s some deeper meaning to it all. Pete just didn’t end up as a Warehouse agent. It’s been in the plans from when he was very young, since his mother was a Warehouse agent. She has vibes.

The vibe thing for Pete is not heavily written into the script. I like that it comes and goes, because otherwise it just gets stale. Kind of like Jinks, with his “You’re lying” thing. If you hit it too many times it just gets old and stale. And again, I think it’s a credit to Jack Kenny and his ability to write a well-balanced show,  in respect to drama and action and romance and comedy,

Without giving too much away, what do you think of the finale this season?

I just was doing an ADR session yesterday. I was talking to the mixers and I was like, “So how were the last two episodes,” and they were saying, “They’re the best episodes of the series.” They’ve really raised the stakes this year here for the last two episodes. And so I’m looking forward to them. I haven’t seen any of it so I can’t wait to see it.

Do you think it will be a great cliffhanger?

I hope so. Last year’s cliffhanger to me wasn’t really necessarily a cliffhanger. To me a cliffhanger is: the fair damsel is tied to the railroad tracks, the train’s coming, the guy’s racing to get there, “What’s going to happen next,” not, “Oh no, one of the characters left.”

I thought it ticked a lot of people off. I remember like getting a lot of twitters about, “I’m not going to watch the show if Myka’s not going to be on there. No way, that’s uncool. You guys are…”

And I get it. It’s like, “What? That’s the cliffhanger? One of the most loved characters is just walking away?” So I would say that this year they definitely have upped the stakes in that regard. And I think people may be shedding a few tears on this one.

And you’re back for a Christmas episode again: can you give any hints about that?

Last year’s Christmas episode was pretty fluffy, I thought. This Christmas episode is, to me, more of a Warehouse 13 episode. It’s edgier than last year’s. It’s not A Charlie Brown Christmas, it’s an actual Warehouse 13 episode. And even though it’s still a standalone episode –  it’s not impacted by previous episodes – there’s a lot of drama, and a lot of heart and a lot of action – just like every good Warehouse 13 episode.

Jack Kenny directed that episode. And he came to me the week before and just said, “Look, I’m directing. I need you to bring it. Because there’s a lot of stuff in it for you and there’s a lot of dramatic stuff in it for you and I want it to be great.”

You’re coming back for a fourth season next year – do you think the show can continue to raise the bar?

I’ve said wholeheartedly that I think this season has been the best season of the series so far. They always say it takes a show a season to find its legs. If you go back and watch the first season of Cheers or Friends or Seinfeld, they barely resemble the show that people really know and love and remember. And that’s based on a 22 episode season. We only get 13 episodes per season, and really it’s 12 because the Christmas episodes don’t count, so we’re really just starting our second season.

I think the show has really found itself. The writers have really zeroed in on what makes the show work. And so yes, I think the show just gets better and better.

I don’t know how they’re going to do it next – I’m just like, “How can they possibly make the show better this year unless they get Captain Kirk and Spock in a cat fight, get them in a couple of latex jumpsuits and have them battle it out?”

Warehouse 13’s finale airs on Syfy US on October 3, and the third season concludes this month on Syfy UK.

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