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October 13, 2015

'Warehouse 13' Star Saul Rubinek on Season 3, Guest Stars and Why It's the Best Show Out There

by Annette Bourdeau, posted Aug 30th 2011 9:15AM
It's not easy to find a show the whole family can enjoy together these days, but SyFy's 'Warehouse 13' (which airs on Showcase in Canada) boasts a cross-generational appeal that has something for everyone. That's probably why the unique show has cultivated such a large and devoted following.

The show follows the Secret Service personnel tasked with working at Warehouse 13, which is home to every bizarre (and potentially dangerous) artifact the U.S. government has ever collected. In Season 3, newcomer Aaron Ashmore joins the cast as the warehouse's latest recruit.

We caught up with Saul Rubinek ('Frasier, 'Unforgiven'), who plays warehouse caretaker Artie Nielsen, to pry as many details about Season 3 out of him as possible. It was not an easy task. Like his character Artie, Rubinek is skilled at guarding secrets.

I know you just came back from doing a 'Warehouse 13' panel at Comic-Con. What kinds of things did fans want to know about?
They want to know a lot about the relationships on the show. We're really proud of the fact that there are 10-year-olds who watch it with their parents and grandparents. It seems to have something for everyone. Our fans show us that. The room is filled with a cross-section of ages and the demographic is hugely different. It's like a cross-section of North America in the room.

What do you think it is about the show that makes it appealing to so many demographics?
If I really had the answer to that, I'd make billions of dollars running a network I think. Y'know, it's like lightning in a bottle. There are so many different factors at play here. One of them is the fact that the premise is so brilliant and deep: there is a warehouse that has 13 different iterations starting in ancient times and going through Greek and Roman and Mesopotamian and Mogul Empires, and the Ottoman Empire into Victorian times and finally the American, into South Dakota where every warehouse gets what every other warehouse had. We deal with historical artifacts which are all real, based on real people, real events. So the research for the show is profound. People love that. What's unsung and people rarely talk about is how brilliant the design is on the show. The set designs are extraordinary. I've never worked with a better, more imaginative design team.

What can we expect from Season 3?
The unexpected! We're very proud of the fact that you can never tell what's coming next. We are doing the wildly unexpected in Season 3. We've really changed it up. The writers have taken wonderful chances with the material, and the fans are beneficiaries of that.

How does the "new guy" change the group's dynamic?
Well I'm just happy that he's another Canadian. Now we've overrun them. Aaron Ashmore is a brilliant actor. He's very deft, and he has to be because of how quickly and how often we have to change tone and styles on our show. He has a different energy as a character from the rest of us. He's more close to the vest, he's got secrets which you'll find out about as the season goes on. He's added a wonderful, interesting dynamic to the show. That could have been disastrous because we were such a solid team, but it worked seamlessly and we adore him.

Any new recurring characters this season?
Kate Mulgrew ('Star Trek: Voyager') has joined us as a recurring character, I can't tell you in exactly what way without spoiling things for you. And the wonderful Jeri Ryan is coming. We have great recurring characters.

Will we be seeing any more of H.G. Wells ('Dexter's Jaime Murray) in Season 3?
You will! In a very new and interesting way. I can't tell you any more.

What are some of your favorite artifacts from Seasons 1 and 2?
The one that really got me was Rheticus' Compass from Season 1, really just because of the amount of work that went into it and not so much what it did. It cost over $12,000 to make it out of brass, copper and beautiful wood. It opened on beautiful hinges and it looked like it was an antique from the Renaissance. I was so impressed with the detail of that prop.

Do the writers rely on any experts when writing the scripts?
Google is a great help, but they are constantly researching and looking for connections between the artifact's history and how it could play out in the present. They do call entomologists, historians, mathematicians, Renaissance experts. They're dealing with a lot of different worlds.

You've been in so much stuff over the years, what do people talk about when they recognize you and stop you on the streets?
Well it used to be 'True Romance' and 'Frasier' and 'Unforgiven' or the odd 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' or if they were sci-fi geeks it would have been 'Stargate,' but now it's 'Warehouse 13' 90 percent of the time. We have a huge audience in the United States. I'm hoping that'll happen in Canada too.

Season 3 of 'Warehouse 13' premieres on Showcase on Thursday, Sept. 1 at 10PM ET/PT.

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