GS INTERVIEW: Warehouse 13’s Saul Rubinek Discusses Season 4

GS: Considering the events of the first episode [of season 4] do you think Arti will manage to keep his warehouse secret from the formidable Mrs Fredrick’s?

SR: Y’know it’s always difficult to keep secrets at the Warehouse. He’s gonna do his best as he was told that an Evil is going to befall him, but he’s gonna have to keep the secret because he’s been told that if he doesn’t people will be in terrible, terrible danger. So it’s a very, very difficult cross that he has to bear and a tightrope that he has to watch between, he’s the only one that knows that he’s reset time, and how he has done it, and he has no idea how the Evil is going to be perpetrated how, or through whom. He knows that whatever it is he’s gonna have to live with it and so it’s a terrible crisis for Arti. In fact I’d say the whole season, it’s a season about consequences of actions.

GS: Thank you. You worked with Brent Spiner before, I know he’s a guest star in this season, were you involved in bringing him into the show?

SR: Brent is an old friend of mine, we had worked together on ‘Star Trek the Next Generation’, and we were always waiting for the right time for there to be a great [story] arc, for there to be a role for him, and when it got written and Jack Kenny our show-runner approached me, and said would you write him [Brent] and ask him if he’d be interested, really if was Syfy and the Network and NBC and Jack Kenny . But yeah I had a hand in it because I had been campaigning for him to do the show and he graciously accepted, we had a wonderful time together, we did six or seven episodes of our first ten episodes and we had a really fantastic time together. All our scenes were together, and you’ll see when you see the season, it’s a very volatile, mysterious and dangerous relationship that we portray.

GS: Are you ever overwhelmed or surprised by the intense support that the fans have for the show?

SR: I am always pleasantly surprised by it. When I was in London last Fall, I had written a play that was on at the London Menier Chocolate Factory [theatre], and so I was in London for September and October during the run of the play and rehearsals of the lay and it was kind of extraordinary the number of fans that came to the theatre and were supporting the show. I found similar when I was in France, and it’s certainly true in Canada and especially in the United States, but I was really gratified about the U.K. response especially. I lived in London when I was very young, when I was eighteen years old, and trying to make my way in London, I was a busker for a while in Leicester Square, so I was down and out in London and to have not only a play of mine – it [the play] was called ‘Terrible Advice’ by the way – so not only to have a play on in London, but to also have so many fans that came to the theatre who were fans of Warehouse 13, it was really a wonderful surprise, and when I go to conventions, y’know I get recognised a lot, I’ve done a lot of different things in my life; Unforgiven, True Romance, Fraiser, different things which people have recognised before, but now it’s most often Warehouse 13 and I’m very happy about that.

GS: Thank you. I’ve got two questions that branch off from that. The first one is that prior to Warehouse 13, at [Sand Diego 2012] Comic Con you stated that you were more focussed on writing and directing than acting, and you last directed in 2005 with ‘Cruel But Necessary’.

SR: Yes.

GS: Is there any chance that you might direct any of the episodes of [Warehouse 13] season 4?

SR: No. I’m not going to be directing any episodes of Warehouse 13, I really doubt that I will. We have a wonderful set of directors. My criteria for directing, is wether or not I’d be really adding to anything to the mix. I’m very happy with the directors that we’ve got. We have a wonderful producer n the show who is also one of our directors. Chris Fisher directs three or four episodes a year. Our Show runner [Jack Kenny] directs, we have other directors who come one, and to tell you the truth, although I have written and I continue to write, I have a project right now – I have a feature film that I’m hoping to direct – and I’m writing my own projects, I’m so happy playing Arti, that I don’t think it would be an additive thing for me to [also] direct. It would be very difficult too, because of the prep time involved which happens during the previous shoot of the previous episode, so it’s a very difficult thing logistically, never mind anything else, but I have to say I’m very happy creatively just being one of the cast members doing a brilliantly imaginative show. And so that’s where it goes as far as my directing and writing ambitions go, they go into different projects.

GS: You mentioned previously that you think you’re most well-known now for Warehouse 13, but you were recently in the last season of [the show] ‘Leverage’. So I just wanted to know, in ‘Leverage’ you played a character focused on revenge, and in Warehouse 13 Arti is very focused on his job and protecting his team. Is it easier to play a noble character like Arti, or a twisted character like Victor from Leverage?

SR: Oh wow that’s an interesting question! In both situations it was fun because most of my scenes in Leverage, in fact all of my scenes in Leverage were with Tim Hutton who is a very close friend of mine. I did actually the Pilot, the very first episode of Leverage that was ever done, and this character [Victor] got thrown into jail, and had to exact revenge. So I have a special fondness for Dean Devlin [executive Producer of Leverage] and the whole team that does Leverage, and especially for my friend Tim, so it was pleasure playing a villain. It’s always fun playing a villain. The great thing about Warehouse 13 and the characters that have been created by the writing team with Jack Kenny at the helm, is that we’re not one-note characters. We really play a real range of drama and comedy. You never know when a funny line is going o come right in the middle of great suspense, or suspense in the middle of a comic scene or a drama, so we’re always required to stretch and it’s really hard and wonderful work. Partly I would say because an imaginary series, and also mostly because Jack Kenny – who is the show-runner – was an actor in a former life, and he understands all of the dynamics that make the actors love to work, and it’s part of the fabric of the show. Normally I would say playing villains are much more fun than playing any kind of noble characters, but our characters are all flawed on Warehouse 13. We all have vulnerabilities, and we’re full of insecurities and all kinds of Neurosis, so there’s just as much fun to play.

GS: You mentioned Jack Kenny previously being an actor, and I know that he likes to make things interesting for the actors. He stated at Comic Con that he writes characters by using the strengths and hidden talents of the cast member playing them. Do you have any hidden or unusual talents that you would like to see Arti exercise?

SR: I think they’re all being done by Jack. Jack kind of channels Arti. I mean it’s a role that he could play, I think. It’s the Boss character, and Jack is the Boss, he’s the show-runner so he gets to vent some of his own concerns through Arti as a surrogate. And after four seasons, they really align in all different areas of my life, my personality, and my hobbies. I like classical piano, that I have a Jewish background, that there’s Holocaust in the background for me, there’s a European connection. All these things have been brought out in the show. They like to mine it, as much as they can for all the characters so I feel there is a lot more to go. The show has a lot more room. There’s nothing hidden, I would say that they’re not mining in some way or another. So I have real blast. I think it’s pretty obvious for the fans of the show that the cast loves doing it, and we have a great time. I think it comes across [on] the screen that we are having a wonderful time doing the show. I think it’s rare, it’s a rare thing. Actors are lucky to be working at any time, especially – we are a hit show. We’re the biggest hit that Syfy has ever had and that’s only one part of the blessing, the blessing is that the writers continue to explore this and take chances. I would say that season four, what the viewers in the U.K. are about to see is a darker arc to the show that it’s had in three seasons. The writers are not resting on their laurels, they’ve really taken chances with the characters and the story lines in a way that most shows wouldn’t dare to do for rick of alienating their already hard-earned success, but our writers, and the studio, and the Network, have supported taking chances and the beneficiaries of that are the fans. Absolutely.

GS: Definitely the group dynamic of the actors, definitely comes across in the personas of the show so thank you. H.G. Wells featured quite heavily in season three, and eventually joined the team. Are there any other historical personas you wold like to see work with the warehouse 13 team?

SR: Well, there aren’t any that I wouldn’t like. One of the great things [about the show’s premiss] is that they mine history for interesting characters. Viewers are going to find that they’re [the writers] are continuing to do so. I don’t want to give anything away.

GS: Fair enough. Last question. Last season the show gained and lost two human members and supposedly permanently gained a dog. If you could control Arti’s fate would you have him offed by an artefact (doing what he loves) or retiring peacefully somewhere having trained a successor?

SR: Oh now I don’t think Arti could retire peaceable anywhere. I think he’s married in a love/hate relationship with the Warehouse and he wasn’t for sure before Pete and Myka came, but now Claudia is really a surrogate daughter. He’s become a member of a family and he can’t retire from that he really feels a huge responsibility. And now especially since he’s personally responsible for bringing people back from their fates. I don’t think it’s possible for him to leave. I think that he’s married to the Warehouse forever. He’ll end his days suddenly and probably in the Warehouse doing some mission. He’ll never retire.

GS: Thank you.

SR: Thank you. I am so happy that the Uk is getting to see season 4.

GS: Well after the shock at the end of the last season, there is no way there couldn’t be a new season, after that!

SR: I’m thrilled. What is the network that it’s on, and what night of the week is it on, and what time?

GS: It’s on Syfy U.K. It will be shown on Thursdays at 9pm. I think it will be repeated later on in the week, but I’m unsure when.

Interviewer: Faintdreams

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