In tonight’s episode of WAREHOUSE 13, Douglas Fargo (played by Neil Grayston) returns to WAREHOUSE 13 for a fun adventure in the digital zone as a video game starts up a special game of its own with Claudia, Fargo, Pete and Myka as its principal players. Taking a few minutes to chat with press about the episode, Allison Scagliotti talked about her expanding role as Warehouse Agent Claudia Donovan and the fun of working on such a wickedly zany show.
What has it been like to work with work with Neil Grayston again on WAREHOUSE 13 and what can you tell us about the upcoming episode?
ALLISON: It’s always a pleasure to work with Neil. I’ve said in the past, Neil is one of my best friends, and so having the opportunity to work with him on set is just a joy. It’s like summer camp, but we’re getting paid to run around in crazy costumes. He is an incredibly professional, hilarious comedic, as well as dramatic, actor and is never afraid to have fun. I think I speak for the entire cast and crew of WAREHOUSE 13 when I say that being able to bring Neil Grayston onto the show is nothing but fun. And in terms of this episode, this is probably our biggest concept episode that we’ve ever done. There was a lot of green screen, a lot of special effects. It’s airing sixth in our season but we shot it third in terms of shooting order because there were so many elements to capture and it took a lot of prep and we were directed by the incredibly gifted Chris Fisher, who’s also our supervising producer. And I can honestly say it’s my favorite episode this season so far anyway.
Can you talk about some of the things we’ll see inside the WAREHOUSE 13 video game?
ALLISON: Yes, it’s a very tongue-in-cheek sort of lampooning of video games in general and their depiction of women as well as what the warehouse could look like to an outside viewer or from an outside perspective. It’s – the theme of the Warehouse video game, it’s called Fortress 13, and it’s the sort of castle medieval futilistic aesthetic. And so all the women have cartoonishly large breasts and the theme inside is very – it’s actually a little bit conflicting because there’re gladiators as well as knights and wenches and – what you’ll get to see is your sort of staple warehouse characters but as Fortress 13 avatars, so cartoonish representations of our normal characters. It’s really fun. Fargo sort of plays with the mythology of purple goo and artifacts. And I don’t want to give too much away but given that Fargo had seen the inside of the Warehouse don’t be surprised when you see the disco ball from Studio 54 make an appearance. Is there a dragon? Maybe. I’m not saying there isn’t.
You will actually be pixilated then, not as live action people?
ALLISON: Well, what’s interesting is we shot it in live action and then in post, the image was given a treatment so that we do look stylized. We look animated in some way. But it wasn’t motion capture and it wasn’t animation. It’s just that the digital image was altered in post so that we look at least a little bit more like a video game.
Is it more fun being a pointy-eared elf or an enhanced princess?
ALLISON: Oh my god. I don’t want to spoil that for the fans. The elf – the thing with playing an elf is that – so pointy ears was really good, right? I had to be – that putting on those ears was an hour and a half process and that was before the hair and makeup. So I had – there were a lot of mornings filming that episode where I had to be in at, like, 4:00 a.m. which meant getting up at 3:00 and going to bed early and oh god. But it was really fun. The hardest part was running around in those fancy gold heels while they pumped dry ice through the stage. A lot of us fell. A lot of us got hurt. A lot of us got bruised up during the filming, but I think all of that madcap energy really shows.
When you saw the script, did you turn to Ian and say, ‘Okay, what’s the deal? What are you thinking?’
ALLISON: No, not at all. I love what Ian writes and I love the way he writes my character actually. I think that Ian being our youngest writer in the room really kind of just gets my voice and so I’m always excited to see what he writes next for me. But he apologized to me over and over about the ears and how that cut into my sleep. But I really couldn’t fault him for it because they looked great and it was a lot of fun, so.
Were you surprised by the whole idea that he came up with you guys existing in the game? Or did you just think, well that makes sense that he would write that?
ALLISON: No, it made sense coming from Ian. I mean, given that our writer Ian Stokes also wrote the first crossover last season with Renee Auberjonois and the computer system sort of taking over the warehouse. So I’d say this is definitely in his wheel-house.
Claudia’s sort of more willing then ever now to talk about her past. And in this episode she has to face up to her fears. Do you think doing those kinds of cathartic scenes sort of helps you work things out in your personal life too?
ALLISON: Always. I think that’s ultimately why being an actor works for me, is as a kid, it was a way for me to express what I was going through with a troubled home life or with depression about where I was living and my school. And it was a way to express myself safely behind the mask of a character. So playing those cathartic Claudia scenes is the same. It’s telling the Allison truth within the context of a character, as Saul would ultimately say, because I think the best performances are ones that come from a place of truth and vulnerability, so I try to bring that to Claudia as much as I can. It’s rewarding. It’s fun to play these cathartic heavy scenes.
We talked a lot about don’t hate the player and the fantasy aspect. In the B part of the story, Artie and Jinks encounter the dirty FBI agent whose name escapes me at the moment, that we’ve seen earlier. I’m just wondering will Claudia encounter her at some point? And is there anything you can tease about that?
ALLISON: As a matter of fact, Claudia and Sally Stukowki never meet at any point in this season. However, what you will come to realize in upcoming episodes is that Stukowki does not remain the villain. She’s definitely working for someone as we probably already established that at this point. And it goes even deeper then what we’re sort of letting on now. And Claudia does become involved in the villain storyline in this episode. It deeply effects here at the end of the season. But she doesn’t actually meet the main puppet master ever.
So even though she doesn’t meet either the agent or the fellow in the back of the car, they play a large part in big pivotal moments in her life in the final episode of the season?
ALLISON: Yes, absolutely. The action was the way that they enjoy the Warehouse and everyone in it. It affects all of us.
Claudia has been getting out a lot more in the field with the new character, Steve Jinks. Do you think Claudia is going to be going out in the field a lot more then kind of that second string team on the show?
ALLISON: Yes, I think so. You’ll see in plenty of episodes that the episode between Claudia and Steve becomes very pivotal emotionally as well as professionally, you know, in terms of the Warehouse teams. Claudia’s at this point in her life where she wants to prove herself as an adult and she’s sort of like all 20 year olds, figuring out who she is and what she wants to be. And that’s been really, really great for me to be able to bring that sort of part of my life and me discovering who I am to the character. So in terms of Claudia’s destiny, I know last season we sort of touched on her becoming and (ex-friend) with Frederick, and what happens to her at the end of this season is really emotional and intense. I think the world is sort of Claudia’s oyster. We can see her go in a couple different directions, so I’m really excited to explore that going forward.
Now that you’re out in the field with Jinks and forming a relationship there, it seems like the focus has shifted a little bit from the Artie/Claudia dimension. We saw it a little bit again this week when Jinks was not in the episode. But I did want to know, because you mentioned something about the finale. And it’s going to be sort of a pivotal one for you. Is it also going involve the dynamic of you and Artie?
ALLISON: Yes, it does. It absolutely does. I think the relationships between all of us are really hanging in the balance with what happens at the end of this season. The great thing about this season has been that we’ve been able to explore how our characters past and their histories effect them in the present and effects what they do. And so we – the Claudio and Reid dynamic is still very important and it’s still very much in play. But in order to just stick with Claudia’s role, the relationship between Claudia and Steve Jinks has been given a bit of a spotlight, which I really enjoy.
With the recent news about EUREKA, has there been any talk about getting Neil on WAREHOUSE 13 as a regular?
ALLISON: I honestly have no idea. I really don’t know a lot about the news about EUREKA. I mean, it would certainly be great to have Neil on but I think it’s really early to say that kind of thing, and more than anything I hope that EUREKA fans just tune into this episode of WAREHOUSE 13 because I think they’ll really like it. Neil gets a lot of screen time.
What is it like working with Lindsay Wagner when she is on the show?
ALLISON: She’s wonderful. I love it when we get to have Lindsay on the show because she has such a fantastic energy about her. She’s very calm, she’s very sweet and naturally funny and always a professional. I love watching her. I love being in a scene with her. It’s an honor. She’s a lot of fun to work with and I think that it was really fun to see Artie in love. And I think that those two have a good chemistry as well. So I hope that we get to bring her back and explore that dynamic more in the future.
What are you looking forward to the most about working with Kate Mulgrew?
ALLISON: Oh my goodness — Kate. Well, we finished shooting our season so I’ve already worked with her. And she was such a force to be reckoned with and a spectacular actress. It was an honor to watch her work, to be in scenes with her. We have a really intense scene together in the finale that I can’t tell you anything about because there were a lot of spoilers. But I hope she comes back on the show. She’s such an important character and a fantastic energy on our set. We’ve been really lucky with the guest stars that we’ve had like Neil, Greg Sand and like Lindsay Wagner and Kate Mulgrew, that they just seem to get our show and they get the way we work. And they’re fast and they understand our dynamic and they fit right in. So she’s fantastic. She’s a great addition to the cast and I hope to see her come back because I just adore her.
Can you tell us what has changed since episode one? What do you think has been the biggest change in the show?
ALLISON: Oh my gosh. I think first of all, no 2 episodes of WAREHOUSE 13 I think one can say are alike. I think the major theme of our show is that we keep it diverse. The only procedural aspect of what we do is that we track down artifacts and we have to neutralize them before bad things happen. But the scenes that we deal with are all so different and we explore different dynamics and there are disagreements between characters and there are things that make us bond and deepen our relationship. I think we’ve all just grown. I think that’s the chief difference, is growth and increased trust and just, you know, what happens when you spend a couple years with working with people and also, you know, becoming family. Yes, I don’t think there’s any one singular event that’s changed then – I think it’s time and human nature. . . . And it’s just been (truth) to be able to play myself at 20 sort of discovering myself and figuring out who I am and what I want out of life and being able to just bring that to Claudia because it’s exactly what she’s going through to.
Are there any other Syfy series that you would like to guest star on or that you actually watch and like?
ALLISON: Yes, THE WALKING DEAD is probably my number one, but in terms of what’s on the Syfy Channel, I’d love to go do an episode of ALPHAS. Actually, I haven’t seen the show yet but there shooting schedule overlapped with ours and we also shoot them in Toronto. So I became friends with Ryan Cartwright who I think is fantastic. I’d love to work with him at some point. Yes, those are my big two.
If you could have a super power on ALPHAS, what super power would you want to have?
ALLISON: I think in the past I said that I’m jealous of Laura Menell’s power which is the ability to bend someone’s will with whatever she says. I think that would be really useful, especially in the entertainment industry. But I think that right now, just for my own happiness, I would love the ability to pick up any instrument and be able to play it perfectly.
What was it about Claudia that made you want to play her? From your perspective, reading her, what was it that intrigued you?
ALLISON: I love how smart Claudia was. And I love that the writers didn’t apologize for her intelligence ever. In Claudia’s first episode, this is a girl who had lived on her own for a decade, had been through some really dark times in a mental institution, was searching desperately for her brother to save him from that inter dimensional space he was caught in and was doing it all on her own without any help. And so here was – here’s this really independent, really intelligent, really funny dark sarcastic, and also deeply insecure, scared, vulnerable character. And I rejoiced in a role so real because – I’ve mentioned this on panels before, I mentioned this in other interviews, it’s so rare for a role for a young actress to come around that isn’t too dimensional. I’ve lost parts based on bra size. I’ve gotten feedback that I wasn’t pretty enough for the role that was being cast. But that’s the nature of this industry. It’s a superficial business. And I just – I love the character that was so full and so real and so much like myself and not just a pair of legs and lips and a giggle and a hair flip.
If you could pick anything that Claudia could do in the next couple years, is there some sort of progression that you would like to see happen to her?
ALLISON: You know, it’s always up to the writers. I think I’d really love to see Claudia go dark Willow. I think it’s maybe been earned for her to go to the dark side a little bit. But only to come back not be evil ever going down the line but to be able to lose herself a little bit in the darkness that lives insider her, because she does have that and we acknowledged several times this season, I think we’ve already done it in episode 2 that Claudia was in an institution and it effects her to this day. You’re going to see that in the next episode, in episode 6. It’s a really kind of violent scene that it addresses where Claudia’s deepest fear is and it’s really cool to explore.
With WAREHOUSE 13 in its third season, what do you think it is that keeps you hooked? Is it the mystery of what’s in the Warehouse or the skill of the agents? What do you think is the key factor?
ALLISON: I think it’s the relationships between the characters. I think it’s the fact that we are a sort of misfit family unit that people can somehow relate to. We get feedback all the time from families who watch the show together or from young people, older people alike, and I think we have a really diverse audience and it’s because it’s relatable in some way. We’re not being chased by aliens in space and while that’s fun to watch, I think that’s more of a fantastical escapist sort of entertainment then our show. I mean, our show is a lot of fantasy and it’s a great way to sort of escape from the perils of what our country and our times have become that what I think is so relatable about the show is our characters and the sort of brotherly love and tension between Pete and Myka and the father/daughter master apprentice relationship between Artie and Claudia and then the whole family together. In addition to the artifacts and the action, I’ll admit of the show being exciting and fun to watch. I think the reason people come back is to view this family that they’ve grown to love.
Can you talk about working on the WAREHOUSE 13 web series?
ALLISON: Oh yes, the web series. So that was really interesting. Part of it was live action and then the rest of it was, emotion comic, as you probably saw. We had one day where we had to shoot but the rest of it we were just in the studio in Toronto where we record ADR when we’re out there, and just sat in a circle and it was like a table read. And we were directed by Andy and it was just a really fun sort of extra thing to throw at the fans a little bit before the season started. Very different from our typical shooting schedule. I think – we actually had to film on a weekend in order to get it done because our episodes follow such a sort of strict schedule involving prep and locations and everything it takes to make a TV show, that this sort of had to be squeezed in between the real work that we had to do. But I think it was really fun. It came out well and I haven’t really heard a lot of feedback from the fans about it but I think they enjoyed it. So it’ll be up to Syfy whether we do it again next year.
On Syfy we’re seeing that HAVEN is doing a big episode story of arc with Twitter. Would you like to see that type of integration with WAREHOUSE 13?
ALLISON: I actually would not. And the reason is that Warehouse 13 is, you know, the mythology that we have established is that it’s a top secret government facility, where sort of a sect that’s removed from the FBI. The Secret Service doesn’t really know about it. And so I think that – and to integrate something as public and difficult to control as Twitter into a mythology like the top secret mystery has an address, I think it would just sort of devalue the secrecy of what we strive for on the show. However, I’m sure it’ll be great on HAVEN. I actually didn’t know they were doing that but, you know, the great thing about this episode is that we take something as obscure as the video game and somehow integrate it into what we do at the Warehouse and that’s because Fargo inadvertently came into contact with an artifact and integrated it into his video game software. So it’s been pretty cool to watch this episode. I thankfully was able to watch it before I got on this call with you guys. I love this episode. I think it’s hilarious and scary and all the things that make a Warehouse episode great.
What are some of your favorite artifacts so far? And is there one that you wanted to do that they haven’t done yet?
ALLISON: My favorite one this year has definitely been Jimmy Hendrix’s guitar because it was the first opportunity they gave me to sort of play guitar on the show, which is actually something I want to add. For those of you who’ve seen the episode, you’re expecting this. But for the people reading this article who haven’t seen it yet, the writers and the network has been really supportive of my wish to play guitar and sing on the show. And this episode that’s about to air is the first time I do get to do that. So at the end of the episode, Claudia goes to an open mike and gets out on a limb and covers one of Claudia’s – I mean, Allison’s favorite songs. So that’s – but in terms of episodes – or rather, artifacts that I would like to see, I would love – I think I pitched the red shoes this year, based on the ballet. I mean, before that, the short story of the girl who dances herself to death or a pair of red shoes. I think that would be really interesting if some shoes sort of wound up on Claudia and she had to find a way to get out of them and they have some sort of emotional resonance. But yes, the great thing about this show is that it’s kind of past the limit. I think we can almost do anything in terms of artifacts, and even this year, we explore so many different themes that I don’t think any two episodes are alike. We’ve got this video game sort of Tran-esque episode and then two episodes later we’ve got a sort of Die Hard type story line going on. So we’re keeping it fresh.
The artifacts are absolutely amazing. Have you ever come up with any artifact ideas? And if you haven’t, if you had a chance to today, what would it be?
ALLISON: I actually have pitched a couple different artifact ideas to them. This year I was taking a lot of ballet classes in Toronto. I actually danced for about eight years before I became an actress. And I pitched the Red Shoes, and I thought it would be interesting if Claudia sort of fell into the Red Shoes and had to dance herself to the brink of death before she could get out of them. But before our benevolent writers and producers were supportive of me playing and singing on the show, I pitched the stage door of CBGB. And in order to somehow facilitate Claudia fronting an all girl punk band on the show, I believe the feedback was that makes too much sense, like what’s the parallel there. Claudia belongs in an all girl punk band. Yes, that’s it.
What part of Claudia is more like Allison?
ALLISON: Definitely her wit. I think that the thing that I bring the most about myself to this character is my sense of humor and my sarcasm. I’ve been told since I was a kid that the way I can sort of snarl out a one-liner is pretty unique. I feel like I sound like I’m tooting my own horn or something but it’s definitely my humor that I bring to Claudia.
What’s the most invigorating part of working on WAREHOUSE 13?
ALLISON: Being able to get up every day and say that I’m going to work to do what I love is the most invigorating part of it. I think any job can get tiring especially if you work with the same group of people all day, 16 hours a day for six months. But at the end of it, I think we come away proud of the work that we do and proud of each other and the reason we’re able to be so positive in these interviews is because we’re not making it up. We are just generally – genuinely proud of each other and proud of what we do and I’m just incredibly lucky to be able to say that at 20 years old I’m living my dream.
To see how our WAREHOUSE 13 agents fare as avatars, be sure to tune in for the special WAREHOUSE 13 episode featuring EUREKA’s Neil Grayston tonight at 9PM on Syfy. Catch up with past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).