Starting tonight on WAREHOUSE 13, Kate Mulgrew joins for a 4-episode arc as a mysterious Regent of the Warehouse who is tied to the Warehouse and possibly has a personal connection to those who work at the Warehouse as well. Talking briefly about her character and the experience of working on the fun sci-fi show, Kate Mulgrew chatted with press during a recent conference call.
What can you share about your role in the 4-episode arc in WAREHOUSE 13?
KATE: Suffice it to say, I come as a very powerful Regent bearing an extraordinary secret. And when the secret is revealed I think the audience will be, to say the least, quite surprised. It’s both wonderful and rather frightening at the same time. And the arc is thrilling because I’m not just any Regent; I have great powers. And so I think what unfolds will be very, very surprising to the audience.
In reading a little bit about the role and you say in a quote that, she has mystical and magical powers beyond articulation. How would you describe her?
KATE: Jane is a mother, a person, a teacher, and the powers of the Regency have been endowed, because it was her personal choice to help. But beyond that I’m afraid I’m going to get into a rather grey area, which I’m not allowed to get into because the secrets that unfold are such that they’re very, very, very unexpected. And they’re big.
I also read that there’s a certain connection between your character and one of the cast regulars. Would that be part of the secret?
KATE: That might be part of the secret, yes.
What have you found challenging about your role as this Regent?
KATE: Challenging? Challenging is keeping all the secrets I have to keep from all of you wonderful people. I would say it’s been more delightful than challenging. I’ve felt so at home there, which is a very unusual thing at my stage in life to feel, coming in as a guest star. There was a naturalism to it, a complete sense of relaxation. And I feel like I fit there. So it was instantly, deeply familiar. And you very, very seldom get that.
With the character that you’re playing it seems you may have a chance to get pretty close to the mythology that’s behind WAREHOUSE 13. Is there anything you encountered preparing for or acting in the role that you find especially interesting or intriguing about the background material for the show?
KATE: Yes, I think what I found most compelling is how interwoven the simplicity of a life can be with the mystical element of the life. I don’t know how to articulate that any better than to say that, what looks very common proves to be extremely uncommon on WAREHOUSE 13. And behind every door there are 13 other doors. It’s like those Russian Dolls. It was an extremely provocative puzzle to tease out and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Did you get to participate and play with some of Warehouse toys?
KATE: I got to play with all those toys, and lots of artifacts to boot. And that’s the other thing, I really want to say this, the beauty of it is you’re working in a Warehouse and every one of these artifacts is rooted in truth. So I have to tell you, I mean I was there for four episodes, I don’t know how many weeks that would be, but I was learning so much. I mean the Caloti bracelet is based on something that’s true. And whenever I get to learn I’m at my happiest. So the artifacts were fascinating, and there was the Farnsworth, I think that’s their sort of their tricorder if you will. And that was fun to work with. And I’m very familiar with the green screen and the blue screens and I know what that means. So that’s always a challenge. And it was great fun.
What your funniest moment was working on this particular series?
KATE: You ask me to find one moment, when I’m begging you madam, to understand that I was between Eddie McClintock and Saul Rubinek — all I did was laugh. They were so funny. And they’re outrageous, you know McClintock has no shame — no shame at all. And even the girls are naughty. So the underbelly is very, very naughty, and you’re sucked into the whole thing. But when action is called, it’s on point. It’s just when you’re not actually required to be working, it could be quite silly and delightful.
What has it been like working on WAREHOUSE 13?
KATE: I think Syfy has become a wonderful network, and WAREHOUSE 13 in particular was an absolutely remarkable experience. Wonderful for me in every conceivable way. . . Jack Kenny has got to be one of the best show runners I’ve ever worked with. And he sets the tone for the set. And on the sets there was not only a high degree of amiability, just short of conviviality, but a real sense of camaraderie, and it was collaborative, which you don’t always get in episodic television, as I’m sure you Gentlemen are aware. So I felt very much a part of the creative team, simply adored Jack Kenny from the first moment. And Saul Rubinek, Allison Scagliotti, Joanne Kelly, and the divine Eddie McClintock — who could ask for a better core group? I mean the ingredients were just there for a perfect soufflé.
Was there instant chemistry when you began working with the cast?
KATE: Instant. Well it may well be a well-oiled machine, and that’s thanks to Jack Kenny, who as I’ve now said ten-million times is really an extraordinary show runner. But I think that the surprise in all of it – Saul Rubinek is one of the great actors, I think of our generation — certainly my generation. And I felt, he’s consummate and he’s unexpected. So I had to step up to the plate whenever I was acting with him. Joanne Kelly is like a delicious confection. And Eddie McClintock, I would have to tell you, as well as Allison Scagliotti, are natural actors. So it’s like playing ball with people who are the best; you really have to play badly not to hit well.
How much fun are you having in your career at this point?
KATE: I’m having more fun now than I ever have before. You shed a lot of stuff at my age. And when you’re younger the ambition I think is probably one of the key ingredients. And when you’re older, the key ingredient is simply joy. So that’s where I am right now.
Have there been a lot of differences in working on sci-fi projects versus non-sci-fi projects?
KATE: Well, yes of course. I mean as I pointed out before, I think you may have been listening; you have more green screens, you have many more effects, special effects. And that in itself can be quite challenging. Also you’re dealing with a different mentality. And I would say, it’s a different kind of an imagination, a different kind of creative imagination. It’s very forward-looking, although it’s essentially rooted in science, or reality I should say, the wings, the nature of it is to be bigger than life. So in that regard it’s very special and wonderful to play.
When you get offered sci-fi roles is that like comfort food or does it give you pause?
KATE: I don’t get offered these sci-fi parts. This was the first one. And I was delighted to take it because it was not only so well written, but it was – it felt different to me. It felt special, and it felt light and smart. And that’s what I want. It didn’t carry with it the baggage of some other science fiction shows. It has a real delicacy to it, and at the same time I think it’s, as someone had said before, a well-oiled machine, yes, but it’s still a very sleek and well-run machine.
Has your experience as a guest star on WAREHOUSE 13 illuminated to you any changes in the role and portrayal of women in sci-fi?
KATE: It’s getting better — leaps and bounds. It’s getting better. The women are grounded and exalted at the same time, which is of course what a good female character should be. We have dimensionality, we have great truth, we have power, we don’t have to sacrifice our femininity, we have honesty, and most importantly we have humanity. So indeed, it is growing. And that’s probably the most beautiful thing about WAREHOUSE 13, and I hope that you write this, or say this, ‘There’s no glass ceiling there. Jack Kenny understands that the glass ceiling has long since been shattered. So it’s a new day.’
What exactly are you looking for in a part these days? Do you like it being kind of lighter and smarter and not quite so dark?
KATE: Absolutely. And by lighter I don’t mean silly or dismissive or even cavalier. I mean that there could be depths, great depths to a lightness. But the lightness is just the actor’s personal ability to let go of unnecessary baggage such as nerves, a fear of landing the wrong way on a line, all of that. All of that is dispelled and all of that is gone. And on WAREHOUSE 13 it was just like, it was like sprinting. It was like flying. It was just fun — great fun.
Out of all the Syfy shows, is there any other show you would like to make an appearance on?
KATE: You know, I’m not terribly well versed. I think there’s another one, a great one with David Strathairn, right? I’d like to do that with him, simply because I adore him as an actor.
You’ve been a big part of the science fiction scene for quite a while now. How do you feel about the genre as an actor? Does it offer you more of a range?
KATE: Increasingly honored and interested because, as is true of all things that capture our imagination, I have learned about science through science fiction. And I know that they are joined, they are allied. And that alliance has given me a great deal of intellectual foresight. And I’m learning that this fan base, which is almost inestimable, is very smart. And what they’re interested in is the metaphor of the starship and their personal experience and journey through life. So I’m drawing these parallels, I’m learning about the metaphors and I’m having an open conversation with these fans. And it is always fascinating to me.
Why do you think people continue to tune in and watch WAREHOUSE 13?
KATE: It’s smart — very smart, it’s tongue in cheek, and it’s clever. It’s asking the audience, you know, they don’t dot the I’s and cross the T’s, the audience has to stay on its toes. And I think that’s exactly what a sci-fi audience prefers; they want to tease out the puzzle along with us. And that’s what you get to do with WAREHOUSE 13.
To find out more about the mystery surrounding Kate’s new character on WAREHOUSE 13, tune in tonight, August 29th at 9PM on Syfy. Catch up on 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).