Monday, July 05, 2010

The Low Res Interview: Drew Z. Greenberg (Part 3)

This is a continuation of my chat with Buffy and Warehouse 13 writer Drew Z. Greenberg. Part 1 can be found here. And Part 2 here. And be sure to catch the premiere of the second season of Warehouse 13 on SyFy this Tuesday, July 6th.

Joe Reid: So you brought up the fun genre jumble to be found in Warehouse 13 -- that show's got pretty buzzy by the end of the first season. I have to admit, I had to catch up to it, but the premise alone made me think of Alias, a show I loved, and basically, "What if you were in charge of the Rambaldi evidence locker on Alias?" It's a fun premise. Since the second season begins on July 6th, and maybe there are Buffy fans reading this who haven't caught on to the show yet, can you give a quick overview of the show? Why are they going to hate themselves if they don't tune in?

Drew Z. Greenberg: Warehouse 13 is about two Secret Service agents assigned to work at a top-secret facility housing all the mysterious, supernatural, unexplained objects in the world which would cause trouble if left out there on their own. Each week our agents investigate strange events to find and bring back whatever powerful artifact is wreaking havoc, and, along the way, they usually get to have some fun, get into a bit of trouble and, ultimately, be big freaking heroes.

It's funny, I'm reminded on a fairly regular basis just how much DNA Warehouse 13 shares with Buffy, which seems like an odd thing to say, because on the surface, they're two very different shows. But, like Buffy, Warehouse has a premise which allows us to go to nearly any genre we want, providing a new experience every week. (OMG, here comes the Shameless Plug Monster, I'm trying to fight him, I can't -- arrrgh! Season Premiere, Tuesday, July 6 at 9/8c on Syfy!!... darn, the Shameless Plug Monster is STRONG...) Every artifact can do something different, so one week you get an action-adventure superhero story, then it's a whodunit mystery in the modeling world, then it's a twisty, intense, mind-bending thriller, then it's a body-switching fantasy comedy.

Most of all, the show is fun. There are all these artifacts to explore, things that let you teleport or know the future or become a super athlete or cheat death (but remember, there's always a price...). And our characters love and care about each other, they like going out on these cases with each other and throwing themselves into, as we said in the pilot, this world of endless wonder. (It helps that our amazing cast has a crackling chemistry among them: Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, Genelle Williams, Allison Scagliotti and CCH Pounder are able to riff off each other and have a blast with each other, and that translates to the screen.)

This season, we're able to delve more deeply into how our characters are settling into their new lives -- whereas last year the Warehouse was a new assignment, now it's home, and this group has formed a tight-knit, de facto family. The family was threatened in the season finale; our second season premiere picks up that story right away and we start sorting things out. But as a result of MacPherson's intrusion, we have a brand-new threat this year, someone surprising and yet totally in keeping with the Warehouse and what it stands for. And that threat will test Pete and Myka's place in this Warehouse in a whole different way. The show is such a great ride, and I'm so proud of how far we take it this season. Come along with us, won't you? (That wasn't the Shameless Plug Monster, that was me. I know, it's confusing sometimes.)

Click below for more on Warehouse and which pair of actors from the Joss Whedon stable will be reuniting...

JR: What was it like being in on the ground floor with this one, as opposed to picking up Buffy in mid-stream? I mean, your first episode got to introduce a pretty significant character (Claudia) at a very formative stage of the show. Do you feel more ownership of the show and the characters, or is it an apples and oranges kind of a thing?

DZG: It is very different coming in on the ground floor versus a show that's already up and running, like Buffy was. On the one hand, Buffy was a pretty well-oiled machine, and all the kinks had been worked out by the time I got there. On the other, so many stories were done in the first five years, you have to get used to pitching and hearing, "Oh, we've already covered that ground." It's just part of the deal. On a new show, it's a completely clean slate, so there's still a lot of freedom to try things out. And as you start finding what works, what doesn't, and you start putting the bricks of this building in place, it's hard not to feel a sense of ownership. Jack Kenny is the show-runner, and what you see on screen is ultimately reflective of his excellent stewardship. But he was generous enough to let all of us on staff feel like we had a stake in putting the show together, so as a result, we can all look at this show as something to which we each contributed some elements.

Yes, I'm definitely proud of Claudia, though it's important to note the entire group created her -- Jack had discussions with the studio and the network about bringing the character on the canvas long before I ever showed up. Then she was the result of much, much thoughtful discussion among the writing staff before we ever started breaking her episode. So I felt a kind of responsibility in that script to make sure she lived up to all of our expectations. And with the insightful direction of Steve Surjik and, of course, with the incomparable Allison Scagliotti breathing life into her, Claudia became a part of the family right away. So, let's be clear, Claudia was a group effort. But I can't lie: when I'm sitting at home and the episode "Claudia" comes on, I grin a big grin to myself. I was there when she was born. I was a part of her coming to be. It's a good feeling.

JR: EW reported the other day that David Anders (of many wonderful things but most awesomely he was Sark on Alias) will be appearing as a guest star on Warehouse this season. Season 1 saw, among other guest stars, Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica. Any other genre-friendly actors coming this season that you can spill?

DZG: Oh, boy. Can I.

This season we'll have a lot of genre-friendly people joining us. Among them: Sean Maher (Firefly), Jewel Staite (Firefly, Stargate Atlantis), Philip Winchester (Alice, Crusoe), Paula Garces (Defying Gravity, The Shield), Tia Carrere (Relic Hunter, Wayne's World), Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman), Rene Auberjonois (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Boston Legal), Neil Grayston (playing his Eureka character, Douglas Fargo), Faran Tahir (Star Trek) and the aforementioned David Anders (Alias, Heroes). Plus, we'll see Nolan Gerard Funk (Spectacular) and Cody Rhodes (WWE).

And we have a few more exciting guest stars I can't mention yet but which we'll be announcing shortly, and I think they're pretty exciting, too. I'm hoping you'll think they're exciting also. I can't wait to talk about it once I can talk about it.

JR: Oh wow, Firefly fans take note! Will Sean and Jewel be in the same episode? A Simon and Kaylee reunion, in other words?

DZG: Not only do Sean and Jewel appear in the same episode, they get to play some nice scenes together that I think Simon and Kaylee fans will appreciate.

JR: Also, next time you see CCH Pounder, can you tell her I recognized her by her voice in Avatar? I'm still disproportionately proud of that.

DZG: I sat next to CCH Pounder during our audio commentary for the "Claudia" DVD, so, you know... I got to check THAT item off my Bucket List. (She's super awesome. Try not to be jealous... okay, be jealous. Because she's super awesome.)

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Many, many thanks to Drew Z. Greenberg for being such a wonderful interview. Watch Warehouse 13's second season premiere on SyFy tomorrow night!

1 comment:

Kirk Hamilton said...

The only thing I like more than when creative guest-starring gets Wire alums into a scene together is when people do the same thing with former Serenity crewmembers.

I've been meaning to check out Warehouse 13... though I'm getting a pretty significant genre fix out of Torchwood at the moment. Which is another show that Warehouse sounds quite a bit like, though with CCH and probably without quite the same degree of nuttiness.