Allison Scagliotti and Neil Grayston Answer WAREHOUSE 13 and EUREKA Questions

Warehouse 13 (Syfy)

I recently took part in a conference call with Allison Scagliotti (Claudia, WAREHOUSE 13) and Neil Grayston (Fargo, EUREKA) where they discussed their shows’ current crossover and their characters’ growth while showing off their obvious and adorable chemistry. Here are some of the most interesting questions and answers from that call.

Can you tell us how this came about and what made the crossover appealing?

Allison Scagliotti: I believe that the nugget of the crossover idea began when Neil and I met at last year’s Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2009. I watched the Eureka panel moderated by Josh Gates, which was hilarious. Then, at the Syfy party I marched up to Neil and I said, “Neil, let’s be friends.” And he said, “Okay, it sounds good.” We were inseparable from that moment on and we had this immediate dorky chemistry [that] played so well in life that I think our respective showrunners and, you know, the good people over at Syfy realized what a commodity it can be to blend these shows.

What were the challenges of playing the same character on a different show and in a different working environment?

Neil Grayston: I didn’t find it to be that difficult myself. I mean, I know the entire cast from Warehouse 13 or, well, most of them. I know the top four. And I knew the director and the second unit director who happens to be the supervising producer as well because they both directed an episode of Eureka, so it was just like going over to my extended family’s house for dinner kind of thing

Allison Scagliotti: And we loved having you. Yes, it was very much like packing a bag with all, your character’s attributes in it and bringing it over to, you know, your family on the other side of the country. The shows have unique tones, like Eureka is grounded in science and Warehouse is more sort of the unexplained, the supernatural, but I think it’s plausible that there are, you know, two top secret government institutions in different parts of the country that are, you know, somewhat connected.

Can you give us the set up for this crossover within the plots of the show?

Allison Scagliotti: So Fargo comes to the Warehouse to update our computer system. Little does he know that much like all of the artifacts, the Warehouse has an organic human element that it’s not as simple to upgrade as just a new plug-in. So the Warehouse fights back because we discover that an important component of the computer system is half of a man’s brain.

So we have Rene Auberjonois from Deep Space Nine guesting as a Warehouse agent whose brain was compromised. And we – Claudia and Fargo connect in the Warehouse and put their heads together to sort of save the day.

Neil Grayston: The Eureka one is basically I guess, you know, Fargo obviously has a little bit of a crush on Claudia and starts – I guess he starts making the purple goo that the Warehouse uses for the artifacts and sort of synthesizes it. So Fargo decides to start making a version of that in Eureka and invites Claudia over to come pick up a batch and then science happens and mystery happens and Claudia helps save the day and solves some puzzles that are happening and explosions happen and sparks and stuff and it’s a really fun episode.

Claudia has kind of a bad reputation for being accident prone. Does that carry over onto Eureka?

Allison Scagliotti: As a matter of fact I was on my best behavior in Eureka and I sort of lended my sort of energy tracking skills out in the field. When things started to go awry, luckily it was not Claudia’s fault. It was beyond anyone’s control.

Neil Grayston: But you do step on something that you shouldn’t step on.

Allison Scagliotti: Oh, that’s right. There’s that little – oh, field of explosives thing.

Could the two of you tell us a little bit about how you feel about the growth of your characters over the past couple of seasons?

Neil Grayston: For me it’s just one of those awesome things where I was actually only contracted to be in seven episodes a season. I was really a tertiary character in Eureka. And they just sort of kept on chucking me in to the point where, you know, now I’m all episodes, my character is running Global Dynamics and it’s just – it’s a nice thing to work hard and try to do the best job you can and have that noticed and have them continue to, you know, employ me. It’s awesome.

Allison Scagliotti: And on my side of things, I mean, similarly when I joined the cast in Season 1, I came in late, I showed up in Episode 4. And really by brute force Claudia was an outsider who sort of fought her way in and had to figure out where she fit within this group but has become such an integral part of the family that, you know, she’s sort of everyone’s little sister, little nerdy sister.

Neil, you’ve mentioned already about Fargo’s being the boss at Global Dynamic and it’s been interesting watching that arc unfold, but I think it’s even more important that it’s in a Eureka where everything is different. How does that present challenges for you?

Neil Grayston: It’s really fun. It sort of opened up a lot of things this season being old bumbling Fargo who is now thrust into running GD and trying to pretend to be this sort of power hungry kind of jerk face. And it’s fun sort of playing the public and private Fargos and, you know, the difference between that.

I mean, there’s always little glimmers of when there’s a lot of people around Fargo is one way. But then with the sort of time traveling six his insecurities come out and his, you know, what is this job stuff, is allowed to come out and it’s been really fun to play that. And also just play Fargo as a character who actually is semi-competent sometimes. Because I think last season it was getting a little bit away from that and kind of verging into the ridiculous where he was just a completely, like, there was a point where I was like why would anybody do this? Why would he do this? The town is going to blow up and he’s worried about, you know, this small little thing. So it’s really fun to actually have him grow as a character and feel a bit more human this season.

Neil, I was wondering if you think your current incarnation of Fargo might meet the diabolical version that must have existed in the new timeline? Are any plans for that coming up?

Neil Grayston: I don’t know. I think what we’ve done with the time line, I don’t think there’s any sort of alternate us characters. I think we just sort of like replaced them and stepped into their shoes. But I certainly would love to have say a scene where, yes, maybe there’s some video or something like that, some recording of the previous Fargo maybe giving a speech, maybe, you know, chastising some people, but it would be super fun to play jerk face Fargo. So I’m hoping that maybe we get something out of that.

Neil, thinking ahead we now have heard that Felicia Day is going to be joining Eureka come the second half of the season, so I’m curious if you’ve started to work the writers to see if maybe there can be a Fargo, Felicia character hook up.

Neil Grayston: I don’t really know exactly what her character is coming in to do. I know it has something to do with Wil Wheaton coming back as well. But all I’ve heard is that there’s a possible love triangle in the works. I can only assume it just involves me because, I don’t know, I can only assume.

Allison, with the crossover, Claudia’s getting a little more responsibility. It seems like Claudia is also getting field operative training. I’m just wondering with her role expanding this way in the series, how do you approach that and are there any challenges that come from that that you haven’t encountered previously on the show?

Allison Scagliotti: You know, portraying Claudia’s increasing responsibility is really just what you’re seeing is my – me coping with becoming a series regular for the first time and sort of navigating what it means to be, you know, the fourth leg of a table. And supporting something with three other people and needing to be a unique sort of member of a team. I’m really – I’m bringing the truth of what it’s like to be nervous on the job. It’s all the honest Allison nerves that you’re going to see.

Allison, would you ever be interested in playing an evil version of Claudia on Warehouse 13?

Allison Scagliotti: Yes. Oh my God. I – you have no idea how much I want to get my Starbuck on and go rogue in Season 3. I am lobbying for a punk rock episode, and Myka got to parade around in a super hero suit, and I want, you know, leather pants and arm band and rock – I want to rock out on stage.

But yes, I think that we’ve seen Claudia become part of the family and we’ve seen that become jeopardized. We saw her get emotional when she was framed and she got her cute on this season. It’s time. It’s time for Claudia to disobey somebody and sort of go to the dark side for a little while.

Allison, are there any special episodes or scenes that we should really be looking for?

Allison Scagliotti: A few episodes down the road – I don’t want to spoil anything and it is kind of full of spoilers — but I have a sort of face-off with another character. It’s very important. It’s a bit of a – actually I call it the Mexican standoff scene because I’ve got a (tezler) and he’s got a gun.

Can you shed some light on the mysterious Regents of the Warehouse?

Allison Scagliotti: Ah, well, I can’t say a lot about the Regents without spoiling what happens to one of them this season. Whew. What I will say is they’re, you know, the great thing about the Regents is they’re not what you would expect. They’re not, you know, a tri – you know, a tribunal around an internal plane. They’re populated by real people. Your standard working people – working class individuals who really should decide what becomes of these artifacts.

In that, you know, and in that sort of mindset all of the power is not given to the government. It’s really – there are a lot of checks and balances involved in the Warehouse so there is – Mrs. Frederick who we thought was the end all, be all superior has superiors of her own and they are – their word is sort of – it’s gospel. It’s the gospel of the Warehouse if you will.

Is there anything more behind the Egyptian symbology that we’ve been seeing, like, peppered in through the show?

Allison Scagliotti: Yes. In fact we have two – our last two episodes involve us discovering Warehouse 2, the lost Egyptian warehouse and… It’s very Indiana Jones-esque when Pete and Myka go to Egypt. I think our last two episodes are the most exciting of the season.

Are there any shows either of you would love to guest on?

Neil Grayston: Geez. It’s so hard, I mean, there’s so many good shows on TV right now. I’m a big fan of True Blood, but then obviously there’s like other shows like Community and Modern Family that would be great to do because I love comedy. Even Syfy just has so many good shows that I’d be like, yes, sure I’ll go on SGU, that would be awesome. Like I don’t know, just, yes. Name a good show, I want to be on it.

Allison Scagliotti: Yes, there are a lot of good shows. Yes, I’m just starting to watch Mad Men. I would love to do that just to do like a period of piece. But, yes, Community is a favorite. We should go on Community together as like Greendale graduates.

Allison, is there any chance of the Wonder Twins making it back to Smallville?

Allison Scagliotti: I don’t know about the wonder twins coming back. They certainly left it open and I would love to do it again. As of yet I have not been approached, but, you know, never say never.

Allison, can you talk about your experience doing that Destination Truth episode last season?

Allison Scagliotti: With pleasure. I like to say that Destination Truth was like summer camp on steroids because it was so vastly different from doing a scripted show. They are so authentic out there. It’s really roughing it, but I had a blast.

It was five days in Northern Chile in December, it was like 80 degrees outside every day and we were really – we were tripping around abandoned mining towns in the middle of the night looking for ghosts. It was super spooky and super fun. I’d love to go back to Destination Truth and do something possibly involving water, but I don’t want to dig myself a hole too soon.