Allison Scagliotti

Warehouse 13 is heading back to UK television screens next week, with the third season set to air on Syfy from Thursday. We’re huge fans of the show here so, of course, a review of the first episode is forthcoming. But until then you just have to make do with this interview. Yeah right! Make do? This interview, with Warehouse 13′s Claudia, aka actress Allison Scagliotti, is more like a dream come true for myself – its just a shame Warehouse 13 superfan and writer Aaron MK didn’t get the chance to do this one. I know it would’ve made his year!

What can you tell us about Season 3?
Well wouldn’t you like to know! I personally think it’s our best season yet. It’s gone by very quickly and I think that’s just because we’ve been having a blast! No two episodes are the same: we have an episode that took place in three different time periods, we go to London to Warehouse 12, we’ve got a video game episode and we have a Die Hard episode. We have an episode that’s really silly where we meet the dog, which is actually why I have dog hair in my mouth… and that’s actually the extent of Claudia’s romances this season! It’s really been a wonderful ride and I can’t wait for it to be in the UK because I know we have a lot of fans out there, I speak to them on Twitter all the time. Just in general I can’t wait to hear the fans response.

Are British fans different to American fans?
I think a fan is a fan. Globally speaking we’re pretty equal opportunity when it comes to our nerds and fan boys and girls. I know people come from all over the world for Comic Con and when I had the pleasure of going to MCM Expo in London in 2009 we met people from all over the country, all over Europe actually. It’s always flattering to meet the people who consume what we put so much work into on a daily basis. They seem to derive as much joy from it as we do, which is a relief and very flattering!

Would you like to have some more romance next season?
I’m perfectly content with where Claudia’s emotional relationships are because her responsibilities have expanded so much as a member of the Warehouse team,  that when you’re really on the job there’s no time for outside relationships. I think we learnt that last year when Pete tried to have a romance and his involvement in the Warehouse really interfered with that. And Claudia’s as well, although Claudia’s interference was really her own nosiness. There is a small romance for Claudia this year but again it’s the Warehouse that ultimately gets in between her and any social interaction. But I’m ok with that! What I’m interested in exploring is how Claudia grows as a member of the team and what her presence means to the Warehouse and everyone else there.

How does Claudia grow over Season 3?
In this season, at least to start with, Claudia’s expected a promotion. With Myka’s departure she seems to feel that she’s next in line to become Pete’s partner but she’s given opportunities away from Pete to prove herself as a Warehouse agent. This whole season has for me been about telling the Allison truth in the context of the show, which is being a young adult and really defining one’s self in the context of the group that you’re in. For Claudia, that’s this misfit group of Warehouse agents who save the world every day and for me, it’s the madcap cast of characters in a film studio, and it’s really not that different! I’ve had the opportunity to be funny, mad-ass and emotional in one season, which has been a treat for me just to see where Claudia goes.

Is it a good place to learn as an actor?
It’s a great place to learn just by virtue of the fact that Saul Rubinek is here all the time. Working with him is like being in a master class. It could be a short half page scene but he’ll just take the bull by the horns and incorporate props and odd little ways to play a certain line. Very rarely will we encounter something illogical in our scripts, because our writers are so meticulous, but if something’s slipped by, if there’s an orphan in the script, he’ll catch it and find a way to make it work and he just elevates the show. We’re also very lucky that our writers and producers encourage collaboration on a daily basis; we’re very free to express ourselves and move within our characters.

Have you got to suggest any artefacts or relics yourself?
I have! Last year I kept longing for some kind of artefact that would allow me to rock out on guitar, I’m a musician, and the producer heard me, so right out the gate in episode one, you’ll see me shredding on Jimi Hendrick’s guitar. Yay! Next year I’m pitching the red shoes: true story!

Are you surprised that such a high concept show has appealed to such a wide audience?
I’m not surprised by it because I think we are a relatable show.  I think the fact that we’re in South Dakota, not in space, and that we’re real people of all ages that there’s something for everyone on this show. Whether it’s the artefacts related to a topic you’re interested in like literature or science or something that’s going on emotionally for one of our characters that you can relate to. The reason we’ve been so successful is just because we’re a family. We’re a family show and we keep things pacey, we don’t have a formula yet. The only small formula we have is that we track down artefacts but that could be anywhere and anything and that gives us a lot of options and room to grow.

Do fans think Warehouse 13 actually exists? Have you received any weird fan mail?
I haven’t received any conspiratorial letters but I can tell you that when Saul joined the cast he was taken to a facility, he doesn’t talk about it that much but he  is very mysterious and alludes to “when I went to this facility I had to sign a release form, I’ll probably be shot for telling you this…” Who knows! There’s so much, I’m sure, that the government doesn’t tell us.

As you’re the youngest cast members do the rest of the cast treat you as the baby on set?
I’m little sister. I’m 20 now, 21 pretty soon, and this year I’ve done a bit of posturing like “I’m not a little kid! Treat me like an adult!” And it’s worked so well for the character – that’s what Claudia wants, to be respected and an equal member of the team. More than anything I just feel very loved, we’re a family and that’s the relationship you see on screen, we’re very similar off screen. Saul’s like the Dad – he tends to grumble and get uncomfortable when I say that so change that to ‘mentor and good friend’. And Eddie and Joanne are brother and sister to each other and me. Mrs Frederick is that mysterious presence who we’re all a bit intimidated by but let me tell you, CCH Pounder has a silly side that when it comes out is shocking in a great way!

Who’s the practical joker on set?
Eddie by a mile. He’s singing or he’s dancing around, sometimes he’s passing gas, actually, he’s always passing gas! And he’ll be the one if I have to enter from off camera he’ll hold me back or tickle me and try to mess me up. He’s a jokester but that’s his process, he has to keep things light in order to let things fly.

What would you like to happen in Season 4?
You’ll see in Season 3 that something happens that really deeply affects Claudia emotionally and I would like to see that affect her in the long term. I don’t think that after the way Season 3 ends that Claudia will ever be the same or, if she is, it’ll take some rehabilitation. I’m majorly teasing here, I cannot tell you anything about our villain or how Claudia’s relationship with Steve Jinx is complicated because it’s too great, you’ll have to see it! It’s intense, terrifying and heart-breaking; I’ve had such a wonderful time shooting it. But in Season 4, I want to see us deal with the consequences of all of this emotional hardship that we have to deal with and how that affects Claudia.

How did the new addition to the cast, Aaron Johnson, and his character, Steve Jinx, fitted in?
Aaron, first of all, is such a phenomenal actor and second of all, he’s a wonderful presence on set. He was a great fit with our show, we got very lucky in hiring him because he glided all the things you need to be part of Warehouse 13 – he can be incredibly funny, he can be very serious and sometimes you have to do all those things in one scene. He’s great with exposition. That’s actually the three tenants of Warehouse 13: acting, facting and smacting. Smacting is green screen acting when you have to pretend a dragon is coming at you in front of a big green screen. He’s been a wonderful addition to the cast and his character brings a great dynamic to the show because he’s a little younger than Pete and Myka but older than Claudia. He can relate to Claudia on a pure level, which she hasn’t been able to have before so the relationship between them becomes very important and devastating by the end. Argh, I can’t tell you anything! I had such a wonderful time with Aaron and I think the fans are really going to love him.

Have you been on location much this season?
I don’t go on location with them too much. Being Number 4 on the call sheet generally means I have a little bit of time off to go practice guitar and perform in little improv shows in Toronto, but I know they’ve filmed at Casa Loma a few times and we shoot at Cumber Hospital all the time, which is hilarious – that place doubles for a mental institution, a prison, different hospitals around the country. Like I said, we have an episode where we go to 1900s England and they found a way to make that work in 2011 Toronto, Canada.  But a lot of that has to do with how skilled our art department is and how creative our director can be. We have really amazing creative team who take what our brilliant writers give to them on a page and bring it to life. There are some exciting locations but more often than not what you’re seeing is downtown Toronto.

You didn’t visit London then?
I wish, I wish! Maybe season 4!

Would you like to pursue a career in music or is acting where your heart lies?
I’m the kind of person who likes to do everything. I still haven’t written any songs – I’m trying to make that my goal by the end of the year but we’ll see. I would love to find a way to incorporate every facet of performance I know how to do into my job somehow and that’s the great thing about being on Warehouse. I pitched the red shoes and they could be an artefact that inevitably could get Claudia to pirouette and dance all over the place and Jimi Hendricks’ guitar was an opportunity for me to play guitar. Later in the season you’ll see me doing a little singing – the free time that Claudia does have, instead of spending it on boys, she spends it on herself and goes to open mic nights a couple of times. Our producer has been very kind to me, allowing me to do all the things I’ve been craving. I want to do it all!

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