Warehouse 13 returned to Syfy Monday night for its fourth season. In the premiere, we were introduced to this season’s big bad, Brother Adrian, played by guest star Brent Spiner. Earlier this week, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in a press conference call with Executive Producer Jack Kenny and Brent Spiner.
This was such a fun call–these two guys had such great report and at times it was like I was listening to a well-tuned comedy routine. As each media outlet was announced, Jack and Brent commented on the name and had some fun banter with the reporter.
I was lucky enough to be the first on the call to ask questions:
Kyle: Brent, could you talk about what it was like for you uniting on-screen with Saul and apparently swapping the good guy/bad guy roles that you guys had in The Next Generation?
Brent Spiner: Well there was nothing apparent about, you’re going to have to wait and see what that’s all about really. But it was like swimming in a rainbow to work with Saul again. Don’t you love that Jack?
Jack Kenny: I do, I do. I feel that every day.
Brent Spiner: Yes, don’t you. No actually Saul is an amazing actor, he’s an amazing talent, and it was just fantastic to be back on stage with him. We have a history that goes beyond even Star Trek, we did a play together in 1978 at the New York Shakespeare Festival. So Saul and I have…
Jack Kenny: You were each ten years old.
Brent Spiner: …quite a history of working – yes we were ten. Well I think Saul was 11, because he is older than me.
Jack Kenny: You would say that.
Jack Kenny: And it’s fun watching them work because after a while it became a war of pauses. They would each say their line with so much intensity that the next one had to beat it, and you say.
Kyle: Brother Adrian seems a bit dark and serious. Are we still going to get some of that Brent humor mixed in to the role?
Jack Kenny: Yes, I think that it’s interesting, you get a different version of Brent Spiner humor. Because he spends the entire season basically torturing and toying with Saul. So it’s an evil humor that comes through I think in a lot of ways.
Brent Spiner: It’s the real Brent. Exactly, it’s the real Brent Spiner humor.
Jack Kenny: Yes.
Brent Spiner: It’s the evil Brent Spiner humor.
Jack Kenny: It’s a really fun ride I’ll tell you, their relationship is not like anything you’re going to expect.
After asking those questions, I got back in the queue to try to ask some follow-ups. It took a while but eventually…
Moderator: Coming from the line of Kyle Nolan with the – it’s a follow up from noreruns.net, please go ahead.
Brent Spiner: Not Kyle Nolan again.
(muttering from Brent and Jack)
Kyle: Hi guys, I’m back
Jack Kenny: Oh my god did you hear him on the phone?!
Brent Spiner: He’s still here!
Jack Kenny: I mean of all the people to ask a second question noreruns.net? Really.
Kyle: Jack, could you talk about how this year’s extended 20 episode season changed how you plan out the season?
Jack Kenny: I’ve never done this many hour-long in a row and let me be the first to say, “I don’t recommend it.” It’s almost killing me. Because it’s just a lot of episodes to keep in your head. But it’s sort of two seasons.
The first ten really follow an arc unto themselves and as we usually do, end with a major cliffhanger and major emotional turmoil. Thing that happens at the end of Episode 10 that we then pick up in the following season, Episode 11 and continue. And then that arc takes a different turn and we have to solve that problem that we’ve created in these first ten.
And every season we create a problem and at the end of the season that has to be solved and then overcome in the following season, another problem. So it’s really two seasons, it doesn’t really connect, but on the other hand, we had to basically break out two full arcs for our characters to go through. And yet they were connected.
So it’s been a challenge in that it’s just a tremendous amount of work. I’m blessed with a brilliant writing staff that is constantly churning out new ideas and new ways to approach things, and just pumping out great stuff. we had a 14 week prep period before we even started shooting where the writers just sat in the room for 14 weeks breaking out the arcs, breaking out the stories, figuring out where it all went.
When we started shooting in February we had eight scripts written, essentially, the whole first season. And then we just had to wrap it up. And we’re kind of at that same place now before we start our back eight episodes coming up. We’ve got all but the last two in some sort of script form.
So it’s really just a question of a lot of work and really putting in the time and the effort. I’m hoping to go back to 13 someday.
Kyle: So will Brent be spread across both of those ten episode arcs, or is he done in that first half?
Jack Kenny: Essentially the Brother Adrian character wraps up in the first ten episodes. I will not rule out bringing Brent back again because I absolutely just love working with him. So if I have my druthers we’ll see Brother Adrian once again.
Brent Spiner: … I will not rule out coming back again, because I need a job. No, because I love working with Jack and Saul and Eddie and the crew, it was fantastic.
Kyle: When you bring on a Sci-fi icon like Brent Spiner, is there any added pressure to make sure you get the character right? And the same for you Brent–you have a lot of diehard fans, do you worry about when you come onto another Sci-fi show?
Brent Spiner: Well I personally worry whenever I do anything. That’s just who I am. I’m a worrier. And acting is scary. It’s not something I just do casually, I’m always worried whether I’m going to deliver the goods and give the audience and the people who’ve hired me what they need. And so yes, it does concern me.
Jack Kenny: And I approach just like any other actor. I’m not a big fan of winking to the past that the actor has had with another role. I think that the whole point is to see them do something else, something different, because you like them as an actor. Otherwise, we’d have Commander Data rather than Brother Adrian.
So my feeling is I just want to hire great actors. And I feel like we – that’s what we get with somebody like Brent or Jeri Ryan or Kate Mulgrew or Rene Auberjonois; yes they have a sci-fi icon background, but they’re also magnificent actors in their own right. And so they bring that to the table which is probably why they’re sci-fi icons by the way.
And here’s some of the other questions asked during the session:
Jack, could you tell us how the storyline came about, and Brent, how you came to the role?
Jack Kenny: The story line about Brother Adrian, well we always like to have a big bad in each season, and we kind of like to play with what that big bad is and what’s underneath. Even with someone like MacPherson or Sykes, it’s never black and white, “He’s just an evil guy,” there’s always a reasonable thing going on underneath, there’s a reasonable desire.
It’s a grey area. Everybody has their reasons for doing what they’re doing, and Brother Adrian has his reasons for going after Artie as you’ll see in the next episode. It was really about giving Artie an arc for the season, and about giving a nemesis.
I went to Saul because I knew he’d being every scene with Brother Adrian all year. And I said, “So you’re friends with Brent, right?” And he said, “Yes.” I said, “What would you think about for Brother Adrian?” And Saul was ecstatic. He said, “Oh my god, that would be my dream come true.”
Brent Spiner: And his dream did come true. And here I am. And to answer your question, from my point, Jack and Saul called me and said, “Let’s have lunch,” and I did. And they said, “Would you be interested in doing this?” And ultimately I said, “Yes, I would be very interested in doing this.” So I jumped on board and had a really amazing time in Toronto.
Jack Kenny: I remember that lunch, I remember us at the commissary at NBC Universal and my meeting you for the first time, and of course I had to pile him with accolades because he’s just like that.
I knew it had to be. I saw Brent do 1776 on Broadway, and in a weird way he’s more present in my mind as John Adams than Commander Data. And so it was a different approach from my point of view to having Brent play the part, because I knew everybody else knows him as a robot and I know him as the founder of our country.
So we approached that from a different viewpoint, and Brother Adrian is human, at least in certain ways, in certain ways maybe not. But he’s a very powerful character too, and that’s the other thing that Brent brings to the table is a sense of power without having to twirl a mustache or flex a muscle he just has a presence.
And that was what was so important for Brother Adrian is that there has to be almost a serene powerful presence that you understand when you see this guy, do what he says or you will be unhappy. And that’s very important for the relationship that we build throughout the season between Artie and Adrian.
Brent, what did you enjoy most about the role?
Brent Spiner: You know honestly what I enjoyed most is working with this company, it was just a great bunch of people from the top down, and the top being Jack. See you kiss me, I kiss you.
But seriously, and it was the opportunity to work with Saul again. And the experience, I went back and forth to Toronto six times from Los Angeles, and each time I looked forward to going because I knew I was going to have a pleasant experience.
Brent, what did you find most challenge acting wise?
Brent Spiner: You mean in general acting wise or acting on this show?
Well it really is sort of general because you never know if you’re going to be able to land to the part. Acting is ephemeral, you never know whether you’re going to be able to stick the landing. And so the talent is to always just to be as good as the material. And this case the material was good, so you know that was my task.
Jack Kenny: Brent, I know we have you in this cassock for the whole time and it’s not something that most people are used to wearing and you had to do a lot in it.
I think it looks great, very glad we went that direction, but I know at first it was a concern in terms of how much you were going to be able to do in it. Did you feel like that got in your way at all?
Brent Spiner: You know what, it really didn’t. And you’re right, I did initially think, “Oh my gosh is this going to be inhibiting in some way?” And it really isn’t, it kind of informed a lot of things and in the right way. And sometimes the externals will do that. Sometime. … And I am wearing it right now actually.
Jack Kenny: And nothing else.
Brent Spiner: Exactly, and nothing else, as I was on the set.
Jack Kenny: Which is why those scenes have that subtext going on.
In the close ups Saul is not wearing any pants.
Brent Spiner: Exactly, so we were only shot from the waist up thank god.
Is there a favorite scene that you can talk about without spoiling things that you’re looking forward for fans to see?
Brent Spiner: Almost anything we could say at this point beyond what you’ve seen will spoil something.
Jack Kenny: I can say there’s a scene in Episode 9 that is one of my favorites. And I also like the scene coming up in this week’s episode. Because as you know, Artie turned back time 24 hours so everything is back to the way it was,
…so we know that Brother Adrian is going to be seen again. I love the first return. I love the first time we see Brother Adrian again, I think it’s so interesting the dynamics that go on are so interesting and unique between them, I love that.
Brent Spiner: The most complicated thing about playing Brother Adrian for me was figuring out who he was. I never quite knew who he was until the episode after the one we were shooting would come out.
When we were working on Episode 2, or my Episode 2, I sort of had an idea about how to play him until Episode 3 arrived. And I read that and I thought, “Oh my gosh, no, no, no, I was all wrong, let me go back.” It’s a very tricky and complicated role.
Brent, how does this role differ from the others you’ve played in the past?
Brent Spiner: Well it was the first monk I’ve ever played. I’ve never played a man of the cloth that I can remember. Every role is different from the one you’ve played before hopefully. This is nothing like playing an android for example.
Brent, how has interacting with your fans on Twitter helped you promote your role on Warehouse and get more attention to the show?
Brent Spiner: Well fortunate or unfortunate depending on your point of view, to have over a million followers on Twitter. So when I say, “Watch me “or,” Watch Warehouse 13 Monday night,” it goes out to over a million people, and that’s kind of a big number compared to say…
Jack Kenny: Your Facebook page.
Brent Spiner: Exactly, even my Facebook page, which is much smaller.
Jack Kenny: I think actually it contributed to our having such great numbers Monday.
Brent Spiner: Do you think so?
Jack Kenny: Yes, I don’t see how it could not, because it’s just a great promotional tool. I think if that’s how you want to use your one command to over a million people I suppose that’s up to you.
Brent Spiner: Yes.
Jack Kenny: I would have said, “Everybody bring me $10.” But…
Brent Spiner: Exactly. Well I tried that one already. I got about $1.50 in the mail.
Jack Kenny: Bummer, well to me that was one of the best upsides of Twitter, the notion that people can so quickly find the people that they want to find, that you follow Brent Spiner, he announces something. You go, “Oh, I love Brent Spiner, I’ll watch that.”
And it feels personal, and it’s fast and it’s right in your hand rather than, having to look for other promotional devices.
Brent Spiner: Yes, absolutely. Well it’s real interesting phenomenon, Twitter, because there are big upsides and then there are downsides. But it depends on how you use it think. And there are a myriad of uses, obviously people who are in public professions use it as a tool to promote what they’re doing, to let people know. And it’s very valuable in that way.
Jack Kenny: I on the other hand got completely burned by casually announcing two years ago I think, that we were probably going to get a Season 3, and of course that turned into, “Syfy picks up Warehouse 13 for Season 3.”
Brent Spiner: Right, exactly.
Jack Kenny: And I got my head cut off, handed to me, and I got my favorite expression for that year that I’d heard, “We need you to Tweet a detraction.”
Brent, what do you think it is about Warehouse 13 that really has captured so many viewers?
Brent Spiner: Well I think Jack said it, it’s me. No I’m kidding, it’s not. I think…
Jack Kenny: You say something and that’s how it’s interpreted.
Brent Spiner: Exactly. Brent Spiner changes Warehouse 13 forever.
Jack Kenny: I think one of the reason we attract a broad audience is that we do action-adventure-comedy. I call it a thrilleromedy, because it’s got drama, comedy, runs and chases and it’s just a fun ride. And I think people like fun rides. It’s why the Back to the Future, Star Wars, Indiana Jones franchises have all done so well, because they’re just fun rides.
And in addition to that, I think we all create characters that care about each other and so that you care about them. It’s a family – at the end of the day — I’ve said this many times — Warehouse 13 is a family show. Almost every relationship in it familial.
Even the Brother Adrian-Artie relationship is very, very much like two brothers, which is one of the great advantages of having Brent play it, because Saul and Brent act very much like two brothers. And they have that inherent chemistry going on, so you turn a camera on them and it just comes through. And it leads very well into the familial nature of our show.
Brent Spiner: …I think – it’s just a darn good show period. Jack writes a really wonderful show and it’s entertaining and it’s smart. And that’s a real change of pace.
Jack Kenny: Thank you Brent.
Brent Spiner: You’re welcome.
Jack, what is the weirdest artifact that you thought of, but have not used on the show?
Jack Kenny: The weirdest thing I’ve thought of but not used on the show, you mean something I use in my personal life?
Acting or personal.
Jack Kenny: Yes, there’s always something interesting there. We don’t usually approach from an artifact first, we usually approach it from a story line, an emotional story line, what’s going on with somebody that they would use something. And then we back up into what they use and what the problems of that is.
We knew we wanted to turn back time 24 hours and the first thing that occurred to me was the 24 hour date line and how that sort of a magical thing that suddenly you jump 24 hours when you cross the International Data Line kind of thing that time in a weird way changes. And then my first thought was we’d use Magellan’s sextant, and then did more research and found out, “Well they didn’t have sextants then, they used astrolabes.” So we had to get into that.
I find the research into all these things incredibly exciting and unique. And another artifact, which I think a dicey one to use, but which I think would be interesting is Hitler’s microphone.
Brent Spiner: Yes.
Jack Kenny: A microphone that was just imbued with all the hatred of that man and hey, it falls into the hands of a radio shock jock.
Brent Spiner: Wow, I like that. Can I play that too do you think?
Jack Kenny: Sure, we’ll put a wig on you.
Brent Spiner: Good.
Brent, if you could invent your own artifact what would it be?
Brent Spiner: If I could invent my own artifact, gee that’s tough. Can you give me like an hour?
Jack Kenny: I think you could use something that signs your signature many, many times.
Brent Spiner: That would be excellent. Actually we talked about how fun it would have been, had we not already done this, to have used Data as an artifact.
Jack Kenny: Yes, that would be cool. Who knows, maybe that’s how we bring you back.
Brent Spiner: There we go. All right.
Brent, is there any chance that Brother Adrian might burst into song throughout your arc on Warehouse 13?
Brent Spiner: I think that’s a great idea Tim. Jack what do you think, maybe a big musical number when we bring Brother Adrian back.
Jack Kenny: Sure, we can – maybe we’ll even shoot something and insert it into an episode. Saul sings too doesn’t he?
Brent Spiner: Yes, of course.
Jack Kenny: I’d love to see the two of you in a soft shoe…
Brent Spiner: You know what, that would be kind of fun really.
Jack Kenny: It would be great.
Brent Spiner: It’s a great idea Tim, and if it happens we will not be giving you credit for it.
Brent, will you be doing any more music in the future, releasing more albums?
Brent Spiner: Well [have] you heard my album Dreamland?
…it’s so much better than Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back. It’s on my Web site or it’s on Amazon, either place. But therealbrentstiner.com or Amazon. It’s called Dreamland, it’s really good. I say that and I hardly ever say that about anything, but – and it’s not particularly good because of me, but it’s a really interesting production and I sing with this woman who’s a genius who’s name is Maude Maggart. She’s Fiona Apple’s sister and she’s unbelievable. So check it out.
Warehouse 13 captures an authentic heart-felt found family. Jack, can you talk about your approach to collecting strangers and forming them into a found family?
I wouldn’t begin to know how to write a cold procedural, although I certainly recognize the value of procedurals and the fun that people have with them. I just don’t know how to do that. I only know how to write characters who love and fight and do all those things like a family does because it just feels natural to me and that’s the kind of thing I want to watch. I like watching show that are family shows and I think that almost every good show is a family show.
You get to ER, or going back to St. Elsewhere or the Mary Tyler Moore Show, they’re all family shows, they all have family dynamics. Ultimately they all behave that way because I think that’s what people can relate to. Because at the end of the day you don’t really want to see a show about a workplace that’s purely a workplace because we all come from those.
So I don’t know that it’s terribly relaxing to come home and sit down and watch a show about people and petty jealousies without that added ingredient of people who actually care about each other. And so I think that has a lot to do with why I like to go in that direction.
I always feel like if they care about each other you’ll care about them. I don’t know any other way to write. It’s what I like to watch.
…Any hit show at any level of success is lightning in a bottle. So many things have to get in line for a show to be a hit, and the toughest one is the casting. You never know at the start if you’re getting it right or not. You just hope and pray that you’re finding the right dynamic.
I know that even with Titus the idea of finding the right guy to play his dad, when we found Stacy Keach we knew we had it. With this show when I first looked at it, I didn’t shoot the pilot, I came in on Episode 2 and took it over from there, and I knew Eddie from years ago and I knew Saul’s work obviously very well. And I have never met Joanne, but I could recognize the banter and the connection and I think the same thing happened in actually Eddie and Jo’s audition, you could just tell there was a dynamic there that was interesting.
And Saul just rounded out the picture. These people relate to each other like family. They don’t relate to each other like workplace. It’s just naturally the way they’re doing it. And that’s what lead me to think, “Well we need a younger sister, this show needs a younger sister.”
We’ve got dad and the crazy aunt and brother and sister and Artie needs somebody, he needs a sorcerer’s apprentice. And I’d worked with Allison and I knew the kind of actor she was and what she brings to the table. And these are energies that you strive very hard to bring together or you just luck out and they happen to work. And in our case I think it was a little bit of both.
What is the status of the spin-off with H.G. and Sykes?
Jack Kenny: Nothing is ever dead in Hollywood. We still have the notion. Bob Goodman and I have kicking around the idea of H.G. Wells prequel, and it wasn’t really about Warehouse 12, but it was about her character being kind of a Sherlock Holmesy type character in New York City in the 1890′s.
It’s problematic because it’s really expensive to shoot it – to make a period show in 1890′s New York, it’s a fortune. And so we’re still kicking that around, we’re still working with Syfy on it, it’s not right now currently at the top of their development slate, but like I say, “Nothing is dead in Hollywood until there’s a stake through its heart,” and right now I don’t think there’s a stake through our hearts. So it might happen, you never know.
Jack could give us any insight, without spoiling too much, as to what artifacts will be seeing this year?
Jack Kenny: Yes, sure. There’s an artifact that belonged to Lovecraft that’s coming. As we teased at the end of last season and at the end of the last episode you’ll be seeing Maelzel’s metronome again. There’s an artifact that creates tornados. Now did you want to know what they do or what the providence of them is?
Just kind of a feel for what they are and where they came from, stuff like that.
Jack Kenny: Bobby Fischer’s marbles show up, I think they left Bobby Fischer a while back, but then we find them. We see Scott Joplin’s cigarette case.
As you remember last season Sykes had a bunch artifacts in that airplane hangar and our gang has to go an retrieve them all, so there’s a whole bunch of artifacts there that have to be collected. We will be hearing again from Lewis Carroll’s mirror that shows up again.
We’ve done some interesting things with artifacts too. In one episode there’s an artifact that’s actually inside of someone that has to be dealt with and neutralized. So that’s unique for us.
And we’ll also see the birth of an artifact in an upcoming episode. We’ll learn how an artifact is born, and you saw the football in Episode 1 how it keeps tracks of artifacts and that it keeps track of artifacts that we know about, that are birthed, and whether or not we have to collect them.
So we do open up the mythology quite a bit with artifacts this year and learn more about how they’re made and how they’re done. And we learn a little bit more about Mrs. Frederic, who she is, how she exists and what her life has been like.
Brent, we’ve seen quite a few stars on Star Trek be on Warehouse 13. Is anyone from Star Trek you’d like to have on the show with you?
Brent Spiner: No, I don’t really care for any of those people. I missed Jeri Ryan by about 12 hours I think, that was kind of exciting. And you know what, truthfully anybody from any of the shows would be fantastic, it’s a great bunch of people.
Was Fresh Hell something that you had wanted to do for a long time or was it just a spur of the moment thing? How long do you think you’re going to keep that going?
Brent Spiner: Well thanks for asking about Fresh Hell and let me just say, freshhellseries.com while I’m here, I’d been playing with this idea for a long time actually, quite a long time.
I worked very briefly with the director, Chris Ellis, on a project and I told him the idea and he thought it was a cool idea, and he said, “Let me talk to my friend Harry Hannigan who’s a writer and I think he’ll be good for this too.” And so we all got together and you’ve seen the result. And right now the plan is I’ve told them already, “I don’t want to do this for more than 20 years.”
Jack Kenny: It’s good to know you’re limit.
Brent Spiner: Yes, 19. I wouldn’t be sad if it only goes 19.
Would you want to shop Fresh Hell to another avenue aside from the Web series or do you think the Web series is where it belongs and the right format for it?
Brent Spiner: It’s where it is right now, I would love it if it was on television and I’d love to have a television series, but since nobody asked me to do one the beauty of the internet and the Web is that you can do your own. And it has great advantages and it has some disadvantages, the major one being you don’t make any money.
But the advantages being, and Jack probably has experienced this in working with a network is nobody second-guesses your material. You can do whatever you want to do without somebody saying, “No we don’t like that do something else.” And there are other advantages. The instant worldwide feedback. So it’s been a really pleasant journey so far. Should one of the networks want to put it on air well we’ll consider that.
And what about putting all of the episodes together on a DVD with some bonus features? Maybe that’s a way that you can make a little money, just selling a DVD of it.
Brent Spiner: Well perhaps, or I could maybe lose a lot of money that way. But we’ll see, that seems to be my habit in life so we probably will do a DVD at some point.
In a recent interview Jonathan Frakes mentioned that he would love to be on Fresh Hell.
Brent Spiner: I would love to have Jonathan on and I’m sure he will be on eventually. But I don’t want to pepper it too quickly with my Sci-Fi Star Trek buddies because I just didn’t want to take advantage of them. But I think little by little you’ll see everybody.
Were you a fan of Sci-fi growing up as a kid, and when you became an actor you were like chomping at the bit to get Sci-fi roles, or did you just take whatever job came along and ended up becoming such an iconic figure in Sci-fi?
Brent Spiner: Well yes, it wasn’t a plan. I’m not like really zeroed in focused on Sci-fi, but if it’s good Sci-fi I like it. I like Westerns too, I like comedy, I was much more of a Lucy kind of guy than I was a Star Trek kind of guy. But fate has taken me in this direction and as Robert Frost said, “That made all the difference.”
Jack Kenny: Yes.
Brent Spiner: Thank you Jack.
Jack Kenny: It’s not often that Robert Frost gets a laugh.
Brent Spiner: No truly, and I hoped he would. A full house laugh actually, and both of you laughed. So go ahead.
Are there any other shows on Syfy that you would want to be on? Maybe WWE Smackdown, would you want to go on that?
Brent Spiner: Yes that might be nice, that’s kind of Sci-fi isn’t it?
Jack Kenny: It feels like Commander Data is a natural for Being Human.
Brent Spiner: I think my association with Syfy is just happenstance. Really my bag, if I have one, has always been comedy and I just have found my way into this. I don’t know how it happened and I’m taring at the walls trying to get out. No, I’m not.
Jack Kenny: Comedy is the hardest thing to do and I feel like the best actors have comedy in their soul because there’s just a light behind your eyes even when you’re doing the heavy drama there’s still something going on behind the eyes that doesn’t make it pure melodrama, that notion of comedy makes it actually real drama because life has everything in it like that.
So I feel like that’s what makes Brent such a strong actor is because he has such a history and a background in comedy that he brings that much more strength to his drama.
Brent Spiner: Thank you Jack.
Jack Kenny: You know, hey true. It’s true. As David Garrick said on his deathbed, “Mr. Garrick are you in pain?” And he said, “No, dying is easy, comedy is hard.”
Brent Spiner: Exactly. I’ve always thought Olivier was a comedian.
Jack Kenny: Yes.
Brent Spiner: And in a lot of ways Brando is.
Jack Kenny: Well he certainly knows how to turn it on. I can remember the movie he did with Matthew Broderick, there was a tremendous sense of self-deprecation comedy.
Brent Spiner: That was a great movie.
Jack Kenny: Yes.
The first episode of this season was less fun and darker than usual. Will the show be picking up more fun aspects throughout the season?
Jack Kenny: We’ll never drop the fun from this show, there will always be, even in the darkest episodes, a notion of comedy, because I think that’s when comedy is most useful and I think that’s when people can relate to it. And that’s when these characters specifically are great at finding a moment.
And it’s not like they’re making a joke, they are just trying to deal with the darkness themselves and an awful lot of people deal with darkness by making jokes. I do, whenever I’m intensely sad, I will very quickly try to move to a humor place to take myself out of it.
So we’ll always have that and we do have it all year. Allseason we deal with it. And we get into some dark stuff this season, there’s some heavy duty stuff. As we said, “Artie has created evil that he’ll have to live with the rest of his days,” and we take that seriously.
We want that to have real consequences this year, because there has to be real consequences in this world otherwise the stakes will never be high enough, there will never be any real danger. You’ll always think, “Oh they’ll get out of it by blah-blah.”
So there has to be consequences for what happens, but at the same time people have to be able to move on, they have to be able to heal themselves and move forward. And the best way for anybody to heal themselves is with humor and with laughter and with making somebody smile. And so I mean that’s sort of Pete’s Raison d’Être, he will always will make a joke, always, even when his life is hanging in the balance, he’ll always be able to make a joke. He makes several in the premier.
Just trying to get through it, that’s his mechanism for getting through. I think Pete sort of leads the charge in, “I can get through life as long as I can make myself laugh or make others laugh.” That’s how Pete gets through things. So yes, it will always be a weapon in our arsenal. And that’s the way I look at comedy and jokes, as a weapon in the arsenal to combat life’s downers.
… it will continue providing joy and laughter. But like I say, “There has to be a reality to the life and to the world, and I think if we just did artifact romps every week that I think even those fans would get tired of that and say, “Well can there be some substance to it as well more than just a romp?” And we still do plenty of romps, there’s plenty of romping to be had between now and the end of this first set of ten.
But at the same time I also want it to land a little bit and these characters they have to keep moving and growing and going through things as human beings. So in order for us to continue to want them to succeed and to root for them to succeed they have to go through tribulations in order for us to root for them.
Brent Spiner: And that’s why he runs this show because he knows the answers. That was fantastic Jack.
Jack Kenny: Well thank you Brent.
Brent Spiner: Yes, and really true you know.
Both of you have a variety of talents. Do you have a current preference, you know, for Brent if it’s movies or TV or stage or recording studio, and for Jack, if you like writing scripts or music or producing or directing or acting?
Brent Spiner: Well for me, seriously I’m not being glib when I say, “I just like to work.” And particularly like to work on good projects. But I don’t have a preference. As long as it’s quality material I’m really happy to be there.
Jack Kenny: And I’ve never written a screenplay, so I have no idea what it’s like to write for film or movies. I have friends who do it and I know that it’s a considerably slower process in terms of getting something done, which is why I love television, it’s very immediate. You find out right away if it’s going to be shot, if it’s going to be done, if it’s going to go on.
And you get to see the results right away. And it is a killer schedule, 8 days to shoot an episode and then you’re right on to the next one.
I always tell people who want the extra 4 or 5 takes, “You know what, it’s not perfect, it just ends.” It can’t be it just, if you’re lucky you get it right, you generally certainly get it close to right, and we always do I think. And that’s the joy of working with really talented actors and crew and directors and writers. But I do love the immediacy of it and the quick moving train through a station that it is. I’ve never written a play. I wrote a short play, which was fun.
I also like the fact that television changes every week. It’s an entirely new script every week. And especially with our show, we get to throw them into completely different situations, different locations, sometimes the episodes had different themes, just a whole different tenor to them. I love that.
I think I have found my bliss writing for television. I think that’s the fun place for me. And do love acting, I just didn’t love the business of acting. I didn’t like waiting by the phone. So I can live without that again.
Do you have other projects you can talk about?
Jack Kenny: I have not had time really to do anything. We’re remodeling our kitchen. I can talk to you about that. Do you know any good stucco people?
No – I actually have a very good person. No, I haven’t had time. I’ve taken a couple of other projects into UCP and Syfy with other writers and I’ve worked on the hg prequel spinoff with Bob Goodman, more in supervisory capacity than my actually writing them because I just am overwhelmed.
And I’ve got three or four projects on a back burner that I haven’t really been able to focus on to give any attention to because of the schedule of this. But we wrap in November and I’ll hopefully have four or five hours after that that I can focus on other things.
Brent Spiner: Yes? Yes, and focus on me too.
Jack Kenny: I have to write a project for Brent apparently.
Brent Spiner: Yes. Actually, yes that’s one of the projects that jack is focusing on is the Brother Adrian detective series that’s coming.
Jack Kenny: Actually we do have an idea for a series we want to do but we can’t talk about that.
Brent Spiner: We do. My biggest project of course right now, aside from this and looking for work is Fresh Hell, and we’re going to have a third season of that. We’ve just started thinking about where we want to go with it. And that and doing a myriad of personal appearances, which I enjoy doing.