Tonight, in its third week of Season 4.5, Warehouse 13 airs a special episode simultaneously thrusting Pete & Myka into the dangerous world of 1940s film noir as well as reuniting Galaxy Quest thesps Missi Pyle & Enrico Colantoni. After two episodes grappling with the emotional aftermath of Season Four’s mid-season finale, the show returns to a bit of lighthearted camp in a partially black and white episode written by John-Paul Nickel and directed by Chris Fisher in a meticulously noirish style.
Last week, Missi, Enrico and E.P. Jack Kenny laughed a lot, took questions about tonight’s glamorous romp, did some reminiscing about Galaxy Quest and even delivered an update on the highly anticipated Veronica Mars movie in a deliciously entertaining conference-call no one wanted to end.
In teasing tonight’s story Jack shared, “Every season we like to do a goofy fun episode. In past seasons we’ve had them fall into a video game and we did a big green screen one in Egypt. This is one of those where we just have fun. The B-story follows the season arc a bit with Artie still dealing with what happened last season; Claudia and Steve are in an entirely different story from Pete & Myka. I can say that Enrico plays a part that, while he’s part of the noir world, also kind of isn’t. That’s something we find out in the story. My favorite part of the whole episode, apart from everything Enrico does, is Missi singing because it’s just stunning, beautiful and so nice. The episode sort of stops while Pete & Myka dance to Missi’s singing and Enrico’s over at the bar smoldering. What could be better?”
A longtime fan of Missi’s acting and singing, both on her own and in Smith & Pyle (with Shawnee Smith), I asked about the jazz standard, “After You’ve Gone,” that she sings in the episode. The sultry version in “The Big Snag” is based on a lush arrangement made famous by Eydie Gormé, but when pressed to name her personal favorite version of the song (which has been interpreted by scores of singers since 1918) she confided, “My absolute favorite is a really fun [dixieland] version by Loudon Wainwright III [from Martin Scorsese's The Aviator]. But I agree with Jack that Eydie Gormé’s [big band] version is stunning and beautiful. It’s such a great song and I was so excited to get to sing, I love singing so much.”
Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly have shared how much fun they had running dialogue in “noir-speak” and how Jack made Billy Wilder’s noir masterpiece, Double Indemnity, mandatory viewing for Warehouse 13‘s leads. Pyle’s love of noir-speak inspired her to craft a comedic character around it, “I used to do this film noir lady back when I did a lot of sketch comedy. It’s just really fun to do and it was great to have an excuse to do that. The dialogue’s so ridiculous you just want to make a meal of it because it’s so much fun to keep it real, but, to stand next to Enrico and say those things to him was like heaven. Rico and I had a hard time sometimes containing ourselves because we were having so much fun.”
The snappy dialogue wasn’t the only thing that made it hard to contain themselves, their big kissing scene actually knocked Missi off her feet. She and Enrico both name it as their favorite scene together from the episode. “We tried so hard not to laugh. I was wearing 7 inch heels and kept falling off balance,” confessed Pyle. Colantoni definitely didn’t mind, “I loved it. I kept saying, “I have you.” Because one take she literally fell into my arms. That was a good moment.”
Enrico so enjoyed his time on Warehouse 13 that he came back long after this episode wrapped just to hang out with his new friends. I was curious how he’d compare Warehouse 13‘s set to any of the other sets he’s worked on? “Warehouse 13 has such a special energy,” Colantoni pondered. “It’s possibly because I was a guest and they just know how to treat their guests. I can only compare it to other guest experiences I’ve had but I’ve never been treated better. First of all, Eddie’s bouncing off the walls making sure everybody’s happy and when Jack shows up you just suddenly see everybody in the crew relax. His energy is just something that really brings in the moment, he changes the energy when he walks in, and the creativity just shifts. It didn’t feel like a machine that’d found its groove, it felt more like each episode is a new discovery for them and they’re willing to go down that road with Jack. It’s just fantastic.” “I concur,” said Missi.
The personal and artistic appreciation runs both ways. “I’m absolutely certain I speak for the cast when I say that they had a magnificent time working with these two,” Jack imparted. “They still go on and on about it. I was out to dinner with Joanne Kelly last Saturday, we all went to see Eddie’s new movie ‘A Fish Story’, and we were talking about how much fun it was working with Rico & Missi. Joanne said, “We’ve got to find a way to get them back on the show.” I’ve actually already thought of a way to get them back on.”
Asked if Missi and Enrico were specifically cast in “The Big Snag” because of their being in Galaxy Quest together, Jack divulged. “Oh no, I loved Enrico on Just Shoot Me and I loved Missi in The Artist, they have such great bodies of work that the fact that they were together on Galaxy Quest was just icing on the cake. Don’t get me wrong, we talk about Galaxy Quest all the time, Claudia even quoted it in our season premiere last year, she said, “Never give up. Never surrender.” We’re all huge Galaxy Quest fans and we were all so excited to host this little mini-reunion, and, it’s fun to use that from a publicity standpoint but honestly, just working with these two was the real fun and joy and excitement. But, definitely, Galaxy Quest is one of my all-time favorite movies.”
It would be ridiculous to interview the pair together without asking them to recall their favorite memories making Galaxy Quest. Pyle gladly offered, “I remember our first meeting when we were all given a yellow notepad and asked, “So what do you guys wanna do?” We walked around and thought that since their bodies are so big maybe they wouldn’t know how to coordinate the arms and legs on such a small body.” “Thermian School we called it,” Rico relayed, “we spent a whole day discovering the walk and the other things. I remember the first day when we were doing the makeup tests and it just seemed as though nothing was real. It was surreal from the word go, and so much fun.” Missi affirmed, “It was very special and crazy fun. People have since said to me, “What an amazing character. How did you make that work?” I think all I did was watch Enrico and Jed Rees and do what they were doing. I sure had a ball doing it. It was so easy and fun. It was just one of those very special experiences. I don’t know that I’ll ever do anything that special again.” Enrico proffered, “When someone like Tim Allen, who I haven’t seen since Galaxy Quest, still talks about it fondly, I know I wasn’t imagining it. You want experiences like that to keep coming back and back but they’re rare.”
Addressing Colantoni’s favorite scene, the one featuring Tony Shalhoub and Sam Rockwell with the tentacles, Missi detailed, “That was never in the original script. I guess they just realized they didn’t have a love interest besides Sigourney Weaver, so that all happened with just a couple of looks, a hand hold and that one scene. At our feet were these two or three puppeteers with these giant tentacles all covered with slime and plopping up and over us. It was just hilarious. I think the magic of that movie was that every single cast member was even more incredible than the other. I was so happy to be there. Other than Enrico, Tony Shalhoub may be my favorite actor that I’ve ever worked with. He’s so much fun.” Enrico laughingly confirmed, “Remember how torn he was early on about his character. He’d come in and go, “I haven’t found him yet. I don’t know what to do.” Then he found his brown paper bag, this little greasy bag. Then he was like, “Okay, I’ve found him. He’s right here.” That’s how he found his character, when he came in with that bag.”
“That was really my first big movie,” noted Pyle, “It was just a real shocking, huge, wonderful thing to be able to do that movie. I was only supposed to be in one or two small scenes, so to then have this love interest and get to hang out with everybody and just smile for three months was heaven. It was the greatest.” Rico suddenly remembered, “oh yeah, right from the first scene in the limousine when your voice box broke.” “Yeah,” Missi verified, “it was my voice box. I remember the description of it was, ‘her voice box is broken and it sounds like a baby in a bagpipe.’ I thought that was the greatest description.”
Lest you worry that I failed to mention Veronica Mars, fret not, I definitely asked Enrico about it – specifically whether or not Warehouse 13‘s own Aaron Ashmore will reprise his role of Troy Vandegraff as is rumored by imdb. He reported, “I’ve read an early draft of the script and a lot of the characters are in there, but as to what changes might occur between now and then I can’t really say. I can’t confirm who else is in the cast right now.”
If you count Galaxy Quest among your favorite sci-fi/comedy films, are a fan of Missi Pyle and/or Enrico Colantoni or if you’re just a Warehouse 13 fan eager for another special episode make sure to tune in to Syfy tonight at 10/9c for “The Big Snag,” immediately following Defiance. Warehouse 13 really needs a ratings bump to earn another season so if its a show you and your family love make sure to aid the cause by watching live. If you’re part of a Nielsen family consider inviting some friends over for a noir-themed viewing party! This is gonna be a fun one.