Allison Scagliotti Opens The Vault On <i>Warehouse 13</i>

Warehouse 13, Syfy’s breakout hit from last summer, returns tonight for a second season.

For the uninitiated, the series is about two Secret Service agents who are abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in South Dakota that houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government.

The Warehouse's caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) with chasing down reports of paranormal activity in search of new objects to archive -- and with helping to control the facility itself.

When Season 1 closed, Claudia (Allison Scagliotti), a young techno-whiz and hacker who recently joined the team, was accused of taking objects and giving them to MacPherson, a former Warehouse agent who has turned to the dark side. Her name was cleared in the season finale’s climatic scenes, but she doesn’t know that yet.

Spinoff Online spoke with Scagliotti about where that leaves her character and what lies ahead for Claudia in Season 2.

Fans of Smallville will also remember the 19-year-old actor for her turn as Wonder Twin Jayna in last season’s episode, “Idol.”

Spinoff Online: Things weren’t looking too good for Claudia at the end of last season but thankfully her name was cleared. Can we expect things will get better for Claudia in Season 2?

Allison Scagliotti: Well, there is that big relief in the finale that Claudia is not, in fact, the traitor that she was believed to be. MacPherson was using Leena as a pawn after all. So at the top of Season 2, Claudia is on the run – she doesn’t know that the traitor has been revealed – and she’s got to find the closest person who knows her that she won’t be endangering and that’s her brother Joshua. So she’s on the run, heading for Joshua.

And I can’t tell you what became of Artie because that’s a big surprise.

Well, Artie had to come back. Saul Rubinek is a national hero up here in Canada and I don’t know if I could have watched the show any more if he was killed off.

Oh, my god, yeah. Well, he’s back. And, unfortunately, until the premiere airs (tonight) we can’t discuss how he’s back. I honestly don’t think the show could survive without Saul Rubinek. He brings so much to everything, and working with him is fantastic.

But in Season 2, the first episode ties up a lot of loose ends. Claudia, once she does discover who the traitor is, has to cope with the anger and the resentment of that. But Leena does redeem herself, as you’ll see. She was under the influence of an artifact. As the series moves forward, Claudia is embroiled in this struggle between girlhood and womanhood. And her wanting to be part of the team. Her responsibilities are considerably increased. She’s basically a junior agent. She gets her own Farnsworth. She gets to go out in the field with Pete and Myka a couple of times. She goes out in the field with Artie once or twice. So it’s really cool. There is even some romance for Claudia. I got everything I wanted, really. A couple of boys, a Farnsworth, some cool clothes and the hair streak … it’s going well.

Claudia is a techno-whiz. How about you? Are you a computer genius?

Ah, man, I’m not quite a luddite. I’m definitely more advanced than my parents. Their abilities extend just past downloading the photos I send them via email – 20 times. They don’t realize that once they downloaded it, they can access it any time they want on the computer.

I’m definitely not the kind of savant that Claudia is, but playing the character inspires me to become more adept at the way of the future. But no, I’m not a hacker. Though I wish I was. I have a feeling that I could make a lot of illegal money on the side if I was one [laughs].

What kind of response have you received from fans of the show? And have you been to any cons to meet with the Warehouse 13 faithful?

I haven’t done a lot of cons but I have received a lot feedback and it’s some of the most loving and flattering and fun feedback that I ever could have imagined. I did Comic-Con last year. It was my first time at Comic-Con, and I kind of fell in love with it. I’m relatively new to the genre world but I’ve really just immersed myself in it. I started reading graphic novels when I started working on Warehouse. I’ve watched almost two seasons of Battlestar Galactica and I’m working on watching all of Eureka now, since I’m hosting the panel at Comic-Con this year [laughs]. I love these unique little characters that populate every show. And I love how invested these fans get. It’s so rewarding. And Twitter is also a great resource for that. I think I’m up to about 5,000 followers now, which is bizarre to me that 5,000 people would want to tune into me on a daily basis but it’s so cool.

Why do you think fans have responded so positively to Claudia?

I think what fans like about Claudia is the same thing that I like about Claudia, which is that she’s real. She’s complex. She’s funny. She’s got the same insecurities that I have, or every girl or boy has, but at the same time she’s talented. She’s intelligent. And she brings something every day to the investigations. And so I don’t know if people see themselves in these characters or whether it’s a fun escape but I think all in all, people like to see real, layered individuals with a rich history on screen. And every one of the Warehouse characters, I really believe, brings that.

So much of every episode is centered on the exploration and investigation of these fantastic artifacts. As a youngster, or even now, are you interested in museums and art galleries or even more Indiana Jones-y, archaeological-digging type stuff?

It’s funny. I’ve always been a bit of a dorky kid. I’m still a dork. I really do like going to museums. When I was a little girl – I guess this isn’t geek cred – but when everyone else was into baby dolls, I had the American Girls because they came from an era. They had a history. They had this whole set dressing and props that came with them. They were in costume. I was able to sort of play a character with them. I’ve always been into history, things that just have substance attached to them, and Warehouse really feeds that.

What really attracted me to Warehouse before I joined the cast when Jack Kenny, our brilliant showrunner, sent me a copy of the pilot was the balance the show strikes between Indiana Jones-esque adventure and comedy. I think that’s what makes us relatable, aside from the fact that we’re not in space. We’re based in South Dakota and we go out all over the world tracking down seemingly ordinary objects that have supernatural powers. Humor is everywhere even in the most dire situations. And so when that element is present, everyone connects to it a little bit better.

You mentioned earlier that you were fairly new to genre television, but many viewers will remember you for your turn as Jayna on Smallville last season. Were you familiar with the Wonder Twins before you landed that gig?

I actually did. I remember watching those old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. And that at the audition, I was like, “This would be cool.” I did geek out. And that’s the honest truth. And then when I got the part, I got such a polarized response from people. They were either like, “Oh, my god. The Wonder Twins. That’s so cool. I grew up with them” or “What? A Wonder Twin? What’s a Wonder Twin?”

And everyone on Smallville was super-cool. Tom Welling – you never know what you’re going to get with these leading men who have been carrying a show for a long time – but he really surprised me. He was really down to Earth – no pun intended. He was such a sweetheart and Allison Mack was an angel.

Because I have to ask, Jayna can transform into any animal. If you had that ability, which animal would you choose to embody?

Ooh. I’d probably go for the ocelot. And I know that’s pretty close to the cougar but I’m really into jungle cats and I think it’s got to be small and agile. So my final answer is ocelot.

Will we see more of Zan and Jayna next season on Smallville?

I don’t know. I haven’t been approached about it, but I think they left the gates open for the return of the Wonder Twins.

But you’d gladly return?

Oh, yeah. It would be so much fun.

Warehouse 13 Season 2 premieres tonight at 9 EST/PST with an episode titled “Time Will Tell.” Episode 2, “Mild Mannered,” airs on Tuesday, July 13.

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