Interview: Warehouse 13’s “Claudia” – Allison Scagliotti

NUP_134149_0068Warehouse 13 is gaining a hip new cast member in tonight’s episode “Claudia,” which airs at 9:00pm est on SyFy – immediately following a replay of last week’s episode “Magnetism.” The Claudia of the title is Claudia Donovan, who may have something to do with the recent hacking of the Warehouse’s various security firewalls – but is she evil? Our for revenge? Both? Claudia is played by Allison Scagliotti, who previously played another smart chick as Mindy on Drake and Josh, but Claudia is a geek of an entirely different color.

Having fallen in love with Warehouse 13 already, I was a bit nervous about Scagliotti’s introduction. Sure, it’s natural to suspect they added the young and hip Claudia in an attempt to broaden the demographics of the show – as those sketchy TV people often do. Regardless of the reasoning Claudia’s introduction is smooth, very appropriate for the storyline, and introduces a chemistry to Warehouse 13 that ramps the appeal ten-fold.

I had the pleasure of speaking briefly with Allison about “Claudia,” and beyond. Beware of light spoilers.

The chemistry between you and Saul’s Artie is great, one of the all time great pairings on TV. Did that chemistry come naturally for you?

We clicked. We totally clicked. I’ve been talking about that a lot, actually. The second I met Saul we just got on like old Jewish women, and in every scene we had this really fluid chemistry together. It was a joy and a delight to work with him, I learned so much from him and I think he learned how to deal with his teenage daughter from me. We are the ultimate duo.

Where would you say your character is on the Warehouse 13 playing board. Is she Saul’s assistant, will she be involved in the field with Pete and Myka?

A little bit of both, actually. Claudia is primarily the new techie/apprentice to Artie’s curator. She likes to impress Artie with her new take on his steam-punk devices, [which is] a very important skill-set – very important to running interference during a mission. In some of the episodes towards the end of the season Claudia does get to go out and help Pete and Myka a lot, while Artie holds down the fort. It’s great, I’ve gotten to do so many cool things with my character – I love it.

One of the show’s most creative aspects – of course – is the artifacts. Do you guys ever come up with artifact idea on set?

NUP_134149_0276Oh yeah, all the time. I mean, usually they are really inappropriate [laughs]. I thought of one the other day, what if Marilyn Monroe’s lipstick granted you the ability make men everywhere fall in love with you – and it had to be in the warehouse because it would eventually make you end your life the way she did. The possibilities are kind of endless. Saul came up with Albert Einstein’s comb, or [Nazi Propoganda Cheif] Goebbels’microphone.

You’ve played a similar character to Claudia before, Mindy on Drake and Josh. Do you have to be overly conscious to differentiate Claudia as a different ‘˜sort’of super-intelligent young woman?

Oh, yeah. In my mind, Mindy and Claudia are totally different. Like if they met on the street they probably wouldn’t know what to do with one another. Mindy is a domesticated animal, where Claudia is feral. While they are both strong and smart and they go after what they want, Mindy was far more buttoned up and conservative where Claudia’s not afraid to dance in the aisles, get in trouble with the artifacts, and maybe talk back to Artie a couple of times. She’s definitely a punk, the style is completely different. Mindy was very preppy, a lot of American Eagle track suits going on for Mindy. With Claudia I had the pleasure of bringing some of my own style to her with Rock and Roll buttons, leather, and beat-up converse high tops.

Are you a fan of science fiction?

Sci-Fi was never really my niche, besides the standard devotion to Star Wars and idolizing Sigourney Weaver. When I watched this pilot before I auditioned I was hooked on it because while it is this fantasy show there is this balance of some comedy, and sexual tension between the leads, it’s just really fun to watch. There is something for everyone in Warehouse 13.

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