Wanstrom & Assoc.
(L-R) Warehouse 13 show runner/executive producer Jack Kenny and actor Andrew Jackson
The first season of Warehouse 13 introduced fans to The Regents, the Warehouse’s executive board. Representatives from this enigmatic group of men and women have appeared on the show throughout its three seasons on the air, most notably Benedict Valda and Adwin Kosan.
In next week’s episode, “The 40th Floor” (airing Monday, August 29 @ 9:00pm EST/PST on Syfy), audiences get to meet The Regents’ head of security, played by feature film and TV actor Andrew Jackson. Coincidentally, his character’s name is also Jackson, having originally been called Garcia during the audition process.
"The name change was, I believe, part of the end result of us having had some laughs at the expense of the names of some of the characters,” muses Jackson. “I think they were sort of parodying the fact that television can be rather conventional as well as formulaic in the choices sometimes made with characters. In this case, though, they decided, no, let’s have someone Russian look Hispanic and let’s have the Hispanic guy look Caucasian or Russian. I’m guessing a little here but I’m pretty confident that that’s why they went that way.
“As for my character, he has a very strong military background, is self-sacrificing, committed and perhaps best described as slightly obstinate. There are two separate teams in this storyline, the NSA and Jackson’s team, which are The Regents themselves. They’re attempting to deal with a particular issue involving the building they’re in that is life-threatening and could also result in the destruction of the building.
“Both teams are trying to determine exactly what the problem is and how to resolve it. They run into each other and are forced to work collectively if they hope to save not only the building but certainly one another’s lives as well. So basically the whole survival of the Warehouse is pretty much down to the commitment and sacrifice made by The Regents, and my character primarily has run-ins with Myka Bering [Joanne Kelly], where the two of them are arguing about who’s in charge.”
Along with the usual job of memorizing dialogue, Jackson also had a variety of physical tasks to perform in this episode. “One of the things they did was they hung me in a harness and dropped me 30 feet, which is something I’d never done before,” recalls the actor. “Initially I had some trepidation because, let’s face it, things can go wrong, but I was in extremely good hands. I was working with a fellow by the name of Matt Birman, who’s the show’s stunt coordinator. I already knew him from the film industry as well as the stage and he’s wonderful. As soon as I saw he was on set I felt completely at ease and loved the experience.
“There were some technical challenges I also had to deal with because my character is fairly fluid. He’s a man of action and always in motion, and for one scene they asked me to deliver a line at a specific point in time as I was moving around a room. It had to be done in sync, though, with both the camera as well as the other actors as they were also moving. So I had to go around one body, deliver part of the line, continue to the next body and finish my line, all while making sure that I was caught on camera.
“Something else that was really tricky technically in terms of comprehending what my character was dealing with was the fact that there are so many Artifacts in this episode. Each Artifact has its own history, too, so I was constantly being introduced to all these strange props within the context of the story that I was trying to understand. It was like playing Dungeons and Dragons for the first time,” he says with a chuckle.
The actor enjoyed the opportunity to get to better know his fellow guest stars as well as the regular Warehouse 13 cast including Saul Rubinek (Artie Nielsen) and Joanne Kelly. “Saul is an amazing storyteller,” says Jackson. “There was time in between takes to sit around and talk about ones’ experiences, both onstage and on set, which was great.
“Joanne was incredibly focused, driven, and worked exceptionally hard on this episode. She’s very smart and adept at handling the material. Everything moves at a fast pace on Warehouse 13 and I was extremely impressed with how she dealt with the volume of material she was given. Joanne also has a terrific sense of humor and does a wonderful Newfoundland accent. When she went around and met the [guest] cast, Saul pointed out the fact that she’s from Newfoundland, Canada and asked her to do the accent. So she was a lot of fun in that regard.
“The Warehouse 13 show runner and executive producer Jack Kenny is absolutely fantastic, too. I asked him if he was ever an actor because his instincts were so spot-on, and he said, yes, he was. Jack is also one of the funniest individuals I’ve ever met in the industry. During lunch breaks or whenever we had a break in between takes he kept us in stitches. [Director/producer] Chris Fisher was also wonderful to work with and really supportive, as were the writers, who were excited about the whole project.
“The writing on Warehouse 13 is quite intricate, clever, and at times complex. There’s a great deal of levity to the writing as well. That’s another thing I found with the actors; they seem to hire actors with stage backgrounds who can bring a theatricality and lightness to the storytelling without making it overly tongue-and-cheek. They actually played it with a certain level of sincerity, which I feel really worked.”