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Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview from July 19, 2011 with Sasha Roiz from Warehouse 13.

Sasha Roiz

Question:
How did you get involved with this show?

Sasha Roiz:
They were nice enough to offer me the role. It was a real treat for me because I've met some of the Warehouse people in the past couple of years through Syfy, through Caprica. We've just crossed paths and we've really gotten on really well. And they were fans of mine. I was fans of theirs. And fortunately, the timing was perfect on this, so I'm very pleased that they did. I had a great time.

Question:
What was your most memorable moment from the show?

Sasha Roiz:
I had a great time. There was one particular scene where all of us got to work together with Eddie, Joanne, Jaime, and Aaron, and we had so much fun and so many laughs that we all kind of realized that we wished that we had more chances to work together in that capacity. It was really great fun and they're such a great bunch of people. So that's probably a highlight. I think it was one of our last days together.

Question:
Is there anything that you were surprised to learn about yourself from doing this show?

Sasha Roiz:
I think I'm a little comfortable playing these bad guys. Maybe a little too comfortable. Yes.

Question:
Beyond this particular guest starting arc, what's next for you?

Sasha Roiz:
Well, I'm starting production on Grimm in the beginning of August, which is a new show on NBC, and so I'm very much looking forward to that. That's going to pretty much take me through the end of the year. We're premiering in October 21st, and so we're just going to get right to work starting in August, so that's going to be a lot of fun.

Question:
Could you tell us how Marcus arrived at the Warehouse?

Sasha Roiz:
It's a little bit of a mystery which will be revealed later in the season, so I can't tell you specifically. But I'm definitely part sort of the nefarious force that's working against the Warehouse this season. So I'm certainly not alone in that. There's a few people that I work in conjunction with which are also some interesting guest stars that you'll see. But, I can't tell you the specifics of it because there's a little bit of a mystery revolving Marcus specifically.

Question:
You mentioned earlier that you were friendly with some of the cast members. Did that add to the chemistry when you began working on screen with them?

Sasha Roiz:
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. We kind of met or crossed paths prior to working together, but we really got to know each other a lot on set. And so, we definitely had a great time. I mean there was a lot of laughs. And you know, I think you all probably are familiar like how - you know, what a fun guy Eddie is and Joanne, and Jack Kelly too, who runs the show. He just kind of you know, has this - he's just a great show runner and keeps things really light and really fun. And so yes, we were having a great time on and off set. It was just a seamless sort of project.

Question:
Why do you think people keep tuning in to watch Warehouse 13?

Sasha Roiz:
Because it's a really good show. It's well executed. I think it's also fun to tune in and have these self-contained episodes that for the most part kind of are completed at the end of the episode with these really nice character arcs that kind of sweep through the season. I think they got a really great combination and formula, and they have a great cast and production team working on it. So it's one of those you know, kismet situations where just everything fell into place.

Question:
Can you talk about Marcus Diamond and how he compares to Sam Adama, since they're both kind of mean guys?

Sasha Roiz:
Yes. Well, you'll discover in this season what the little mystery revolving around Marcus is. I can't tell you specifically, but the main difference is that Sam Adama is very much is own man and he has his own moral code, and Marcus is very different characters. I think Marcus is a bit more of a henchman than Sam. You know, Sam really believes in sort of the world he lives in and his place in it, and Marcus' situations is not quite the same.

Question:
You mentioned the comedic side to Warehouse 13. What was it like on set as compared to Caprica?

Sasha Roiz:
We had a good time on Caprica, don't get me wrong, but it's just the second you work on something that has a comedic bend or element to it, it's instantly going to be a lighter environment because there's a room for that playfulness. And you know you're not stepping on other actor's toes when they're preparing because there's - you know, you're about to embark on something that has a comedic tone. And so it's fine to just be a goofball and have fun and laugh. Whereas sometimes when you're working on something dramatic, even if you're feeling kind of goofy, and let me tell you don't want to step on other people's toes and like interrupt their process. So it's very liberating, especially for me. I love being a goofball. I love hanging out with people who are having a good time, so it's genuinely fun.

Question:
What was it like working with Lindsay and Rene?

Sasha Roiz:
I did not work with Lindsay and Rene. I did not have a chance to work with them unfortunately. But I got to work with some other very interesting people who you'll see.

Question:
Can you at least tell us how many episode we're going to see you in Warehouse 13?

Sasha Roiz:
I'm not sure the specific number, but I mean I'm there for a good chunk. I think that's a different vibe to that particular episode. But I'm there for a good while. But no, I'm there for a good chunk of the season, so you'll be seeing me.

Question:
Who was it that probably surprised you the most? When you got on set, was there anybody in particular that surprised you the most?

Sasha Roiz:
Jack, the show runner, I mean I met him before for lunch so I already kind of got a chance to get to know him and stuff. But I was still so impressed with how well he runs that show and with such commitment and yet it's such a light tone and he's on top of everything but yet he's having fun and having laughs and encouraging that sort of energy. It wasn't surprising, but it was just so refreshing to see that. And you know, so I had a great time in great part because of him. But you know, the cast is great and Joanne is like so much fun too. Like you don't see that side of her sometimes on the show because of her character, but she's a real goofball and she's like so much fun to hang out with and have laughs with. And you know, I think maybe because her character is a little bit more staunch that you don't see that side of her, but she's really fun.

Question:
What goes into you choosing a role though? Like what is it that would attract you to a part? Is there anything in particular that you look for? Is there anything that you like to have do? Does it always have to be something different?

Sasha Roiz:
I like being employed. That's a big part of it, so that definitely goes into the equation. But I also like working with good people. I've been very lucky I think in the last three projects you mentioned, like Caprica, and Warehouse, and Grimm. You know, these are people of a certain pedigree and a certain reputation and they've proven themselves and they have a great body of work. And so that helps tremendously and that encourages me in making a decision and working with them. So, I've always been very fortunate that the people in the last three main big projects I've done have been those kind of people. And in addition to that, they've all been wonderful to work with and I've had you know, very positive experiences. So I've been quite fortunate. They've been tremendously successful professionals, and at the same time really engaging and gracious people.

Question:
Are you going to Comic-Con this year?

Sasha Roiz:
Yes. Yes. We're going to be there. The whole Grimm panel is going to be there on Saturday the 23rd. So we're going to do panels, around four and we're going to screen the pilot for everybody that day as well.

Question:
Your character is mysterious and you said he's kind of a bad guy. Is there anything else you can tell us about him?

Sasha Roiz:
He plays a ukulele, I'm just kidding. What I could tell you? I can't. I don't think I can say much more than I already have without getting myself into some trouble. But he looks good in black. Let's just say he looks good in black.

Question:
So you were saying that you enjoy being on a set where there's a lot comedy. Have you auditioned for a lot of comedy roles?

Sasha Roiz:
I have actually. Yes. I've auditioned quite a bit. And prior to choosing Grimm, I was actually auditioning for a lot of sitcoms and comedic roles. And ironically enough, I end up on a show called Grimm. But you know, it's a huge part of what I like to do and I certainly hope to get a chance to do more of it. But I got to do a little bit of it this year too. It was good.

Question:
What can you tell us about Grimm? What would you say to get fans to tune in?

Sasha Roiz:
Well, you've got David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, Executive Producers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, so that's already a certain you know level of expertise and fan base that you could rely on. And then you've got a terrific cast. And as well, we're kind of - you know, it's the first time you're going to see a police procedural mixed with a fairytale setting, and it's going to be Allison Nihiser interesting result. It's a very dark and quite scary at times, and it's - it's quite beautiful actually. I saw the pilot. It's beautifully executed. So I think the fans of this genre and the SyFy genre are going to be quite entertained.

Question:
Could you talk about how as an actor you approach this guest starting role where you only have one episode to create a character versus being a series regular?

Sasha Roiz:
The character actually spreads over many episodes, but the main thing is I just got together with Jack Kenney and Drew, and you know they were both very enlightening as far as getting some information about the character because in many ways you know, the character is being established by both them and what I contribute to it. And you know, a lot of the episodes aren't written even though there's a vision for it. There's definitely a relationship in developing the character because you come in, you meet, and if I had some ideas, they were very receptive to it. And over the course of the episodes, I think you know, they try to assist me in creating this character.

But I think you just have to make a choice and I made a certain choice and I hope it worked. I mean, I think it did. They seemed to be quite pleased with it, but you just have to make your choices really quickly because you know in this particular case, I was blessed that I had people who were really receptive to ideas and worked in conjunction with me. But you know sometimes, you don't have that luxury. So you have to make choices really quickly and that's all you can do.

Question:
Is Marcus Diamond chasing an artifact in the episode? And I was wondering if you've had a chance to think if you could look for an artifact, what's your favorite artifact?

Sasha Roiz:
I can't say if Marcus is chasing an artifact. Interesting. I have no idea which artifact I would chase. I would just basically I think - I don't know. Something that would be hopefully like meaningful, like you know kind of like a family heirloom more than some random artifact I think.

Question:
Are you excited to play a good guy for a change?

Sasha Roiz:
I'm excited to. I'm excited for this project, and it is a cop. Like I said, it's a police procedural sort of setting, but he's the Chief of Police and you know, there's going to be a lot of layers to him too. So it's going to be an interesting character to watch unfold. There's definitely some interesting story lines that they've come up with. But yes, it's going to be very exciting and very fantastical and very grand in nature in the show. So I'm looking forward to seeing what our writers bring, you know when we finally get a hold of the scripts. I'm very excited to see them.

Question:
Now on Monday's show, you're going to be featured with some wonderful Syfy royalty with Lindsay Wagner and Rene, and given that you worked on Terminator, the Sarah Conner Chronicles and Caprica, and now Warehouse 13, what is it about the Sci-Fi genre that you find appealing?

Sasha Roiz:
It was quite new to me when I first got involved with it. I didn't really grow up on Sci-Fi, although I did really enjoy fantasy, but I wasn't specifically a Sci-Fi fan. But I've sort of grown to really appreciate it, especially as an actor because it allows you to delve into certain topics, whether social or political, that are often taboo or difficult to discuss. I really appreciate having a chance and a platform to discuss these things. So, I think it's a very liberating format because you could really approach certain topics whether directly or tongue-in-cheek and have a lot of room to investigate them, which you can't really do often or as easily in conventional TV or mainstream television.

Question:
Other than an employment opportunity, what is it that drew you to Warehouse 13?

Sasha Roiz:
I was just being factious. But Warehouse 13, like I said, I met those people you know in my time in Caprica when we would share different events or we'd cross paths and we always got on really well. And, I always you know enjoyed my time with the cast and some of the producers. And we always said that we'd like to find a chance for me to get on board and work together with them. And you know this timing was just perfect for it, and I'm really glad it worked out. I mean you know, they were just as much fun as I thought they'd be.

Question:
With Caprica, of course it didn't have that long of a run. If they were still on the air today, where would you see the Sam Adama character?

Sasha Roiz:
I see him sort of climbing the ranks of the Ha'la'tha - the Mob, and becoming probably more of a, you know, presence. Like he - I think there was talk perhaps going back to Tauron, so I think he was going to become a presence maybe politically either back on Tauron or in Caprica. But definitely, a higher player in the Mob. More of a decision maker. And, I think he was going to have quite a sway back in Tauron, which would influence things on Caprica. I think that was probably the direction I could see it going into.

Question:Sasha Roiz:
It's fun to be bad in a sense because you know you're going to get a chance to do a lot of things you don't get to do in real life or say a lot of things you don't get to say. But generally like when I'm playing the role, I don't really think about it. I don't really think whether he's good or bad. I just kind of focus on what he's got to do and you know, you kind of try not to make moral judgments about your character. But I just like a good role to be honest with you. I mean, there's some really fun tough guy, good guys, and bad guys as well. So as long as it's sort of an interesting role, I'm pretty content.

Question:
How do you think Warehouse 13 differs from other shows that are on today?

Sasha Roiz:
I think they really hit a beautiful balance between a dramatic and comedic I think. It's highly entertaining from start to finish. And that magical Sci-Fi component of the artifacts and the story line just you know, is such a great sort of factor in it. I think it just kind of touches upon so many elements that could appeal to such a broad audience. And they execute it really well. I think Joanne and Eddie are you know, terrific, and they have great chemistry. And they've got a great writing team that you know assist them in producing a terrific product.

Question:
Are there any shows on television today that you would kind of like love to guest star and appear on?

Sasha Roiz:
I'd love to do some Curb Your Enthusiasm. I'm a fan of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and I actually got a chance to do a couple episodes earlier this year and that was a lot of fun. There's Modern Family. I think it's a fantastic show. I mean, there's a lot of great comedy on TV, and I think there's even more coming this season. There's a lot of great cable shows as well that I'd love to take part in that I'm a fan of.

Question:
As someone who's coming from Caprica which is a very, very dramatic role and kind of edgy and gritty, and you're playing a villain in Warehouse 13, how are you addressing that balance between something like edginess of being the henchman and the more comedic element of being the henchman of that guy?

Sasha Roiz:
That's a good question because it is a little tricky sometimes coming into a show and you feel like you're the heavy and everyone's having so much fun around you. You know, you kind of feel like the downer at a party. But you know, we have a lot of fun. I mean I think even in the process we just have a lot of fun you know. And, it doesn't matter if the role or the situation is highly dramatic or comedic. But I think for myself I just have to focus on you know, my storyline and what it is that I need to execute in the scene and what it is that this character really wants in the scene. And then you know if I don't get the chance to engage in the comedic, then we do it in between takes and we just have fun. But it is sometimes difficult when you feel like I said, you're the heavy and everybody else is having fun you know, without you. But luckily we had fun throughout the whole process.

Question:
So would it be fair to say that Marcus is kind of like the straight man that all the comedy is actually playing off against?

Sasha Roiz:
Well, I mean it's a darker role, so I don't know if there's necessarily a lot of room for comedy in and around me, but there's certainly moments. There's definitely moments of levity.

Question:
I noticed you've done another project recently and it's in post-production right now. It's called Extracted. I'm just wondering what you could tell us about that?

Sasha Roiz:
Oh, Extracted is an independent film that I shot last fall and it's Sci-Fi based and it's such a terrific story, and we just completed the edit on it and are in the process of submitting it to the different film festivals. It's a really heartfelt piece about a man called Tom Jacobs, who creates this machine to help assist people through trauma so he can go into their memories and see their memories and help them uncover certain things in their past. And in doing so, gets trapped in the memories of this one criminal. And, he's trapped in there for a year just trying to get out. And so that's basically the premise. Him trying to get extracted from the memories of this man. It's a great piece and I'm quite happy with it. So we'll see what happens with it if it gets accepted to some of the festivals.

Question:
Who would you say is your comedy hero, you know from the sitcoms over the years. Is there anyone you know particularly that stands out in comedy that you'd absolutely love to work with?

Sasha Roiz:
Well, I've been a big fan of a lot of people in the last few years. I've been you know, Ricky Gervais and Sacha Baron Cullen. I love Larry David and there's so many people who I'm just a fan of that it would be a real thrill to get to work with you know. So the list goes on and on. I'm a big nut for comedies. So hopefully it'll come around and I'll have a chance to work with some of these people.

Question:
What would you say was one of the biggest challenges you faced with the character Marcus?

Sasha Roiz:
I think whenever you're playing sort of you know, these villainous types, not to be too one dimensional, to try to find a little bit of life in them and you know, other side to them, even sides that the viewer can perhaps sympathize with. Or empathize. If you can't even empathize with the villain or at least get a little bit excited for him to get on screen, then you're not really going to care much for them or root for them at all. I mean I think it's fun sometimes rooting for the bad guy.

Question:
You've had experience playing several villain-type characters, so in TV history do you have a favorite villain?

Sasha Roiz:
Well, that's quite a few I guess. I mean Jack Nicholson's Joker. I just adore that. What's his name? Oh, gosh. I always forget the actor's name. I'm going to kill me, but in Superman II, what's his name? I mean, it's so funny when I get put on the spot, all the sudden I forget. But I always root for the bad guy. I just love them. They're so much far interesting to me for some reason. I don't know what that says about me or how much therapy I'm going to require. But whatever. It just is a lot of fun.

Question:
There's been a lot of mention about the comedy roots and things in a show like Warehouse 13. What would you say is the formula for good, comedic TV?

Sasha Roiz:
You need to have some great writing combined with some you know, actors with some great timing. And they've got that for sure. And also, just knowing when to crack the joke, which I think I really appreciate with Warehouse 13. It's like they know just when to come in with a little bit of levity and it seems to work quite well. Because you know, gratuitous comedy I think just gets under everybody's skin.

Question:
What three adjectives would you use to describe your character Marcus?

Sasha Roiz:
Focused, and exacting, and complex.

Question:
Grimm sounds like it's a lot closer in talent to Caprica than the Warehouse 13. Is that a fair assessment?

Sasha Roiz:
I'm not sure to be honest. I think it's definitely dark. Perhaps it's a little bit more akin to Caprica in that sense. But Caprica's darkness came from a different place I think. Grimm is just literally set in a very sort of dark environment. It's the Grimm Brother's Tales, and if you're familiar with those tales, they are quite you know scary in nature. And so that's the setting. But, there is some lightness and quirkiness I think. Silas Wier Mitchell who plays a werewolf character in our show, he's got a very quirky storyline and approach and quite comedic, and I think it's going to lend itself to a few laughs for sure. So, there's a balance there, but you know Caprica was highly dramatic and in every sense of the word.

Question:
Is the Police Captain in Grimm going to be somewhat nefarious?

Sasha Roiz:
I think there's certainly some room for mystery with him, absolutely. I think there's going to be some you know, interesting stories unfolding in regards to him. You know, but I can't say too much right now, but like I said, it's going to be a definitely a layered character.

Question:
Will you be popping into the Warehouse 13 Comic-Con panel on Friday?

Sasha Roiz:
I wish I could. I wish I could. Unfortunately, we don't get there until Saturday. I'm sure it's going to be a lot of fun this year. They got Aaron Ashmore as well, who's like great on the show, and a lot of fun to work with. And no, they'll be just fine without me I'm sure.

Question:
What do you think about the whole Comic-Con experience? Is it a real challenge as an actor or is it fun, or is it something kind of in between?

Sasha Roiz:
I mean it's certainly overwhelming. It's just because of the sheer number of people. But beyond that, it's a lot of fun and people are remarkably supportive and gracious and respectful of your time. And I've had nothing but positive experiences, and it's really fun to be amongst the demographic that is genuine fans of your show and your genre. So, it's really nice to engage with them and get to know them a bit.

Question:
I understand that Kate Mulgrew is in Warehouse 13 this season. Did you have the opportunity to have any scenes with her?

Sasha Roiz:
I'm not sure if we work directly, but we definitely got to know each other a little bit.

Question:
So there is a connection between Marcus and the Kate Mulgrew's character?

Sasha Roiz:
Well, yes. There's some story line connections, but I'm not going to disclose too much. She's great. Yes. She's absolutely lovely, and it was a real pleasure to meet her. You know, it's definitely - you know, there are times on shows where it's fun to just be a fan of the people you work with.

Question:
Syfy has had great success recently with their lineup. How do you feel about being a part of that? And do you have any more Syfy shows lined up, either that you've been asked to do or that you'd actually ideally want to take a part of?

Sasha Roiz:
Yes. I think they had great success on Monday nights, and they got a superb lineup, and I think Syfy's been certainly distinguishing themselves as a network. And it seems to be working out quite well. I'm a big fan you know, of their shows. I'm a big fan of the network. They've always been really kind to me, and I'd be happy to you know pop in and out of different programs, because I seem to also over the last few years have befriended a lot of people and you know, been acquainted with a lot of people on the different programs. So, it does feel very familiar and it does feel like Syfy keeps a very tight knit family, which I think we all appreciate.

Question:Sasha Roiz:
Well, if he does, you won't get a chance to see them.

Question:
How did you get involved in acting?

Sasha Roiz:
I got involved a little late actually. I kind of enrolled in theater school I think when I was close to 25. I played in a band for a few years, much to the chagrin of my father. And then, I got involved in acting. I think it's something I always wanted to do but wasn't quite prepared to until later. So - and then I did a few years at theater school and just kind of started out in Canada and worked my way into Los Angeles, and it's you know, kind of been falling into place recently. So I think it was the right choice for me.

Question:
Do you have a dream role that you would love to play?

Sasha Roiz:
I think I'd like to play something period piece and things that allow me to go into the past and - I like the aesthetic of certain time and place. So, it's a lot of fun for me to just get dressed up and go into the past a bit. Honestly, just kind of that mobster thing that I did with Sam Adama to being able to play something in Roman or Greek times. Something like you know, some of those great movies that they're making like The 300 stuff films. I really love those and I think I'd enjoy wielding a sword at some point soon.

Question:
You're guest starting on a show where everyone sort of already has their own dynamic, and they have their own rhythm. How hard or easy was it for you to sort of just fit right in with the cast of Warehouse 13?

Sasha Roiz:
It was remarkably easy and you know, it says a lot about the cast. They make huge efforts in accommodating and welcoming new characters and actors to the set. And you know, that's something that I very much appreciate, especially when you're guest starting. You just don't have a lot of time to get you know, warmed up and find your place and your footing. So they were very gracious with me. And you know, it was just much appreciated and also helped me you know, working and feeling comfortable and producing some good work.

Question:
Without giving too much away, what similarities do you see you have with Marcus's character?

Sasha Roiz:
We're both tall. We both enjoy wearing jackets. Beyond that, what similarities? I think there's real life to Marcus. I think that it's just kind of very deep down. You'll get to know the character. I can't say too much.

Question:
Who would you say is your favorite main character from Warehouse 13?

Sasha Roiz:
I think they're all great at their characters, and I genuinely mean that. I mean, Allison and Saul, they're all wonderful actors and I think they all do their job brilliantly and they portray their characters brilliantly. Because without all of them being equally strong and equally engaging, I don't think the show would be as successful as it is.

Question:
You mentioned earlier you're wanting to star in a period piece. What would you say is your favorite period piece?

Sasha Roiz:
There's so many that I enjoy, to be honest with you. For some reason, I just see myself in swords and togas, but I just feel I need to get that out of my system. But anything from you know, Renaissance stuff to Middle Ages, to even you know, earlier this century. I just enjoy the idea of being able to go into the past. It's one of the big gifts you have as an actor. You're able to enter these worlds that otherwise you'd never have a chance to visit except in your imagination.

Question:
What's one thing about yourself that people don't expect?

Sasha Roiz:
I think probably that I'm you know pretty much like a comedian at heart, and I just you know, love goofing around and just having a great time, and joking, and that's basically for me. Like if I'm on set and we're not doing that, it's a tragedy. So I enjoy just having fun and laughing as much as possible. Ironically, I play all these really dark sinister guys, but you know maybe that's why I need to offset it with a little humor you know.

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