It takes a special kind of character to win over the hearts of science fiction lovers, but it didn’t take long for Warehouse 13’s gorgeous actress Joanne Kelly. Hailing from Canada, this quick-witted firecracker has been one of the stars of Syfy’s biggest show over the past few years, which will be starting back up for a half season on Syfy returning Monday, April 29th at 10/9c. We sat down with Joanne to chat about the strange and unusual goings-on in the warehouse, her love of Comic-Con and her costar Eddie McClintock.
Playboy.com: Any word on a fifth season yet?
Kelly: I think we’re still in a holding pattern, but I feel good about it; we’ll see!
*Playboy.com: *Veronica Mars just came back from the dead. Anything can happen, right?
Kelly: Yeah! I read about that. Who knows what goes on in these offices with the suits. [laughs] It’s a bizarre thing. Considering we’ve been on for four years, I think we’ll be fine with whatever they decide. I mean, four years! You get to really explore a lot of aspects of these characters. Myka started out as this uptight, geeky control freak that was closed. In the pilot you met this woman who was very isolated and very hard to get to know, but she’s just this marshmallow underneath. I think the people we meet in our lives with the tough exteriors are always the sweetest. And we get to see her pair off with Eddie, who plays Pete on the show. We slowly get to see this uptight control freak unwind. And that’s what we’ve got to see over the last four years as she gets looser and looser and has more fun. She really opens up to Pete. I think that’s what happens when you develop a really great relationship in your life. You tend to be more open and have more fun because you feel supported.
*Playboy.com: *Your show is a melting pot of everything in the geek universe, from the guest stars to the crossovers. What’s that experience been like?
Kelly: It’s been a crazy ride. We started out and nobody knew us and all of a sudden we’re SyFy’s number one show for almost four years in a row, which is an incredible place to be. The great thing about Syfy is the fans. They’re so dedicated and loyal and lovely. It’s kind of nice to have a niche and not be on a huge show. I can go out and do my deal; I don’t have to worry about being recognized. It does happen, but very rarely. You get to have a job and be a real person.
*Playboy.com: *And on the other end, you guys get to be mauled at Comic-Con. Was last year your first time?
Kelly: No, god, that was my fourth time! I’m an old hat at Comic-Con now. I was so blown away the first time I was there; I was completely freaked out. It’s a strange, amazing Wonderland. I call it Nerd Christmas. My brother is a huge comic book nerd so I’ve always been around that. He’s actually my date to Comic-Con every year. He’s now 35 and he just lights up like he’s three again. It’s so fun.
*Playboy.com: *Were you always into sci-fi? I was looking through your roster and it seems that you gravitate to that particular genre.
Kelly: No, actually! I started out doing theatre, Shakespeare and stuff, so I was onstage a lot. I think the reason why I keep coming back to sci-fi is because you’ve got to have an ability to do a lot in this particular genre, which is why they tend to have good actors on sci-fi shows that can do a bit of everything. Coming from a theatre experience, using green screens and your imagination really helps landing those gigs. But really, though, I grew up in Newfoundland. We didn’t even have cable, so I wasn’t really a sci-fi kid. We didn’t even have a movie rental place. TV and film weren’t on my to-do list as a kid since we didn’t have access to it. But I did read a lot of fantasy. I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and things like that so I was familiar with the genre in that sense.
*Playboy.com: *If there was one artifact that was real and you could have in real life, what would it be and why?
Kelly: Probably the Studio 54 disco ball; that was pretty cool. I had a lot of fun doing that episode. I really think it should be the ’70s again. That would be great. All these people doing yoga and eating macrobiotic foods…what happened to the Rolling Stones?
*Playboy.com: *Your interviews with your costar Eddie really crack me up. What’s it like being on set with a team that seems so tight knit?
Kelly: It’s like any family. Sometimes I want to stab him in the eye with a fork. The only person who can talk badly about him is me because if anyone else says anything I get pretty upset. We’re like brothers and sisters; I love him very much. Eddie doesn’t have a mean bone in his body. He’s a sweet guy and I love him to pieces, even though I want to chop him into little pieces sometimes. But we have a lot of fun, especially at Comic-Con. I think that’s the most fun I have with the show is going to Comic-Con with Eddie!
*Playboy.com: *What’s been your favorite moment on set?
Kelly: When we were working with Roger Rees and I found out he was doing a play with Sir Ian McKellen after he left our show, that made me really excited. Roger was also nominated for a Tony last year for directing Peter and the Starcatcher. We get to work with some really cool people, and that was a moment where I was blown away. “This person I’m working with is working with Sir Ian McKellen as an actor.” If you want to see me fangirl out, that was my fangirl moment!
*Playboy.com: *Do you still do your own stunts on the show?
Kelly: I’ve stopped doing a lot of the stunts, actually; I got hurt pretty badly a while back. I’m a clumsy girl at the best of times, let alone when they put me in a wire and stuff. It’s going to happen. I try and do the ones I can do physically, but at the end of the day I figured out it just wasn’t worth it because if I’m hurt and can’t film then it’s a stupid risk. I took it for a lot of years, though! I still love doing them, but you just gotta look out for the back and the knees. Ain’t getting any younger!
Playboy.com: What’s your favorite…
City: Capetown, South Africa.
Drink: Jameson neat.
Food: Medium-rare filet with blue cheese.
Guilty pleasure: Hot fudge sundaes.
Most embarrassing moment: Oh man, so easy. When I was in university I went to meal hall and I had smoked a joint and I was really stoned. So I went downstairs to use the bathroom and when I came back up I was walking across the meal hall in front of all of these people and my friend is frantically waving me over. And she says, “There’s a piece of tissue paper stuck in your zipper!” and I turn around and see that I had been trailing this roll of toilet paper from the bathroom basically in front of the whole campus. I remember turning red and running. Really, what do you do? This will keep me humble for the rest of my life. How can I be serious about myself? This is me, baby!
Worst pickup line: I was just at Trader Joe’s getting groceries and this guy called me a rock star and asked me if he could have five minutes of my time. I was like, “Are you selling something?” And he said, “No, I just want to get to know you!” Yeah…not going to happen. And the fact that he called me a rock star…what? Who are you? Get away from me. And also don’t pick up girls outside of a grocery store. That’s lame. Are you working for Greenpeace or something? You’re just standing out here in your douchebag skinny jeans with your hair slicked back and your iPod in…go away.