Last night, viewers of Warehouse 13 got to see something unusual, the return of a dead character, and a beloved one at that. Steve Jinks, played by Aaron Ashmore, was brought back by his fiercely determined (and coifed) Claudia. Back at the end of June we spoke to Aaron about his return, the idea of creating a gay character icon, and what’s in store for Steve this year. Something that doesn’t come across in print that was a joy of the conversation is that Aaron laughs, a lot. It’s a deep, genuine fun laugh that he hasn’t been able to bring to the show so far. We also break the news of who is going to play his mother later this season.
AfterElton: We’re talking to Aaron Ashmore, who made his triumphant return to Warehouse 13, which was somewhat unexpected since he’d been dead for three days.
I have to say that I just watched the episode, and you didn’t look bad for a dead guy, even when you were still dead.
Aaron: Well I haven’t seen it yet to be honest with you, but I believe that I was pretty pale. I believe that’s what they were going for was pale.
AfterElton: Other than the yellow around your eyes, you could have just been asleep.
Aaron: Well, vampires are very popular, so I could have been a vampire.
AfterElton: You could have been a vampire, which would have been an interesting twist. Now going back to the beginning, how did you end up joining the show, because I know you were a last minute sign on last season.
Aaron: Yeah. It was very, very quick, over the weekend. When I read the role, the script was Steve Chu, for an Asian character, but they were having a hard time finding the right person. But I read it and I thought it was an interesting role, and his ability to tell when people were lying. He was coming into this world, and he was very matter of fact about the stuff, it was interesting. I really like the matter of fact tone to the character, because I’d seen the show before and realized that it would be a different take, a different energy to put into the group that would be really interesting and that it would be a great role.
AfterElton: Now when you read it at first was the character gay, or did that come later?
Aaron: I’m trying to remember. I read the first two scripts, and I think that Steve kind of came out to Claudia in the second script, so I knew that, and I think in the character description it said that Steve was gay. And again, another interesting thing for me to play and another layer to the character. I wasn’t sure how it was going to play out, or how it would involve that, but it was just another interesting layer for this role.
AfterElton: And interesting way to put it, because we still talk to a lot of actors who agonize over the idea of playing a gay character, and it sounds like you didn’t even blink.
Aaron: No! I’ve played gay before, and I am straight, but it seems like a natural part of who this guy was. I’ve got lots of gay friends who I didn’t know were gay until it comes up in conversation, and I felt that that was who Steve was.
Obviously Claudia thinks that Steve was hitting on her, and in the beginning he was like “Whoa whoa whoa – slow down, I’m gay, I’m not trying to hit on you, relax.” And it’s such a great way to play the character. I think that on television, it’s changing, but there’s been so many stereotypical presentations of gay characters, but I thought that this was different. He was an agent, and this just happened to be part of his personality and yeah, to me it was a no brainer, let’s do this.
AfterElton: Do you realize just how rare a gay character is in science fiction?
Aaron: And that’s something I wasn’t super aware of when I started playing the role, the more I looked into it and the more I talked to people in many conversations I realized that there weren’t many characters in sci-fi.
AfterElton: It certainly caused a reaction with our readers. It gave us an excuse to cover it, even if we’d been exploiting Eddie McClintock for quite a while.
Aaron: Oh, you’re not exploiting Eddie. He loves that.
AfterElton: He didn’t seem to mind when we sent a photographer to his house to capture him pool side. Speaking of that, two of your cast members, Eddie and Joanne Kelly, made our Hot 100 lists this year. I’m hoping that next year we get you on the list, now that you’re alive again.
Aaron: I’d love to be on your list!
Ashmore and castmate Allison Scagliotti
AfterElton: One of the things you’ve talked about is your relationship with Claudia (Allison Scagliotti). You two have an incredible dynamic, but she’s so emotionally driven where your character is so reserved, yet you have such a strong connection and the relationship thrives.
Aaron: I think that it is a bit of an opposites attract. Steve is certainly very reserved compared to Claudia. She draws him out of that shell a little bit, he’s still himself but she’s so open and he knows there’s nothing to worry about. She’s on his side that he can count on her. It allows him to come out of his shell a little and interact with her. He may roll his eyes at some of her jokes, but I think that deep down he really enjoys her company. And we touched on this last year, but Claudia reminds Steve of his sister who passed away, his older sister who was shot in an accident, a drive by sort of thing. I think that’s an immediate sort of thing that draws him to her, not just that she looks like his sister, but certain things she says, her personality, I think that’s such a huge thing to him, to have a relationship with someone who’s not replacing his sister, but taking over that part in his life where he was mourning, and he finds this amazing girl who can take over this role of his sister. I think to Steve that’s huge, that’s everything. He hasn’t had that since his sister passed away. But I also think that Odd Couple thing works, they respond to things so differently.
AfterElton: Speaking of different responses, you had two coming out scenes last year. You had the scene in the car with Claudia, and you had the most ridiculous, well-received coming out scene with Pete.
Aaron: That was so good.
Eddie McClintock and Ashmore
AfterElton: I hope you enjoyed playing that as much as we enjoyed watching it.
Aaron: It’s just so hilarious, and the funny thing is in real life it’s so unimaginable that that would happen. Someone wouldn’t go “You’re gay, I’ve been working out at the gym, and these girls don’t appreciate me, you should enjoy this.” And how mortified someone would be if it happened. I thought it was so genius, and fit Pete’s character, he’s so accepting. He’s like “Check me out” I thought that that was absolutely well written because it was completely in Pete’s character and so uncomfortable for Steve, who’s like “Please don’t do that here, it’s not what I’m looking for here.”
AfterElton: You’re right, as a gay man, I can’t imagine that ever happening in my real life, but it rings so true to Pete’s character, who’s just so wide-eyed innocent.
Aaron: It speaks so much to Pete’s character, and you’re right, he’s just so innocent. To him, he’s like “I happen to be a guy who works out, you’re gay, so check it out. What do you think?” It’s fun, it’s really, really fun.