Saturday, July 18, 2015

#JennAtSDCC: Roundtable Interviews (Cast & Producers of 'Scorpion')

Press Room Interviews, featuring EP Nicholas Wootton, Robert Patrick (Cabe Gallo), Elyes Gabel (Walter O'Brien) and Katharine McPhee (Paige Dineen)

In my recap of Thursday's Comic-Con adventures, I mentioned that I spent a lot of time with CBS and a great deal of time in the press room. These are the first two interviews I've decided to transcribe and upload from the room as we had the chance to talk to most of the stars (and EP) of CBS's hit drama, Scorpion. I unexpectedly fell in love with this show. I was never able to watch it live (because it conflicted with Jane the Virgin and sorry, CBS, but that's where my Monday light loyalties are!), but I always caught up On Demand over the weekends. I'll never forget that I watched the second episode, I believe, content until an emotional scene between Cabe and Walter on the roof of a building made me cry. I was crying at a procedural.

And no, that's not the last time I cried during the show.

Scorpion is a show that strikes a pretty great balance between all of its elements: humor, heart, procedural drama, and action. And what I love is that it's completely unapologetic in the best ways possible. We had great conversations with the talent and have uploaded the audio to Soundcloud in case you want to listen, as well as transcribed the interviews below. There are two separate interviews that took place, so without further adieu... let's dive into them!

REBECCA: What can you tease us with about the upcoming season?

NICHOLAS WOOTTON: There is going to be... a lot of action, a lot of adventure. We're going to go deeper into the character stuff. I think that's what we're really excited about doing. We have a big season. We have a... twenty-four and a half episode season? ... The one thing we love about this show is that we do get all these amazing adventures and have all this great fun -- these guys [pointing to Robert] are incredible character actors and we can give them such deep, moving material to do that really goes into who they are as people and how they interact with one another. That, I think, is what you're going to see a lot of this season -- a lot of that kind of development as we go forward.

ROBERT PATRICK: And we really are a tight unit. We really are. You can see it and you can feel it and these relationships are getting deeper. It's a lot of fun. These kids are great.

TIFFANY: Well I really loved the finale, especially with Gallo and Walter --

RP: Yeah.

TIFFANY: -- just kind of exploring that relationship. You guys had to work through some stuff. How was that for you to play?

RP: It was a wonderful experience; all last season was great. The whole arc and storyline of ... Can we ever resolve that? Can he [Walter] ever trust me [Cabe] again? God, I hope he knows I would never do anything to hurt him. So that whole thing... and it was such a great resolution at the end. Just [for Cabe] to really put it out on the line: I'll jump in front of a train for you [Walter], I'll do whatever I can to save you. You  know what I mean? And it meant a lot to me. It was a great journey.

TIFFANY: With Cabe and Walter next season, do you kind of work your stuff out?

RP: I don't want to give away too much because that's part of what we're filming right now, but you're gonna see how they are after that. And it's new. And it's fun. And I'm kinda waiting to see what they're gonna create for us. We're gonna have some new things to deal with. What's it gonna be like now that we're okay again? It's been a while. So... it's interesting.

TIFFANY: And your character's no longer in Homeland...

RP: That's an interesting thing that we're gonna deal with as well.

NW: We don't... we don't... [shrugs]


RP: [shrugs] I'm not sayin' anything.

NW: [shrugs] Not sayin' anything...

JENN: So we talked a lot -- and you talked in the panel -- about Walter and Cabe's relationship and how emotional it was for you as a father. So was there a defining episode or defining scene you really latched onto from this past season that really got to you or stands out in your mind?

RP: Oh gosh, well Elyes is a lovable guy and ... when we shot the pilot, he ... just endeared himself to me. And I really was fond of him from the get-go. And then watching him as an actor and as an individual deal with the challenges of making a show and being the lead on a show and seeing that struggle and that process... there's a lot to it. You know? He endeared himself to me even more. I really do care for him. I really do love him. And I hope that translates to the screen. And the fun  thing for Cabe has been learning these other [characters]. And that's a whole new area they're going to start going. Because they're all growing on me. And I'm becoming fond of each and every one of them. It's just a great role.

NW: I will say, that's going to be another thing we're going to be doing a lot of this year is ... on certain cases, [the characters] will be partnering up in ways that you didn't see last year. ... In this 90-minute episode that we're doing ... Cabe and Paige are partnered up throughout that while the others are off doing something incredibly dangerous.

But [that] is a great pairing that we haven't seen before and I think the more we can see those ... [that] brings out things in the characters we haven't seen yet before and things that are very new.

RP: It's gonna be great.


NW: We have a 90-minute episode after the Supergirl premiere. Tell everyone you know to reset your DVRs.

REBECCA: After such a successful first season, how hard is it to top that season with season two?

RP: Well, from the actor's point of view, we're already aware of that and we've already shown up. And I can tell you, Monday, we hit the ground running. ... We're all aware that we've got to go even further, we've got to kick it up even better. We're gonna do much more work than we did in the first season. ... We're all game and I think everyone is incredibly grateful for our success and knows what it means. And we don't wanna do anything to jeopardize it.

NW: I think we're the same way. ... Once we put [the show] out there and we got such a great response -- and the fan response has been so wonderful and we are so grateful for it -- it's like... what do you do for a second season? And for us ... [the audience] loves these characters so let's do more with these characters. Let's see where these characters go. ... You have these incredible adventures but what's the last moment at the end [of an episode] that twists you and makes you go: "ooh"? And I think we have a lot more of that this year. Because we know these people better. We know these characters better. We see their development.

There's two sides to every one of these episodes: they're brilliant as problem-solvers and then they're [laughs] unbrilliant socially and inter-personally. And they're so BAD at that, that there's infinite ways to go with both. It's like... if they can be bad at something [over here] and great at something over here, that's what we're going to pursue.

TIFFANY: You have, sort of budding relationships with Walter and Paige and Happy and Toby and Sylvester and Megan... can you tease anything about that?

NW: ... There's going to be development in every single one of those relationships, some that will be shocking to you. How does the brilliant, reserved, anti-social mind deal with love? That's something we're going to be pursing the entire season on all those levels. Every single one of those [relationships] is definitely going to be delved into. For each one of these characters. So more... Waige. More Quintis.

RP: Quintis!


REBECCA: Congratulations on a fantastic first season -- 


REBECCA: -- how is season two going to top it?

KM: Oh gosh... I think ... The writers have been looking at what our best episodes are from the first season and taking those episodes [and learning for season two]. And just finding what that show is. I mean, we were super successful from the beginning but it's still find[ing] its own voice. I love that the show is having more comedic moments and I think it'll [still] feel... like the world is always going to end and we're always going to save it, but ... the audience will get to see how the individual characters handle those things. You'll get to see the quirks about them while they're doing those crazy things.

That's what's interesting, I think, Not just that we're heroes and people love to live through that but that you get to [know] the individual quirks about each character while they're doing those things.

TIFFANY: Well, in the finale, Paige sort of admitted that she cares about Walter -- finally. So in the second season, is there going to be sort of a shift? Because we've seen Walter carry a torch. Are we going to see Paige... things from Paige's perspective?

KM: I think you'll see Paige, at the beginning of the season, as someone who's very... vocal and honest and capable of ... speaking her truth.


REBECCA: After playing [Walter] for one season, are you really comfortable with him now?

ELYES GABEL: Yeah, I think... you see in certain scenes, you [as an actor] have a very similar way of reacting to [things as] the characters. It's been a lot more grounded. I like the exploration of different sides of the character. I think one of the hopeful benefits of doing something like this for a longer amount of [time] is that it'll really give... [believability]. So you can believe that [Walter] really has a difficult time getting out the emotions and then later on -- because it's taken so long to actually find it -- [...] then you can find out new [information] about why he does this.

JENN: So what's one thing that you've learned about yourself as actors through playing these parts that maybe you didn't know before?

KM: I can't really say there's one thing. I feel like every job I do, there's always something I learn whether I'm conscious of it or not. I don't know that I could give you one [specifically]. I always just find myself more and more relaxed, not like, in a lazy way. But being more relaxed allows me to understand [the characters] better.

EG: Honesty, really. Because sometimes the jewels they give us are these unfathomable things and then the job of the actor is to create truth out of those situations... as believable as possible. So when I'm putting my shoes on... I've really got to try to put my shoes on... and tell people I'm putting my shoes on.


REBECCA: If you had to explain to someone what Scorpion is who  has never watched it before, is there an episode from season one that you would point them to that says: "This is our show"?

EG: Good question. I liked the episode where we went to Bosnia. I think that allowed you to find out a little bit more of the characters, because ... they're all fish out of water [in that episode]. ... I liked [episode] sixteen: the spy episode. And then also like, the penultimate episode of the season. The one with the poisoning.


EG: I realize those are the places where we're really able to... if you say the words "dig into" the character and also the plot. And I think when those balls are up in the air, I think it makes ... the show an easier thing to connect to. Because you're being inundated with a real drama.

TIFFANY: In that episode we saw that Ralph was emulating Walter. So how are things with Ralph [and Walter]?

KM: He's not in the first episode coming back this season, but he is expected to be in quite a few episodes, but I'm not sure how Ralph is expected to be involved.

EG: ... The more cohesive group we [Team Scorpion] are, the more he develops a sense of belonging and he gets nurtured and maybe he becomes a real part of the tissue [of the group].

There you have it, Team Scorpion! Be sure to stay tuned for my Friday adventures at Comic-Con, as well as more interviews with the cast and producers of Limitless and Zoo. Until then. :)


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