Eddie McClintock is a TV veteran; one of those hard-working actors whom you’ve seen (and liked) almost everywhere, but who – until Warehouse 13 – had never had a hit. As Secret Service Agent Pete Lattimer, Eddie has brought a goofy charm to the show, creating a character viewers can’t help but love. Pete Lattimer is somewhere between your goofy-but-protective older brother, and a playful hound who wants to chase his tail, but will stick by your side through thick and thin. As part of Syfy’s PR campaign around the sunset of the series, I was lucky enough to have a phone call with Eddie, where we spoke at length about his career, about Warehouse 13 and his character, and about being a geeky dad.
This is a synthesis of our 70-minute conversation. We rambled quite a bit, so to pull together some coherent subjects, I’ve skipped around the chat, and crafted a more linear narrative. Because of the length of the call, I’m breaking the interview into parts, just so I can get segments up in a timely fashion. In the future, with Eddie’s permission and a bit of editing, I hope to put the audio of the conversation up on our podcast feed.
On how social media has impacted his life: Twitter certainly has changed things. I have Bill Shatner following me! I’ve met childhood heroes. There’s a guy named Rudy Sarzo, who was the bass player for Ozzy Osborne back in the day, he was part of Blizzard of Oz. Back when I was 12, I made a comic called Ozzy Osbean and the Blizzard of Oz, and all the guys in the band were jellybeans and superheroes. So one day I was checking my Twitter feed and there was a guy saying “Oh man, I love Warehouse 13; it’s my favorite show,” and I saw the name was Rudy Sarzo. I thought, it can’t possibly be the guy! And we’ve become friends. We actually went to the last Black Sabbath show here in LA together. It was so surreal, going to see Ozzy play with the guy I turned into a jelly bean and a superhero when I was 12. (You can follow Eddie on Twitter at @eddiemcclintock)
On Living the Dream: I’ve been a huge Jaws fan since I was a little kid. I have a big great white shark tattooed on my shoulder. I just got it before I went back to Toronto for season 5, and when I was down in Dallas for a con with Saul [Rubinek – who plays Artie, the boss on Warehouse] and Richard Dreyfuss was there. Oh my god! I was just so nervous to meet him. I ran up to him, and introduced myself, and I was like, “you know, I’m not a weird stalker fan.” And then I go, “hey, check out my giant tattoo of a shark.” And it degraded into me walking away feeling like a total tool. Hopefully I’ll get another chance to meet him.
I’m as big a geek as they come. Especially when I meet people, we call them mouth-breathers. They just come up to the table and stand there with their mouths open. And I am that guy! That’s why it’s okay for me to reference them, because I am a mouth-breather when it comes to meeting someone I admire. It happens all the time, like on the show. Chris Sarandon, Wes Craven, Jane Curtin, Bill Devane.
On Pete versus Eddie, and how much of Eddie has been included in Pete’s background: Jack Kenny is our executive producer, and he was a co-E.P. on my first ever series back in 1998, a sitcom on Fox [Holding the Baby]. We did 13 episodes and then got cancelled. I remember always liking him – he was always one of my favorites. I was doing this show on Lifetime, and my buddy says Jack Kenney is going to direct. I tell Jack one day during the production that my show, Warehouse 13 is getting picked up on Syfy. I connected him with the folks on the show, and a week later he calls me and tells me he’s my new boss. And so, I’ve known Jack forever, and before we started shooting he said, “who do you want Pete to be?” I told him I loved comic books, and I was a wrestler from Ohio. And I’d like him to be a former marine, to give props to folks who have sacrificed for our country. And the fact that he was 13 years sober, because I’m 13 year sober. So there’s not a lot of acting when I go to work. I’m a bit of a goof anyhow. My sense of humor tends to be pretty juvenile, so that’s okay. And I love that we made Pete a recovering alcoholic, because it gives him depth, and a chance to be goofy. But Jack didn’t do that just for me. He did that for everyone. It filled them out as characters.
On his love of comic books: growing up my titles were Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, Spiderman, Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four. Just like any adult does when they get older and get a few shekels, I collect the books I didn’t get to collect when I was a kid. So, every convention I go to, I buy comic books. Right now, I’m focusing on The Incredible Hulk. I’m just collecting up to the point where I quit collecting as a kid, around 1974 or so. I’ve got a bunch of Hulk. It’s not a huge collection yet, but I figure I have two sons, and I’ll give it to them when it’s time.
On what superhero he’d like to play: Well, since the Hulk has been taking already, I would say Deathlok; I always thought he was cool and wicked. I’d also say Man-Thing, but then I’d have to spend all that time in the suit.