TV Goodness Series Premiere Preview: WGN America’s Salem [PHOTOS, VIDEO, INTERVIEWS]
PremieringÂ tonight at 10/9c, the first original drama for WGN America, Salem. Here’s what you need to know about the supernatural series:
Salem Synopsis: Set in the volatile world of 17th-century Massachusetts, â€œSalemâ€ explores what really fueled the townâ€™s infamous witch trials and dares to uncover the dark, supernatural truth cloaked behind the veil of this infamous period in American history. In â€œSalem,â€ witches are real, but they are not who or what they seem. The show, which centers on an epic romance wrapped around this explosive revelation, delivers a bold new vision of Salem â€“ and an even bolder new vision of witches.
Character: Mary Sibley
Synopsis:Â Mary presides over the town of Salem as its most powerful sorceress and the wife of George Sibley, the elderly, ailing, and very wealthy head of the Selectmen of Salem.
TV Credits: Made in Jersey, Dancing on the Edge, Human Target
Janet talks Salem
Synopsis:Â With many secrets to hide, the ruthless yet vulnerable Mary must rely on her mysterious and ageless accomplice, Tituba, to help carry out her agenda.
TV Credits: Revenge, The Beautiful Life
Q&A with Ashley Madekwe
What are you allowed to tell us about your character on Salem?
ASHLEY MADEKWE: “I’m allowed to tell you that Tituba is a real historical character, which you all know, I’m sure. Kind of iconic, I think. Tituba was really one of the mysterious ones because she was one of the first accused of witchcraft, admit to it straight up. She was like, ‘Yeah. Fine.’ I think anything for a quiet life, and was in prison but never hung for the crime of witchcraft and no one knows what happened to her after that. It’s kind of mysterious. I can tell you that. I can also tell you that on the show she is Mary’s right-hand woman and she’s ostensibly her servant, but as the show goes on you kind of wonder if she’s more master than servant.”
What do you enjoy playing about your character the most?
ASHLEY: “The ambiguity with her. You don’t- you’re not entirely sure, as you see in episode one, what her deal is. Like, she’s supposed to be her servant but they don’t talk to each other like servant and master. Tituba certainly doesn’t defer to her in any way. I love that as we go back 10 years in the first episode and you see them young together. I loved playing that, seeing how they’ve gone from being these young girls to these two witches.”
It seems from the trailer you’re the devil on her shoulder. Can you talk a little bit more about the relationship?
ASHLEY: “Yeah. That’s a really good observation, actually. Tituba kind of is the devil on her shoulder whispering in her ear and encouraging her, pushing her. We don’t know yet what Tituba’s reasons are. I mean I guessed. They have this occurrence in the beginning that is the 10 years previously, that scene, where they enter into a deal – I don’t know if they now they’re making a deal with the devil – it’s not as black and white and that. Certainly, there’s not a guy in red horns or anything, but they enter into this scenario that puts them where they are 10 years later and we don’t know what’s happened in that 10 years, but we do see they’re making it a bit more fraught now, but it’s also a lot more sensual. The sensual stuff – I wasn’t expecting it to be as sensual.”
How does it feel to be on the launch series for WGN America?
ASHLEY: “It’s so exciting, I think. to be the first and to launch it in that way. It’s really exciting and they couldn’t be more supportive. They’ve put everything behind it. It’s such a great team. It’s such a good team.
What did you find to be the most difficult about shooting and what do you thinking is gonna be most difficult?
ASHLEY: “Hmmm. For me, the dialect is interesting because it’s a dialect kind of we created. It isn’t American, it isn’t English, it isn’t Caribbean. It’s lit a kind of an amalgamation of all of them because we wanted to play up the ambiguity of Tituba. I think that’s what’s gonna be the most difficult for me, not having a- the dialect coach is not there, you know, sounding like I’m from South London.
How was it to shoot in Shreveport? What’s that like?
ASHLEY: “Um, it’s different. My experience of America is LA and New York. Shreveport is different. It’s just a different- maybe that’s what the rest of America is like and I didn’t know. There’s not that much to do. Everybody really focused on their work. They’ll be no going out.”
And then on Revenge, you were very glamorous and here you’re very anti-glamorous. How was that?
ASHLEY: “It was just- there was no makeup. Can I just say, it was a 2 hour hair and makeup costume call on Revenge. It’s kind of the same on Salem. That no makeup look involved makeup. They sold me a dream. I was still spending time in hair and makeup and it takes another person to dress me. I can’t get dressed by myself. The corset needs someone else to lace me in.”
How long did it take for you to get a script where there were moments that just made your jaw hit the floor?
ASHLEY: “It took forever to get the script, you know. I got a script to read before I auditioned. To get the final script- I only got the second episode a couple of weeks ago. Yeah.”
What’s it like getting to work with [real-life husband] Iddo [Goldberg] again after Secret Diary of a Call Girl?
ASHLEY: “It’s nice. And we’ve been lucky in both instances in that, I mean, we were already living together on Secret Diary of a Call Girl and we’re married now, an established couple. It’s nice to work together and have the shared experience, but not have any scenes together. We never really played together on Secret Diary, maybe twice, I think, and on this as of yet no scenes together. So I can still ask him about his day and pretend to be interested.
Character:Â John Alden
Synopsis:Â Maryâ€™s life is turned upside down when Salemâ€™s native son â€“ and Maryâ€™s long-ago love interest â€“ John Alden returns from years at war to find the community in the grip of witch-hunt hysteria.Â The level-headed, war- hardened John is a voice of reason in a village plagued by unexplained phenomena and the fear and suspicions that result.Â
TV Credits: Nikita, ER, Once and Again
Shane West talks Salem
Character:Â Â Cotton Mather
Synopsis:Â Fanning the flames of the witch panic is local aristocrat Cotton Mather, who dedicates himself to ridding Salem of evil â€“ by any means necessary.
TV Credits:Â Arrow, Fringe, Dirty Sexy Money
Seth Gabel talks Salem
Salem also stars
Xander Berkeley as Magistrate Hale
Tamzin Merchant as Anne Hale
Elise Eberle as Mercy Lewis
Iddo Goldberg as Isaac Walton
Photo Credit: WGN America
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