Sunday night on Hallmark Channel, Good Witch returns with its annual Halloween installment ahead of its upcoming fifth season next spring. In August, I visited the set and sat down with Catherine Bell to talk about the show, and last summer’s A Summer to Remember.
Bell has a soft spot for Halloween, especially since that’s how Cassie’s story began back in 2008. “Halloween is one of [Cassie’s] favorite times of year. It’s so much fun. My 15-year-old officially started trick-or-treating without me last year. She goes early with us because she’s the big sister of the family, so she’ll still come and go with us and then go out with her friends later. My little guy is eight. They love Halloween,” she shares.
A Tale of Two Hearts is a romantic affair, with magic sprinkled throughout. “There’s a big theme of love, of course, and there’s a ruby that’s been in Cassie’s family for hundreds of years,” Bell explains. “[I’m] not giving too much away [to say] it’s sort of like the heart of Middleton, and something happens to it, and things with love start going wrong. So Cassie has to use her magic to make things right again.”
Bell echoes what we spoke about last year, and what executive producer Jon Eskenas had to say about evolving the franchise from movies to an episodic series. “When we started the series, [we had to] try to figure out a way to make it watchable every week, because when you’re doing a movie it’s just a one-off thing. [It’s] two hours beginning to end,” she says.
“In the movie[s], Cassie tends to kind of always know everything. And everything’s fine and things always work out. She’s just got this great attitude. I thought, ‘If we’re going to do this every week, she can’t be that because that’s going to get annoying.’ [We] need[ed] something a little bit more interesting.”
“[So we added] the teenage daughter [and] the new handsome neighbor, new love. All of those things are elements that are going to throw off Cassie’s magic just a little bit. She’s not quite as good at figuring out how to treat her teenage daughter or her new love.”
“And also sometimes she gets worried about them, where [with] other people, she just [assumes] everything’s going to be fine. But if her daughter is missing, or something happens to Sam, [she doesn’t] know that it’s going to be fine. And I love that. I think it makes her more human, because she’s not only that mystical, magical creature.”
Another piece of building the series was to extend it into an ensemble that Cassie moves in and out of in addition to her own storyline. “It’s great to see Grace has her own storylines. [We’re] adding more and more of that I think with Abigail…she’s got her love interest,” Bell says. “[It’s] nice to see that people have their own [arcs and] Cassie does get involved somehow, always.”
Bell also appreciates that the series has taken the time to develop Sam and Cassie’s love story and imbue it with a deep, genuine care and affection. I had a scene the other day [that] was so sweet to film [because] he’s just saying something really beautiful about me, how much he loves me, and [we] kiss,” she says.
“[We] have that admiration [and] I was thinking [it’s] amazing [and] so important in a relationship to keep that going. Because usually once you’re in a relationship you’re like, ‘[You didn’t put the] cap on the toothpaste’ and [you’re caught up in] the stupid things.”
“In any relationship [you have] compromises and you have to give up on something you really want. I always ask myself this with my kids, this similar concept of, ‘How important is it?’ You want your kid to do something and they don’t want to. And I go, ‘Well, how important is it? Can we let this one go?'”
“Because you can’t fight people on every single thing [just to be] right. [It’s easy to forget to] actually just remember that someone’s amazing. It’s a really sweet relationship. I watch with my kids because we watch the show together, we love it.”
Another big piece of their relationship is that they’ll soon be blending their families. “We finally, toward, the end of last season started to touch on that, where Sam was taking Grace out and doing more with [her as a parental] figure,” she says. And I had this one episode where [Nick and I] sort of bonded in that way. [It’s] challenging to maneuver and not try to be their parent, but [instead] be their friend.”
“With Sam and Cassie getting married, it’s going to be interesting because they’re moving into Grey House and then what happens after that. [Nick] and Grace were already having a lot of conflicts, so is that going to get better or is it going to get worse when they have [to be] in the same room? There [are] a lot of elements there.”
Bell says we’ll see Sam becoming more aware of Cassie’s gift, and she loves that part of her character and credits Cassie’s outlook with sometimes helping her put a positive spin on things. “Sam is finally starting to pick up on [Cassie’s gift]. We’re hoping you’ll see more of it [like when] Cassie [says], ‘Oh, that’s Martha calling,’ and reached for her phone [before it rang],” she points out.
“And Sam [didn’t hear the phone]. There was one scene last season where he confronts me on it, and I’m [evasive]. I look at it [as she has a] really, really fine-tuned intuition.”
“I’ve always had a little bit of that. I’ve always..,believed that we’re spiritual beings and [when] we trust ourselves, that does kind of work. Like I’ve always found I have this ability [when I’m] going someplace really crowded and I know it’s going to be hard to find parking.”
“If, before I get there, I just decide, ‘This is a simple thing. There’s going to be a parking spot right in front.’ And I just know it. [I’ll] pull up and it’s crowded, and there’s that person leaving. And I’m like, ‘Yes!'”
“Is it magic? I don’t know. It’s just a decision or something that I know. Cassie often inspires me. [There] are some days where I’m here and everyone’s back in LA and I’m missing them. I know I’m grumpy because of that.”
“[I’ll say] some line that’s just perfect and I will often listen to Cassie and go, ‘Oh, okay I need to apply that right now, right here. Listen to what she’s saying.’ And sometimes…it brightens my mood or just enraptures me.”
Bell isn’t alone in finding solace in Cassie right now. “The number of people who come up to me, from my own friends to strangers on the street, it really makes me feel good,” she says. “There aren’t many things that can say that.”
“[There are] other shows, great shows and great acting, but sometimes you don’t feel so good after watching them. They’re so intense or they’re scary or whatever. Where this is really just like, ‘I’ve had a rough week and I’m going to go just watch a Good Witch marathon, make popcorn, and…everything’s okay in the world.’ It’s really sweet.”
Bell doesn’t yet know what the longevity of Good Witch will be, but she considers a very long run a possibility. “Sometimes we joke [about] The Good Witch‘s grandchildren, and I’ll be like Angela Lansbury still working,” she laughs.
A Summer to Remember reteamed Bell with director Martin Wood, and paired her for the first time with Cameron Mathison. She had a fantastic time with the project, which filmed in Fiji, and loved the storyline. “Michelle Vicary from Hallmark got me a script and said, ‘I have something for you that might be Hawaii.’ And I was like, ‘Yes. I’m in, whatever the script. I’m doing it.’ And then it evolved and turned into Fiji,” she recalls.
“I got the script and then they said [they had cast] Cameron Mathison. I didn’t know Martin was directing until after everything was done. [It was] all was happening quick because we were leaving in two or three weeks. [We] found out on the same day [and] it was just icing on the cake.”
“It was amazing. Cameron’s a sweetheart. I do have a career and family and life and love and all those things. To see a woman at that stage of her career, in control and working so hard. To be able to let go of that and follow her heart. It was a really sweet story.”
“The waterfall scene was pretty great. The discovery of realizing this guy is something special and then falling in the water with him. It was an amazing day; it was actually our first day of filming. It was a trek, like a 15-minute hike on slippery rocks to this waterfall.”
“At one point we looked down…and it looked like sand cascading on these rocks beside us as we’re walking. We have water shoes on and we’re looking over and someone noticed that it wasn’t sand, they looked a little closer, they were these little spider crabs and [there] were tens of thousands of them and they would just be crawling and they’d cascade into the water.”
Bell was also impressed with Samantha MacGillvray, who played her daughter. “[It] was one of her first movies. She’s Australian. She was great. She was so good and having not had a lot of experience, she was just a total pro.”
Good Witch: Tale of Two Hearts premieres Sunday night at 8 pm/7c on Hallmark Channel. ICYMI, check out my exclusive interviews with Steve Byers, who guest stars in the movie, and executive producer, Jon Eskenas. Here’s a sneak peek behind the scenes. Click the title link above for the full preview.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Maahra Hill Talks The Irrational
I’m a Jesse L. Martin stan back to the OG Mothership Law & Order (pour one out for Lennie Brisco, y’all), although I admittedly tapped out on The Flash at a certain point. This season, Martin has been back in his old NBC stomping grounds with The Irrational, a different,…
George R. Olson, Tim Rozon, and Sarah Levy Talk the SurrealEstate S2 Finale
[Spoilers for the SurrealEstate Season 2 finale.] How’s everyone doing after the finale? As we close out the second season of SurrealEstate, some of our merry band of misfits are scattering to the winds–Zooey to law school, Phil to the Vatican, and Augie back to his think tank with Rochelle,…
Previewing SurrealEstate Season 2 Finale + Revisiting the Season with George R. Olson
[Warning; General spoilers ahead.] Strap in, SurrealEstate fam, because we’ve arrived at the Season 2 finale, and it’s a doozy. As we saw in the closing moments of last week’s episode, Susan is back. But because we have one more episode left, it’s not as simple as all that, as…
Tyler Hynes Talks Through His Eight-Film Hallmark Holiday Library
Things you realize when you have to re-record your shows on a new DVR – just how many Hallmark movies your people have done. Fan favorite – and one of ours – Tyler Hynes has done eight Christmas movies for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries since 2018. Alongside…
Spencer Creaghan Talks About Creating SurrealEstate’s Signature Sound
SurrealEstate is winding down its second season, with two episodes left, and just as in Season 1, Spencer Creaghan’s music continues to be a character unto itself. And every week, he shares tidbits with the fans via his s social media channels, something he started to help give them an…
Andrew Walker Talks Christmas Island and the Magical Hallmark Community
[Warning: Spoilers for Christmas Island.] Now that the Screen Actors Guild strike has been resolved, we’re able to resume regularly scheduled programming and interview our favorites and yours. Up first, earlier today, I spoke with Andrew Walker about Christmas Island, which premiered last weekend and encores tonight and through the…
George Olson and Danishka Esterhazy Talk SurrealEstate “I Put a Spell on You”
[Warning: Spoilers for the episode.] Tonight’s fun new SurrealEstate found Luke caught up in an especially bewitching woman, Kay, played by Tara Yelland, Susan trapped in her house, and Zooey learning the ropes. In the next part of my conversation with showrunner George R. Olson and producing director Danishka Esterhazy,…
Danishka Esterhazy Talks SurrealEstate: “The Butler Didn’t”
[Warning: General spoilers for the episode]. Tonight’s new SurrealEstate, “The Butler Didn’t,” follows the team as they investigate the years-earlier mysterious death of a woman whose ghost now reenacts her hanging by dropping over the banister from the second floor to terrify anyone on the landing or at the bottom…
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk the From Season 2 finale
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale.] How’s everyone doing after that finale? While we wait and wonder and hope for a third season announcement, soon, here’s what Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders had to say about their parts of the finale, and where they hope they get to go next….
Scott McCord and Elizabeth Saunders Talk From Season 2 + A Season Finale Preview
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] It all comes down this, #FROMily. As Sunday’s episode wraps up Season 2, we begin with the aftermath of the terrifying onset of seemingly simultaneous attacks on Julie, Marielle, and Randall, which accelerate the “We gotta get out of this place” of it all. Sara comes…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…