EXCLUSIVE: Actors Prepare For Sinister Roles In “Salem”

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WGN’s newest series “Salem” is rated TV Mature, but the actors don't let the adult content keep them from having fun. There`s a lot of sex, violence and other questionable material crammed into the drama. So you have to wonder - what was it about “Salem” that attracted the actors?

“My agent contacted me and said, ‘how do you feel about putting yourself on tape for this amazing new show about witches?’ And I was like hell yeah,” Tamzin Merchant ("Anne Hale") said.

“I couldn't say no to this one; Just too many great possibilities,” Shane West ("John Alden") said.

Like many of the actors, West was sold on the idea through good writing.

“It was really exciting to read about every character in the script. You couldn't just be selfish about the character you wanted to do,” West said.

“I've never read something like this before, and it really got me excited. Right when I read the script, I thought – okay, when can I go and meet them? I want to do this so badly,” Elise Eberle ("Mercy Lewis”) said.

“I read the script and just fell in love with it,” Xander Berkeley ("Magistrate Hale") said. “I've played a lot of villains over the time, and I've been really trying to just say no to bad guys, and they just keep pulling me back in.”

Berkeley is a pro when it comes to this stuff, but what about the other actors? I asked Janet Montgomery, who plays Mary Sibley, if she did any devil worshipping to prepare for the role.

“Well I've been doing that for years. That wasn't a problem,” she joked.

“Some of the spells I do are real incantations, and when you find out what the words are and what they're trying to invoke - I'm like, no…I cannot. So I try to err on the side of caution,” Ashley Madekwe (“Tituba") said.

Acting like a witch may be challenging, but Eberle has to act possessed.

“I know someone who's a Native American healer. He has so much insight and knowledge that I used and could somehow relate to where Mercy might have been coming from or just understanding what she was going through. Once I really understood, it was a roller-coaster. So it was very fun,” Eberle said.

“Salem” debuts Sunday, April 20th at 9 P.M. on WGN America.

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