What could possibly be worse than a witch hunt? I'm catching up with actress Janet Montgomery (Made in Jersey, Black Swan) on the set of WGN America's new TV series, Salem, near Shreveport, Louisiana to find out. Watch the video above!
Created by producer Brannon Braga (24, Star Trek: The Next Generation) and writer Adam Simon (The Haunting in Connecticut), Salem follows the 17th century historical accounts of the infamous Salem witch trials that gripped the Massachusetts town, only in this story the witches are real and Janet's character learns she's one of them.
"When I first read the script, I was intimidated by the amount of power that this character generates and how I was going to pull that off," she says. "I don't think I've ever read a part like this for a woman in my age group that is this strong. So, I was nervous but excited."
The 28-year-old U.K. native plays Mary Sibley, wife of one of Salem's wealthy leaders, George Sibley. Mary ends up becoming the town's most powerful enchantress with the help of her mysterious and alluring servant Tituba, played by Ashley Madekwe (Revenge), who has powers and secrets of her own. When Mary's love from the past John Alden, played by Shane West (Nikita, ER), unexpectedly returns after years away at war only to find the entire town has been consumed by witch hunt hysteria, things really get out of hand, if they weren't chaotic enough already.
"I think there's a really good amount of horror genre in this which you don't see so often with period dramas," Janet explains, "as much as we can, we're really pushing people's imaginations and coming up with story that even when I read it I'm like oh God!"
Also in the cast are actors Seth Gabel (Arrow) as Cotton Mather, leader of the witch hunts; Xander Berkeley (The Mentalist, 24) as Magistrate Hale, Salem’s chief politician; and Tamzin Merchant (The Tudors) who plays his daughter, Anne Hale.
Salem premieres Sunday, April 20 at 10/9 c. on WGN America.