How Ashley Madekwe Wards Off Evil On the 'Salem' Set
By Adam Coppola
ETonline is going behind the scenes of WGN America's Salem to catch actress Ashley Madekwe (Revenge) as she gets ready to shoot an eerie scene for the new supernatural, witchy TV series. 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.
English actress Ashley Madekwe, 32, plays Tituba, a historical figure who was one of the first people accused of practicing witchcraft in 1692. In Salem, Tituba is portrayed as a mysterious, seductive witch and is the servant of Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery), former love interest of war veteran John Alden (Shane West). Ashley tells ETonline what little she can about one of her spooky scenes on the cold, stark set outside Shreveport, Louisiana and it turns out there's something she wears with her costume, underneath her warm jacket, to counter whatever evil may be lurking.
"Today is my first day shooting a creepy thing with a dead man's face," she says, "I have a special bracelet on my arm that my hair dresser gave me to ward off evil spirits, you can't be too safe!"
All joking aside, Salem certainly has plenty of dark and gory material that's sure to give audiences a stomach-turning experience. With her powers, Tituba gains influence over Mary Sibley and introduces her to witchcraft. Mary soon learns the startling fact that she's a witch herself and has the power to take control of Salem for her own agenda.
"We kind of explore the fact that although Tituba is ostensibly her (Mary's) servant to the outside world, we play around with the fact that Tituba's really more master than servant and how Mary got to be in the position she is has a lot to do with Tituba."
Also in Salem 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 actress Tamzin Merchant (The Tudors) who plays his daughter, Anne Hale.
Salem premieres Sunday, April 20 at 10/9 c. on WGN America.