Shannon Smith visited the set of ‘Salem’ ahead of the much anticipated world premiere on April 20 on WGN America.
Set in 17th Century colonial Massachusetts — a significant time in the history of American politics, religion and society — Salem brings you the real story behind the infamous witch trials. In Salem, witches are real, and they’re behind it all.
Were the Puritans right in their actions? Were the people innocent? Who were the real witches?It was this setting of extremism and isolation that led to a period of witch hunts, where men and women were hanged and burnt at the stake with the belief that they, as witches, had taken to Satan over God.
The show’s directors, actors and producers all agree on one thing: Salem is set to make history with history.
In Salem, the witches are a party of day-to-day life, but they are not who or what they seem to be.
Mary Sibley (played by Janet Montgomery) is the most powerful witch of Salem.
She is the wife of George Sibley (played by Michael Mulheren), the ailing, wealthy head of the Selectmen of Salem.
Leading a double life, Mary depends on her faithful servant and friend, Tituba (played by Ashley Madekwe), a mysterious and ageless accomplice to carry out her agenda.
Mary is ruthless, yet vulnerable. Her world is torn into two when Salem’s native son, John Alden (played by Shane West) returns after many years at war.
John and Mary were lovers before he left the Puritan town of Salem.
John, a war veteran, takes on the role of being the voice of reason in a town that is obsessed with witch hunts and unexplained phenomena.
He realizes that suspicion and fear result in innocent people being victimized.
On the contrary, Cotton Mather (played by Seth Gabel) is a well-educated local aristocrat who fans the flames of Salem’s witch hunt.
John and Mary find themselves in the middle of an epic romance, even as Cotton’s witch hunts engulf the town in hysteria, horror, and the supernatural.
Salem is backed by a powerful cast. The enchanting Janet Montgomery — who played opposite Natalie Portman in “Black Swan” plays Mary.
“I think it’s the loss of innocence in such a brutal way that happens to her. And no one to turn to. John’s left. She doesn’t have anybody — and we all know what it’s like when you lose — what happens when you lose that innocence,” Montgomery said.
The cast also includes Shane West — whom you’ll remember from films like A Walk To Remember and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. West plays John.