WGN America’s spooky new series, “Salem,” doesn’t premiere until April. Since that’s way too long to wait to get our fill of the series’ supernatural take on the Salem witch trials, Zap2it decided to get you — and the stars — excited for the debut by subjecting them to our “Salem” Survey. (Check out Xander Berkeley’s here.)
Up next is Tamzin Merchant, who plays Salem villager Anne Hale on the new drama, premiering Sunday, April 20 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.
Read on to find out what three items she’d take with her to 1690s Salem, her favorite witchy movie, and whether she can tell the White Witch from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Zap2it: Describe your character in 5 words.
Merchant: Feisty, curious, youthful, observant and outspoken.
What three items would you take with you to a deserted island (or puritanical Salem)?
Anne would take her drawing book and pencils to a desert island. I would take a huge crucifix, a black dress and the Bible to puritanical Salem. Just to be safe.
Could you have survived in the 1690s?
Hell yeah. With my huge crucifix, my black dress and the Bible I would have been OK. And my wits.
Which witch is which? Name the book/TV show/movie/play each witch is from. No cheating!
Glinda the Good Witch: Um… “The Wizard of Oz”?
Hermione Granger: Harry Potter’s brainy best friend.
Bonnie Bennett: Is she from that ’60s TV show about the
suburban witch? I’m blanking on the name…
Fiona Goode: I have no idea! Oh no!
Sabrina Spellman: The teenage witch with the awesome talking
cat called… SALEM!
Endora: The trouble-making mother from the ’60s witch TV
The White Witch: Scourge of Narnia, magicker of delicious
Turkish delight, maker of eternal Winter (but never Christmas)
Willow Rosenberg: Hmmm… I don’t know!
Pick one: “The Witches of Eastwick,” “The Craft,” or “Practical Magic”
All so good for different reasons but “Practical Magic” wins.
If you could cast any spell, what would it be?
I think a spell to make everyone tell the truth for one day would be pretty fun — or disastrous! And I’ve always wished to be able to turn into a bird. I’d be a sparrow.
Would you be a good witch or a bad witch?
I’d be the best bad witch you could imagine: In other words, a wickedly good witch.
What’s the most surprising true fact you learned about the actual Salem witch trials?
I think the thing that surprises me most about the witch trials is that for all their fearing of God and witches, the Salem folk didn’t realize that the scariest thing in Salem was themselves.
What’s the most challenging thing about starring in a show that’s both genre and period?
Marrying the quirks and customs of the period with the fantastical elements of the genre is potentially tricky. But it’s so beautifully written and the conception of the show is so detailed and well-rendered that it seems to come very naturally for the most part.