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.
First up? Xander Berkeley, who stars as Magistrate Hale on the new drama, premiering Sunday, April 20 at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.
Read on to find out his favorite witchy movie, whether he’d be a good witch or a bad witch, and the most surprising true fact he learned about the Salem witch trials.
Zap2it: Describe your character in 5 words.
Berkeley: Magistrate by day. By night…
What three items would you take with you to a deserted island (or puritanical Salem)?
The Pig, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (You’ll see
Could you have survived in the 1690s?
Hey man, I made it through the 1960s.
Which witch is which? Name the book/TV show/movie/play each witch is from. No cheating! Glinda the Good Witch, Hermione Granger, Bonnie Bennett, Fiona Goode, Sabrina Spellman, Endora, The White Witch, Willow Rosenberg.
I plead the 5th on which witch is which.
Pick one: “The Witches of Eastwick,” “The Craft,” or “Practical Magic”
I guess I’ll go with #1 (as it’s the only one I’ve seen…)
If you could cast any spell, what would it be?
I would cast a spell so all television viewers would be compelled to watch “Salem” on Sunday April 20th (and root for The Magistrate!).
Would you be a good witch or a bad witch?
Well, I suppose I’d be a good witch who occasionally does bad things. I mean, I don’t wanna be THAT good.
What’s the most surprising true fact you learned about the actual Salem witch trials?
That the ‘Taking of the 5th’ (amendment) was a direct outcome of the pressing of Giles Cory (with stones until he would give the answer they wanted). His answer, by the way? More stones. Brave man. Also led to anti torture legislation.
What’s the most challenging thing about starring in a show that’s both genre and period?
Just as my character must walk the line between being a Puritan and a Pagan, the actor has to walk the line between historical authenticity and popular entertainment. It’s a tightrope. You can fall off on either side.