TTruth be told, WGN America’s Salem is not a show I’d typically watch. I’m not into witches or spirits (and forget about The Walking Dead for me), but that’s the thing about covering television: You watch things you normally wouldn’t. And thank goodness because otherwise I wouldn’t have discovered the addictive Salem, starring Ashley Madekwe (Revenge) and Shane West (Nikita). The drama, which shoots in Shreveport, Louisiana, has become such a hit that it’s already been renewed for a second season. Now that they’ve finished filming the first season, Madekwe and West joined me at West Hollywood hot spot Cecconi’s to dish on sex, corsets, and explosive secrets.
Glamour: Let’s get this out of the way first: Who takes longer in the hair and makeup trailer?
Ashley Madekwe: Oh, he takes way longer than I do!
Shane West: Yeah, and for the first time in my career! I think I’m a total of an hour—a half hour with the wig and a half hour with the makeup.
Ashley: Oh, wait, then I’m longer. I’m an hour and 15 minutes.
Shane: Well, I think they save me an hour and a half just in case!
Glamour: And what about the costumes?
Ashley: Shane can actually dress himself. [Laughs]
Shane: Well, lately. Haha. The girls have it much harder than guys because of the corsets. It takes me more than five minutes, but you’re not waiting for me in wardrobe.
Ashley: The girls try to get dressed as late as possible because you’re in the corset the whole day. We try to unlace them a bit at lunch, but you can’t all the way because it takes so long to get you in there.
Glamour: Can we just talk about the episode before last week’s, which I call the ‘sexy’ episode.
Ashley: Oh, yeah!
Shane: The sexy-time episode!
Glamour: Ashley’s faces were cracking me up as Tituba, and then Shane’s participating in an orgy, and I’m just like, „Whoa!“
Ashley: They really went there! There’s no more sex I think for the rest of this season, so that was your episode! That’s just sex!
Shane: Although last Sunday’s episode shocked me. There was some sex.
Ashley: A tiny bit of sex.
Glamour: So, Shane, what was it like taping that orgy scene?
Shane: [Laughs] For me, because John’s heart is with Mary, he couldn’t really enjoy it. So it wasn’t like going into some orgy that was sexy. He couldn’t be into it. It was odd having them all there. I just had to stare at the camera above me.
Ashley: It was a medicinal orgy!
Shane: Yes, a medicinal orgy! I like that. But it was fun, obviously. It was entertaining, and it was fun to just react and be perpetually confused, especially with all those dream sequences. The crew made fun of me the entire episode. Like, „Great, here’s Shane again, making out with someone else!“
Glamour: What do you think of the bromance between you and Cotton?
Shane: It’s cool, you know. Seth is great, and after episode two, we started having more scenes together. He’s fun to work with, and since the characters are kind of polar opposites of one another, it seems to be a connection that works.
Glamour: Do you guys hang out together much off set?
Shane: Absolutely. If we were in Los Angeles, maybe not as much, but being in Shreveport, totally.
Glamour: What can you guys preview for the rest of the season?
Shane: Things will look not as good for John and Anne toward the end, and things will look a lot better for John and Mary. I think our finale…every single character on the show is going to change. They’ll all be in a different spot than they were in the beginning.
Ashley: Oftentimes in TV shows, they’ll reset when they go into the next season, but I hope that’s not the case here. I want the story to move forward and not backward.
Glamour: Some people have commented on this sexual tension with Mary and Tituba. How do you approach their relationship?
Ashley: We were always told that in the pilot, a lot of their relationship is steeped in sex. So when they have to leave their bodies, the riding of the broomstick is metaphorical for other things. We kind of play it that they have been friends for a very long time and lovers on occasion. Sometimes they are nice to each other; sometimes they’re not.
Glamour: When will we find the truth about Mary’s baby that she aborted?
Ashley: Well, we know the truth, that she went to the woods, they performed this ritual, she gave up the baby, and that was the sacrifice to become a witch. The audience knows, but John doesn’t know that she was pregnant. There’s a deeper level to what happened in the woods that day, and I think we find that out in episode 13.
Glamour: Were you both a fan of this genre before you signed on to do the show?
Ashley: I always have loved witches.
Shane: I’ve been fan of the horror aspect—doesn’t have to be witches, but anything that deals with fantasy and stuff like that. But I’ve never really been associated with anything like this career-wise, so it’s fun to see some of the scripts that come out and the ridiculous things that are in there.
Ashley: And then wonder how we’re going to do it!
Next week I’ll have more with Shane and Ashley, as they talk about the roles that put them on the map, the most „Hollywood“ thing they do, and the questions they hate being asked.