In a recent interview with Assignment X Executive producer/show runner Maggie Friedman spoke about adapting the novels for TV telling them she did hesitate for “half a beat” but after reading the books she fell in love with the characters and knew it was something completely different from “Witches of Eastwick”.
“Yes,the title is similar and yes, there’s a magical theme, but the characters and the story are their own universe, and it’s something completely different” she told them. And speaking of being from a different universe, there is interesting mythology as far as where Joanna and Wendy come from in the first place.
Read on to find out more
AX: So are we ever going to meet Ingrid & Freya’s dad?
FRIEDMAN: I don’t think I’m allowed to talk about it, but there is a dad, and we will learn more and more. There’s a lot of mythology and there is a very rich back story that we’re going to get to tell. What’s great is, because they’ve been alive so long, we spend time in the past and learning about the past, so we will find out answers to all the questions about where they come from and what it means and who they are.
AX: Can you talk about how the witchcraft on this show differs, if it does, from EASTWICK or, for example, VAMPIRE DIARIES?
FRIEDMAN: Yes. It’s definitely its own distinct world. With each of our women on the show, their powers come from their unique personalities. Freya’s powers come from her heart. She’s a very loving character, she’s a very passionate character, she’s very sexual, she’s a bartender, so she can mix drinks that make you fall in love or find your soul mate, and the Ingrid character is very intellectual, she’s very academic, so her powers are very much about her mind, and mind control, and writing spells. And then the Madchen Amick character, who can turn into a cat, her powers come from instinct, because she’s like an animal, and it comes from the gut. And then Joanna is kind of the mother of everyone, she’s the whole package. She’s very powerful and very ancient and has wisdom through the ages. So what I love about the powers on the show is that each woman embodies a different aspect of womanhood and female empowerment. That’s really cool.
AX: To ask another mythology question, because Freya and Ingrid keep dying in each incarnation, is there an age they cannot get beyond? That is, are they going to die of pneumonia if nothing else gets them?
FRIEDMAN: Well, what Joanna has decided and discovered is that they always die while using their powers, so they always die through magical means, which is why she made the decision in this lifetime to keep them away from magic, because she says, “This is the way to give them a normal life and a real natural lifespan.” She wants to see them get married and have babies and live full lives, so she wants to keep them away from magic. Of course, in the pilot, they discover that they’re magical, and her fear is, if they start to use their gifts, will it kill them?
AX: Does the use of magic weaken them?
FRIEDMAN: No, nothing like that. It’s more that that’s what always happens to them, is that as they’re using their magic – because magic is inherently dangerous in this world, and it pits you up against other people who are magical who might want to do you harm. Joanna gives birth to them over and over and over, and they don’t remember. Joanna is this person who remembers each incarnation of her daughters, and that’s her pain. She’s had to watch them die and then give birth to them again and again and again. She has her own special gifts, but the girls – they’ve lived over many centuries, and they have no recollection of it.
AX: What would you most like people to know about WITCHES OF EAST END going forward?
FRIEDMAN: I would want them to know to tune in. Because once you are in, you are hooked. You just want to see what keeps happening. And each episode gets better, more exciting. The stories, I feel like they’re just cooking, the characters are jelling really well, and I feel like it’s one of those things that it has the potential to be very addictive. And so I’m saying give it a shot and hopefully you’ll be hooked.