This Sunday, April 20th, WGN America premieres Salem, the network’s first venture into original programing, staring Shane West, Janet Montgomery, Ashley Madekwe, Seth Gabel, Xander Berkeley, Iddo Goldberg, Tazmin Merchant and Elise Eberle. Salem travels back to 17th Century Colonial Massachusetts for an alternate look at one of the darkest chapters in American history, approaching the infamous era from the point of view that witches were not only real, but manipulating the gruesome events of the trials to their will. The pilot kicks the show off on a strong note; a fun and creepy mixture of horror, fantasy and history that sets itself apart with singular imagery, an engaging mythology and a uniquely sensual approach to dark magic. And like any good period piece, the sets and costumes are absolutely stunning.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the set in Shreveport, Louisiana where the town of Salem has been meticulously reconstructed from the ground up. From the gallows to the docks, even the brothel, I got to walk through it all. To say it was impressive would be a massive understatement, so naturally I was excited to sit down with Production Designer Seth Reed and talk about the process of bringing 17th Century Salem to life. The next day I visited the soundstage to tour the interior sets and get an up close look at the costumes. With some of the show’s most impressive pieces on display, I walked through the set of Salem’s eerie forest with Costume Designer Joseph Porro while he told me about his research process, taking historical liberties and which pieces were his favorite to design. Check out both interviews after the jump.
Production Designer Seth Reed:
- Talks about how a project like Salem is a dream come true.
- Talks about the extensive effort and labor that went into constructing the set.
- Which part of the set was most exciting for him to design and build?
- How historically accurate are the sets?
- What is he most excited for audiences to see?
Costume Designer Joseph Porro:
- Talks about his research process.
- Talks about a ghoul costume made to look like human skin and body parts.
- Does he have a favorite character to design for?
- Talks about the team that constructs the costumes.
- How historically accurate are the costumes?