The Lifetime drama series Witches of East End is inspired by Melissa de la Cruz’s best-selling novel that centers on the Beauchamp family, a multi-generational family of witches. After discovering that they are witches with ancient magical powers, and learning how to cultivate their craft with the help of their mother Joanna (Julia Ormond) and aunt Wendy (Madchen Amick), Beauchamp sisters Ingrid (Rachel Boston) and Freya (Jenna Dewan Tatum) had to deal with threats from within their own family that they never could have seen coming.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Rachel Boston talked about the amazing final two hours of Season 2, that the women will really have to band together to protect each other, how blessed she feels to have been given such great material to play on the show, this season’s most shocking moment, what she’d still like to see for Ingrid, what being a part of this show and this cast has meant to her, the threats from within, seeing her character unexpectedly mated to a blue creature, and the newly formed bond between Ingrid and Dash (Eric Winter). Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are spoilers.
RACHEL BOSTON: Well, this season has been so shocking, just on the level of Freya and Ingrid dying and coming back to life. With what we have been through, up until this point, the stakes have been so high. I think the finale really inspired me because you’re going to see how much people have to come together, in order to fight dark with good. When I read it, I was inspired by so many different elements, but because the danger is so high with the king having come back, and the stakes are really through the roof. The women really have to band together, in order to protect each other.
Are you satisfied with how things end up, not only with the story that you were telling this season, but with your character’s personal journey, as well?
BOSTON: What I love the most about TV is that every week, it’s just a new chapter. You embody a character and you’re getting to bring these stories to life, and every single week, you get to explore different elements of someone’s soul and their personality and past lives. With Ingrid, I signed onto the pilot playing this really shy, quiet librarian who had no idea she was a witch. So, to go from that to, just in two seasons, someone who really embraces who she is. She has this power and she knows how dangerous it is, but she’s courageously moving forward in it. That, to me, is such beautiful spiritual growth and personal growth to her. To be able to bring that to the screen has just been wonderful. Maggie [Friedman] and Richard [Abate], our showrunners, have given me such rich material, and I feel very, very blessed to be able to live in it, every week.
The moment that Wendy and Joanna walk into the backyard and see the bodies of Ingrid and Freya hanging was a pretty shocking one. What was that like to film, and how difficult was that to watch back?
BOSTON: Jenna and I are really close, and I’ve gone through this journey with her, from the pilot. In the pilot, we had a scene where we were burned at the stake in a past life. We were actually in a cemetery. We shot the pilot in North Carolina. Before it was even a TV show, the two of us were holding hands in a cemetery, and we were like, “All right, let’s set anyone who’s still suffering from any form of being burned at the stake free.” It was something we went through together, and it was the same in the backyard. We kept thinking about how much pain there is in the world, and how blessed we are to get to live very open and free lives. Trying to look at it as a form of reverence for life was the way we tried to look at it, but it was really hard. When we were off camera, we were up in harnesses. When it was Julia’s coverage, she was so committed to that scene that Jenna and I both had tears streaming down our face. It’s heart-breaking to watch someone that you love suffer because of what’s happened. So, that was a really painful moment, but Julia was just so beautiful. There’s nothing more heart-breaking than watching your children suffer, and then to see her go through that while she tried to protect us, it was really heart-breaking.
BOSTON: My mom was actually in town and I didn’t know how to tell her, so I was holding her hand. It’s not an easy thing for anyone. But to watch us come back to life and how the family had to all come together for that resurrection, there was such beautiful redemption in that. Everything is much more sacred. We don’t actually know what happened to us. We can’t remember. We just know we were there in a dream state. So, to come out, and to be back and reunited with your family, it just brings them a new perspective.
Have you given any thought about what you’d like to still see from Ingrid, or what you’d like to learn about her, if you have future seasons to explore her?
BOSTON: I love exploring the past lives, just because I think it adds so much dimension to a personality. What you’ve been through in the past shapes who you are today. I also would love for her to find joyful, happy, blissful love. Melissa de la Cruz, who wrote the novel that this all started from, always reminds me that in the book, Ingrid is happily married. She’s like, “There’s hope!” I’d love for her to find a warlock who she can team up with, who can really do great things and put good magic out in the world.
What’s it been like to work with this group of women, over two seasons, and spend so much time on set together, really forming a family bond?
BOSTON: Being on a female-driven show that has four very unique leads with different voices has been such a blessing. To me, magic, in so many ways, is embracing who you are, speaking that truth, and not being afraid to show who you really are instead of hiding behind a mask. And I think that’s what these four women courageously do. We’re all in the same family, but you never see them comparing themselves or trying to be someone else. There are moments of wishing you had different qualities, but when this group comes together, they support each other. They’re stronger, when they take all of their gifts and bring them together, and I’ve experienced that in my personal life, just working with the cast. I think bringing that message to the screen is what has inspired me the most.
The family dynamics on this show started out very female-centric, and then we met the girls’ father, their brother and their grandfather. What was it like to add those dynamics to these women and explore those relationships, and add the energy of those actors to the show?
BOSTON: I think everyone has brought such wonderful characters that they’ve created, and they’ve brought such great energy into this family. I remember the first time Jenna and I did a scene with Christian Cooke, who plays Frederick, our brother, and it was weird. I was like, “There are never any men in our kitchen.” It also added a different element of our past because who knows who we really are, he knows where we come from, and he’s known us through all of these different lives. It’s an acceptance of someone who’s able to see your clearly. Even if they don’t know you in this life, they know your soul and they know where you come from. I think all of the characters, because we have such history with them, have made the show much deeper and more interesting.
This has been a really tough season for this family. Instead of all of the outside threats of Season 1, this has been a season of threats from within the family. What was it like to explore stories that were much more personal and really close to home for them?
BOSTON: I think that’s why I love being an artist. If there’s any way that I can be of service to people who are going through something painful in their lives, even though the witch world is heightened, then that’s great. I do think we all go through struggles in life. I do think we’re all going to fall down, along the way. There is this poem that I’ve talked about, that I just love and that I read pieces of during the first season, called Good Timber. It says, “Good timber does not grow with ease. The stronger wind, the stronger trees.” That just got settled in my brain, as I was going through the beginning journey in Season 1, of opening up to love and then losing Adam. And then, in this season, having this monster come from this other world and what that brought with it, and having him pulled out of my body and disconnected. You think about how much someone goes through, and who they become because of those lessons, that’s how they really grow. So, I really embraced it. It’s hard, at times, when you’re playing a character that’s going through so much internally. The growth of these characters, they’ve just come so far since the first episodes. Leading up to the finale, you’re going to see even more strength come through them.
What was your reaction when you found out that Ingrid was going to find herself unexpectedly mated to this blue creature?
BOSTON: It was really funny. I was in Maggie and Richard’s office, and they were like, “So, there’s this monster, and he’s colored. He might be blue, and he comes from another land. What do you think?” And I just thought it was wonderful. It just added such a different level of danger, to have someone who’s not human and who comes from this other planet. And then, when Jenna saw him at the camera test, she just looked at me and said, “Oh, have fun!” So, that’s what we did. The heart of that storyline is very, very dark. She’s been taken against her will. But when you actually play those scenes, Ingrid is not aware of what’s happening, so we just both really committed to it and tried to make it as authentic as we could. And then, with the family all coming together to set her free from him, there was a lot of power in that. The whole family united to protect one of their own. I think that was a really good story, and it was a beautiful message, at the end. But, we do have some really funny pictures.
Last season, we saw the relationship between Freya and Dash implode, and this season, we got to see Dash and Ingrid bonding. What do you think drew them together, at this point in their lives?
BOSTON: Ingrid started out with so much compassion for him because when she realized that he did not know how to control his powers, she had just been there. Season 1 was an entire year of her falling down, as she tried to figure out how to make the best of this gift that she now understood. It started out as teacher-student. I think she really wanted to protect him while he was going through something that she just knew, all too well. And then, a beautiful chemistry and love connection came from that. It started out as a very deep friendship, on so many different levels, because they also have these past lives together, and it evolved into something more. There are few people who understand who you are, when you are a supernatural being, and Dash is one of them. We’ll see what evolves. You’ll see more of that in the finale.
BOSTON: Jenna and I did talk about that side of it. I think because she is with Dash’s brother, who’s her true soulmate, Ingrid is set free, in a lot of ways because Freya has already made the decision that her true love and the great love of her life is Killian. It is very complicated. Time will tell where those two loves exist.
Has it been fun to get to work in a different capacity with Eric Winter and really get to interact with him?
BOSTON: I love Eric Winter. I would only see him in passing, during Season 1. I think we only had one scene together when we were at his engagement party and he said, “Hi.” That was about it. We had very few interactions in Season 1. So, in Season 2, for him to come to me and ask me about having the same brain and being curious about what this brain mapping met, and to start a relationship on that level, when I know so much about him and I understand what he’s getting himself into, now that he’s a powerful warlock, it is really interesting to have that history. And then, I was also in a relationship and in love with his grandfather, in another life. That makes it even all the more complicated. But I really do love working with Eric, and I very much enjoyed watching him embrace this new side of Dash. They really gave him a lot to work with, in terms of this darker side and trying to figure out who he really is, now that he’s a witch.
The two-hour Season 2 finale of Witches of East End airs on Lifetime on October 5th.