From executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman (Jane the Virgin) and inspired by the original TV series, The CW’s Charmed follows sisters Melanie “Mel” Vera (Melonie Diaz), a graduate student in the women’s studies department, and Maggie (Sarah Jeffery), a fun-loving freshman whose biggest concern is pledging a sorority. After a shocking tragedy affects their family, Mel and Maggie learn that their mother (Valerie Cruz) was keeping some big secrets from them, like the fact that they have an older sister named Macy (Madeleine Mantock) who’s a brilliant geneticist, and that they are witches who each have their own individual powers, but that are stronger together.
During this interview with Collider, co-stars Melonie Diaz, Sarah Jeffrey and Madeleine Mantock talked about their reaction to Charmed being rebooted, the biggest differences in this version of the story, the fun of the sister dynamic, how they feel about needing each other, the fun of working with visual effects, their love lives, and how these sisters feel about the fact that their mother was keeping such big secrets from them.
Collider: With any reboot, you have the people who are excited that the show is back and you have the people who question why you need to bring the show back. What was your reaction to Charmed being rebooted?
MADELEINE MANTOCK: I just thought, “Oh, fantastic! They’re remaking Charmed. What a great show! I would love to play a witch. What a fantastic opportunity!” I also felt really, really thankful that they wanted to have this inclusive, multi-racial class. They also want to explore magic across different cultures. I just thought it was a fantastic way to branch out from what [the original] did. I think it’s really great.
MELONIE DIAZ: I was also really excited to work with Jennie [Snyder Urman], with what she’s done for television with Jane the Virgin. It’s been really great to make a show that’s tonally so diverse. She’s the perfect match for this reboot.
SARAH JEFFREY: Especially because we’re addressing the political climate and everything that’s going on in the world right now, it’s hard for a lot of people, so it just feels like the right time. I know some people feel like it’s too soon, but we just love it and want to honor it.
I actually think it really makes sense to reboot the show in a way that feels familiar, but also very different.
MANTOCK: Yeah, exactly. It’s familiar, in some aspects. Jennie is very conscious to not mess with the mythology that they had. We’ve already seen their endings and what happens in their future, so we don’t want to mess with that.
JEFFREY: There would be nothing worse than disrespecting it, in that regard. We’ve already seen their future and what their kids look like, and we couldn’t be that. This is different. This is just a new iteration.
DIAZ: It’s no coincidence that they’ve decided to make this reboot now. Now is very different from the ‘90s. So much has changed, with social media and #MeToo. There are so many things going on, and women are leading the charge, politically and consciously. It’s smart of The CW and Jennie to reboot the show.
JEFFREY: And it was a show where they were trailblazers. Female leads, at that time, wasn’t common, at all.
MANTOCK: We couldn’t be here without them. We definitely don’t take that for granted.
Along with there needing to be good writing, the success of this show also relies on the chemistry between these sisters. Since Mel and Maggie don’t even know that Macy existed, what’s it like for these sisters to get to know each other?
MANTOCK: I think that’s really cool because there’s somewhere to go. You’ll get to see how the different characters will react to learning that they’re a witch. Also, my character finds out that she has this family and these sisters, which is really cool. It’s a great starting point to telling the story.
DIAZ: The writers have really acknowledged the fact that we’re new sisters. The dynamic between Macy and Mel is really tumultuous, in the beginning.
JEFFREY: And it’s different than the dynamic between Macy and Maggie.
DIAZ: Episode 2 is really great because you really start to see the relationships being flushed out, and you get to see how we’re different. We grow as the season will progress.
Madeleine, would you say that Macy is finding it harder to be a sister or to be a witch?
MANTOCK: I think both, in equal measure. She’s intrigued by the idea of being a witch, and she wants to figure out how that could come to be, in a science way. But I don’t think it’s easy for her to be a sister. She’s been a lonely and solitary person. She only had one parent, who’s not there anymore. So, I think being a sister is going to be really difficult for her, but it’s going to be really rewarding.
Melonie and Sarah, how do Mel and Maggie feel about all of this, and the fact that their power is stronger together?
DIAZ: It takes a lot of negotiations, in the beginning. You’ll see them figure out how to work together, as people and as powerful witches.
MANTOCK: It’s not just us against the demons. We also have to figure out how we can work together and get along. It’s not just about, “Okay, let’s go and battle evil!”
JEFFREY: Mel is the most gung-ho, for sure, off the top.
DIAZ: Mel embraces the fact that we’re witches. She sees it as a sign to change the world, where the other two are not so much.
JEFFREY: For different reasons. Maggie has a schedule and things that take importance over being a witch. I’m excited to see where that goes, and if she ends up loving and nurturing that she’s a witch.
So, is Maggie finding it harder to prioritize being a witch with her own life goals?
JEFFREY: Yes! She prioritizing her school life and the sorority. It’s a big part of her identity. She wants to fit in.
DIAZ: Whereas Mel is like, “Oh, my god! This is amazing! This is our calling! It all makes sense!” It’s great that we all feel so different about our powers. I think that makes the show really interesting. If we were all like, “Yay, we’re witches!,” it wouldn’t be authentic.
MANTOCK: It’s about trying to get that witch/life balance just right.
What’s it like to work with visual effects and react to things that aren’t there? Do you have to not worry about how awkward you feel, and just hope that it will look good later?
MANTOCK: It’s literally exactly that.
JEFFREY: It’s a little less hard for me because the mind-reading doesn’t manifest in a physical way. I have to use my creativity. I had to watch playback to make sure it was translating.
MANTOCK: There’s a lot of trust involved, that they’ll make you look good.