Executive Producer David Van Ancken Talks SALEM, Exploring the Magic of the Show, Balancing Fantasy and History, and More

     April 26, 2014


Airing Sunday nights on WGN America is 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 EberleSalem 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.

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. While I was there I sat down for an exclusive video interview with Director and Executive Producer David Von Ancken. He talked about balancing the fantasy and history elements of the show, what’s motivating the witches of Salem, what genre the show fits in, how much the show will delve into dark magic, and more. Check out the interview after the jump.

For more on Salem, here’s our review of the first episode and on set interviews with Brannon Braga and Production Designer Seth Reed and Costume Designer Joseph A. Porro.

David Van Ancken:

  • Talks about what people should expect from the show.
  • Talks about balancing history and fantasy.
  • Are the witches evil?
  • How much are we going to see of the magic?
  • Using practical effects.
  • What is the tone of the show? How is it walking the line between genres?

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