In 1998, Charmed became a hit show about sister witches, and gave stars Alyssa Milano, Shannen Doherty and Holly Marie Combs new iconic roles after their previous stints on Who’s the Boss?, 90210, and Picket Fences. 20 years later, Charmed is back with an all new cast.
Now Melonie Diaz, Madeleine Mantock, and Sarah Jeffery are the sisters. We spoke with Jeffery after The CW’s Television Critics Association panel for the new Charmed, which premieres Sunday, October 14, 2018 at 9pm ET/PT on The CW.
Do you feel any similarities between a witch and the superpowers of The Descendants?
Sarah Jeffery: “Well, yes, I guess so. That’s the only other project I’ve done that was sort of supernatural. That’s not true. I did Wayward Pines on Fox and X-Files, but it is interesting seeing the parallel in technical ways. How that affects you as an actor, what’s done in post, and how to work with that as an actor.”
How have you coordinated with the visual effects artists to figure out what you’re going to do on set and what they’ll add?
Sarah Jeffery: “You know, they’re really great on set in just being informative at that time of what they’re going to do. They already have a plan. My job is basically to just go in there and do what they ask. We do have stunts in this so the whole stunt team is great as well.
With effects, you just have to trust that they’re going to put it in in post, I guess. They do and they made it look great, I think.”
You also played a pre-existing character in Daphne & Velma. Did you do research for that?
Sarah Jeffery: “I grew up watching Scooby-Doo. I was an avid fan of Daphne. She was my favorite and I named my first stuffed animal after her. So, I already had a grasp of what she was like as a character. I just wanted to bring more layers into her, so she wasn’t just the cute ditzy one. She was also smart and had heart and was curious and adventurous.”
Were you more concerned about playing that character than this one?
Sarah Jeffery: “There’s always a level of trepidation and nervousness when you’re bringing a pre-existing character back to life, but with Charmed it’s a little different because we are new characters. I think it’s just making sure you’re respectful of the foundation that was already laid, the mythology there. In terms of that, I don’t think I’m nervous because I think we’re doing a good job with paying homage to the original.”
Was Daphne & Velma supposed to continue as a series?
Sarah Jeffery: “Yes, I think that we’d like to do another one hopefully, but my schedule hasn’t really permitted that. So, we’ll see. Hopefully if I have a break in time and they want to do it, we can make it happen.”
So, it would be another movie, not episodic?
Sarah Jeffery: “Yeah, I believe so.”
Are doing another Descendants?
Sarah Jeffery: “I just finished filming that. It’s been great. I did the first Descendants and then I wasn’t able to do the second because I was on an NBC show. They had me come back for the third and I get to come into a large role. I can’t give away too much but it’s very different, the same and something happens. It was a lot of fun. It’s a blast.”
So a bigger role than the first one?
Sarah Jeffery: “I think you’re going to see a little bit more of me screen time-wise, yes.”
What’s the vibe of sisterhood on the set of Charmed?
Sarah Jeffery: “Oh, it’s great. We get along so well. Automatically, we were just connected. It doesn’t feel forced at all. We hang out. We have wine nights. We watch Charmed clips together. It’s great. I think we’re very lucky. It was just like a natural connection.”
Do you have siblings?
Sarah Jeffery: “In real life, yes. I do have two full sisters, a half-sister and half-brother, all of whom I’m very close with. So, I definitely know about this sibling bond very well.”
Sarah Jeffery: “Yeah, I mean, naturally. I have a sister who’s a year and nine days apart from me so there’s obviously naturally going to be some butting heads and some bickering but at the end of the day, it all dissipates and it’s just love.”
Are you the Vancouver tour guide?
Sarah Jeffery: “I’m glad to suggest. Rupert’s last show, Man in the High Castle, shot there for two or three years so he’s familiar with it too. Madeleine shot Tomorrow People there so they have a little idea, but I definitely want to take them on bike rides through Stanley Park and I know really good restaurants. It’s nice to be familiar with my surroundings for sure.”
How daunting do you think it would be to have this power in real life?
Sarah Jeffery: “It’s horrible. I think it would be a little bit of a burden. If you could control it and you didn’t have to read everyone’s mind always, I think it would be a cool tool to have, but it could be a bit of an annoyance.”
As an actor do you ever feel you have to read your co-stars’ minds?
Sarah Jeffery: “Definitely. I am a very empathetic person to begin with. I read into things and I’m an overthinker, so I already feel like I’m too close to people’s thoughts and my own thoughts, so I feel like it’s a very appropriate power to have. I definitely have a good experience with reading people in real life as well.”
How interesting was Wayward Pines to work on?
Sarah Jeffery: “It was bizarre but in the best way. Getting to work with that class of actors at a younger age was amazing. I was very grateful. I love my character so much. I met one of my very close friends on that, Charlie Tahan. We’re still close to this day so I’m grateful for any show that brings a new friend into my life.”
How young did you start performing?
Sarah Jeffery: “I started dancing at age three. I’ve been dancing all my life on stage, competing, 3 PM to 10PM through the years. I went to a performing arts school, so I danced there as well. So, I feel like it’s always been in my blood. I think this was kind of meant to happen. My dad acted and I just followed suit.”
Does the dance help with discipline and commitment?
Sarah Jeffery: “100%, it does. I feel completely and utterly blessed that I’ve danced before because I have this awareness of my body that a lot of people don’t. It helps for different roles and helps with being disciplined and showing up for your teammates and your cast. I owe a lot of that to my dance career.”
Did you only audition for this role or did you go out for the other sisters too?
Sarah Jeffery: “This is the one I auditioned for off the bat. They at first didn’t really want to see me because I was attached to another show. I was attached to Shades of Blue and we just finished our last season. They were like, ‘We don’t want to see her and like her and then have to battle for first position.’ They did see me and they did want me and it just ended up falling into place. Shades moved to second position and Charmed had me for first. Shades ended up getting cancelled after the third season anyway, so it just all worked out.”
What scenes did you audition with?
Sarah Jeffery: “I auditioned with the demon dog. There’s a demon dog scene, and there was one fight with my sister. I think those are the two scenes. They’re pretty lengthy but they showed the fun side of her and then they showed the emotional bond between the sisters.”
Did you do those scenes again with Melanie and Madeleine when they were cast?
Sarah Jeffery: “We never did any chemistry tests actually, but it’s I guess luck of the draw that we get along so well.”
There’s been both backlash and excitement for Charmed. How have you experienced it?
Sarah Jeffery: “It’s very interesting. Of course, it’s slightly disappointing to not have all the support but it’s totally understandable. I get it. It’s very dear to their hearts and it’s iconic for a reason. We definitely are paying more attention to the positive comments but then again respectful of any feelings or opinions that may be there.”