.: Family Ties :.

Charmed Magazine: Is it weird that after seven-plus years of saying the word “demon” you’re having so much trouble saying today?

It is, it is. Because, you know, some of the stuff you can’t take seriously. You try to deliver it seriously as you would if you were thunderstruck that a demon had just stolen your child, but it’s just not going to come off. So you go with humour instead. And that’s far easier to swallow than when someone says “Oh, my god, a demon stole her baby” It sounds to me like “The dingo stole her baby” [laughs]

So how does it feel to be back for an eighth season of Charmed?

It’s great. I mean, it’s a little bit sad in a way because we kind of know its most likely going to be our last season. So i'm already nostalgic in a little way. But on the other hand, it’s nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel, too, and to know that we had a really nice, long run. Most shows don’t last this long anymore with the networks. I’m very very proud.

Well, for a while last May, it seemed like you were going to have to say goodbye to everyone sooner rather than later, when it was up in the air whether the end of season seven was going to be the end or not. The finale could of gone either way, and it played like that to many people.

Yeah, that was not pleasant for us, [laughs knowingly] Yeah, I’m really not a great fan of networks not telling a show their time is up because I think its irresponsible to the fans, and to the actors and crew and everybody involved, that you should be given the decency of a final notice. Its like, on every other job, you get two weeks notice- we should have that too so you can plan for a proper ending. And I know, unfortunately, on Picket Fences, My first show, we didn’t get the opportunity to do that, so we had to wrap it up pretty quick, and it was unfortunate not to be able to gear up to a story finale, the end of the story. So, in a way, we have the luxury of being able to do that here, and we also have the responsibility of tying it up in a way that will make everybody kind of happy. So well see. It’s bittersweet defiantly.

How was it for you, personally, to be shooting the finale last spring not knowing what the future held?

That was another thing I was kind of in denial about, in a good way. Because, you know, I remember we were shooting our last shoot, the three of us together, and one of the producers is rolling a video camera, and i’m like “ OK, that’s no a good sign! He thinks were dead in the water!” You know like “Oh this is our last shot!” And then one of my favourite directors Mel Damski- who we used a lot and used for years- came to say goodbye and watch the last shot from another show he was doing, and I saw him walk through the door, and I went “Oh God, yeah, now you’re going to show up? You’ve never shown up at any other season wrap that we’ve had.” I was like “Were dead in the water! You’re killing us!” And he’s like “Oh, God don’t say that!” And so the girls were very emotional, and we did our last shot, and everybody started clapping, and the girls just started bawling. And I, for some reason wasn’t crying. I was just “Nope” You know what for some reason I had some feeling that it wasn’t the end. And it could have been straight denial, but it worked for me at the time. [Laughs]

How did you handle the time between when you filmed the season finale and when you heard in May that Charmed was indeed coming back?

Uh, tried not to think about it a lot. And, you know, I wanted to go home and have a vacation and be a mom and try not to think about work, ‘cause Finley defiantly deserved that from me, my undivided attention for a change. But it was hard not to think about it. It was hard to try and enjoy a vacation when you didn’t know if you had a job to come back to, absolutely.

Was there any bitterness on your part that the WB’s decision to renew Charmed seemed to take so long?

I think so. I was more than a tad bit bitter, because I was, like “Come on guys, its not rocket science. Were either good for you’re new promos or not.” [Laughs] It’s like “Come on, you can pump a lot of new shows during our hour, couldn’t ya!” Notice they left us on Sunday nights, I kind of think were lambs for the slaughter. Its like, Sunday nights are so unbeatable. I think Cold Case is on, and Desperate Housewives and West Wing and Simpson’s- it’s just like suddenly a monster night of television out of nowhere. And we’ve done everything. We’ve been on Wednesdays, We’ve been on Thursdays, we’ve done tough nights. We thought we were going to get a reprieve when we went to Sundays. We were feeling cushy, like, “Nobody ever watches TV on Sunday’s right!” And it suddenly became this blockbuster night of television last season and we were like, “Wow!” We became lambs for the slaughter. They didn’t want to sacrifice any of their new shows, but at the same time their like, “Oh, they’ll do Ok, just leave them there” and we were like “Ahhhh!”

But to be fair, Charmed has held its own on Sundays.

It has, it has. But, you know, i’m pretty sure it’s going to be a spectacular season for a lot of shows on Sunday night this season. It’s going to be rough, but it’s all right. What can we say? It’s our eighth year, and were trying to hold our own, just like with this episode were doing right now with our mock imitation Desperate Housewives. Like, if you can’t beat them, join them. And if you can’t join them, steal from them! [Laughs]

Will there be an overlying theme for season eight?

I think what they’re going for- you know, they don’t give us the big grand overall, like “This is where were going this season”- but I think they are focusing more on the relationships and the family relationships and the girls romantic relationships, which is always the fun stuff for me, and its stuff I always find interesting to play. But don’t get me wrong- I still love doing the stunts, and I love doing all the stuff that’s exciting. And that’s what’s great about the show, is that you can do so many different things in one day. And it’s hard, at times, to make the demon stuff believable, and it’s defiantly easier for me to just do human drama, relationship, family-type stuff you can relate to and the audience can relate to. And it can defiantly be difficult to make the witchy stuff believable. And so for me, defiantly, I like it.

Actually, i've had a running joke with Brad Kern that if he’d just give me one episode without a demon, that id actually promise, guarantee, that it wouldn’t tank. But they’ve had this formula, and there has not been one we can still talk about them, you know. I’m not rigid in my guidelines. Just give me one episode without a demon, just to see what would happen. And he just won’t do it.

And I know that becoming a mom myself, I play one, I hope and I think, more authentically now, and so that stuff kind of gets to me. Like this pre-school stuff, I think, is a little more meaningful for me than it would have been a couple of seasons ago.

Because this will be something you’ll be living yourself in a few years…

Yeah, I know, I can’t imagine. It slightly horrifies me. I did one of these Desperate Housewives moments, though, the other day. It was really funny, actually, and the woman that said it didn’t mean it in a bad way at all. I’ve been doing Pilates and Yoga and stuff like that, and I just waited to long after the birth of my baby because I was so tired, and I had a C-Section, I was working the whole time. So I didn’t star exercising until after a year, until he was a year old. So I said “it was kind of hard,” because I had turned 30 while I was pregnant, and I gained 40pounds with him when I was pregnant, and it was hard to lose. I was surprised at how hard it was. And she said to me- and she’s very cute, a thin, blonde mom of two- she said to me, “Well honey, maybe next time you wont gain as much with the second one” Like, “Maybe, honey, next time you’ll have learnt you’re lesson.” [Laughs] And I was like, “That’s classic!” Perfect! So there you go. That was my Desperate Housewives moment of the week.

And as much as saying lines like “the demon has my baby” are kind of funny, like you said, you’re a real mother now. And with Wyatt and Chris seemingly in jeopardy every episode, do those stories resonate with you more now than they did before you had Finley?

Oh, yeah. No, I defiantly think that there’s a little bit more method in my acting these days. Its like, when I read the last scene of this episode, when Wyatt is doing his school play, and I actually started getting a little teary-eyed when I was reading it because I realised that I was going to have to have this experience myself, and I was like, “Oh my God!” It’s just hard to- you know, you want them to grow up and be happy and be on their own and be individuals, but at the same time you’re like, “Please don’t grow up! That’s my baby!” So I realised the moment Finley started walking- at nine and a half months, by the way which was horrifying- that as soon as he started walking, he was walking away from me. [Laughs] Its like, they take those first few steps away from you, and you’re like, “Kill me. Kill me now!” [Laughs]

Speaking of Desperate Housewives, do you watch that show?

I do, I love it. I think they’re fabulous. And I think it’s great that the producers realise that there’s something to be said about TV veteran actors- that they’re good at it, that they’re watchable week-in and week-out for a reason. I don’t know- there used to be a difference in Hollywood when movies were the things to do, and if you did TV, it was somehow low rent, and I love to see all the movie actors now trying to get into TV because they realise that its one of the only stable job positions that you can hold in this industry. And the funny thing is that sometimes big movie stars just don’t translate on small screen the way people like Heather Locklear can come in and save a show no matter what it is. And, I think Nicollette Sheridan has that, and Teri Hatcher has that, and Marcia Cross has that, and Felicity Huffman- is flawless; she’s just above and beyond TV and movies and this earth. And there’s something saucy to be said about the newcomer, with Eva [Longoria]. Its like, there are girls out there, and its something that we all have to remember when we get a little to comfy in our jobs, is that there’s always a newcomer out there to kick you’re but.[laughs] And she wants it badder than you could have ever imagined. And she’s doing great. They have a great combination, which is one of the things Aaron Spelling was always great at doing, is great at getting a great combo cast where there’s someone for everyone to like. And he kind of did that with us, and he did that with Charlie’s Angels, and he did that with 90210. There is a character in the cast that everyone in the audience can relate to, and that’s really important. And they did that perfectly on Desperate Housewives.

You guys have a Charmed newcomer this year in the form of Kaley Cuoco, who’s playing a witch in training under the care of the Halliwells. And how has she been to work with?

She’s doing great. She’s the most professional 19-year-old I have ever run into. She is so dedicated, and she’s driven, and she’s just happy to be here, and she’s not here to mess around, and she’s doing really great. And she fit in without a bump in the road. All I can say is that she’s far more professional than I was when I was 19. [Laughs] I’m very proud of her.

Are you giving Kaley any advice?

Absolutely not. She needs to stay away from me. When I was 19, I was like, looking forward to my long weekends so I could go to Las Vegas. She’s just, like, “Oh i’ve got this event to do and my publicity to do, then I have to go work with Noon [Orsetti, Charmeds stunt co-ordinator] on the stunts.” She’s great. She’s very focused.

There has been speculation that Kaley may be spun off into her own Charmed-based show next season. How do you feel about that?

I hope they do. I think she deserves it, and I think she can handle it. I mean, the hour long drama schedule is a tough one, and I think she’s handling it ok. In a way it’s up to her. It’s up to her and what she wants to do.

Now, at this point in the season, the episode you’re shooting now, the sisters are still hidden away behind their various guises, as was established in the season finale, right?

Yes, we are. We’ve had quite a few aliases. I was very happy about my first alias. She was blonde and cute and very French, which I always thought if I ever recast myself, id like to be, cute blonde and French. So I was very happy about her. And then it’s funny, because they send us the audition tapes for what feels like our replacements, and i’m like, “Oh yeah, she’s got great hair” “Oh no look at that one, she’s tall! Oh I want to be tall!” You know it’s really hard not to be selfish with these things. [Laughs] “Oh but she’s got really nice eyes” And I’m like, “Maybe you should leave this decision up to me” Id like to think id pick the best actress for the job, but I don’t know I could be biased.

Do you guys have different aliases for each episode?

Well, i’ve been a couple right now. I think I’ve been three. I’ve had three different aliases, and they’re all quite beautiful. And a little bit younger than me as well. [Laughs]

Do you approach Piper any differently because Piper now can’t be seen by the outside world?

No, no. It gets really complicated when you think about it. We had a tough time figuring out, “Should they be in the same clothes as us? Should they have the same hairstyle?” There was a lot of grey area when it came to this magic stuff, and we might of broken some rules. I’m sure fans will watch the holes here and there. But it’s Charmed. We have a lot of creative licence going on.

Will this carry on for the entire season?

No, we do get to become ourselves again at one point. It’s a little tricky way we do it, but we do begin to be seen as ourselves- just our plain ol’selves. No more aliases for us. I’m kind of sad in a way. [Giggles]

Oh by the way, what’s going on with the air conditioning? It’s a little warm in here, isn’t it?

You know, I think the problem is that it’s kind of an old lot, and Mission Impossible 3 is shooting, and I think they’re sucking up all the energy available at the lot- just with Tom Cruises trailer alone. [Smiles]

So its Tom Cruises fault?

Absolutely, that were suffering in the heat, sweating through our scenes. So if were glowy and, you know, dewy in episode four, don’t blame the make-up people. [Laughs]

~ Credit goes to Amy for typing this up for the site. Thank you!