.: Witchful Thinking :.
From full-time witch to full time mum, Holly Marie Combs is planning to take a little more easily now that Halliwell Manor has closed its doors for the final time, as she tells David WaldonÖ
Sheís a actor and a producer; sheís a wife, a mother and a daughter. Yes, Holly Marie Combs wearsa lot of hats in her daily existence, and we havenít even gone into her role as the manager of a menagerie of animals at her Southern California ranch. And on this particular day in March, the week before Combs goes to work on the final episode of Charmed, another title can be added ro her rťsumť- straight women. During a conversation Combs is having between takes on the Charmed set, the talk is briefly interruptes by none other than her co-star and longtime partner-in-crime, Rose McGowan, who regales all with her off-beat imitation of Combs, singing: "I love Rose, Rose loves me!" McGowanís impromptu act sends Combs into a fit of laughter- and prompts a mischievous confession from her.
"She keeps telling me how much Iím going to miss her, " says Combs of McGowan, "and because she hates our wicker furniture on the set, I keep threatening to send her the ĎWicker of the Month Club,í and thereís going to be a piece of furniture in her yard every month for years to come. "
"Well," respond McGowan, "Iím traveling the country, and Iím going to sign you up for all these bowling leagues ad have them call up in the morning. "
" Iím going to miss that, " says Combs with a quiet sigh, and you believe her. After all, Charmed has been part of the 32-year-old San Diego nativeís existence for the past eight year. Itís the show that established her as a top TV star, after her previous role on the quirky drama Picket Fences had introduced her to a national viewing audience. Charmed is where she grew as both an on-screen and behind-the scenes player. Itís the job that allowed her to put her mother, who raised her as a single parent, through college. And the showís set is where Combs met her husband key grip David Donoho. Their two-year-old son Finley has become a regular fixture on the Charmed soundstage.
And now, itís over. For Combs, itís a time for reflection on the past and speculation about future-though at least one thing is set in stone for her, as it was announced soon after this interview that she and her husband were expecting a new sibling for Finley to pal around with. Just about everything but that was covered in a wide-ranging discussion with the then soon-to-be unemployed actor that began with the inevitable- the end of the showÖ
Charmed Magazine: Youíre just days away from starting the last episode, the end of eight years of your life. Has it hit you yet?
No, no. I mean, to a degree it has but mostly Iím just in total denial. I think, obviously, when we start the first day of the last episode, and then the drive home on the last day, itís going to be quite revealing. But no, weíve been here so long, and itís been such a huge part our lives, that itís hard to grasp the concept that one day youíll wake up and it will all be over.
Charmed Magazine:Compare that feeling to what it was like for you last year, when the showís existence was in limbo and you didnít know wheter youíd be back for season eight or notÖ
Last year, I just had a feeling that we were going to be back. I donít know why. (Laughs) It could have been a little bit of denial. But I really wasnít worried. I wasnít worried at all. Now, Iím just kind of like, "Oh-Itís kind of more definite this time. " ( Laughs)
Charmed Magazine:When it was announced by The WB that Charmed had been cancelled, it wasnít news to you guys. The writing had been on the wall since the beginning of this season or even more earlierÖ
Well, I was a little bit more on the fence, but the girls- all of our contracts were up and the girls were pretty much ready to move on other things. I was still king of , "Well, if they ask me to stayÖ" but I was ready to go home and be a proper mom to my son and do stuff like that, too. So I was kind of surprising that the announcement was that we were cancelled because there really wasnít an option to cancel us. Itís funny, because Will & Grace has been on pretty much as long as we have, and thatís " coming to an end". And the terms they use on these other shows- 7th Heaven is "coming to an end," or the end of their run. But somehow we were cancelled. But, you know, we were always the black sheep of The WB and The WB probably had no idea that our contracts were up, because thatís how little attention they paid to us. So they do think they cancelled us! (Laughs)
Charmed Magazine:When The WB announced that it was merging with UPN to from The CW, was that when you knew that Charmed was really gone?
We know that our show is a big ball of wax. Itís a big undertaking. And I donít know is the new regime would want to deal with such a big undertaking when they have a whole new network. I mean, weíre stable ratings winner, and so in that respect it would have been a safe bet for them wanting to do new things. They took the best of both networks.
Holly on when sheís taking from the Charmed setÖ
" I thought about that yesterday. Last year, because we werenít sure, I took a set of tea cups that were Gramsí that were very much, like, the Manor and very antique and kind of English. And this year-I donít know. Brad says he has something in mind for me, so weíll see what that is. "
Charmed Magazine:How do you think Piper has involved over the years?
(Smiles) Oh my god. Sheís just had an amazing evolution, because she was such a nervous worrywart when we started. And she was the peacemaker, and she was juggling all the time. You know, kind of by design, when she became the oldest sister, I kind of knew that I needed her to become more like Prue ( played by Shannen Doherty), just because as you evolve or you lose a family member, you do take on some parts of their personality, and so I kind of meshed Piperís personality and Prueís personality together to kind of come a happy medium. And I think thatís how she ended up. Iím not sure, but I think thatís how she ended up. (Laughs) Because she has the strength and the resolve and the steeliness of Prue, but then she still has the heart and the emotions of Piper.
Charmed Magazine:How important was that shift to your continuing to play Piper with enthusiasm? I would assume that it can get a little tiresome to play the same role a few years.
Oh, yeah. You get in a rut, and thatís, creatively, one of the things you have to always fight against, is being in that rut, or getting lazy because weíre so encapsulated in this environment, sometimes you forget that these things are actually going to be shown on television, because weíre just so used to doing our thing, our routine, and then your actually like, "Oh my God! " Rose is doing a movie with Quentin Tarantino right now, and she got back last night, and she said to me, " Quentin said that he had never cried so much as when Leo (played by Brain Krause) got frozen. " And you forget that people are actually watching thisÖ There are real people out there who are like, "Oh, yeah." Weíre like the train that keeps going Ė you forget that there are people out there who actually see it and respond to it. Itís very flattering, though.
Charmed Magazine:But isnít not remembering that there is an audience out there freeing in some extend, because you donít want to worry about what they thing of the show?
You donít. Itís great, and for me, after all of the time, Iím not nervous anymore, and I feel pretty confident knowing how to do this character on this show. But, you know, that changes every time you go to a new project. Itís like going to a new school when you get all nervous again. So thatís going to be a weird experience for me, because Iíve just been here so long, longer that most TV shows have been on. And to walk onto a whole new set with a new crew is just scary. Thankfully, Iíve been in the business long enough where hope fully Iíll know someone there. (Laughs) Youíll always have the first-day jitters.
Charmed Magazine:What has been like to work Alyssa and Rose over the years?
Itís funny, because with Shannen and Alyssa, we had and organic chemistry. And so there was a worry that when Rose came, we wouldnít be able to duplicate it. But she brought in a whole new element. Sheís such an individual and unlike anyone. She brought in a whole dynamic that still worked, which is pretty impressive, because itís not like lightning strikes twice.
Charmed Magazine:And then thereís you and BrianÖ
We actually knew each other before the show started, casually. I knew his wife. So itís weird, but itís comfortable. And, obviously, Iím far more at ease playing a romantic scene with him than I am with anyone else just because weíve been doing it for so long.
Charmed Magazine:Was it weird for you not having him on the set for such a long time?
Yeah, it is. Heís kind of like my right hand. Iím always used to doing storylines with him, with him being a part of it. And to suddenly have everything that Piper has to deal with, for her to be alone, was weird for me, because Iím used to looking to him for an answer. So that was weird.
Charmed Magazine:As a co-producer of the show, did you have any input with Brad about how things would shake out in the end?
For the two last episodes, Alyssa and Rose and I had a big meetings with Brad. It was important to him as it was to us that everybody kind of be working as a team, and that everybody be satisfied with their storyline and the way that we wrapped it up, which was actually a great benefit to do that. A lot of shows get cancelled and have no opportunity to wrap it up. So, weíre able to wrap it up, thatís satisfying to us and, hopefully, satisfying for the fans, and thatís good. Thatís a luxury.
Holly on her futureÖ
"Itís funny, because Iíve had some meeting recently, and I was asked. Ď What do you want to do?í Well, whatever. Iím not terribly picky. And I donít think the half-hour comedy is necessarily what Iím the best at, but you canít beat the schedule, so itís kind of hard to say no to. But what I like to do, where my heart is and where I think I do my best work, is in the dramas. "
Charmed Magazine:What will be the legacy of Charmed?
Itís just been such a quiet run, nobodyís really realized the impact that weíve had because weíve just been kin of under the radar. So I donít thing the legacy that we leave will be realized for years to come because nobodyís quite noticed that weíre still here! ( Laughs)
Holly Marie Combs is currently taking a break to spend time with her family
~ Credit goes to Stťphanie from French-Canada for typing this up for the site. Thank you!