.: THE POWER OF THREE :. By Dina Sansing
The girls of charmed talk old rumors and new beginnings.
Charmed newcomer Rose McGowen and her cast mates, Alyssa Milano, 28, and Holly Marie Combs, 27, are not (repeat, not) best friends -- yet. One of eight children, Rose, 26, who's perhaps most widely known for dating shock-rocker Marilyn Manson, reserves that superlative for her four sisters and three brothers. "They are amazing people," says porcelain-skinned Rose, who's fighting off the flu after her first two round-the-clock work-weeks. "My siblings couldn't be less impressed with me. I say 'Hey, I'm on a TV show now,' and they're like, 'You know what I'm doing tomorrow night?'"
In all fairness, Rose has nothing but praise for her co-stars. "I genuinely like them, but I think it's unrealistic that we would become best friends after just three weeks," she says. Holly, who weathered the loss of her TV sis when Shannen Doherty, 30, left the series last May after three seasons, thinks it's best that her relationship with Rose remain professional. "That was part of the problem [with Shannen]: We worked long hours, then we'd go out. I don't have siblings, but we were like sisters. Sometimes, sisters fight, and it's too bad," says Holly.
Shannen's character, Prue, was killed off on May's season finale, and the remaining witches hope that the show's fans will embrace Rose as their long lost fourth sister, Paige. The atmosphere on the set --where Seventeen has been invited for a grand tour that includes a walk through the Halliwell home and a peek at the Book Of Shadows -- seems eerily calm. "I feel a lot more relaxed now," says Alyssa, who spent the summer learning to golf. During a rare break in filming, the girls discuss the past and -- more importantly -- their future.
Her newly decorated trailer reflects this actress's greatest passion: animals. The walls are plastered with pictures of her pets. "I have rabbits, lizards, fish, a bird, three horses, five dogs and two cats," says Holly. "It takes me an hour every night to feed them and clean everything." Although she has always been an animal lover, Holly admits that she's reached maximum capacity at the home she shares with her boyfriend. "It's like a petting zoo. I couldn't even take on one more bird."
On the set, Holly is glad to take newcomer Rose under her wing. "I was frightened that the producers were going to get a 90210 girl to replace Shannen." Holly considers Rose, who's a far cry from the kids of the infamous zip code, to be a welcome alternative. "She's very individualistic and she has flair," says Holly.
Like her character, Piper (who's the middle child and often mediates for her sibs), Holly got caughtbetween unhappy costars. When last year's mud-slinging comes up, she is quick to point out that all three actresses were very close friends for a long time before any problems arose. She and Shannen were even bridesmaids at Alyssa's 1999 wedding to rock singer Cinjun Tate. (the marriage ended later that year) According to Holly, the trio's intense friendship, coupled with long workdays, was part of the problem: "When you put people together in a high-stress situation for 14 hours at a time, nine months a year, someone's going to rub somebody the wrong way."
Was Holly at all spooked when her Charmed character died along with Prue on last season'scliffhanger? Not really. "The plan was to bring both Shannen and me back, but it didn't work out that way," she says. While the writers are vague as to just how Piper comes alive again, Holly is sure it will happen with a bang. "I'm the clumsy one on the show," she admits. "If there's any wire around, I'll trip on it and fall." She has already endured one hospital visit, after she stumbled on an air ventilator and landed on some concrete. Fortunately, her swollen elbow wasn't broken. "You've seen our stage," she confides to Seventeen. "It's not a very high-heel-friendly place." It does, however -- well, at this moment -- seem like a pretty friendly place to be. And all three of Charmed costars hope it will stay that way.
The other covers that didn't make the issue are the last ones. Readers voted for which cover was published. The 2 photos at the end are from the photo shoot, but didn't get printed in the magazine.