The best-known incarnation of The Witches of Eastwick was the 1987 movie starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Susan Sarandon and Cher as the witches, with Jack Nicholson as the devil. ABC is taking another stab at the John Updike book with its new fall series Eastwick. Rebecca Romijn, Lindsay Price and Jaime Ray Newman play the witches now, and Romijn embraces her predecessor.
"I play Roxie, who's the same character as Cher from the movie," Romijn said in a group interview on Aug. 8 in Pasadena, Calif., as part of the Television Critics Association fall press tour. "Huge shoes to fill, but honestly, getting to say that I play Cher, I feel like that's bragging rights there. It's more exciting to say I play Cher than to say I play a witch, which was already really exciting to say."
The blonde bombshell was almost tempted to color her hair like Cher's, too. She instead settled for a similar style, if not the exact same look. "I'm curly," Romijn continued. "I'm not dark, but I'm curly."
On Eastwick, Roxie has a 15-year-old daughter. Cher's Roxie did not, so there is another major difference. "I mean, this is really a different take," Romijn continued. "It's not just like the movie."
Single motherhood is complicated enough before Roxie starts having visions. Then she has to question her own psychic accuracy. "Well, they're confusing, because at first they're not adding up," Romijn said. "My visions aren't adding up, so I start doubting my abilities. Then all of a sudden maybe they do start adding up. There's a little bit of an emotional struggle with the actual powers, where we don't necessarily trust them."
Just wait and see if the kid picks up on mom's witchcraft. "I can't say," Romijn said. "In fact, I don't quite know yet how much she knows. We haven't gotten there yet."
By the first week of August, Romijn was three episodes into the first season and already got a sense of the continuing storyline. "We're on episode three, and I honestly feel like they're getting better and better," she said. "I loved episode one better than the pilot. I loved episode two better than that. It's serialized, and the web that we are weaving is already so tangled and dark, it's fantastic."
That's a sly way of saying you have to watch every episode of the show, to keep the sponsors happy. However, Romijn admitted they will throw casual viewers some bones if they jump in late.
"Again, we're only in episode three, so I think they're going to figure out how to let people catch up if they've missed out on anything," Romijn said. "There's been a certain amount of dialogue that we've had to do to make sure that people know where we are in the story."
Witchcraft has been fuel for television from Bewitched through Charmed. Romijn feels Eastwick is in good company and has something new to offer. "Listen, if we can have a slice of the success that any of those shows have had, we'd be very, very lucky," Romijn said. "I think our take is very, very different from those others. I think that because we're starting from a very real and grounded place, it's different than those other shows. It hasn't gotten fantastical yet, but oh, the places we'll go."
There is plenty of room for Eastwick to grow. The small town provides the perfect quaint setting for witchcraft to go haywire. "It's going to get dark," Romijn said. "It's so scrubbed clean at the beginning of it, it's so upbeat and happy and pretty. We're going to be going dark. The first episode [after the pilot] gets even darker."
Eastwick premieres Sept. 23 at 10 p.m. on ABC.