Earlier this March (in between global fridge-foraging and couch-cruising), Freeform debuted its newest supernatural drama Motherland: Fort Salem – a reimagined world where young witches unite to defend the county using the power of their voices and their fists.
Coined as “smart sci-fi” by show creator, Elliot Lawerence, Motherland: Fort Salem removes the black-hat-wearing, green-skinned, cauldron-brewing stereotype typically associated with witches and replaces them with a diverse trio of empowered, weather-manipulating, military-trained bad-asses. The Knockturnal virtually sat down with none other than the head witch in charge herself, Ashley Nicole Williams, who talked taking on the role of tough-skinned cadet Abigail Bellweather.
“When I read the script I ran to my mom and was like, I have to be apart of this – I just thought it was so dope and kick-ass, and the women empowerment aspect of it I was so down for,” Williams said. Alongside her castmates, Taylor Hickson (Raelle Collar) and Jessica Sutton (Tally Craven) the unlikely trio band together to train to take down a malevolent opposing force called The Spree – a feat involving the use of rope darts, and an intense variation of combat scenes.
“The hand-to-hand combat and the fights scenes, we do all [of] our own stunts, Williams said when asked her role preparation. “After episode five I had green bruises, I was banged up – I felt like a real stunt woman,” Williams said with a laugh.
While Motherland: Fort Salem offers no shortage of rope dart sparring scenes and the occasional creation of a tornado storm, this series highlights the importance of inclusivity in every aspect. “I think it’s so important to have representation for every single race, color, gender background, Williams said. “We never see lead lesbian roles and I think that’s why we have such a big LGBTQ audience is because they feel seen and heard; it’s so important for every single type of person out there to have that. Even with me, I was like wow, they have a lead [role] that’s a black woman!” Williams exclaimed.
“That was just so big for me”, Williams started before continuing to say, “I feel like each and every one of us has a role to portray those different backgrounds… and do them justice… it makes us twenty times different from the average show.”
If you’re ready to take a trip into Motherland: Fort Salem, it is available for streaming on Freeform with a new episode premiering every Wednesday. Check out the rest of the interview with Ashley Nicole Williams above!