The witch-hunt continues! Salem’s second season comes to a close tonight, and the supernatural series will have some downright crazy twists and turns in store. Based on the Salem Witch Trials in 17th century Massachusetts, the WGN drama follows the story of Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery), the most powerful and vengeful witch in Salem at the time. After tormenting a young girl named Mercy Lewis, played by Elise Eberle, Mary turned her into a witch—and Mercy has been out for revenge of her own ever since.
Eberle recently stopped by InStyle’s New York offices to talk all things Salem, including how things have changed for the characters this season. “We’re really pushing the boundaries of the show more than ever,” Eberle said. “It’s been an all-out witch war—and all of the witches are against each other now.”
And the battle has taken a major toll on Eberle’s character, who, based on true events, initiated the hysteria that began the Salem With Trials. "Mercy is the one who was notoriously known for being manic, because something was possessing her,” Eberle said. “In Season 1, she turned into a witch and became power hungry, killing people and lusting after blood. Then this season, she was badly burned when Mary’s coven attacked her, and now she’s just a total monster.”
But Eberle isn’t scared by her character’s dramatic transformation from good to evil. “I love playing a monster,” she said. “It’s so great to literally put a different skin on, and pretend to be something else—I’d prefer to be a monster than just a normal girl any day.” Still, there’s one aspect of the role that isn’t so fun: having to wear a ton of makeup to look the part, especially in the heat; Salem is shot in Shreveport, Louisiana. “It takes about three and a half hours to put everything on,” Eberle said. “At the end of the day, it’s such a relief to take off the makeup and the suit, because it only heightens any temperature outside.”
Luckily, Eberle is always game to switch up her look. In Season 1, she even had her head shaved onscreen for Mercy’s storyline. “That was my real hair,” she said. “I told the producers that they would have to make a wig out of my own hair—and they did.” While she was happy to sacrifice her locks for the role, there are still moments when Eberle misses her longer hair. “It’s sometimes tough to feel your feminine vibes, but I love it,” she said. “It was worth it, because she is such a complex character, even though she lusts after killing people.” Although Eberle can’t relate to her character’s evil ways, she has a good time portraying her onscreen. “It’s thrilling to play her,” Eberle said. “She’s definitely a wild ride.”