Catherine Bell plays Cassie Nightingale, a woman who may or may not be a witch, in Hallmark’s TV series, “The Good Witch,” now in the middle of its second season. I had a lovely conversation with Catherine on the phone about the series, as well as her role in the new original Netflix movie with Adam Sandler and David Spade called “The Do-Over.”
Catherine on what she loves most about her work on “The Good Witch”:
I love this character. We just got renewed for season three a few days ago. I was really excited. My producer reminded me that this is going to be the tenth year that we’ve been making “Good Witch” movies or series. And just from the very first one, it was always so whimsical and fun and sweet and inspiring. It just made me feel good playing the character.
So often, I’m on set, and maybe I’m having a bad day. We film in Toronto, my family’s in L.A., and I might be handling some homework crisis at home or whatever’s going on. And there I am, and there’s Cassie’s saying some beautiful thing to someone to inspire them and to get them to look at the positive side of life. And it actually affects me!
I’ve had days where I’m having a not great day, and there I am saying these lines. And as I’m saying them, it’s reminding me of those lessons as well. It’s kind of the cool, positive effect for me…. I literally find myself being inspired by Cassie.
On the most challenging aspect of the show – shooting in winter and being away from family:
Being from L.A., the weather’s a little bit intense for me. And also, for me, probably the hardest thing is being away from my family. I do love this show, and I love the character and the crew and the cast. I mean, I could not wish for better, seriously. But to be across the country away from my kids half the year … I do fly home on the weekends, and it works. It’s a lot of flying for me, but I kind of treat it as my downtime on the plane.
On whether Cassie’s romantic situation will be resolved in season 2:
Right now, I’m in the middle of another love triangle. So, there will be some resolution because there are definitely people hoping I’ll be with one or the other. Most of the people want me to be with Sam [played by James Denton]. But then, there is also a cliffhanger to look forward to that’s going to leave people hanging till next season. So, that might have something to do with the romance.
On working with James Denton:
He’s the best! He’s got an awesome sense of humor. He cracks me up. And he’s just a total pro. He’s been doing this for so long. He’s done “Desperate Housewives” with all those hot women. And he doesn’t care about that at all! He’s married with kids. We’re just buddies there to do a job. It’s just nice to have that camaraderie.
He’s a great partner in terms of like we talk about the scripts. If there’s something that’s not working for our characters, we’re able to go in together and talk to the producers. We’re on the same page on that stuff. It’s collaborative. I love that. He’s a good actor, too. He’s elevating my game because he’s just so good and so real and has all his little moments and nuances. I think, “I want to put more of that in my acting, too.”
On working with Bailee Madison, who plays her daughter, Grace:
Oh, my God, Bailee is phenomenal. She’s just such an amazing… I mean, I’ve got to say I’ve worked with some child actors in this business, and she is just unbelievable. She’s one of a kind. Sweet, down-to-earth, humble, kind, loving. Her mom’s with her on set all the time, and they’re just such great people. Her mom won’t let her have somebody bring her water even if she’s stranded on set and dying of thirst. She’s like, “Nope, you get your own water!”…
She reminds me in a lot of ways of my daughter, who’s 13, but the same sweetness – like real sweet, big heart. So, in my scenes with her, I often feel like I’m talking to my daughter. It’s just so easy to be emotional. You know how all those layers come out?
On how much she enjoys, as an Executive Producer, having input into the storylines:
It’s nice to be able to call a producer and say, “Hey, you know, I really feel like…” At one point, we had a couple of different love interests for Cassie, and it was almost too much in one direction. I wanted to reel it in and go in this other direction. And they were like, “You know what, we’re on the same page,” and we were able to sit down and have a meeting about it and steer things a different way. They’re very, very open to my input, whether it’s about my character or other characters or just storylines.
Creating the show as well when we went from movies to series, we knew that there had to be some changes so that it would be watchable every week. Things like Cassie couldn’t be perfect and know everything all the time. In the movies, that was fine, but weekly, I thought that would get pretty annoying. So, we sat down and talked about that. What could throw her? Oh, a teenage daughter could throw her. Oh, a handsome neighbor next door could throw her.
On whether she’s ever considered directing:
I never did, but lately, when I get asked that question, I kind of think maybe. Up until a year or two ago, I thought, “No way, never, never, wouldn’t want to do that. So much responsibility….” I feel like if it was my own show, especially a show that I’ve already established like this, I feel like I probably could direct. So, maybe I’ll have to do that this next season. I wouldn’t want to take on an entirely new show or someone else’s show or a movie, but something where I already know the characters.
On working with Adam Sandler in the Netflix original movie, “The Do-Over”:
Oh, my God, it was such a blast. I met Adam Sandler like, I don’t know 15 years ago, and almost worked with him then. He was always a fan and was like, “We’re going to work together one of these days. We’re going to do it.” I’d run into him here and there or read for something and almost… He’d be like, “Don’t worry! We’re going to do something!”
Then, this came up, and the character is really wild. I wasn’t sure I was going to do it. And he called me in to basically convince me to do it. And I’m so glad he did because the way it was written, it’s a very racy, raunchy, crazy thing but funny….
He’s such a family guy, such a nice guy. I thought, “OK, I can’t go wrong.” So, I’m so glad I did it. I was a little worried that some of my “Good Witch” fans might find it a bit too wild, but every single fan, every person on Twitter and Instagram has loved it.
“The Good Witch” airs on the Hallmark Channel Sunday nights at 9/8c. If you’re behind on the season, you can catch up on Hallmark Channel Everywhere. Season 3 will premiere in 2017.
Music is also an important part of how “The Good Witch” stories are told. Check out the “Good Witch” music playlist below:
Episode 2001 – “I Will Go Anywhere with You” by Julia Nunes
Episode 2004 – “Son My Son” by Milo Greene
Episode 2005 – “If You Ask Me To” by Mackenzie Porter
Episode 2006 – “Georgia” by Vance Joy
Episode 2007 – “Bright” by Echosmith
Episode 2010 – “Waiting” by Chloe Temtchine
Episode 2010 – “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol
Check out the music clips from the show below.