Jaime Ray Newman at the Disney-ABC Television Group's 2009 Summer Press Tour
Jaime Ray Newman at the Disney-ABC Television Group's 2009 Summer Press Tour

Based on the popular book The Witches of Eastwick by John Updike, and subsequent movie which starred Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer, the TV series Eastwick stars Rebecca Romijn, Lindsey Price and Jamie Ray Newman.

Set in the fictional Rhode Island town of Eastwick, the story follows three very different women who discover some bewitching talents they never knew they had. Newman plays Kat Rougemount, a nurse who possesses the ability to command the elements.

I caught up with Jaime Ray Newman at the ABC network party for the series.

Tell us about your character, Kat?

Kat got pregnant when she was 18 and married her high school sweetheart. She never had any girlfriends, and never got the opportunity to figure herself out and develop herself as a woman. She went from being a kid to being a mom. It’s really fun to play a character who’s in such transition. In the pilot episode her entire life is totally shaken, and she’s very much in denial about it as she loves safety and security.

Your character has an awesome power.

Jaime Ray Newman © ABC
Jaime Ray Newman © ABC

It’s a little bit of a responsibility, though. I don’t know if I’d want that responsibility. I guess once Kate figures out how to harness the elements then that might be fun, but it’s a bit out of control at the moment. My husband’s a schmuck, and when I yell at him, probably for the first time ever in our 12 years of being together, I tell him that he has no fire, spark or electricity in his life, and I instigate the elements and he’s electrocuted. In another episode, we’re in a pool together, making love, and I get angry with him and freeze the pool.

Do you have to ask the effects people or the director about how you should gauge what that stuff will look like?

I feel like, if my acting earns it, then they will give me exactly what the acting has earned. If I’m medium mad, they’ll give me a medium lightening bolt. But, if I know what the scene requires and I know they want it to be big, then I have to go there.

Do you have a group of friends, like these ladies, with whom you get together and talk and share?

Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijn, Jaime Ray Newman © ABC
Lindsay Price, Rebecca Romijn, Jaime Ray Newman © ABC

I’m lucky enough that my parents live in LA. They moved out here, and my sister lives out here. She’s in the fashion business. And so, I really feel like my core group of girls are my mom and my sister. I have two aunts on my dad’s side and two aunts on my mom’s side, so there’s just a coven of women constantly surrounding me.

With this show, will you still be able to be on Eureka?

They left it very open-ended, so I could come back. Jaime Paglia and Charlie Craig, the creators of the show, sent me an email when Eastwick got picked up, and they said, “We hope you get canceled. Love, Charlie and Jaime.”

Would ABC allow you to go back at all?

I don’t know. I think they start up in March, so hopefully we’ll get to play the whole season, and then on hiatus, I would love to come back.

How does this compare, production-wise, with Eureka, as far as dealing with the effects, and with having more guys around the set of Eureka?

Eureka was definitely a male-centric show, but there were powerful, strong women on that series as well. It was a really easy transition to make. There were a lot of effects on Eureka, and we were working 16 hours, every single day. This is kind of the same, in that regard. It’s a similar genre, in that sense. But, I’m so grateful we’re in L.. Eureka is in Vancouver, and I like being home.

Do you have a lot more effects to deal with on this?

Eureka probably has more effects, but it’s a show that’s been on for four seasons, so they’ve gotten to find themselves and figure themselves out. We’re just gearing and amping up, and finding our legs.

Is there some quality about you that makes people want you for genre projects?

I also did a bunch of Stargate Atlantis episodes, and I did Supernatural. Do I look like I can wreak havoc? I’m only 5’3″. I’m unassuming. Sci-Fi is not really my genre of choice, per se, but I will say that I loved the science on Eureka. It was an education, in and of itself. Joe Morton was our local scientist. He was our local encyclopedia. We’d always go to him. I learned a lot on it. People who are just as interested in shows like Brothers & Sisters will like Eastwick. In my mind, this show was Hannah and her Sisters meets The X-Files. That was my log-line, not Desperate Housewives meets Charmed. Both of those shows are amazing, but to me, this is a little more planted in reality.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.