Kevin Williamson is a very busy man. Not only does he write and produce the successful CW series The Vampire Diaries, based on LJ Smith’s novels, which is about to start its third season, he even had time to write the screenplay for Scream 4 which opened this year. And now he’s bringing another of LJ Smith’s series of books, The Secret Circle, to the small screen.
The show spotlights Cassie Blake (Britt Robertson), on her return to Chance Harbor, Washington, following her mother’s tragic death in a fire at their home. Cassie soon discovers that she is part of a Secret Circle of witches who have been waiting for her to return, as she is the key the binds the Circle together.
What is it about LJ Smith’s novels that make them easy to adapt for television?
‘Easy’ is not in the universe here. It’s not easy. It’s a challenge, it’s actually really hard. But what I love so much about LJ Smith’s world is that she taps into the stuff that I love.
She taps into my happy place, which is growing up, the coming of age, the teen angst. But then she mixes it with the genre which I love and spins it all around. And one of the challenges is adapting that to a series because there’s a series of books.
She really delves into the history, the past and the future and all these different areas. To serialize that into a weekly story and build the mythology. And it’s a challenge. And to do it with pace and the storytelling which I like to generate, it’s often hard. But it’s also fun.
I love LJ Smith. The betrayal, the deceit, the friendship, the loyalty, the love, the murder, the mayhem, all of that stuff is my happy place. So for that, I take my hat off to LJ and thank her, and God bless you. She’s made it easy and hard for me all at the same time.
Because of the way the pilot was set up it seems everybody in town knew that there was a Secret Circle, and pretty much everybody knew about these witches. Is that just because it was the pilot? Are we going to see interaction with people who don’t know about them?
Oh, sure, absolutely. Like LJ Smith has set up, there are these six families with their lineage of the Circle. But there are also other witches in town, because if you really dissect the mothers and fathers and how it all happened, there has to be more than just six.
Also there are a lot of townspeople, and there are a lot of people who have no idea about witches. It’s a normal small Midwestern-type American town, and they do not know anything of witchcraft for the most part, and the mystery of this Circle is it’s hidden.
It seems as if this is headed to an intergenerational war. Is that what it’s going to eventually get to?
Yeah. There is this idea of what happened 16 years ago? What is this thing that chased Cassie’s mother from this town? What was so horrific? And, I think, as our new Circle tries to uncover that for fear of their own future, a lot of those discoveries do go intergenerational.
We have the Dawn (Natasha Henstridge) and Charles (Gale Harold) Circle, but we also have Jane (Ashley Crow), who is Cassie’s grandmother, who has her own Circle. So, yes, there is this generational aspect if you look at the hidden mythology.
The Secret Circle films in Vancouver and The Vampire Diaries is shot down in Georgia. Wouldn’t it have been easier to bring this down to Georgia near that set for the inevitable crossover episode that we’ll see someday?
I don’t know if you will see that crossover episode because here’s the deal – I didn’t want this show to look like The Vampire Diaries. You want this show to look like its own show. You want it to be its own world. And changing the setting to Chance Habor, Washington; Vancouver gives us the luxury of pointing that camera and shooting it outside wherever we want, and we get beauty.
And the worlds don’t mix. If we put these two worlds in the same universe, the witch mythology in LJ Smith’s The Secret Circle doesn’t connect. We would be tied to the werewolf and vampire lore of the witchdome, and then that would limit us. We need to start at ground zero and create our own story and create our own mythology and build from there so that we can tell as great a story as The Vampire Diaries, is my hope.
Can you give a little preview of what’s coming up with The Vampire Diaries this season? Is Bonnie going to become a stronger witch?
Bonnie is very pivotal as we left Season 2, where the man she loves is seeing dead people, and he’s seeing the only two other women he’s loved in his life. That story plays out right from the get-go. What exactly are these entities that Jeremy is seeing roaming around his house? Are they ghosts? What kind of ghosts are they? What does the ghost mean to our supernatural world? What is our spin on this?
What about Michael Trevino’s character being a werewolf?
Michael Trevino plays Tyler. That triangle is going to continue to play out between Tyler, Caroline and Matt, who is our only human, who is now in the know, and so that’s going to get fun. My best friend’s a werewolf. The girl that I love is a vampire, and where do I fit into all of this?
And so we’ve got all that going on here. That triangle is going to be completely side-by-side with the Stefan, Elena and Damon triangle.