Honoring the spirit of the magic infused in all its delightful characters, this year’s Halloween special for the GOOD WITCH shares the tale of two hearts intertwined in a mystery. When the ruby stone known at the Heart of Middleton goes missing, it is up to Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) to weave a bit of magic to find out what happened and who is ultimately responsible. In an interview from the set while this year’s Halloween special was being filmed, Catherine Bell talked about what it has been like for her to bring Cassie to life time and time again through all the films, specials, and the current Hallmark television series that seems to have cast a spell over the hearts of fans for over a decade.
What can you share about this year’s Halloween special? Are we were gonna have a Halloween wedding perhaps?
CATHERINE: [Laughs] I can’t commit to that. We’ll see. We’ll have to see what happens. [Cassie and Sam] sit together. That I can confirm.
There is always have the spookier element around the Halloween special, of course. How spooky are we getting this year? Are we going to have ghosts and poltergeists?
CATHERINE: Yeah, not exactly. We never have that. It’s more like Cassie’s magic developed a little bit more subtle and Halloween is one of her favorite times of year.
Are these special to you? Doing the GOOD WITCH specials that have Halloween around them?
CATHERINE: They are. I mean the very first one is a Halloween movie and my kids love the holiday. It’s so much fun. My kids were so little too. My 15 year-old officially started trick-or-treating without me and her friends last year. She goes early with us because she’s the big sister of the family, so she’ll still come and go with us and then go out with her friends later. My little guy is eight. It’s much fun. They love Halloween. They’re already looking at costumes. But to answer your question, I think the magic in this Halloween special, there’s a big theme of love, of course, and there’s a ruby that’s been in Cassie’s family for hundreds of years. Not giving too much away, it’s sort of like the heart of Middleton, and something happens to it, and things with love start going wrong. So Cassie has to use her magic to makes things right again.
I appreciate how GOOD WITCH has kind of claimed Halloween as a good holiday. So many times it is twisted into something dark and sinister, so it’s kind of cool that have that positive connotation. When I grew up, Halloween was my favorite holiday because you dressed up, you get to get candy, everyone’s having a great time, so I just never got the sinister side of it.
CATHERINE: I know, I never had that either. Obviously, when you get to high school, there’s the haunted houses and the whole scary stuff. I don’t like that side of it. Now my kids do really go to the amazing neighborhoods that has all the decorations and stuff, but the one’s that are really scary, we just get bored.
Did GOOD WITCH change the way you felt about Halloween or were you already into Halloween before that?
CATHERINE: I think it was already an important holiday when I did the first movie. My daughter was only three. But, even then, I mean we already enjoyed it a bunch.
Playing Cassie, what about her journey has been most special to you?
CATHERINE: We actually just celebrated our 10 year anniversary. As for the journey, I mean, how it started evolving — the movie when we started the series and then trying to figure out a way to make it watchable every week. Because when you’re doing a movie, it’s just a one-off thing. It’s two hours, beginning to end. I wanted to make sure, like in the movie Cassie tends to kind of always know everything and everything’s fine and things always work out. She’s just got this great attitude and I thought, if we’re going to do this every week, she can’t be that because that’s going to get annoying. Right? And so I’m like, “hmmm, I think we need something a little bit more interesting.” So, of course, they gave her the teenage daughter and the new handsome neighbor, a new love, and all of those things are elements that are going to throw off Cassie’s magic just a little bit. It brought her intuition — or whatever you call it — she’s not quite as good at figuring out how to treat her teenage daughter or her new love. Sometimes she gets worried about them, where other people she just is like, “everything’s going to be fine.” But if her daughter is missing, or something happens to Sam (James Denton), like you don’t know that it’s going to be fine. And I love that. I think it makes her more human, because she is, she’s not only that mystical, magical creature.
What I love is that Cassie is really sympathetic. She could have easily gotten more involved with Nick (Rhys Matthew Bond) life early on, but she just let him have his space. And she’s still even now she lets her daughter, Grace (Bailee Madison) take control over navigating around Nick and what he’s going through. It’s that innate sense that he’s going to fine on his own and she doesn’t need to intervene and be the mother to him has been an interesting relationship.
CATHERINE: That’s true. We finally towards the end of last season started to touch on that where Sam was taking Grace out and doing more and I had this one episode where we sort of bonded in that way. But, yeah, I think that blended thing that was challenging how to maneuver and not try to be their parent and just be their friend.
How will that evolve this next season as far as them blending the family together?
CATHERINE: I mean, we’re just getting started, so the scripts haven’t all come out yet. But I know that with Sam and Cassie getting married it’s going to be interesting because they’re moving into Grey House and then what happens after that — like how Nick and Grace were already having a lot of conflicts — so is that going to get better or is it going to get worse when they have in the same room? There’s a lot of elements there.
Like Sam and Nick have never really picked up on any of the more magical sensibilities of Cassie and Grace.
CATHERINE: They’re just starting to. Sam is finally starting to pick up on a couple times in the last season. We’re hoping you’ll see more of it where, Cassie’s like, “Oh, that’s Martha calling,” and reached for her phone. And he goes, “I didn’t hear the phone ring,” and now he’s like, “Um?” There was one scene last season where he confronts me on it, and says, “come on, just admit it.” And I’m like, “What? What are you talking about?”
For her, it’s innate — it’s who she is and that’s how life is, and she probably thinks, “doesn’t everybody do that?”
CATHERINE: That’s true. And that’s how I look at it, like really, really fine tuned intuition, like she’s just really got that. Which some people have, you know.
Cassie’s gift vs. Abigail’s (Sarah Power) gifts: it seems like Abigail has a little bit more, not necessarily intuition, but she can foresee things. So it’s a little shade different in what Cassie and Grace’s abilities are.
CATHERINE: Right, exactly and Grace as well. She’s got some stuff with that.
Grace seems resistant to it and like she doesn’t always trust her abilities.
CATHERINE: No, she doesn’t trust herself. But you know what teenager does, right? [Laughs] I have a 15 year-old and it is challenging years to navigate and to figure out.
From playing Cassie, do you trust your own intuition more?
CATHERINE: I’ve always had a little bit of that. I’ve always kind of believed that we’re spiritual beings and if we trust ourselves that does kind of work. Like I’ve always found that I have this ability when going someplace really crowded and I know it’s going to be hard to find parking, if before I get there, I just decide, “this is a simple thing — there’s going to be a parking spot right in front.” And I just know it. Like, I mean literally I’ll pull up and it’s crowded and yet there’s that person just leaving. And I’m like, “Yes!”
You kind of willed it into being!
CATHERINE: Yeah, is it magic. [Laughs] Cassie often inspires me. Like there are some days where I’m here and everyone’s back in L.A. and I’m missing them and I know I’m grumpy because of that — but then I will be saying some line that’s just like perfect and I will listen to Cassie and go, “Okay, I need to apply that right now and right here. Listen to what she’s saying.” And sometimes it does — it brightens my mood or just enraptures me.
Is there anything you can share about the relationship between Cassie and Sam moving forward? There’s such a mutual admiration between them and it’s just a wonderful foundation. Maybe you could just talk about what you see for them coming up.
CATHERINE: I had a scene the other day. It was so sweet to film and I just had to tell James, “You are amazing.” Because he’s just saying some things really beautiful about [Cassie], how much he loves [her], and I was thinking it is amazing. It is just such beautiful thing and so important in a relationship to keep that going, because usually once you’re in a relationship you’re like talking about leaving the cap off the toothpaste and the stupid things, and we need to actually remember that someone’s amazing. We are. We all are even though we’re struggling with things or not doing everything as great as we could. And [Cassie and Sam] have that, and it’s so beautiful. It’s a really sweet relationship. I watch with my kids because we watch the show together, we love it — and whenever there is a cute Sam and Cassie scene, I get a little teary. It’s really a sweet relationship.
Working on GOOD WITCH has created a legacy for you, as an actress, as it is a show that people will enjoy for many more generations. That’s kind of got to be interesting and fun. This is the type of show that people take personally — like you are just inviting them into your home. As if this were a home in our neighborhood and we get to check in to see what’s going on in their lives. It feels that real. Perhaps because it’s set in contemporary setting, some how I really feel like these people exist out there and I get to see what’s going on with them.
CATHERINE: It’s amazing! The number of people that come up to me — from my own friends to strangers on the street or wherever — it really makes me feel good. There aren’t many things that can make you say that. Other shows are great shows and great acting, but sometimes you don’t feel so good after watching them. They are so intense or their scary, or whatever. Where this is really just like: I have had a rough week and I’m going to go just watch a GOOD WITCH marathon, make popcorn, and everything’s okay in the world. It’s really sweet. It’s so great. I love coming back here.
To see what mischief and magic Cassie Nightingale and the Merriwick’s have planned for this year’s All Hallow’s Eve special, be sure to tune in for the premiere of “Good Witch: A Tale Of Two Hearts” the 2-hour Halloween special on Sunday, October 21st at 8:00 p.m. on Hallmark Channel.
“Good Witch: A Tale Of Two Hearts” behind-the-scenes clip:
“Pumpkin Patch Match – Fall Charades – Good Witch: A Tale Of Two Hearts”
“Good Witch: A Tale Of Two Hearts” preview: