ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Elise Eberle is all moved into her new apartment. This is a place she will call home for more than six months – and she’s fine with it.
“It’s really different to live down in the South,” she says during an interview from Shreveport, La. “I’m having a lot of fun learning about the area.”
Since last November, Eberle has been living in Louisiana because she’s filming a TV show. The Albuquerque native is playing Mercy Lewis in the TV drama, “Salem.” The TV show premieres at 8 tonight on WGN America.
The TV show is the first original scripted series from WGN America. The network is working on its second foray into scripted TV with “Manhattan,” which is being filmed in Santa Fe.
“Salem” is set in the volatile world of 17th-century Massachusetts. It explores what really fueled the town’s infamous witch trials and dares to uncover the dark, supernatural truth cloaked behind the veil of the period of American history.
The show also stars Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel, Xander Berkeley, Ashley Madekwe, Tamzin Merchant and Iddo Goldberg.
Eberle has come a long way in the film industry.
Growing up in Albuquerque, she was active in the local theater scene and upon graduating from Albuquerque Academy, she was cast in two movies – “Lemonade Mouth” and “Tiger Eyes.” It was in “Tiger Eyes” where Eberle garnered some critical acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone magazine.
Since then, she has been living out in Los Angeles and working in the film industry. This is her first major role on a TV series.
“It’s pretty exciting because there really hasn’t been a show like this on TV,” she says. “There’s a lot of historical reference and lets the audience see into a time that has since passed.”
Eberle’s character on the show is Mercy Lewis, the daughter of Reverend Lewis, who is fighting a battle with the witches. Eberle says little does he know that Mercy is mysteriously afflicted by a tormentor of unspeakable horror.
“The storyline with Mercy gets dark really fast,” she says. “It’s great because I’ve never played this type of character. I’m battling inner demons and it’s fun.”
While the character is dealing with the dark side, Eberle also had to make a transformation. The actress has always sported long, red locks. Yet to play Lewis, she had to cut her hair.
“I buzzed it off,” she says. “In the first scene, I have long hair, but after that it was cut and I’m wearing like that now. I’ve never had short hair and it was shocking to see myself like this. But it’s for a role and it will grow back.”
Eberle says the crew built a massive town in Shreveport to look like Salem in the 1700s. She says it’s designed to represent an early colonial town.
“It’s unreal to look at the set and be transported to another time,” she says. “I’ve always been into ghost and witchcraft stories since I was little. I grew up in New Mexico, so the folk tales were always around. This TV just adds to my curiosity.”
While Eberle will continue filming until June, she is hoping to be able to do more projects. She’d like to come back to New Mexico to film a TV series or movie.
“I do miss Albuquerque a lot,” she says. “It’s not only my home, but where I got my start in film. There are so many talented people there that I’d like to work with again.”
IN ‘THE MIDDLE’ OF THINGS: Every week you can see John Gammon on ABC’s “The Middle.” Gammon plays Darrin, who is the best friend with not the best of luck. Gammon’s breakout in this role has garnered him some attention in the industry. I got the opportunity to chat with Gammon and discussed “The Middle” and how he would like to be on the “Breaking Bad” spin-off “Better Call Saul.” Visit ABQjournal.com/reelnm to read more.