"SALEM WITCH TRIALS,"A NEW FOUR-HOUR MINI-SERIES WILL BE BROADCAST MARCH 2 AND MARCH 4 ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
"SALEM WITCH TRIALS,"A NEW FOUR-HOUR MINI-SERIES STARRING KIRSTIE ALLEY, ALAN BATES, REBECCA DE MORNAY, HENRY CZERNY, SHIRLEY MacLAINE, GLORIA REUBEN AND PETER USTINOV, WILL BE BROADCAST MARCH 2 AND MARCH 4 ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
(PRWEB) February 13, 2003
SALEM WITCH TRIALS, a new four-hour mini-series starring Kirstie Alley, Alan Bates, Henry Czerny, Rebecca De Mornay, Shirley MacLaine, Gloria Reuben and Peter Ustinov, will be broadcast Sunday, March 2 and Tuesday, March 4 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT; each night) on the CBS Television Network. The drama explores how in 1692 the small Puritan community of Salem, Mass. succumbs to mass hysteria Â enabling a small influential force to haphazardly accuse, jail, convict and even kill members of their own churchgoing community whom they suddenly deem to be witches.
This drama is set within a backdrop of a strict religious community struggling to survive the rugged conditions in their New World colony. While contending with various health, safety, comfort and financial hardships, they are suddenly faced with a group of adolescent village girls who seem to be experiencing violent demonic-induced fits. The frightened community is all too quick to believe the girls' explanation Â that they have become "afflicted" by witches who are living within their own Puritan community. The Reverend Samuel Parris (Czerny), William Stoughton (Ustinov), the Deputy Governor of Massachusetts, and several other male leaders begin a ruthless witch hunt to purge their town and region. Soon no one is beyond suspicion Â though it is the town's women who are most readily accused.
Alley stars as Ann Putnam, the wife of the influential Thomas Putnam, who, in the footsteps of her daughter, Annie, seemingly becomes "afflicted" with strange visions and fits that she publicly blames on the alleged witchcraft of some of her neighbors. Rebecca Nurse (MacLaine), a devoutly religious and kind community elder, is one of the women to fall prey to AnnÂs accusations; Nurse's formerly sterling reputation causes a few to, at least, question the validity of such charges of witchcraft. Reuben portrays Tituba Indian, the Parris family's slave servant, who is among the first to be accused. The shocked and terrified Tituba ends up feigning guilt in a desperate attempt to avoid being hanged. De Mornay portrays Elizabeth Parris, Samuel's strong-willed though sickly wife, who, against his wishes, leaves town with their seemingly afflicted daughter, Betty, in an effort to protect the child from being put on display by her witch-obsessed father. Bates plays Sir William Phips, the no-nonsense new Governor of Massachusetts, who appears to be the townspeople's only hope for bringing an end to the disturbing and deadly trials.
During the yearlong real-life witch trials, 156 innocent people were accused, 30 convicted and 20 killed. This mini-series is the first project to make use of most recent research on this topic.
Kirstie Alley is perhaps best known for her Emmy Award-winning role as Rebecca Howe on the television series, "Cheers." Her additional television credits include a starring role in the series "VeronicaÂs Closet," an Emmy Award-winning role in the CBS film "DavidÂs Mother" and lead roles in the mini-series "Blonde," the movies "Profoundly Normal," (to be broadcast Feb. 9 on CBS), "The Last Don" and "The Last Don II," all on the Network. Alley made her feature film debut in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." Her subsequent movie credits include "Look WhoÂs Talking," "Look WhoÂs Talking Too" and "Look WhoÂs Talking Now," "Sibling Rivalry," "Masquerade," "Deconstructing Harry" and "Drop Dead Gorgeous."
Sir Alan Bates has won Tony Awards for his roles in "FortuneÂs Fool" and "Butley." His additional theater credits include Broadway productions of "Poor Richard," "The Unexpected Man" and numerous productions in London such as "The Caretaker," "Look Back in Anger" and Life Class." Among his extensive feature film credits are "Gosford Park," "The Sum of All Fears," "The Entertainer," "The Fixer" and "An Unmarried Woman." BatesÂ television credits include the CBS movie, "NicholasÂ Gift."
Henry CzernyÂs film credits include "Mission Impossible," "The Ice Storm," "Clear and Present Danger," "The Interview," "After Alice" and "Cement." On television, he has starred in the movies "My FatherÂs Shadow: The Sam Sheppard Story," "Ultimate Betrayal" and the mini-series "Haven," all on CBS, "Shattered Vows" and "A Town Torn Apart," the cable mini-series "P. T. Barnum," and cable movies "The Boys of Saint Vincent," and "Further Tales of the City." Among his theater credits are an Off Broadway production of "Arms and the Man" and numerous Canadian regional productions.
Rebecca De Mornay made her feature film debut in "Risky Business." Her additional film credits include "The Hand that Rocks the Cradle," "Testament," "And God Created Woman," "The SluggerÂs Wife," "Dealers," "Feds," "The Three Musketeers," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Never Talk to Strangers." Among her television credits are the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation "Night Ride Home," on the Network, the mini-series "An Inconvenient Woman" and "The Shining," the movie "Getting Out," the cable movies "Blindside," "By DawnÂs Early Light" and "The Con," and a recurring role on the series "ER."
Shirley MacLaine has starred in almost 50 feature films, countless television movies and specials and numerous Broadway plays, and has written several best-selling books. She made her feature film debut in Alfred HitchcockÂs "The Trouble with Harry" and won an Academy Award for her role in "Terms of Endearment. Her additional film credits include "OceanÂs Eleven," "Steel Magnolias," "Postcards from the Edge, "Guarding Tess," "Some Came Running," "The Apartment," "Irma La Deuce," "The Turning Point" and "Sweet Charity." Among MacLaineÂs television movie credits are "West Side Waltz," "Joan of Arc" and "Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay," each on the Network.
Gloria ReubenÂs television credits include starring roles in the series "ER," the CBS series "The Agency," the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation "Little John," and the movie "Deep in My Heart," both on the Network. Her additional television film credits include "JohnnyÂs Girl," "Confessions: Two Faces of Evil," "Percy and Thunder," "Soul Survivor" and "Feast of All Saints." Reuben has guest-starred on series such as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "China Beach." Her feature film credits include "Nick of Time," "Timecop," "Happy Here and Now," "Pilgrim" and "Macbeth in Manhattan." Her theater credits include an Off-Broadway production of "The Vagina Monologues."
Sir Peter Ustinov has worked extensively in film, television and theater. He has won Academy Awards for his roles in the films "Spartacus" and "Topkapi" and Emmy Awards for the television movies "Barefoot in Athens," "A Storm in Summer" and "Omnibus." His additional film credits include "LorenzoÂs Oil," "LoganÂs Run," "Billy Budd," "Death on the Nile," "Evil Under the Sun" and "Appointment with Death." Among his additional television credits are the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" presentation "Gideon" and the CBS movie "13 at Dinner." In addition to numerous London productions, UstinovÂs theater credits include Broadway productions of "Romanoff and Juliet," which he also authored, "BeethovenÂs Tenth," "Photo Finish" and "The Love of Four Colonels."
SALEM WITCH TRIALS is a production of Alliance Atlantis, in association with Spring Creek Productions. Ed Gernon ("Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows"), Peter Sussman ("Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows") and Paula Weinstein ("The Perfect Storm") are executive producers. Joe Sargent ("A Lesson Before Dying") directed from a script by Maria Nation ("A Season for Miracles").
RATING: To Be Announced