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Feature: Charmed

Sitting Pretty

Early days for Paige as she discovers her powers

Whether it’s evil warlocks, worried boyfriends, or blood sugar levels, there’s no problem Paige Matthews, or her alter-ego Rose McGowan, can’t conquer…

Sitting in her trailer on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood, as the Charmed production crew readies the next shot, Rose McGowan, aka Paige Matthews, is chowing down on a cookie and making pre-interview small talk. “I’m so sorry,” she says. “I’m having low blood sugar problems.

“I’m so embarrassed,” she says, laughing, “but if I don’t eat something I won’t have any energy.” McGowan finishes her snack and pronounces herself ready to chat. “OK,” she says. “Let’s go.”

McGowan arrived on the Charmed scene four years ago, at the beginning of Season Four. It couldn’t have been easy. A veteran of indie features – from Scream to Jawbreaker, Southie to Going All the Way – she was suddenly thrust into a weekly TV series, with its relentless schedule. Plus, Charmed came with a set of other unexpected challenges. First, there were special effects aplenty with which to deal. Second, Charmed was a show in transition; some might call it turmoil. When it began, it starred Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano as Prue, Piper and Phoebe Halliwell, aka The Charmed Ones, sisters and witches who took it upon themselves to protect people from evil in all its manifestations. Doherty exited after Season Three, reportedly under less than ideal circumstances, and McGowan was called in to replace her.

McGowan was introduced in fourth season premiere Charmed Again as Paige Matthews, half-sister to Piper and Phoebe, who was raised by an adoptive family but always knew she was a little different. Just as Paige’s presence restored the Power of Three, McGowan’s presence helped steady the Charmed ship; the ratings stayed bewitching and a sense of calm enveloped the production.

“I would say that I’ve definitely tried to make her more of a comic foil on the show,” says McGowan, who’s attired in a camel-colored mini-skirt and an Army-green tank top. “I think it was some reviewer that actually said it best. This reviewer said that she’s like ‘Baby Lucy’, with a big dash of vulnerability. I find that to be a good summary of the character. I think the vulnerability factor is what connects people to the character, and to the show; that and the fact that we try to base it in reality. Certainly, we’ve got a lot of bizarre dialogue. And certainly we’re dealing with unreal situations all the time, but it’s ultimately about the three sisters. Person to person, when people me, they usually say, ‘You’re nothing like your character.’ My voice is different. I can certainly be goofy, but I’m not as goofy as the character. You need some sort of levity, I think, but I do like that she is rooted in reality.”

by Ian Spelling

Get the full interview in
Xposé #89

Photo © Warner Bros
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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Xposé #89, see below for ordering options
Xposé #89
October 2004
ships from Oct 7 2004
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