EXCLUSIVE: Newcomer Ashley Nicole Williams has been cast as one of the three leads in Motherland: Fort Salem, Freeform’s newly picked up hourlong drama series from Claws creator Eliot Laurence and executive producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick. Williams takes over the role played by Kelcey Mawema in the pilot in a recasting.
Set in an alternate America where witches ended their persecution nearly 300 years ago by cutting a deal with the U.S. government to fight for their country, “Motherland: Fort Salem” follows three young women – played by Williams, Taylor Hickson and Jessica Sutton — from basic training in combat magic into early deployment. In this world, the traditional roles of gender and power are flipped, with the more dominant women on the front lines fighting looming terrorist threats that are familiar to our world—but with supernatural tactics and weapons.
Williams’ character is Abigail Bellweather, a driven and courageous witch who is excited to join the ranks of the witches’ army.
Amalia Holm and Demetria McKinney co-star in the series, written and created by Laurence.
Motherland follows the tradition of Freeform’s breakout hit Siren, which also is a contemporary take on a classic myth, that about mermaids.
Laurence serves as showrunner and executive produces on the series alongside Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick of Gary Sanchez Productions. Maria Maggenti and Steven Adelson will also serve as executive producers; Adelson directed the pilot. Freeform Studios and Gary Sanchez Productions are producing.
Motherland is Williams’ first series regular role. She’s repped by CESD and Zero Gravity Management.