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Actress Melanie Haynes gets tough on WGN America's 'Salem'

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Actress Melanie Haynes is one strong lady. And by ‘strong’, I’m referring to the types of the characters she’s been taking on lately – tough, vocal and no-nonsense women.

On the latest episode of WGN America’s new witchy period drama series, “Salem,” Melanie doesn't mince words while looking for answers. And, she keeps it real with the help of a baseball bat in the indie feature, “The Last Words,” which recently premiered at WorldFest-Houston.

Previously, Melanie has appeared in and voiced numerous television projects, including “A Face to Kill For,” “The Con,” “Arrest & Trial” and “The Daily Apple.” A Houston, Texas native, she earned her Bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate in Theater and English at the University of Houston, and danced for several years with Patsy Swayze’s Houston Jazz Ballet Company. In addition to acting, Melanie runs her own professional voice over studio which she established back in 2002.

We recently caught up with Melanie Haynes to find out about “Salem,” “The Last Word,” and more.

Tell us about your role on the new show “Salem.”

MELANIE: I'm a very vocal part of a very angry mob in “Salem.” Many terrible things have happened which we blame on a family we believe to be witches. I get to give Cotton Mather (Seth Gable) a piece of my mind.

What was it like bringing the 17th century back to life?

MELANIE: This was a wonderful experience. If you've watched the show, you know the sets and costumes are absolutely fabulous - very authentic. Just putting on the clothes and walking onto the set puts you into character and into that period of time. The buildings are all real and the doors open into rooms that are accurate for the period down to the smallest details. We were lit by real torches in the doorways and lanterns with candles. The street was cobblestones -- and realistically uneven. I really felt at home - like I must have lived during that time.

Any interesting or spooky stories from the set?

MELANIE: It's a little spooky just being out in the middle of the piney woods in Louisiana. I wouldn't want to wander into those woods by myself!

You also appear in the indie film “The Last Mark” which is currently on the festival circuit. What can you share with us about this film?

MELANIE: “The Last Mark” was lots of fun for me to shoot. I play Sissy, the owner of the bar where all of the present day scenes take place. She's a baseball bat toting, hardworking gal who is at her wits end with all the stories and laziness of her brother. Sissy knows what's what, and she can see how those in power are trying to keep young Hoppy (Jeremy London) under control. The film reveals the stories of the good ol’ days of a legendary card shark (Bo Brinkman) and his sidekick (William Morgan Sheppard), which leads to the exposure of a long lost dark secret. It’s only then, that the legend’s son (Jeremy London) can escape his bleak future as a ‘mark’ and find redemptive kindness.

You seem to play non-nonsense, tough characters in both projects. Would you consider that “type” casting or do you usually play opposite your real personality?

MELANIE: Ha! Well, I guess I can be tough. I've raised three strapping sons. I am a strong person, and I am often cast in roles of strength. I come across as strong, physically, too. However, I've also played a lot of kind loving women, although not usually a victim. One of my favorite roles was in a made for TV movie called "A Promise to Carolyn". I played the aunt of three little girls who tried to protect them from an abusive step mother.

Do you prefer working in film or television?

MELANIE: I love both! Of course, television usually works much faster than film, but that isn't a problem for me. I do a lot of voice over work, too, so I'm used to picking up a script and working with it quickly!

Lastly, how can your fans keep up with you?

MELANIE: My website: http://www.melaniehaynes-actress.com is a good place to keep up with my current projects, read my blog and press releases, and link to all of my social media sites. There is also a button on the homepage to sign up for periodic email updates. I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks, Melanie! We’ll be sure to stay on your good side.

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