Behind the scenes with the hero of 'Salem'
Actor Iddo Goldberg opens up about his role in the popular TV show (which also stars his wife), and what the two have planned for the future.
His varied TV credits include “Mob City,” “Peaky Blinders," “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” and playing Red Tornado on “Supergirl.” But since 2014, Iddo Goldberg has been known to viewers of the horror series “Salem” as Isaac Walton, a reluctant hero in a town overrun by witches. The series launches its third season tonight on WGN.
Out for revenge against the witch Mercy for murdering Dolly, the woman he loved, and determined to protect a young girl from Mercy’s clutches, Isaac is the conscience and heart of Salem. “He’s gone through a transformative period between the last time you saw him and now," the British-Israeli actor tells From The Grapevine. He was shy and broken, but he stood up to the town and told them what he thought of them and their hypocrisy. He became Isaac, the truth teller.”
Goldberg loves the character, which was originally conceived as a guest star role, but he isn’t a big horror fan. “This is a pretty scary show,” he points out. “We shoot just outside of Shreveport [Louisiana] on a huge set on a lake. When you’re filming there at night it can get really spooky when you have to make your way to your trailer and find yourself looking over your shoulder.”
Fortunately, he has his wife – actress Ashley Madekwe, who plays the witch Tituba – to keep him company, though they never have scenes together. The two met 10 years ago while acting in a play in Birmingham, England, when they were guests in the same house. When she joined him in the cast of “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” a few years later, they kept their relationship secret. They married in 2012 and live in Los Angeles when they’re not filming “Salem.”
Initially inspired by the TV show “Bonanza” and the childhood games he’d play with his cousins in Israel, Goldberg later enjoyed Elia Kazan dramas and popular fare like “Cocktail" and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” often skipping school to watch movies.
Having moved to London at age 10 when his father decided to study architecture there, Goldberg began his career as a background actor, eventually segueing into commercials. At 26, he got his first TV series, “Attachments,” playing a homeless computer programmer in a show about an Internet startup.
Since then, roles have taken him from England to America and all over the world. He recently filmed “The Zookeeper’s Wife” in the Czech Republic, a March release with Jessica Chastain based on the best-selling book, and “Anon” in Toronto, a future-set thriller with Clive Owen. It’s also due for release in 2017.
For Goldberg, who hopes to visit Japan and South America, Israel remains a constant on his travel itinerary. He went back in May for his sister’s wedding. He has fond memories of his father taking him and his three siblings to the beach and for long walks near their home. “We’d get up early and explore the great outdoors. I love Israel,” he says. “It’s home, because I was born there. I often think about what it would have been like to stay in Israel.”
Career-wise, his wish list includes being directed by Quentin Tarantino, playing challenging characters and directing films himself. A few years ago, he made “Luba,” a short film about his beloved grandmother, and he directed another short, “St. Jude’s Crossing,” this year.
As for personal goals, fatherhood tops the list. “People around me are having kids. My mom is on us about it, as you can imagine,” he tells us. “I’m looking forward to being a dad.”
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