Shadowhunters interview: Jade Hassouné on Meliorn, story ahead, web series, and more

JADE HASSOUNEOn Monday night, the latest Shadowhunters episode will be here in “The Fair Folk,” and all signs point to it being a big one. Not only will you learn more about the Seelie Court, but hopefully this means an opportunity to see more of Jade Hassouné as Meliorn. He’s coming off of a great episode featuring him alongside Raphael and Izzy, and there could be quite a bit more where that came from.

In leading up to this episode airing tonight, CarterMatt had a chance to speak with Hassouné about his character, getting to take on different aspects of him, and also his web series That’s My DJ, which you can see over on YouTube. (Season 3 will kick off on July 7.)

CarterMatt – What is the general reaction that you receive about the character? Is it very positive?

Jade Hassouné – It’s been so fantastic. I’ve been blessed with this fantastic magical character. As soon as they announced it, my phone blew up and I had to turn off all of my notifications because my phone couldn’t function.

There was already such a big, huge fan base already because of the books, and it’s not often that it happens that you get to start a show with a fan base that is already so passionate and so protective. My character is not necessarily the nicest in the books and people don’t really like him, but I’ve had an amazing response and people have really fallen in love with the character.

Honestly, I’ve just received [positive] feedback and I love the fans so much. I relate to them. I also [get excited] over things.

With Meliorn you obviously have the books, but you also want to have something things about him that you can relate to. What do you draw from?

I auditioned for some characters before [Meliorn], so when I did I looked up the show and was like ‘hey, The Mortal Instruments. I’ve seen this before.’ I looked at all the fanfiction, the fan art, and the official art as well … I read book one and two before I got to set so I could get a good sense of [Meliorn after getting the part]. He’s well-written, so I really got a sense of him. I knew about faeries and elves, so I just went into it intuitively from there. I took a lot from nature, crystal energy and technology. Things like that.

How much advance warning do you have when you’re going to be showing back up?

I think that is the thing that is most certain which is that nothing is certain in the TV industry. When I first started [the show] they were like ‘we think that there are this many episodes that Meliorn is going to be a part of.’ It could change, it could not. It’s constantly changing. That’s what people don’t realize — when you are shooting, things are changing constantly. It keeps changing and morphing as it goes. I just appreciate what I have when I’m able to be a part of the story. So far, so good.

I don’t want to spoil too much about how Meliorn comes back, but when he does it’s really good. I like popping in and out; they haven’t really dived too much into the faeries and the Seelies yet, but I know that when they do show up it’s really exciting.

Given that the next episode is going to feature the Seelie Queen it seems possible that Meliorn could have some involvement in that.

(Laughs) If people are fans of the books, then they know that something is going on. Meliorn is part of the Seelie Court, so he should be there with the Queen. But, the cool thing is that there are some differences in this episode. It’s a mix of book 2 and book 3. I think that people will really like it — there are some things from later in the story that are going to be blended into this episode, which is supposed to be book two.

The writers have done a good job at giving you different things to do and people to work with. Even with this past episode, you had a chance to do the team-up story with Raphael and Izzy.

Let me just say — the episode with [those three teaming up] was so much fun and I had a really good time filming that. I got the bug and want that to happen again — such a cool team.

I’ve gotten to do so much different stuff. In season 1 there was a whole lot more magic with Meliorn, which was really cool. Also, in coming back in season 2 and being so different physically was cool. Then, in this past episode getting to show more of the warrior aspect … I love the differences and the different things that I get to do. I’m excited to see what they come up with.

This show, despite having the books out there, still keeps things really under wraps. Is it fun for you to play around with that idea of mystery, and having to be so coy with what’s coming?

It’s really funny, because in some ways it parallels Meliorn’s way of thinking. He really can’t lie, so he always twists the truth and speaks in riddles. In a way, it matches up perfectly.

[What’s coming up] is a mystery to me as well, so it feels kind of normal at this point. I didn’t really know what’s coming. Sometimes we shoot episodes out of sequence, so I don’t know what happened before. It’s very odd sometimes and very challenging because you’re unsure, but looking back at this past year, which was full of mystery and unknown, I’m glad that I went through it. I got to change my perspective and focus in a different way. I didn’t depend on screen time or anything to define my path or who I am or my sense of joy. I got to reevaluate and appreciate so much that was already there, and be open for more. So I get to go about my journey and when I’m part of it, I’m super-happy. I’ve found such amazing friends in the process, and I hope it continues.

It’s been good. I wouldn’t trade this mystery aspect for anything.

In looking at what you’re doing on That’s My DJI lived there for five years and one of the cool things about it to me is that you actually get to see Toronto rather than it doubling for somewhere else. What’s it been like to work in this sort of medium, where you’re doing something that is visually and stylistically so different?

I also lived in Toronto for five years, and shooting an independent project is unlike anything else. That’s why a lot of big actors choose to do projects like that. There’s such a passion and a love for the art. It is there in big products, but because it’s such a big machine usually there’s no time to dwell on it. You have a hundred people waiting [for you].

With a project like this, you have a small crew and it’s such a passion project from a creator that happens to be a friend of mine. It’s been incredible. I used to be a fan of it when I saw season 1, but through synchronicity I was a part of a party called Home Brew, which is a real party in Toronto and it’s featured in the show. I was drawing posters for it. The next thing I knew, after a year of working together, [creator] D.B. Waterson, who is also a DJ, said to me ‘hey, you’re going to be in season 2.’ I was like ‘whaat!?’. Then, she said I was going to be the lead in season 3 and I was like whaaaat?!

I’ve been so, so happy. Season 3 is coming out on July 7, and it’s my first lead in a series. I’m so excited for it to come out. I think it’s the best work that I’ve done on-camera so far, and the fact that I get to share it on YouTube with the world is incredible. I’m so pumped for people to check it out.

In going back to shooting in Toronto, I think it really reflects the city and the underground music scene that’s there. It’s such a cool thing to see something real. It’s as real as possible.

Is there anything else coming up that you want to share?

I can’t tell you much about this, but I am a part of a Ubisoft video game coming out in the fall of 2018. It’s a new release for the Nintendo Switch, and it’s kind of like a Star Fox 64 meets Star Wars in an open concept galaxy. It’s called Starlink: Battle for Atlas and it’s so cool. I’ve already posted a teaser about it on social media — I can’t say anything else about it, but I’m hoping I can say more soon.

Further coverage

If you do want to get some further news right now when it comes to Shadowhunters and Monday’s episode, you can find that over at the link here. (Photo: Freeform.)

Want more TV news? Then sign up for the CarterMatt Newsletter!