Exclusive interview with Jade Hassouné

July 9, 2016 | Jade Hassouné plays seelie Meliorn in Freeform's "Shadowhunters", which is based on the books by Cassandra Clare. In our interview we talk about Jade's experiences working on the show, his character, the Mortal Instruments fandom and about his webseries "That's My DJ".

Foto: Jade Hassouné - Copyright: Lesley Bryce
Jade Hassouné
© Lesley Bryce

Note: © myFanbase 2016 - The interview is exclusive to myFanbase and may not be published on other websites or the like. You may share the first two questions (up to 180 words) if you link back to this site. Translations other than English and German may be posted with full credit including the link to this site.

German translation of the interview.

1. When you started out as an actor you probably had some ideas about the job. Did it turn out to be what you expected?

Acting was a long time dream of mine, it sparked my interest as a kid when I understood that some adults did that as a legitimate career in this world. Then when I started training, and performing in small community shows I got the life-giving feeling and inspirational aspect of why I wanted to do it. The creative energy that flows while we rehearse or perform a scene is hard to describe into words, every artist or athlete will know what I mean, or anyone with a passion that focuses and connects them. The acting world turned out exactly how I had imagined. Of course what I hadn't fully excpected was the inner self growth and challenges that I constantly have to navigate and allow and align with. To be a balanced aligned human being is truly the work of an actor, which is not always the easiest of things. The filming / performing is, in my opinion, the vacation and fun part.

2. Could you talk a little bit about the casting process of "Shadowhunters"? Did you audition for Meliorn or originally for another character?

I auditioned for Alaric, and then Raphael and Meliorn was the third. The casting lasted a month, with an audition and callback every week. It was very exciting to get to know the "ShadowWorld" and to follow the buzz about the show on social media. So with every character I auditioned for, and with everything I learned about the magical world Cassandra Clare created, I became more excited and dreamed of joining the rest of the cast. When I saw the breakdown and info about Meliorn, I couldn't believe how perfect this character was to what I've always wanted to play. I tried not to get too attached to the role even though I would get chills in my body when I thought of being part of it, confirmation and knowing that it was the right path. Often you know when a role is meant for you, you can feel it in every cell of your body. There was too much evidence that this was "meant to be" and so I relaxed into it. Then it all happened really fast. And I'm still riding on that dream come true.

3. By playing Meliorn you became part of an international passionate fandom. What was it like when you were announced as Meliorn? And is it difficult to meet the expectations of the "Shadowhunters" fans?

When they announced me as Meliorn my phone exploded with notifications from all my apps. Now I turn my notifications off, haha. It was so heart warming and exciting. They all welcomed me with open arms, fandom and cast/crew. I started to read the books right away and I stayed true to my intuition about who the character was based on what I read and sensed from the books. I've only received positive feedback from the fans. Alot of them have said that's exactly how they imagined the character. I love the fandom, it's one of my most cherished aspect of all of this taking off. The friendship and online community and interaction we all share, and the fanart!! The best. I have a lot of freedom to add to Meliorn's character since you don't get too many details in the books at first. He develops over the course of the novel series. But there is an overall sense of who he is early on, based on little character traits and his way of speaking, an energy about him and descriptions of Faeries that was clear to me and I went with that.

4. Talking about fandoms, what have you been passionate about, e. g. comics, sports or movies?

I am one of the biggest "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" fanboys in the world. And so I completely understand and identify with the "Shadowhunters"/"Mortal Instruments" fandom. So "Shadowhunters" is the perfect show for me to be in. I'm also obsessed with comics and graphic novels. I obviously still follow the Buffy storyline through the comics. And I try to find less known masterpieces when it comes to graphic novels. My favourites are the self made and self published ones. "Habibi" and "Blankets" by Craig Thompson are superb. I sometimes dip into the superhero franchises but they interest me less.

5. How did you prepare for your role before filming? Did you read the books by Cassandra Clare or did you look up some details on your character on the internet?

Reading the books was so important to me. To get a feel of the fantastic world that I was about to be a part of. So I read book 1 and 2 of "The Mortal Instruments" right before starting to film. Then while I had already started shooting, I went on to read 3, 4 and 5. I wanted to save book 6 for later, which now seems to pop into my mind more. I know that Meliorn has a bigger part in that one, so I can't wait to read it. (Even though I already know a bit of what happens ;) ) I'm trying to milk the series as long as I can because I don't want to let it go just yet! So before I finish The Mortal Instruments, I'm now at book 2 of the Infernal Devices which takes place in 1878, London. Such a great series so far. So cool to hear from the past to add depth to the present. Luckily Meliorn is a faery and doesn't age the same as humans, so there are little hints as to what he's up to.

Foto: Jade Hassouné - Copyright: Lesley Bryce
Jade Hassouné
© Lesley Bryce

6. How would you describe Meliorn's characteristics? What is driving his actions? Could there be some big secret plan that the viewer - and you maybe as well - not know about? Are there some aspects of his character you can identify with?

Ooooh spoiler alert!! Haha no I won't reveal anything here, the reader will have to look into it. Faeries are very difficult to predict or pin down. They are neither good nor evil. They play by their rules. They are very connected to nature and to their inner guidance. They do as they see fit for their race and don't get involved or into fights unless they have no choice or have something to gain from it. They will stay away from battles that don't involve them, and won't join sides unless it makes sense for them and for the purpose they fulfil on this planet. They do answer to the Seelie Queen and Meliorn is her right hand man. He kind of owes her his life in a way. That's all I can say. Faeries (Seelies) have been around for a loooong long time, and so they love to observe and interfere only when necessary. You'll have to watch to find out more!! I'm very similar to Meliorn in many ways. I try to stay connected to Nature, I meditate as much as I can and hold my inner being and intuition in high regards. Part of my work as a human is to cultivate an energy and aura of peace, while spreading Self-Empowerment.

7. Meliorn is a seelie and a downworlder, Isabelle a shadowhunter. Do you think they have deep feelings for each other? Or is it more like an affair which is used by both characters to get some information of the other one's people? Do you see a possibility that Isabelle and Meliorn get back together?

There's a bit of both. I believe Meliorn truly cares about Isabelle and in season 1, Izzy shows that she too cares for him by creating a huge rescue mission, breaking the law for him. There are a lot of things that come in the way like the politics of the Clave and the fact that Meliorn has demonic blood, but he has angelic blood as well. So you can't assume that he's evil. They are both part of different races with different agendas and obligations, they do have the advantage of getting information from each other to help their team, and they do enjoy spending some fun times together, so it's a win-win for now. At the end of season 1 we aren't too sure as to where their relationship is. It seems like it will continue for a little bit, we'll have to see what the writers are up to.

8. Can you tell us, if you will be back in season 2? Which development or storyline you would like to see or to play in the next season?

Of course I'll be back and now we can expect to get into the real storyline of the second book. Obviously there will be some changes, Simon wasn't a vampire yet when they all visited the Seelie Court in book 2. I think we'll see more of the Seelie Court and perhaps meet the Seelie Queen, and I'm hoping to see more Meliorn/Shadowhunter interaction, alliances and missions. Again I don't know what to expect, only basing this off the books. But the writers are good at following the books.

9. On "Shadowhunters" you are portraying a fairy knight. Is there another supernatural being you would like to play in the future?

That was one of my most dreamt about supernatural roles, an elf-type magical being. It doesn't get better than that for me. :) I'd love to be a Merman too.

10. Besides acting you are working on some other projects, e.g. comics and graphic novels, fashion or music. Can you talk a little bit about these projects?

I am! I've got an instagram comic book coming out soon. But won't be saying to much about that. Music is always in the works, working closely with some artists in the recording phase right now. But only as an advisor. I hope to create and record my own stuff in the future. Everything is in the works in those subjects.

Right now, I am part of a webseries called "That's My DJ" season 2. A brilliant mini series about the underground music scene in Toronto, a show about love, told in a beautiful electronic music video style. We raised money for season 2 and 3 last year, and shot two seasons back to back. I play a producer/dj called Sam, an up and coming artist who works at a recording studio, he and his best friend Meagan create a monthly party called Homebrew (which we created in real life as well). The creator of the show is one of the coolest people I know. D.W. Waterson, a brilliant dj/drummer and film maker. Season 2 can be watched NOW at www.thatsmydjseries.com! Also excited to announce that I will be the lead of season 3 due to come out early next year (jan or feb). Check it out!! If you liked the british show "Skins" and the tv show "Shameless", then "That's My DJ" is for you, all wrapped into an electronic music blanket.

11. Since myFanbase is an online magazine about tv shows, we would like to know what your favorite shows are?

My favorite shows are: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "American Horror Story", "Scream Queens", "True Blood", "Episodes", "Avatar: The Last Airbender", "Legend of Korra", "Oz", "Lost", "Modern Family", etc etc... There's too many shows!! Oh and "That's My DJ" and "SHADOWHUNTERS"!!!

Thank you so much for making time for us, Jade, we wish you all the best!

Thanks for chatting with me. I appreciate it very much.

Ceren K. - myFanbase