Exclusive interview with Tessa Mossey

June 11, 2019 | Tessa Mossey plays vampire Heidi McKenzie in season 2 and 3 of Freeform's "Shadowhunters", which is based on the books by Cassandra Clare. In our interview we talk about Tessa's experiences working on the show and the development and feelings of her character.

Foto: Tessa Mossey - Copyright: David Leyes
Tessa Mossey
© David Leyes

Note: © myFanbase 2019 - The interview is exclusive to myFanbase and may not be published on other websites or the like.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.

1. How did you get into acting? Is there a project which is particularly dear to you?

My first role was playing a tree in an elementary school class play! I still remember the song I sang, haha! I became obsessed with theatre and performing and was involved in any class or show that they would let me be a part of! I performed in a lot of community theatre shows and the occasional professional theatre show. A special project was playing Jenny in "Harry Quebert". It was the first tv role of that size that I got to really sink my teeth into, and amongst a group of people who have done this way more and way better than I have. It was very inspiring.

2. What drew you to audition for the role of Heidi McKenzie? How did the casting process go? Did you know the books of Cassandra Clare before?

My agent sent me the breakdown for this role. Originally it was a small guest appearance for one episode in season 2. I hadn't read the books until I found out about the show but I love fantasy and found it really easy to get lost in the material. We thought it would be a fun role but I had no idea production would call a year later to ask me to return to the show.

3. Heidi is a very special character because you can understand in some way why she develops her malicious character traits. What are your feelings towards Heidi? What do you like or admire most about her?

Yes, the audience doesn't always get to see how characters become who they are. I love that we saw some of that transition for her. I have a soft spot for Heidi because she was a blast to play. So unpredictable. "Admire" is a tough word because we're talking about a serial killer!! But what I love about this character is how quickly she assessed the inner workings of her new world and how smart and inventive she is.

4. Heidi is mistreated especially by Raphael in the beginning of the season and then rejected by Simon who she is obsessed with. What's your opinion about her obsession? And what do you think about Simon's reaction when he gets to know her?

Heidi craves connection and is terrified of the possibility of abandonment. She desperately clings onto anyone close to her which works the opposite way she intends. If I were Simon I would be scared too!

5. She follows the advice of Lilith by taking Rebecca and Elaine as hostages. What were the challenges of playing this scene?

One of the challenges was keeping the pace and suspense of the scene while also finding distinct beats and variety within it to keep it interesting.

6. In your opinion, why did she cause nearly a war between vampire and werewolves and then betray the vampires by telling Alec the identity of the perpetrators? Was there an ulterior motive?

Heidi realized that in order to survive she needed to be on top. She was an outsider everywhere, even amongst the vampires. So first, she found a common enemy, the werewolves, to unite herself with the vampires. Then she approached the most powerful group: the shadowhunters. Her goal was to play both sides and have the clan unaware that she had turned them in. This would have given her ultimate power and control.

7. Did she deserve being killed by Maia in the end? Or do you share Simons view?

Heidi was a threat which is why there are laws in place to handle people like her. The mentality that one should kill someone if they are a threat could arguably justify Heidi's actions as well. A large theme in Shadowhunters is that no one is all good and no one is all evil. This season, this storyline was a reminder that we can't be blinded by someone who is "good" or make the assumption that people in positions of power will act fairly. Most of us would say without hesitation that torture is wrong, but then why are we okay with the shadowhunters torturing Lillith? Just because the act is done by people we align with politically does not make the act okay. This season continuously puts the audience in positions where we ask ourselves "woah, why am I okay with torture or murder in this case?". I think it's great that the show is having the audience ask themselves these uncomfortable questions.

8. If you could rewrite her ending what would become of Heidi?

I think her ending was awesome! If I had to, I would love to see her as the head of the vampire clan for a bit longer and watch her unite the downworlders to challenge the shadowhunters and their classist system. There are far more downworlders than shadowhunters and if it's a numbers game the downworlders amalgamating would be a massive threat.

9. What was your favourite moment of the shooting the "Shadowhunters" episodes?

The speech Heidi made in season 3, episode 15 was epic. It scared me to see so much truth in a speech made by such an evil character.

10. As Heidi explains to Simon she truly wanted to become a vampire. Since there has been a huge vampire hype in literature, movies and tv shows a few years ago, do you relate to her fascination?

One hundred percent. When I was younger I wanted to be/date a vampire. "Twilight" is to blame.

11. Besides "Shadowhunters" you have been a part of another great book adaption, "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair". Which would be another book adaption you would like being a part of?

Ooou tough question! Any adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery's work would be very special because I grew up on her novels.

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

Ceren K. - myFanbase