Now that Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.) and Alec (Matthew Daddario) have finally met, faithful viewers of Freeform’s “Shadowhunters“ are dying to know what happens next.
Sure, we know that in the February 16th episode, the two meet for a
drink at Magnus’ place (see the exclusive photo of Shum Jr. and Daddario
posted here last week), and we’ve seen that Alec seems to be both
intrigued and a little uncomfortable by the attention Magnus is giving
him. And while we know this first season is more about Alec exploring
sexuality (even he was surprised in last week’s episode when Jace’s face
came up as the person he loved the most), what about Magnus’ sexuality?
We know the 400-year-old warlock is bisexual, but there must have
come a time in his life when he was figuring all this out, right? Of
course, I grabbed some time recently with Shum Jr. to talk about that
aspect of his character, how the series has been a chance for him to dig
into a character like never before and, of course, his recent marriage
to longtime girlfriend, Shelby Rabara.
Talk to me first about “The Bane Chronicles,” which I’m not too familiar with. It’s a 40-year period of Magnus’ life, right?
Harry Shum Jr.: It kind of goes through a period of
his life, [and] it jumps around to different centuries of the places
he’s traveled, the odd jobs that he had to do, the relationships that he
had in the past. What a great source to have to be able to just pull
from. I got a question before: “Does that mess you up reading about
stuff?” But that doesn’t mean they’re going to use everything. For me,
I’m able to turn it on and off where I read something because I can pull
an inspiration from just even a bit of information that I can get.
I know a lot of the first season deals with Alec and his
sexuality. Have you thought about or is there anything you’ve been told
about what Magnus’ process was? In 400-odd years he must have went
through a period when he was kind of confused about what he was feeling
for men and women.
HS: Yeah, we do explore in the first season his
background of why he has these feelings and why he struggles with these
feelings. He’s a very confident warlock, but he’s also conflicted in a
lot of ways on decisions that I think a lot of us deal with, like should
we or should we not? We have so much more to explore and how far deep
that we go into because this is not a guy that figured it out in 20 or
30 years. He’s still figuring out his wonder years and that says a lot,
and to me, it’s like what other characters can you compare this to?
Because usually with people who are immortal, we don’t really get to see
this side of them. We don’t get to see them explore their sexuality,
get to explore their relationships with their family, and this guy, his
dad is a demon. I mean, come on.
In case you missed it: In next week’s episode, Magnus and Alec get some one-on-one time. (Freeform)
Has Magnus been in love before?
HS: Yes. He has been in love before, and he’s definitely had his fair share of pain and hurt from that.
What did you learn the most out of the whole first season?
HS: What’s been fun about this process is exhausting
every aspect of a character in a sense of trying to explore every
single scenario to come to the conclusion of whatever is going to end up
on screen. This was a very quick process, but the more that I was able
to read the books…and I have this huge book of Magnus Bane with his
pictures and scribbles and also back story that I’m bringing in reading
between the lines, that’s what I learned. The biggest thing I learned is
to really, really, really explore, and having that chance to do it on
set as well.
Is that new for you? I know when you played Mike on “Glee,” he would get a story in an episode here or there.
HS: He did. Half the time I was in the background. I
wasn’t an A star. I was in a B story. Believe it or not I actually
learned a lot from that process. When you open up a script and Mike
didn’t have anything to say, I would start making up stories in the
background that could be shown physically or with a quick facial
expression that could tell a lot within two or three seconds, because
honestly, that’s all I had. That’s what I had to work with, so now being
able to expand on that has truly been a gift.
Do you think you’ve changed as an actor from the pilot of “Shadowhunters” to the first season finale?
HS: Tremendously. I think not just for me, but being
able to have a rapport with the other actors and trusting each other.
When you first get on something, you don’t know how you guys work. A lot
of my scenes were with Kat [McNamara, who plays Clary], and she blew me
away by how mature she was as a person and how she looked into a lot of
the scenes and how we explored, it was really cool. It’s surprising;
I’m still a young actor, but at the end of the day, it’s really trusting
each other and we got to do that.
You finished filming the first season a while ago. Do you miss Magnus at all?
HS: I miss him. I miss being him, but I don’t miss
the process of putting the makeup on and taking it off. That’s something
that was a little difficult for me to get used to. I felt it for women
who put lots of makeup on and take it off every night. It’s like I had
to do it every single night, but it became second nature. But I do enjoy
just going to sleep by just washing my face and brushing my teeth.
Congratulations on your marriage. How’s the ring feel?
HS: It feels great. I have a rubber one that she got
me for when I work out and so I switch them out. Then I figured out a
technique because when I first tried it I couldn’t even take it off.
It’s like the spin turn if I need to switch them. I love it. I’m getting
used to it.
Was marriage always the plan not just in your relationship,
but in your life? Did you already see yourself married, having kids
eventually and all that?
HS: Of course. Spending your life together with your
best friend I think is something I’ve always wanted, and I never
thought in that best friend level, but that’s what it’s become. Your
lover [and] best friend kind of all combined into one and somebody you
can always fall back into and not just fall back to, but continue dating
for the rest of your life.
I always think of this when I see tv shows with couples talking about their partners, saying that apart from being the person they are in love with, they are their best friends too. And that they are so happy to share their lives with their best friend. I think that this describes RenRuki perfectly.