On the same day that ABC Family is celebrating the launch of their official name change to Freeform, the newly branded network also premieres the highly anticipated series, “Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments,” based on the popular book series by author Cassandra Clare.
Zap2it got to speak with Harry Shum Jr. (“Glee”) about his new role as Magnus Bayne and he dishes on what audiences can look forward to in upcoming episodes.
What drew you to this role?
First of all, he’s a rockstar. You go towards characters who are rockstars. But also what’s amazing is that he’s a warlock. (A warlock is the child of a demon and a human).
So to me that’s a fun layer to have: the magic physically and to also have that magic internally, but also trying to fight through these things that he’s been going through for 400 years. (The high warlock of Brooklyn is also immortal).
How is it working with all the special effects?
When you’re shooting it’s like, “I think this is what it’s going to look like,” but it goes above and beyond. This [show] takes a lot longer [to shoot] because of the special effects, but it’s fun.
What can you tease us about what’s to come?
In the pilot, you’re gonna get a small introduction to Magnus Bayne. But it’s a character you’ll want to know more about. You’re definitely going to get to know more about his actual relationship with Clary (Katherine McNamara), and how he’s affected her life through the last 10 years.
With Magnus, you’re going to see why he loves to party, and also why he is the way he is. What’s fun is that he’s quick with his tongue. He’s really witty.
What about a love interest?
Possibly. There’s a possible shadowhunter (a shadow hunter is an angel-human hybrid) that he has his set eyes on. For fans of the book, they already know who it is but I want to leave some mystery for those who haven’t read the books and don’t know about the story. I want them to discover it as they watch it, as well.
(SPOILER ALERT: Click here if you want to know who the surprising secret love interest will be or get confirmation if you’ve already read the books.)
Is the show’s story true to the books?
Well, its a different medium, it’s not the same as the books in how you consume it — it’s two different experiences, but it’s staying true to the characters. Timeline wise … it can change a little bit, but for the most part, it stays as true to the books as possible with it being properly showed on television.
What’s the most challenging part of playing Magnus?
Really? How long are you in the make-up chair?
Well, it’s a lot of makeup for me! A girl can be like “Oh yeah, Well, I can do that in 5 minutes.” For me, just putting a pencil under my eye is … it takes awhile! Because I’m like “Please stop! I need a rest!” I have a lot of respect to women who wear makeup because It’s not an easy thing, but it’s getting easier over time.
But I love it. I love the costuming. [They use] these rich tones and beautiful jackets that they custom made for me … and the jewelry, which I don’t wear much … so it’s a different role than I’ve ever done before. With the special effects on top of it, it’s so much fun!
“Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments” airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Freeform.