If you love the world of Shadowhunters, or enjoy the music in That’s My DJ (or both), then you know about Jade Hassouné. Jade plays the Seelie knight, Meliorn on Shadowhunters and Sam on That’s My DJ. I got a chance to talk to him about both shows, and some of his other projects.
Leaf Miranda: How does it feel to be a Lebanese actor and represent that group?
Jade Hassouné: It’s good, haha! I grew up mostly in Geneva, Switzerland, and most of my life in Montreal, Canada, and went through the French System in school. I never really felt like I was 100% Lebanese in terms of my social life. My personality really developed as an American, but I am proud to be Lebanese. I love Lebanese culture and where I’m from. It’s really cool to say that a Lebanese actor made it in America. There’s not a lot of us. The cool thing too is that we’re kind of ambiguous, we’re mixed with a lot of different cultures like French and Europeans, so people never really know where I’m from and I get to kind of be a chameleon all around, but I’m really proud to be Lebanese and represent.
Miranda: What would you say is Meliorn and Isabelle’s relationship? We saw them kind of together in season one, and in the latest episode they seemed cool with each other, so what are they?
Hassouné: It’s interesting because both of them never wanted to admit they were in a relationship and it was more like seeing each other and hooking up. And at the same time they’re both apart of these groups that need to keep an eye on each other and know what the next move’s gonna be, so they always used each other’s attraction and flirtation to get information. It’s really cool because in the books you know that they used to go out, but you don’t really see it ever. It’s always in the background. You’d see them in the Seelie courts in the background talking, but it’s always a backstory like “oh they used to go out” and “they used to this…”. It was really cool to actually do it in season one. I’d say that now they’re kind of passive. They’ll always have a connection and a fondness, but I think it’s done.
Miranda: Last week’s episode we saw the death of a Seelie named Kaelie, and in season one we saw the Seelie mourn over dead scouts, but with her they kind of passed over it. Do you think Meliorn feels something about her death, or is she simply a traitor?
Hassouné: Good question. Well, I know that there’s something brewing. I’m not sure what it is, or who made it, or whose plan it was. That’s where the plot is going right now. The Shadowhunters are trying to figure out what’s going on and who instigated it. I can’t really tell you anything about that, but I think we’re going to find out soon enough because there’s always a hidden agenda and nothing is really what it seems. I’m intrigued as you are because even us actors don’t really know where this is going. I can speculate a lot, especially based on the books because I know what’s going to happen, but I’m interested to see what the writers did.
Miranda: Do you feel that Meliorn is completely with the Seelie since there’s a possible war brewing?
Hassouné: Well, Meliorn is indebted to the Queen, and sort of whatever she does he has to do. We’ve seen him go out of the way to help the Shadowhunters because they had helped him survive and gave him life in season one. It’s a difficult question because the books have their own set thing and the writers are trying to create something else as well, but I’m not sure if they are sticking to it, and I (just for my own self) can’t really tell. It really depends on where they’re going in the war, and they usual side with the winners. The only get involved if it’s beneficial for their race. It’s like kids fighting in the schoolyard, they won’t get involved because they know it’s a small moment and see the bigger picture. It kind of depends on how they can benefit in the moment and who they think will win.
Miranda: What is something more that you’d like to do with this character?
Hassouné: Oh my god, I’d love for him to be around a little more. In the last episode Meliorn joined the fight. Raphael, Isabelle, [and him] became like a Scooby gang and fought evil together. I love that stuff! So I really wish that continues. Just like in season one when Jace and Meliorn were fighting side by side, I think that’s so cool. I like when he’s an ally, to be honest. I don’t like when he’s an enemy. There’s a lot of potential for him to be an ally and for the Seelies to be an ally.
Miranda: I want to transition into That’s My DJ. How is it different playing Sam compared to Meliorn?
Hassouné: It’s so different. I feel That’s My DJ is a very real representation of people in their 20’s and 30’s sort of living in the city and trying to create a life for themselves. They’re trying to become professionals in what they do for the music industry, specifically the nightlife party industry. It’s totally different. No magic. No fantastic way of thinking. Sam is very real, and it’s really cool to be able to do that, especially the style of the show, because it’s unedited and real. It’s kind of like how young people speak in general. It’s extremely different. I was fortunate enough to do both [shows] at the same time. I’d jump back and forth between a crazy fantasy epic world to a more city life.
Miranda: That’s interesting. I didn’t know you did both shows at the same time.
Hassouné: Yeah, it’s kind of cool because as soon as I got Shadowhunters, that same week we had started fundraising for That’s My DJ to create seasons two and three, and it’s been paralleled together this whole time.
Miranda: Is it different filming for That’s My DJ because the episodes are really short?
Hassouné: It’s extremely different in terms of size and production value. Even though the quality is looking really beautiful in both cases one of them is a big TV show machine with a hundred people and the crew, and there’s a crazy schedule to follow because time is money. The same thing with the other one where no one has a lot of time, but it’s a small intimate crew. It’s a very closed set with not a lot of people and a lot of intimate scenes. It was often the cinematographer, James Poremba and D.W. Waterson, our creator and director, and whoever was involved in the scene. It was very small and very cool, and I love that because magic happens. There’s a lot more focus. It’s very different to explain. Shooting time [is different]. Shadowhunters, I shoot most of my scenes in an episode over two or three days, sometimes all crunched in together. That’s My DJ, we had two weeks to shoot the whole season and fit as much as we could, but we had a bit more time for that.
Miranda: Season 3 is all about Sam. How does it make you feel being in the spotlight this time around?
Hassouné: Honestly, it’s been a dream. It’s my first lead role, and it’s so fantastic. It’s been a blessing and a dream honestly. I’m so proud of it. I think it’s my best work to date. I can’t wait to share it with everybody. In terms of how it felt in the spotlight, I don’t know, it’s great because I had an opportunity to show up on set everyday and kind of set the tone for the whole set. I was so excited and passionate about it that it was easy. I didn’t feel any pressure or anything like that. I just went in each day happy to have people around me, and most of them are my best friends and it was so incredible to work with people I respect and love so much as people already. We’d come together and everyone’s donating their student talents and being so open and so loving. It was so exciting. It’s been a dream, and it’s given me the bug and I want to do this more often. I hope people like it.
Miranda: I’ve been informed that when you’re not acting you’re involved with comic books, fashion and music. Is there anything you can say about those projects?
Hassouné: Let’s start with fashion. Fashion is something I really wanted to be a part of. I find that the music industry is so cool because you know musicians wear such cool fashion and represent so many different artists on their bodies, kind of like works of art. Lady Gaga, let’s say, she wears incredible stuff. I found that acting traditionally is kind of boring [in] that sense because it’s like suits and pants. So I decided, you know what, I’m going to make it more interesting. I decided I’m going to enter the fashion world and it kind of happened naturally, I met some friends who were involved in the fashion industry and next thing I know I was roommates with one of them and assisted him in many things, and he created his own line. Another one of my best friends from Montreal, she created something and launched it on Tumblr and it kind of exploded from there and it’s been going pretty well for her, and I’ve pretty much been wearing her stuff all the time. It’s like walking art. I love wearing art. So that’s the fashion aspect. I welcome all fashion artists and if they want me to wear anything at events. I love doing that.
Comics I’ve always done as a kid. I come from a family artists. My grandfather was a famous painter in Lebanon, and he gave that to my parents, so I sort of always did it for fun. Never really wanted to pursue it as a main career, but always did it. Then a couple years ago, I was on a show called Heartland and it allowed me to take a lot of time off. I decided, you know what, why don’t I hone my skills in comics and graphic novels, so I did a program to get my cartooning certificate. So now I’m a certified cartoonist. I don’t have as much time to do it as I’d like to, but I’ve done some stuff. There’s a party called Home Brew in Toronto, which happens to be in That’s My DJ because the creator was a DJ and [she] created this monthly party, and we started collaborating where I’d be making the poster each month. I love to make portraits of my friends and give it to them as presents. My next projects are to create some graphic novels and some comics. I have some collaborations in the works. Most of it is in my head. I have some sketches and drawing books I’m sort of working on. I feel like it will be later in my life where I’ll be publishing stuff, and it will be cool because I’ll have a bit of a following and most of them are amazing fan artists that I’ll be able to share this stuff with. I’m a total comic book nerd!
Music has always been a part of my life as well. My mom is a great piano player, and it was always natural to me. I love pop music. I love doing covers. I’m always jamming and singing. I did some pop songs with some friends who are producers. It’s always something I wanted to do as well, so I’m trying to see how I can incorporate that with my career. Right now I think doing the Youtube video covers is a cool and interesting way for me to do that. Let’s see what happens. I feel like I meet really talented people that I want to collaborate with and we’ll see if something evolves from there.
Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8/7c on Freeform.
That’s My DJ: http://www.thatsmydjseries.com