'Shadowhunters' Star Matthew Daddario Warns Malec Fans of 'Frustration' to Come

Jim Halterman
Q&A Freeform

Matthew Daddario as Alec Lightwood in Shadowhunters.

In the world of Freeform's Shadowhunters, there's always trouble lurking around every corner. But now that we know that our beloved Jace (Dominic Sherwood) is the owl demon—possessed to the point that even he doesn't know he's actually working for Mother of Hell, Lilith (Anna Hopkins)—it's only a matter of time before everyone figures it out and saves him, right?

So it's only natural after Clary (Katherine McNamara), we'd look to Alec (Matthew Daddario), Jace's Parabatai, who is always there to watch out for his bestie. But, try as he might, Alec doesn't know what's going on with Jace and, as we'll see in Tuesday's episode, how to even help him.

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Outside of all of that drama, Simon (Alberto Rosende) is in need of a place to live (enter a new face for the popular series) and poor Rafael (David Castro) is in big trouble this week. And what about Magnus (Harry Shum, Jr.) and that conniving Lorenzo (Javier Munoz)?

There's so much in this week's episode and, from what Daddario tells TV Insider, there's more to come. So let's see what he has to say about all the Shadowhunters drama going on. (Of course, we also had to ask about those Instagram photos of his intense workouts in Toronto, where the series shoots.)

So we know the Owl Demon is a horrible thing and the viewers now know it’s Jace. How is this going to affect Alec and the other Shadowhunters this week?

Matthew Daddario: For the whole team, this is now becoming an increasingly frightening thing. At the Institute for Shadow Hunters in general, we have demons coming all the time, killing people like crazy. That's standard day work but this is getting out of hand and we don't really know the scope of this. At the same time, Alec is increasingly concerned about his Parabatai, he's concerned.

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Alec also doesn’t really know what to do for Jace at this point while he’s also running the Institute. Will we see that escalate?

He's taken on this role inside of the Institute which he's not fully prepared for, honestly. And he's honestly not prepared whatsoever for this relationship that he has with Magnus. They're moving pretty quick but he doesn't have the skillset necessarily to deal with these intense, emotional feelings he's having now with Magnus. It’s still relatively new to him. As a result of all this, he fails to help his Parabatai and notice the trouble is there. He's going to fail many times over the course of the season. In fact, he'll make errors that will make him seem like he's a little bit of a fool.

Matthew Daddario and Harry Shum Jr in Shadowhunters.

Do we see him lean on Magnus more or is he going to try to take care of all of this himself?

He puts up a little fight in Episode 303 where he says I'm gonna deal with this and all that, but really, as we move forward we're gonna see that Alec’s focus becomes almost entirely on Magnus. Magnus is involved in everything he does, he's related to his job, his conversations with Jace, with Izzy. Alec's path is going to be learning how to handle the important people in his life, as he's added this new person who he loves immensely. And toward the end of Season 3, we're gonna see how that learning experience has helped him. He's gonna make a lot of mistakes along the way, I have to reiterate that.

Here's a scene from this week's episode where Alec seeks help from Magnus:

When I talked to Javier recently he said that Lorenzo is going be quite an annoyance for both Magnus and Alec. Is that something we'll see pretty soon?

Yes! Lorenzo causes some problems but in an interesting way because his motives are surprisingly human. He definitely causes problems in the future and it's going to be a major source of fan frustration for sure. People are not going to like Lorenzo. He's a bad guy but the dynamic is very fun and I think people are going to enjoy those scenes. And we have several more into the future.

In your opinion, how big of a threat do you think Lilith is going to be compared to other villains?

As the Queen of Hell, I think of it like this—you're only as dangerous as your motives, and you also have to look at what is a person willing to do to accomplish their goal? Some people have a variety of motives and that makes them more easily predictable or easy to control. In the case of Valentine (Alan Van Sprang), he didn't want to kill Jace, he didn't want to kill Clary. He wanted to end eliminate all downworlders, so his goal was clear.

Now the Queen of Hell, she has different motives. She's something of a God. She is disinterested in the wellbeing of Mundanes or Shadowhunters. Screw 'em. She hates all of them, wants them to all die. She likes her son (Jonathan) and wants him to be alive and she wants vengeance upon a certain someone. We’re going to see her disregard for life makes her extremely dangerous because she simply does not care. She'll do anything to accomplish the task at hand. Also, her powers are significantly more dangerous than those of Valentine or Jonathan.

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Alberto Rosende also talks about how Simon really feels about Maia (Alisha Wainwright).

Backing up to Episode 303, how was shooting the dinner party scene with Alec's mother as opposed to the usual doom and gloom that goes on in this world?

I like when we do stuff fun and we have to have fun scenes because the show lends itself to it. If we take ourselves too seriously, it's not gonna play out well because it gets a little bit exhausting. And in order for the fans to feel the weight of doom and gloom, you need to have some comedy along the way. That's an age-old rule of storytelling, so it's nice that we have these little moments. And working with Nicola (Correia-Damude, who plays Maryse Lightwood) is so wonderful and such a tremendous actress and person. So working with her really brings that fun out.

We just had a wonderful time and you can throw someone else into [the Alec-Magnus] mix because of the nature of our relationship being so distinctly strong. Throwing someone else in there makes this interesting dynamic that's very humorous usually. We really like doing that and we hope to do more of that in the future, for sure.

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Lastly, I saw some pictures on Instagram of you working out really hard with veins popping and everything so I'm concerned. Is somebody making you work out this hard, Matt?

[Laughs] You know, they don't make me but, you know, the internet shames you. You get on there and they say, 'Look at him,' and, 'Look at how fat he is in this scene.' So they get on you, and then you're like 'Oh man, I gotta look good for them or else they're gonna shame me.' And that's just how it works. No, I'm kidding. The reality is that I’ve got a trainer up here and it's an opportunity to work out and look more like a Shadowhunter. So that's really my primary focus.

Trust me, when I go onto the next project, I will fit the role for whatever that might be. So if I'm playing someone who's eating a lot of pizza, I will do my best to train myself to eat a lot of pizza.


I remember the very first time I came to set, before Season 1 even started airing, and you guys were very competitive with each other as far as working out. Are you still trying to one-up each other?

The competition only works when it's an even playing field, but I'm just so much better… [Laughs] It's not really a competition as much as I'm really just competing with myself. That's the honest answer. That's the truth. Print that.

Shadowhunters, Tuesdays, 8/7c, Freeform. 

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