From the interview archives.
You’ve seen Jade Hassouné before in films like Brick Mansions and Erased, and most recently he has found himself quite the following for his portrayal of Meliorn in Shadowhunters. VULKAN caught up with Jade to discuss the new season, and we got a peek into his love of music and fashion as we learned how he got involved with D.W Waterson on the popular web series That’s My DJ. Read on below.
Tell us a bit about working with D.W Waterson on That’s My DJ? Were you familiar with her prior to the series?
I was! We met years ago and somehow started to gravitate towards each other at events and parties. It was all very natural. We connected and it felt like we were on the same wavelength. One day I went to the “That’s My DJ” season 1 fundraiser and became interested in the series. Months later I showed up at the premiere and became an instant fan. Eventually D.W. told me about her monthly party called Homebrew that was about to launch (she’s always supportive of people’s talents) and when she saw I could draw cartoons, she asked me to design a Homebrew poster and I happily did. That was the start of years of collaborations in many ways. I saw her perform on the drums while DJ-ing and was blown away. I sensed this enormous energy coming from her. A couple of years later she sat me down, said she had watched every acting gig I’d done, and that I was not only going to be in “That’s My DJ” season 2, but was going to be the lead of season 3, and I fell out of my chair!
D.W has said her goal for the series was to get people to believe in themselves and have confidence, something that I imagine you’re familiar with as an actor. What advice might you offer young people who are trying to break into creative careers?
Yes! I’m so glad to be part of a message like that. Find the core of your creative power and express it, no matter what people say you can and cannot become. Be who you truly are without apology. Go deep within and connect to your source, whatever it might be [or] mean to you. Cultivate the space to let who you truly are flow through; it will guide you. You can feel when you are connected… it’s when you feel great and on track. Our job as creative people is to find a way to tune into that creativity, and then it will guide us to the unfolding of manifesting our dreams. All the other details will fill in. We have to go from the inside out. I know it just sounds like words, but there is a feeling that you recognize when you are in alignment with your truest knowing, and no one else knows it but you.
Are you personally into raves and electronic music? Who are you currently listening to?
I love raves and electronic music! I love finding secret art-parties in special locations. There are some magical events out there. I don’t have favorites… I like discovering new artists. Also I’m such a pop-child that I miss out on a lot of cool things. Thankfully I have awesome DJ and musician friends who always open my ears to new music.
Did you get a chance to experience a few different Toronto music venues for the project? If so, which one was your favourite or which one do you hope to check out?
That’s a hard question that makes me realize I should know way more than I do. I have been dragged to many cool event and venues. For the project, however, besides from shooting at our actual “Homebrew” monthly party, we had to create the venues that you experience.
How does working on a web series contrast to working on a TV series like Shadowhunters?
Working on both projects simultaneously has been so fun! The contrast is brilliant. I love being part of a huge Disney machine production like Shadowhunters, but the satisfaction of working on a smaller passion project that has no censorship and that doesn’t get watered down from the original vision wins. Every aspect is more intimate and you have the opportunity to keep a cleaner undiluted creation. With big productions, there are usually a lot of people who have a say in all the decisions that have to be made, and the original vision becomes distorted. In the end I think they both look equally epic.
Speaking of Shadowhunters, Season 2 has been diving into a lot of the characters back stories. Will Meliorn be getting his own back story going forward?
I hope so! Because knowing the books, his back story is awesome!
Fans have been eager to see Meliorn, what has been keeping him so busy lately? Any words for those fans that are actively calling out for more Meliorn on social media?
I know, guys. I hear you and I am feeling the same way. I’m assuming Meliorn’s been traveling the world for Faerie business. I am as eager to have him join the party as you are. It seems like the Seelies are becoming more present now, so let’s see where it goes.
As a fan of the original books yourself, how do you feel the show has done with adapting the original story to the screen?
I think it’s done a good job! I love the way the different books and timelines get intertwined, and how we see more of the background storylines (i.e. Meliorn and Izzy’s relationship) instead of focusing narrowly through Clary’s perspective in the books. Of course some things are hit and miss. I wonder sometimes if someone who doesn’t know the books has a hard time following or knowing that some things are more important than others. And, like most TV shows, things come and go very quickly before you have time to attach yourself. I hope that slows down and that we get to develop our already existing relationships and characters. The opportunity is there, the question is ‘will they take it’? But overall it’s doing a good job!
The show takes a lot of creative freedom, which is great because it allows the story to grow in so many different directions. Where do you hope to see Meliorn end up? Do you think he going to break away from the Shadowhunters at some point or does he feel like he still owes them and the Queen?
I hope to see at least a bit of the storyline from the books, but I also hope we get more of Meliorn joining the gang to fight evil. I love it when our favorite characters put their race differences aside and join together in a sort of “Scooby Gang” to deal with the issue at hand. I hope Meliorn gets a great character arc. Again, the opportunity is there, but will they take it? In terms of breaking away, Meliorn is always a little of a loner anyway, so he’s been away from the drama that he might find petty. However, he is indebted to the queen (as his backstory reveals) and he has to do her bidding as he is basically owned by her. Meliorn is clever though, and finds ways around it. Hopefully we’ll get a cool peek into that side of things.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in this role?
For me it’s been the more technical and production aspect of things. There is a lot of secrecy in the production and things constantly change [and] happen very last minute. To do my job in the best way that satisfies me, I’d like more time and information to prepare at times, but it is exciting to be on your toes and nail it on the first few tries.
Switching gears, I hear you’re really into fashion. Who would you like to walk a runway for?
Alexander McQueen! I wish he was still alive to see what he’d come up with today.
Would you ever consider designing your own clothes, if you haven’t already?
Yes! I’d love that! I’ve done some collaborations with friends who have fashion brands where I’ve drawn designs to put on t-shirts and things, but after observing some of my best friends and their success in fashion, I’d love to see what I could create.
What do you think is the worst fashion trend currently?
I’m not sure! I haven’t noticed something like that lately. I think anything boring makes for a bad fashion trend. When it’s bought at a disposable chain store and just worn with no intention of expressing a little bit of yourself. I love when people wear art. I love when people dress with a sense that they are worth looking like a cool character from anime or adventure film. I love when fashion and art and functionality merge.