ShumDario News had the pleasure of attending “The Hunters of Shadow” convention in Paris, which featured several stars of Freeform‘s sci-fi/fantasy drama Shadowhunters. We had the privilege of sitting down to talk with Alisha Wainwright, who plays Maia on the show. We asked her a few questions about her character in a brief interview, which was a tremendous honor for us. She was simply delightful to speak with and so very gracious to tell us a bit about what’s in store for Maia this season!
SDN: What attracted you to the role of Maia? Were you familiar with the books? What aspects of her personality do you find the most interesting?
Alisha: So I didn’t read the books before I auditioned for the role. I actually didn’t know the character was part of a book series. I was familiar that Shadowhunters was a television show. So it wasn’t until I booked the role that I googled ‘Shadowhunters’ and realized that there was an entire fan base around the books.
In that way I met with the showrunners and they explained to me that my character would be very different in essence from the book. But if I wanted to, like there was no pressure to, read it. So what I did was I read the second book to get a sense of the world and then I watched the first season of the show.
The characteristics that drew me to her character is that she’s very defiant but she’s also very loyal. So if she really believes in something she will fully see it through. I think those are really fun, admirable qualities of a heroine, and of a person to look up to.
SDN: Now that Maia and Clary have sort of patched things up after their fight in 2A, do you think they can be friends? Or, considering what happened with Jace, is there more tension coming between the two?
Alisha: Yes, and no one at this stage of the show has dibs on anybody, right? Clary and Simon are boyfriend and girlfriend, so for Clary to be upset at Maia for having an intimate relationship with Jace I think it just goes against her fundamental nature. She’s in a relationship. Yeah, that might make her uncomfortable if anyone ever found out but at the same time I think Clary is a little bit more mature than that. And I do think that Maia and Clary could be friends, and I think that despite Maia hooking up with Jace I don’t think that would really have a huge impact on their ability to like each other.
SDN: We had a bit of Maia’s backstory in 2A, will we see more in 2B? Or will we need to wait until season 3 to find out more about her past?
Alisha: Well I can make you feel better in knowing that you won’t have to wait more. You will definitely get a very in depth insight into Maia’s past. Not in episode 14 or 15, but she’s in episodes 16-20. And in those later episodes you will be able to get more of her backstory.
InsanePetrova: How do you feel about the fact that as a black woman you get to play a badass and strong werewolf on one of Freeform’s top shows?
Alisha: I feel very honored. I’m really happy to be working at Freeform because they are so inclusive of women of color, people of different heritages, ethnicities, queer people, and a lot of their shows have queer centered relationships. And it’s not in a way to say, ‘Oh look we have two queer people on our show.’ It’s like no we have two people who are trying to figure out a relationship and they just happen to be gay, or lesbian, or whatever. So I think Freeform is a great network for being very progressive and Shadowhunters is great example.
SDN: We saw in Shadowhunters episode 13 that you finally had your first proper fight scene, can you tell us a little bit about how you trained for it? And is that something you want to do more of?
Alisha: It took one day to create the choreography and I had been taking boxing lessons for a few months prior, so that’s kind of how we trained. Dom is very great with stunt and fight scenes as an actor. He took to the scene very easily, plus he’s not really fighting that much he’s more defensive. He helped me along with Darren, our stunt coordinator, to make the scene look as fluid as possible. So we train Muay Thai in our dojo, so that’s kind of the base of Maia’s fight structure.
SDN: The cinematography when you actually punched, that was really good!
Alisha: That was a style choice by our director Michael Goi. He’s a cinematographer as well as a director so he has a really good eye for interesting shots.
SebDaddario: Since Magnus and Valentine were body swapped by Azazel in episode 11 of season 2, would you like to see your character body swapping with someone?
Alisha: Wouldn’t it be hilarious if she body swapped with Alec? That would be hilarious. Oh my gosh, so awkward! Alec would be the strangest bartender. I would love to see Alec trying to be Maia, and then Maia being very much like Alec. That would be really funny.
We hope you enjoyed learning more about Maia and we really can’t thank Alisha Wainwright enough for taking time out of her busy convention schedule to speak with us. Our whole team is very excited to watch Maia’s story continue to unfold each week on Shadowhunters, as well as in the upcoming third season.