This week we had the chance to interview Nicola Correia-Damude, who plays Maryse Lightwood on Shadowhunters. We know her character as a confident leader in both the Lightwood family and the Clave, but especially in season 2 we’ve seen a new side of her. In this exclusive interview, Nicola talks about Maryse’s development in season 2, the relationship to her kids and other characters on the show, and what might be up for Mama Lightwood in season 3.
SDN: We can see a significant change in Maryse’s behavior towards Alec from season 1 to season 2. Do you think this was led by Alec accepting himself and him proving how great of a leader he can be?
Nicola: Maryse has been through a lot in the last two seasons. Losing the Institute, discovering Alec’s relationship with Magnus, realizing she was wrong about Jace’s betrayal, Robert’s infidelity. Her life is turned upside down and it’s made her realize who she really wants to be and how much she needs her children. Seeing Alec go through so much, and be so strong in the face of everything he’s been through, helps her to see that she can do it too.
SDN: With Alec now Head of the Institute and him allowing complete transparency with the Downworld, do you think this will influence Maryse’s view of the Clave and her attitude towards them, in order for her to be able to provide Alec full support in his decisions as a leader or could this create a new conflict between mother and son?
Nicola: Giving up control of the Institute was really hard for Maryse but she’s much happier with Alec leading them than she was with anyone else. She feels extreme pride in him and in the Lightwood family returning to power. Ultimately she knows that Alec is the next generation and that she has to trust that he knows how to move them forward. I think it will be hard for her to stay out of it but she supports him and wants to be the kind of mother who can take a step back and let him lead.
SDN: We have seen that Maryse has a complicated relationship with Magnus, but now that she’s accepting him being with Alec, how would you see her apologizing to Magnus?
Nicola: Hmmm…That’s a tough one. I think it all depends on whether Maryse and Magnus have time to get to know each other again as the people they are now.
SDN: Even though Magnus and Maryse did not have a lot of scenes together, their interaction during the party in episode 8 was awkwardly funny. In episode 18 we could see a possibility of more understanding between them. Could you describe how it was to work with Harry on those scenes?
Nicola: Harry is an incredible human being. He is so kind and generous, talented and so funny! We have a really great dialogue going about Magnus and Maryse’s history and dynamic and we both love to rehearse and play with our scenes on set. We find some really great stuff together!
SDN: After seeing her son happy and fighting for the love of his life as well as witnessing Magnus supporting Alec even when they were at odds, is Maryse’s opinion of Magnus different now?
Nicola: I think after Magnus tried to help Max, and was such an important support for Alec through Max’s ordeal, Maryse realized that she hasn’t been giving Magnus the chance he deserves. It was in that episode that she really saw him for the generous and supportive partner to Alec that he has become.
SDN: Maryse is a well-trained shadowhunter who became a diplomat. But with new threats coming in season 3 would you like to see her fight with a seraph blade in hand? Can we hope to see a scene like this?
Nicola: Well, I don’t know what is going to happen but I can say that I would love to see Maryse as the warrior/mama bear that she is. (And I love stunts!)
SDN: Over the two seasons we have seen Maryse grow and progress from being a character who is very driven by rules and respect to being more open-minded, heartfelt and vulnerable towards the end of season 2, especially as far as her children are concerned. How did you enjoyed portraying this progress and what do you hope to show for Maryse in season 3?
Nicola: I love how Maryse has developed over the first two seasons! As an actor it is such an incredible opportunity when I get to play a character who grows and changes. It’s so exciting to evolve with her and to discover who she really is and who she has the potential to become. I would love to see her continue to rebuild her relationships with her children and old friends like Lucian.
SDN: How much impact do you think her relationship with Robert had on Maryse? Do you think that he, and especially his betrayal later on, also affected the way she saw Alec and Magnus’ relationship?
Nicola: When Robert cheated on Maryse she realized that it is the love of her children that really matters and that being supported and loved is integral to success and happiness. Seeing Magnus provide that partnership for Alec and realizing that Alec will need that support to be the leader she knows he can be, has changed her opinion of their relationship.
SDN: In 2×14 we saw her apologizing to Luke and trying to make amends with everyone she might have hurt. Do you think she’s on the way of changing her views about some things like the downworlders and the Clave? What do you think made her have this change of heart? And Luke specifically, do you think this was the beginning of a friendship?
Nicola: I think the last two seasons have taught Maryse that things aren’t as black and white as she had thought and that she has to change her perspectives if she doesn’t want to be left behind. I’m not saying it’s an easy transition, but I think she’s ready to try and open her mind in order to stay in the fold of her family and community. In terms of Lucian, they were friends, they came up together and she did to him what she’s now realizing could happen to her. It’s made her realize her mistake. I think she misses his friendship and would love to connect if he’s willing.
SDN: How do you think Maryse’s character development has improved her relationship with Izzy? Do you think both characters sharing their weakest moments might have strengthened their mother/daughter bond?
Nicola: I think most people, when they experience trauma, are better able to empathize with others. Maryse’s experiences of pain, loss and disappointment have made her understand how complex life really is and it’s made her less judgmental. She now sees that Izzy’s struggles are not a sign of weakness but of strength. She also realizes that she let Izzy down in the past and that she contributed to Izzy not getting the support she needed. Maryse really wants to make up for that now.
SDN: We are looking forward to seeing much more of Maryse in season 3, hopefully also including scenes that highlight the amazing dynamic between her, Alec and Magnus. We were wondering if you could tell us a little about how it has been working with Harry and Matt and what you are looking forward to the most now that filming for the next season has begun?
Nicola: Harry, Matt and I have a lot of laughs! In real life we have a really fun dynamic and our characters all seem to be moving in a direction where their relationships could develop and deepen. I would love to see them connect more in Season 3. Mostly, I just look forward to hanging out with Matt and Harry as much as possible!
Thank you so much for taking the time and answer our questions, Nicola. We can’t wait to see what is next for you and Maryse!
Oh… it looks like the whole team took part in creating this article!