One thing we love about Shadowhunters is how fleshed out the characters are. Fortunately for us, the writers not only have a knack for writing heroes, but also villains that manage to send a shiver down our spines yet somehow come across as vulnerable at the same time. We sat down with the ever lovely and charming Will Tudor and spoke to him about Jonathan, Shadowhunters, and what the future holds for his career!
SDN: With Sebastian/Jonathan being season 2B’s villain, it gave you some challenging material to work with. It was also very varied since Sebastian had to convince the Shadowhunters that he was on their side. What was your favorite scene to film and its end result?
Will: There were a few. I loved the scenes with Alan in the basement in episode 2×16 because it was the first time I really felt like I got to see Jonathan and how he really felt because that’s the driving force behind his relationship with Valentine. I really enjoyed some of the fight scenes like when he goes down to get the [Mortal] mirror in the sub-cells. That was really good fun. I was really waiting for that sort of fight scenes and I loved being able to do it with two swords. I feel like that’s really Jonathan. He’s very visceral and [has] a very angry style of fighting. Watching it back, there were a ton of little scenes. There was one where I’m taking information out of The Gard that I really enjoyed watching back. To see what you put into it and see how it’s translated to screen and to see what takes they use as well.
SDN: Your scenes were honestly really good and they were some of the best in season 2. With your character being so multi-faceted, how did you prepare for filming? Could you explain the process of channeling both Sebastian/Jonathan’s vulnerability and maniacal attitude at the same time? It’s a very fine balance, so how do you find that?
Will: I think what I realized was, as Jonathan came to the fore and ahead of the Sebastian persona was that his whole driving force, even when he’s pretending to be nice, there is this anger and this burning hatred. It’s very difficult to access that but I was trying to because it does inform everything. It does a very interesting thing to the scenes where he’s trying to be good because it lends this sort of quality. His face looks fine but in the eyes it’s this kind of burning hatred. In terms of preparation, it’s always rather organic. You never really know quite how to prepare because every role is so different and with Sebastian, because he’s pretending how he feels as well, it kind of evolved naturally. I realized he was a very physical person. How he felt really had to get in his body and the fighting was where he could be bestial and I was sort of trying to get that in; that idea of someone who is a beast and feral, ultimately.
SDN: Well it really came through and we could see it in his physicality. The first encounter between Sebastian and Alec wasn’t the most trustful. They didn’t start off on a great foot, especially since Alec grew suspicious of this guy who came to save his sister. However, later on Sebastian was put in charge of the Institute’s security and Alec seemed to have changed his mind about him. The viewers’ impressions of your scenes with Matthew Daddario changed as a result. Can you tell us a little about working with him?
Will: He’s great. He’s so funny and such a nice guy. He’s not what you’d expect. He’s very very clever as well so the behind the scenes chats that we all had were so interesting and I really enjoy that kind of conversation because I like questioning everything. He’s really fun to work with so I really enjoyed those scenes.
SDN: The whole cast seems to have really good chemistry. Your acting and talent blew us all away on the show. Can you tease anything about any upcoming projects we can look forward to?
Will: Yes! I just finished filming something for Amazon, a series called Lore. Every episode is different; it’s sort of an anthology. The episode that I did was set in the 1600s in New England and it’s about the witch trials and that sort of thing. It’s how it all starts and it’s going to be very interesting, it was really good fun. We filmed in Prague. Also, I had rehearsals and I’m just about to start filming a feature length drama for ITV in England, which is about these ice dancers who were very famous in England called Torvill and Dean so I’m learning to ice skate at the moment. It’s really good fun. The script’s amazing and it’s awesome so I’m very excited.
SDN: We’re looking forward to it! We did some research, and you studied English Literature in Leicester. Does that influence the way you study scripts and the process that you have when you take on new characters?
Will: Definitely, it does. At some point, early in my career, I thought I was going to have to forget about the English Literature thing because you can approach the scene in quite an analytical way. But I’ve got to say, it’s funny. In rehearsals for this thing I’m doing at the moment, it actually really helped because they were sort of analyzing the scenes and trying to find clues from the text, which, doing English Literature helps because what you’re doing is really mining it. So, sometimes, I think it really helps. It definitely has made me really enjoy reading the scripts and it also helps me know when a script is great because I go, “Okay. Literarily, that’s very clever and good.” But that also means when a script isn’t so great, it’s quite hard to read. I’m very grateful for it.
SDN: Cool! So, this is actually the last question. Is there any actor on the show you wish you’d had more scenes with?
Will: Yeah, I wish I had more scenes with Harry! I had no scenes with Harry so that’s a real shame. I think there was definitely space for a little bit of a Magnus and Sebastian showdown.
SDN: Especially considering they had some sort of family ties.
Will: Yeah! I think that’s a bit of a shame and he’s a great guy. We get to hang out backstage at these conventions as well. You see everyone around but it’s when you’re working with people during those long nights that you really get to see them.
It was such a joy to be able to speak with Will. It seems, as with Anna Hopkins, the villains of Shadowhunters are painfully sweet, more so than their fictional counterparts. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, Will! We wish nothing but the best for your career and we look forward to see you in future projects.
Oh… it looks like the whole team took part in creating this article!