Jade Hassouné is the incredibly talented Lebanese-born actor, musician and occasional artist who plays Sam in the webseries That's My DJ. In spite of his plethora of talents, he's best-known for breathing life into the Faerie Knight Meliorn on Shadowhunters. He's had roles on CBC's Heartland as well as Orphan Black, and with his character set to be the focus of That's My DJ Season 3, Hassouné is well on his way to super stardom.
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview the lovely Jade about everything from #Shadowhunters secrets to representation for people of colour on-screen. For all that and more, keep reading!
P.S Beware of spoilers for Season 2B, especially Monday night's episode!
Q. Hey Jade! First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to do this — I’m a huge fan of your career and Shadowhunters, so it’s an absolute honor! I’ll jump right in with the question I think most people would love an answer to first. How much of Meliorn can we expect to see in Season 2B of Shadowhunters?
Jade: Hi! I'm so glad to hear it, and it makes me happy to hear you say "a fan of your career"! It's nice to realize that it is really becoming a career, and I love every moment of it. Alright, so how much of Meliorn can you expect to see in 2B? The answer I can give you is... more than you saw in 2A. Haha! But I can't tell you much else. We do delve deeper into the Seelie realm, so there's something to look forward to.
We've been blessed with a look at one of the Seelie Queen's alternate dimensions back in Season 1 Episode 10, where you'll recall we got our first real look at Meliorn's Seelie abilities. Though we've yet to return to an alternate dimension, we did visit the Queen herself on this week's episode, and got a pretty good look at the Seelie realm and what it has to offer.
Q. Meliorn made quite an impact as a character when we met him back in Season 1, and his incredible comeback in Season 2 following that was a huge hit with fans. What’s in store for Meliorn going forward, and do you know if you’ll be back (in Seelie armor, perhaps) for Season 3?
Jade: I really loved Season 1, especially the alternate-dimension episode, and getting to discover what Meliorn can do was super. Then to disappear for a while and have such a great comeback/makeover was very much worth the wait! What's in store for Meliorn closely follows Books 2 and 3 of The Mortal Instruments. And as for Season 3, yes! The armor will definitely make a comeback if we are in battle mode, but I’m excited to see what other fashion sprouts out of Meliorn's garden.
We'll definitely see Meliorn for the already-confirmed Season 3, and he may or may not be back in the armor that fans loved so much. For Seelies, wearing their armor signals that they're at war, so a departure from the armor could mean at a Downworld at relative peace in Season 3.
Q. Speaking of the Downworld, was Meliorn the first role you had in mind, or did you ever have any interest in playing a different character?
Jade: [Auditioning for Shadowhunters] was a month-long process where I auditioned for Alaric and then Raphael. When I was called for Meliorn, I knew that was it. I could feel it in every cell of my being, and I've always wanted to play an elf-like magical being, and so I knew it was going to be. I had three auditions for Meliorn, and as soon as I found out I had the role, I was on set a week later shooting my first scene. Having it be a longer process allowed me to delve deep into the world of The Mortal Instruments, and I became a true fanboy. Also I wouldn't want anyone else to be Alaric and Raphael than Joel and David — they are perfect!
Sadly, though we still have 2 out of 3 Downworlders mentioned (Meliorn and Raphael), Joel's beta werewolf Alaric was killed by Valentine in the massacre at the end of Season 2A. He was a brilliant character, and Joel did a fantastic job with him. He'll surely be missed.
Of course, Joel isn't the only loveable character in #Shadowhunters to have met an untimely demise. When Clary's mother, Jocelyn Fairchild, was killed by a demon-possessed Alec in Season 2, fans were pretty vocal about their thoughts on this huge change from the books!
Q. The books, of course, had a fiercely loyal existing fanbase before the show began, and they have never been quiet with their opinions on the show and its many, many, changes. Was it scary coming to work on a show with such a huge and demanding existing fanbase?
Jade: No! It was extremely exciting and we are super fortunate. It's rare that TV shows survive these days, because there aren't enough fans to sustain the production for many years. We were blessed with an enormous international fanbase from the get go. Our fans are extremely loving and involved. And, sure, there are things that change, but they generally are happy to see their favorite world come to life. I've had a great experience with the response about bringing Meliorn to life. The fandom is a huge part of this, and they do have more influence than we might think. Also, learning to embrace change is something we can all gain from.
Q. Speaking of change, in the jump from book to television, Shadowhunters has undergone some pretty significant changes. Most notably, the addition of many people of colour to the cast — from main characters, through the supporting cast, down to extras. As a Lebanese-born actor, is it important to you to work on a show such as Shadowhunters, which values and makes a real and obvious effort to be more diverse and more representative?
Jade: Yes! I was so proud of them when I realized the casting was so diverse. It represents the reality of our world and is a great wave of change, which is also representative of our generation. It's cool because the story is about a new generation of Shadowhunters creating a change in the Shadow World to unify the downworlders and Shadowhunters, regardless of race. Interestingly, the downworlders are being oppressed by the Clave, and a lot of downworlders are played by people of color. Metaphors all around! It is important for me to represent the world as it is on our streets, and to play roles that aren't defined by my skin color. We are all humans, and what we look like doesn't dictate what kind of lives we live. That's a really narrow-minded way of storytelling!
Q. You post a little art here and there on your Facebook / Twitter pages, some traditional, and also some comic strips. You're incredibly talented - would you say that’s more of a passion/hobby, or is it a possible career path for you?
Jade: Ooooh thank you! I wish I had way more time to do it these days. It's always been a secret career path. I've got many plans for comics and graphic novels. I even have my professional cartooning certificate, which I was lucky to have time to complete while I was shooting Heartland. Right now, the Shadowhunters and Meliorn fan art and super talented fan-artists keep me inspired.
Q. Speaking of inspired, you have quite a connection to music and play a few instruments. Would you say you have a natural inclination for music? Did that help you at all with your role as Sam in the webseries That’s My DJ?
Jade: You're so sweet! Thank you! Yes, I play piano and guitar. I grew up around artists (painters) on my mother's side, and my mom is a great piano player and has a passion for music that rubbed off on me. It was always natural for me, and it is such fun that I cannot help but always try and improve, so that the experience of playing and singing becomes that much more fun. Jamming and covering pop songs with friends is one of my happiest moments and pleasures. Did it help for That's My DJ? Yes, of course! Music is the blood of the TMDJ series, and I've had my experience of collaborating and creating/producing music with friends/colleagues, so it's been a big part of connecting with the role and the story.
Q. For those who have no idea what That’s My DJ is, give us a quick rundown. What’s it all about, and how/where do we watch?
Jade: It's about a group of young artists/musicians/producers/party promoters, working towards becoming professionals in the industry while going through life's trials. Each season follows a different character in the same circle of friends, and you get a different perspective and level with each season. It gives us a close look at Toronto's underground electronic music scene, filled with inspiration, heartbreak and joy. Seasons 1 and 2 can be binge-watched in 30-45 minutes (per season) on YouTube. Season 3 comes out July 7th!
Q. Sam is set to be the focus of the third and final season, and from the looks of things, he’s not in too good a place. Tell us a little bit about what we can expect to see from Sam in Season 3?
Jade: Things get darker and heavier. It takes a turn that no one expected. It deals with subjects that we tend to sweep under the rug, and it'll challenge Sam to find the core of his passion, focus and purpose. It shows us that things will happen in your life, but it's how you respond and pick yourself up again that determines your destiny in the end. Sam goes through a rough time, and even though he's surrounded by loving inspiring friends, he'll have to choose find the strength and knowing within himself to be able to continue on his true path.
Q. Finally, what’s next for you? What can we catch you doing next?
Jade: Besides That's My DJ and more Meliorn, I've got an Ubisoft videogame that I am so excited about! It's called Starlink: Battle for Atlas! It’s one of the new releases of the Nintendo Switch (also on PS4 and XboxOne) coming out fall of 2018! And the rest, we'll see soon enough.
With a creative family and background, it's no wonder Jade Hassouné is as talented as he is, and so admired by his fans. He puts a tremendous amount of enthusiasm into everything he does, and it's one of the reasons his Meliorn has been such a huge hit with fans. Be sure to follow Jade on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to keep up-to-date with everything he's doing next. If you fancy a mini binge-watch, you should check out That's My DJ in preparation for Season 3, and of course Shadowhunters either on the Freeform app or on Netflix!