Actor and dance Harry Shum, Jr. talks about his role on Shadowhunters, and the significance of the Magnus fans
During Harry Shum, Jr.‘s press run for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, Collider got to ask a few questions about his Shadowhunters role as the high warlock of Brooklyn, how he wanted to play him, and how surprised he was in meeting with Magnus fans.
Fans of Shadowhunters really love your character, Magnus. Were you expecting how much of a fan favorite he’s become?
SHUM: No, I really wasn’t. I know he was a fan favorite in the books, so you would think that the fans would love it, but there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. It’s been really cool to see. I just met a fan today, when I was at lunch. I’m not wearing the make-up, the hair or the outfits, so she had to do a double take, but she asked, “Are you Harry?” She almost started crying because Magnus Bane is one of her favorite characters and she loved how we were treating the character. It was really cool. The whole cast, but specifically Matt Daddario and I, have just made sure to really take care of our characters. They’re really important to a lot of people, and we wanted to make sure that it was in good hands.
Magnus Bane has a very specific look and physicality. How did you decide the way you wanted to play him?
SHUM: It was definitely collaborative, all the way from costuming to make-up to the writers to McG to Ed Decter, our showrunner. That’s what I’m really proud of. It wasn’t me bringing everything to the table. It was everyone figuring out the best way to tell this story. For Magnus, what I wanted to bring was the physicality. There’s a lot of story that you can tell without dialogue. You can tell someone’s past by how they pick up a drink, how they walk, or how they might use their fingers. To me, that was really important to showcase. People only want to hear so much of the backstory through dialogue. You want to be able to show little hints. What’s great about these fans is that they really analyze every scene, over and over again, so I wanted to give them something they can have fun with.
Is that when you’re happy to have a dance background?
SHUM: Yeah. When I started dancing, I always wanted to utilize dance in a way that’s not just the traditional way of doing choreography and dancing. I love to do that, but putting it in different mediums has been a challenge and it’s been satisfying. I get to use it in subtle ways, where I’m not full-on doing an eight-count of danging. That’s been so much fun. The combination of the two has been great.
Read the full interview at Collider!