1:30 pm EST, December 20, 2016

Exclusive ‘Shadowhunters’ season 2 interview: Alberto Rosende on finding Simon

The landscape is changing in Shadowhunters season 2. Alberto Rosende chats with Hypable about Simon’s adjustment to life as a Downworlder.

Shadowhunters season 2 sets the stage for a new wave of law and order in the Shadow World. For one fledgling vampire, finding his place in that world just got much harder.

Alberto Rosende catches Hypable up on the challenges that await Simon in season 2, what Maia’s introduction means for him, and how finding trouble stepping back into Simon made for a more honest performance.

Where is Simon’s head at when ‘Shadowhunters’ season 2 opens?

Alberto Rosende: At the end of season 1 and especially at the beginning of season 2, Simon, I don’t think, fully understands where he is yet. All of this has just happened. Jace just left with Valentine, we have no idea where that is going and he knows how much that affects Clary.

But he doesn’t realize exactly how much it affects his situation as well. His association with the vampire clan caused him to be cast out. So, once again, he reverts to the place he was in the first season. He is trying to figure out his spot, to figure out where he sits among this group and in this world, again.

As a vampire, a fledgling, [he] still does not understand the rules of the Shadow World. Then as a person, [he is] trying to figure out, ‘How can I live a normal life?’ It’s something he didn’t try at all in season 1 and is going to be confronted with in season 2.

In the premiere, we witness the introduction of Victor Aldertree, who banishes Downworlders from the Clave. Luckily, Luke takes Simon in.

But even that can only be a temporary solution because vampires and werewolves don’t get along. And Simon doesn’t want to be somewhere he isn’t wanted.

Simon tries to bring some levity to the events unfolding in the premiere.

That’s a big defense mechanism that Simon has. When things start getting heavy, he starts trying to make more jokes. He’s trying to be lighter, to not allow anything to bring him down. So, we’ll definitely see a lot of the funny Simon.

But the thing about Simon is he really does have a good grasp of understanding. At some point we will see those lows. And we will see him deal with not being able to jokingly brush things off.

Maia, played by Alisha Wainwright, joins the cast in episode 3. Can you tell us a bit about her?

The cool thing about Maia and Simon’s relationship is Maia’s probably the first person that Simon meets that truly understands his predicament. She’s another Downworlder who wasn’t always a Downworlder. [She is someone] who once lived a normal life and was then forced into the Shadow World. She learns how to navigate it, learns about its protocol, its politics, and becomes a functioning member of that society.

They immediately bond over their geekiness and their understanding of ‘This is a hard life, but you figured it out. I’m going to try to figure it out, too.’

But she also represents and creates a problem for Simon and Clary’s relationship. This is the first other person that Simon’s able to connect with on a different level. Now that Clary is starting to be more of a Shadowhunter, naturally those roles are separated.

Finding another Downworlder who provides that same sense of comfort, it creates a little tension for Simon and Clary.

But Maia is really cool. She represents a lot of the Downworld. She understands how the Downworld works and that’s her biggest thing — trying to make sure that everyone’s doing okay in the Downworld. Simon really starts to get an understanding of that from her.

Are there any other unexpected characters Simon teams up with this season?

One thing we can’t forget is that Simon is still a vampire. He still falls under the jurisdiction of the New York Vampire Clan. He will meet up with Raphael quite a few times whether Raphael wants him to or not.

And because werewolves and vampires don’t really get along, Simon has to find another place where he feels a little more welcome. That falls into Magnus’ lap.

So, we do see Simon and Magnus interact a bit. Through their friendship, we learn more about Magnus and more about his past. We see what molded this warlock who has lived for however many centuries into the person he is today. I think their relationship is really cool.

There is something about Simon that I think Magnus finds comfort in. Simon learns a lot that Magnus doesn’t share with other characters.

What was the experience like coming back into season 2 and what has your response been to the growing ‘Shadowhunters’ fandom?

Well, I know that coming back into season 2 was kind of difficult for me. I felt a little off kilter, unbalanced. I needed to kind of find Simon again. I feel like it worked for the first few episodes that I wasn’t fully solidified with who he was yet. I was trying to re-find everything. Trying to re-find those little nuances and the speech and trying to find this guy again because we hadn’t hung out in a bit.

We established a world in season 1. I didn’t want to come back and not feel like I was part of the same world.

As far as the fan culture and the fans go, it’s continually been more and more incredible as we have interactions with fans. The groups just keep getting bigger and the passion is just as high as it was in season 1. It blows our minds. We’re like, ‘How is this possible?’

We had this fandom that was so loving and passionate and supportive and continues to grow in a way that everyone hopes for. It continues to blow our minds.

We were just in Brazil recently and that was an experience that I haven’t fully taken in yet. We saw so much support from these fans who care so much about our characters, us as actors, and about the world.

They asked such good questions when we got to talk to them. Seeing the fandom like that makes you want to work that much harder. It makes you want to find that truth and make it more real.

Shadowhunters season 2, episode 1, “This Guilty Blood,” premieres Monday, January 2 at 8:00 p.m. ET on Freeform.

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