Shadowhunters: Katherine McNamara Previews The Freeform Series Shadowhunters: Katherine McNamara Previews The Freeform Series
Full interview with Katherine McNamara who plays Clary Fray on Freeform's Mortal Instruments TV series Shadowhunters Shadowhunters: Katherine McNamara Previews The Freeform Series

ABC Family is becoming Freeform, and the very first big launch for the cable channel will happen on Tuesday, January 12 — that’s three weeks away! — as they premiere Shadowhunters, a new TV series based on The Mortal Instruments book series by Cassandra Clare.

Shadowhunters Kat McNamaraEarlier this year, we visited the Toronto sets of Shadowhunters to talk with the cast, and while we have posted some interview previews on our YouTube channel, now and in the coming weeks will be the time that we will be breaking out the full-length interviews.

We’re starting with Katherine McNamara, who plays lead character Clary Fray, who grew up thinking she was “mundane” (normal) and quickly will learn that she’s anything but.

Transcription of the interview follows below; the video of the interview can be found on Page 2 as this interview runs a bit long. Our questions are posted in bold; her answers are not.

Shadowhunters Mortal CupKSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: Where do we first find Clary as the Shadowhunters TV series begins?

KATHERINE McNAMARA: When we first find Clary in the TV series, she is walking into her final interview for the Brooklyn Academy of Art.

She is a headstrong, independent art student living in Brooklyn with her mother, and she has her best friend Simon who is an accounting student at NYU, and she’s living her life as normal. That’s kind of the charm of Clary… she would be a perfectly fine individual if she were just left to her mundane life. But, there are greater things in store for her.

What is it like for Clary to be able to see the Shadow World?

It’s very confusing at first. She literally thinks she’s losing her mind for a while. She’s living her life as normal, and then suddenly, as her 18th birthday nears, she starts to get these memories and these flashes, and she starts seeing things that are very unsettling and very confusing to her, and eventually, she discovers that it’s her memories that have been suppressed for years by certain other individuals in the Shadow World that we’ll find out [about] as the episodes go on. But, she is thrust into this world and has to learn to fight back, and rise from the ashes, and deal with her new life.

Will we see flashbacks to Clary as a child, maybe interacting with Magnus Bane?

There are a few! There are a few flashbacks in the first episode. We definitely utilize that relationship. There’s a wonderful actress that plays Young Clary, and we see some flashbacks to Little Clary, and as the season goes on, you see a few flashbacks to Clary and Simon in their teenage years, which Alberto [Rosende] and I had a lot of fun with, just playing mundane Clary and Simon. We always look forward to those scenes. Because it’s different… it’s before dealing with demons and vampires and werewolves. We just get to have fun.

Clary SimonCan you talk about the friendship between Clary and Simon, and if it could possibly lead to a relationship on the show?

In the show, the Clary-Simon-Jace relationship is definitely a love triangle. Clary and Simon have been friends forever. They’re the closest that two people could possibly be, and there’s something wonderful about that. There’s something that Clary really relies on. Simon knows Clary more than anyone else, and he understands her more than anyone ever could, and it’s hard for Clary to let go of. That’s why she drags him along with her into the Shadow World and into all of these situations that could have deadly consequences for her friend Simon.

Shadowhunters FreeformIf Clary were to think that she’s related to Jace, do you think that would bring her and Simon closer?

Time will tell. You never know what’s gonna happen. If we do follow the story of the books, and if Clary and Jace’s relationship were to change, maybe she would go back to Simon. Maybe she would see their relationship as something different, and maybe not be so afraid to let their friendship turn into something else. I don’t know; you’ll have to watch the show.

There’s a big fan base for The Mortal Instruments (KSiteTV readers: Check out the book HERE) and for the TV show already. Was that intimidating at all for you?

cityofbonesbookDefinitely. The entirety of the fandom is so fierce, and these books are so beloved to them. I’m a huge fan of the books, too, so I get it. I care about them as much as the fans do.

It definitely was intimidating. I remember before they announced on Twitter…. I found out that I was cast ten minutes before they announced it on Twitter, and in that ten minutes, I was reeling a little bit, because I was reeling with the fact “oh my goodness. I have this amazing opportunity to play this role, but oh my goodness, what is the fandom gonna think? What are they gonna say? What’s going to be their opinion of me playing this character that they really relate to, and they really love, and they really care about?” But thankfully, they welcome you with open arms, and the vast majority of the response has been positive, and everybody’s really excited for the show.

I’m so thankful to have that support, because it motivates us, and it keeps us going when we’re shooting all of the show. It’s nice to have a little bit of excitement and a little bit of buzz.

Are there characters or concepts from the books that you’d really like to see in the show?

I think that the way that the show is progressing, the writers really are bringing in a lot of the beloved characters, and a lot of the things that people find really interesting, and people will love from the books and that they’re hoping are going to be there… but they’re doing it in a way that’s never been done before. We’re definitely taking our own perspective on the show, and our own interpretation of this world. We’re keeping the same beloved characters, we’re doing the same story – we still get from Point A to Point B – but we do it in a way that suits television, and in a way that brings all of the best elements of the books into this giant Shadow World that we’re creating.

Clary mother ShadowhuntersCan you talk about Clary’s relationship with her mother?

Clary and her mother are two peas in a pod. They’re almost more like sisters or roommates, than a mother/daughter pair, and for that reason, when Clary finds out that, basically, her whole world has been a lie, and that her whole life has been something that is not what it seems… she’s very thrown by that, because she and her mother had this implicit trust, and her mother’s gone.

All of a sudden, she doesn’t have her mother to turn to. She doesn’t know who she can trust… and the one person she can turn to is a mysterious stranger, Jace, who knows about this world and who keeps saving her life, and it seems that he’s not trained to kill her, but it’s really hard for her for a long time, and she has this intense focus to find her mother, and save her mother, and get her mother back, and it’s because of their strong bond.

Is the journey to get her mother back a multi-episode story?

Without a doubt. We spend the majority of the season on the quest to find Jocelyn and to try to get her back, and to save her from whence she has been kidnapped.

Clary Luke ShadowhuntersHow is Luke involved in that?

Luke is definitely involved. For a while, Clary doesn’t know who she can trust, and so that plays out with her relationship with Luke as well. Eventually things come around where Luke does become part of the team and helps out, and we move on to finding Jocelyn.

There’s much more to this interview, including VIDEO! Navigate to the next page below:

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Craig Byrne, Editor-In-Chief

KSiteTV Editor-In-Chief Craig Byrne has been writing about TV on the internet since 1995. He is also the author of several published books, including Smallville: The Visual Guide and the show's Official Companions for Seasons 4-7.