Exclusive: Alberto Rosende Previews Simon’s Forthcoming Journey on ‘Shadowhunters’
While Shadowhunters might be told essentially from the viewpoint of our lead heroine Clary Fray, her best friend and partner in this journey into the new, unknown, and frightening Shadow World, Simon Lewis, is an important element in this show. While Clary is the one discovering that she’s a part of a world that she never knew existed, Simon is basically us, the audience, as he watches from the sidelines and occasionally, like this Tuesday’s episode, finds himself caught in the middle of the danger of this world.
We had the chance to chat with Shadowhunters star Alberto Rosende about what lies in store for Simon on Tuesday’s all-new episode, which finds Simon amid vampires at Hotel Dumort, as well as Simon’s evolving relationship with Isabelle, the love triangle between Simon, Clary, and Jace, and the dynamic of Simon trying to find his place in Clary’s world.
SIMON’S JOURNEY │ On Tuesday’s episode of Shadowhunters, “Dead Man’s Party,” Simon Lewis finds himself immersed in the world of Downworlders as he’s being held captive by vampires at Hotel Dumort, which will bring Simon more into this world.
“Simon definitely gets a better understanding of the Downworld,” Rosende said. “It’s a really close understanding of vampires and how they operate.”
This episode, more than anything, will show how Simon is having difficulty understanding this world that he’s just been thrown into as he deals with it in a very direct way. The experience that Simon goes through in this third episode will very much force him to question his place next to Clary.
“It’s very much in his face,” Rosende said. “It’s hard for him to take in fully because he’s like, ‘Oh my goodness this world is real. So the danger that Clary is in is even realer. So where do I sit?’ I think this is when Simon tries to start finding his place next to Clary. He realizes that he can’t do it from a place of – from that place that he doesn’t know how he can help Clary the best.”
But this is more than just a way to introduce these vampires to the audience. This storyline will serve as a wake-up call of sorts for Simon as he deals with this new and unfamiliar world in a very direct way, and it will affect him moving forward.
“From this moment on Simon really starts to understand the gravity and the danger that the Shadow World possesses,” Rosende told us. “From this episode on you’ll start to see him take more control – not more control but be more afraid for Clary. When she goes into dangerous situations because he has experienced that danger first hand now. Even though Clary has, for him it was really the first time it was brought to reality like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a real world. It isn’t fake. It’s very much real and things can happen.’ He also gets a deeper understanding for himself. How vampires work and all of that world and that starts to scare him a lot.”
THE LOVE TRIANGLE │ As fans of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments are aware of the love triangle between Clary, Jace, and Simon that challenges these characters and their relationships with each other. It’s an element that’s been hinted at early on in these first two episodes of Shadowhunters, and Rosende told us that it’s something that’s going to continue to develop moving through this first season and beyond, should there be a second season. He discussed the unique dynamic between the three of them and how both Simon and Jace represent distinct parts of Clary.
“Very much like in the first book when Simon, Jace, and Clary are introduced together – and for the next few books – there’s very much that competition between Simon and Jace,” Rosende said. “Where Jace presents the new; what Clary can be a part of, what she is a part of, and what this side of her that she hasn’t really discovered. And Simon presents the old; the part of her that she’s very comfortable with, the part of herself that she kind of wishes she could run to, I think, but she can’t because of the choices she has to make and where her priorities sit. So I think you’ll definitely see that triangle continue to grow and change as the series goes on.”
A SIZZY SLOWBURN │ With Cassandra Clare’s books there is an established fan base that has devoured these novels and created deep bonds with the characters and specific relationships. One of those ships is Simon and Isabelle — Sizzy! — who over the course of The Mortal Instruments evolved as characters and eventually formed that deep love and bond that we know them for. Rosende teased that while it’s going to be a slow burn for Sizzy that we’re going to continue to see the evolution of Simon and Isabelle’s relationship moving forward.
“I know that Sizzy is going to be a slow burn very much like it was in the books,” Rosende told us. “I think a lot of it is that they have to grow into the people that are right for each other. But that doesn’t deny that there is a spark between them – that we saw the first time that Simon sees Isabelle in the second episode. That relationship and that trust that they’ll start to build with each other continues to grow.”
PLAYING SIMON│ With stories that have a dark tone there needs to be something that counters that darkness. For Shadowhunters that character is Simon Lewis, who acts as a source of light and groundedness when things appear to get very dark.
“It’s very nice to hang out with someone like Simon who can always see the lighter side of things or can always make things lighter because from there you can choose what to do a little more form a grounded place,” Rosende told us. “When things start to get really dark sometimes you can get muddled by the darkness and not really see light on the other end of the tunnel. But with Simon, someone who can help clear out some of the darkness, it’s very fun to be him.
Much like the audience is being introduced to the Shadow World, so is Simon. Rosende said that one of the appeals of playing Simon is that he gets to be in the same position as the audience entering this world for the first time.
“It’s why I like playing him because everything experienced is brand new,” he said. “You’re really learning about this world with him. And because of that he takes you with him when he’s learning and some of the same questions that you may have, he has, and some of the same ideas you have, he has, and you see him kind of go through those ideas and how sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. So I think for that reason it was always awesome to play and I can’t wait to do it again, hopefully.”
FINDING HIS PLACE │ While Clary is being thrust into this new world that she’s just learned that she’s a part of, Simon is also being dragged into this unfamiliar world only he’s not a part of it. Rosende told us that one of the fun things to play with Simon is his dynamic of trying to understand who these new people are to Clary and where Simon’s place is among them.
“That dynamic is always fun because every new character – like when Isabelle is introduced she’s this person that now knows Clary and what Simon’s place is in regards to that is very interesting,” he said. “The same thing goes for Jace and for Alec. He’s seen these two guys that look like superheroes and he’s trying to discover his place next to Clary, where he doesn’t feel that he could offer her what they do. But Simon’s a fighter so he’s not going to stop trying, and I think that’s probably my favorite thing. Playing the fighter who doesn’t really know what the fight is but willing to just be there anyway. That’s a really cool place.”
WHAT’S TO COME │ We’re just two episodes in — soon to be three — of this 13-episode season. When we asked Rosende which episode he’s looking forward to coming up it was hard to pick just one.
“There are quite a few episodes I’m excited to see,” he said. “Every single one offers something new for the fans and new for the audience as a whole. Personally, I think I’m very excited for 12.”
But he also singled out episodes seven and eight, around the midway point of the season, which he described as “exciting, dark, and frightening — not scary, but frightening.”
Shadowhunters airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform.
I love Simon. He was for sure my favorite character in the books, and now in the show as well. I feel like the one thing that Shadowhunters did justice to the books on was Simon.