We had the pleasure of speaking with Shadowhunters executive producer and director Matt Hastings this week about his vision for season three as well as what fans might expect to see as the season progresses. Matt has been such an integral part of the fandom experience with his willingness to share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, as well as answering fan questions on social media, we feel very lucky to have him as part of our fandom family. His “slate-a-day” tweets during the hiatus were such a welcome treat, they helped everyone feel more connected to the cast and crew during the long wait for this new season to begin. His enthusiasm and love for his work on Shadowhunters is infectious and it’s obvious he takes tremendous pride in what is being created for the viewers. With truly iconic characters and stories to work with, he handles them all with such grace and care. We feel honored to have this opportunity to hear a bit more about this exciting new season.
NU: First, we’d just like to say Congratulations! on an amazing start to season three. Everyone here at Nephilim Updates is loving what we’ve seen so far. Can you tell us about the process of making this season even darker and more foreboding than the previous seasons? Were changes made to the way you normally shoot the episodes in order to achieve this more intense and terrifying feel?
Matt Hastings: We’re constantly evolving as filmmakers and committed to improving the show episode by episode. When we reached the finale of season two we decided to up our game even further. But, it all starts with the script. Todd Slavkin, Darren Swimmer and I wanted to deliver a more mature and layered show, so they began at the ground level deepening the characters. Upping the emotional stakes but keeping the show grounded. With a great script in hand anything is possible, and we have been able to improve the show week to week.
The increased amount of horror elements and amazing visual effects are surely helping achieve that goal. Has this resulted in more creative freedom as well?
Working with Todd and Darren has been a dream come true. Not since working with Bruce Miller (The Handmaid’s Tale) on Eureka and Alphas have I had such a collaborative relationship, chock full of total trust and creative freedom, to spread my wings as a storyteller.
We are really enjoying all the new sets and locations this season: Magnus’ apothecary, the Church of Talto, Luke’s precinct, etc. They are all so rich and full of detail. Do you have a personal favorite?
Without a doubt, Lilith’s apartment. It is inspired by a Haussmann apartment in Paris that was locked and forgotten in 1939, and just recently reopened. I love the feeling of history and detail in this set, it photographs beautifully. Thanks to our fantastic production designer Doug McCullough and his team.
Due to the harsh winters in Toronto, and healthy doses of accumulating snow, does it make shooting on location difficult? Not only the frigid temperatures but also the aesthetic aspect of not wanting every scene to be shot with snow cover on the ground. Has this resulted in building more outdoor scenes inside the studio? (Like the alley outside the Hunter’s Moon that we saw in season two.)
Because of this very thing, we built not only five or six completely different alleys but an entire Chinatown street that can be converted overnight into a hipster street in Williamsburg.
At the end of each episode we see a long list of production companies credited, who is involved in the actual day to day operations of producing the show?
Freeform and Constantin are involved in the day to day operations of the show. Wonderland is McG’s company who started the ball rolling.
Has a decision been made as to when season 3b will air? During New York Comic Con last fall, it was announced that the second ten episodes would air in the summer, but with the new premiere date did that plan change?
I’ve heard August, but not completely positive. It’s up to our friends at Freeform.
Recently on Twitter you mentioned Shadowhunters would most likely be attending San Diego and New York Comic Cons again this year. Is that something you can confirm yet?
Not yet, but it is likely.
And speaking of confirmations, your recent tweet about a possible season four has the entire fandom on the edge of their seats! When can we expect to hear some good news on that front?
I would bet that the Freeform Upfronts would be the latest we would hear. So hopefully between now and mid-May.
Is there anything you can tease about 3b?
I think 3b is another level up from 3a. I had the opportunity to bring director of photography Roger Chingirian (The Originals) to the show to complement director of photography Mike McMurray who’s been my partner from the start. It has improved our visual consistency dramatically.
Final question, we are all very intrigued by the Halloween themed episode (3×18). Is it as amazing as it sounds?
Mums the word, but it’s epic! Best work we’ve ever done. Cannot wait to share it with the fandom!
Our sincerest thanks to Matt Hastings for taking time out of his busy filming schedule this week to speak with us. He and his entire team are very hard at work filming the finale of season three as we speak. Be sure to follow him on twitter for great behind-the-scenes content: @mattdirector. And of course stay tuned to @NephilimUpdates for all the latest Shadowhunters news and information.
Shadowhunters airs on Tuesday nights at 8/7 central on Freeform and Hulu, and Wednesdays on International Netflix.