By Ryan McPherson
If you’re a resident of Canada, you’ll probably recognize Jade Hassouné as Prince Ahmed from the popular series ‘Heartland’. The good news for those of us living in the States is Hassouné will be bringing his talents to the new Freeform (formerly ABC Family) series ‘Shadowhunters’. The hardworking Hassouné is not afraid to tackle challenging roles or beloved material from other mediums. He’s proved he’s quite capable of flexing his acting muscles to take on a variety of characters. You may have even seen some of his work and not know it. An avid gamer, Hassouné has worked in video game development in areas such a motion capture. He’s a busy man and with a multitude of talents, it’s only going to get busier.
What can you tell us about your new show ‘Shadowhunters’, your character Meliorn, and what drew you to the series?
Hi! Thanks for chatting with me 🙂 Yes happily, ‘Shadowhunters’ is a show based on the internationally successful book series called “The Mortal Instruments” by Cassandra Clare. The Shadowhunters are a race of half-angel human hybrids whose purpose is to save humans (Mundanes) from the demon entities who cross our world. There are other creatures that can come from the breeding over the years of angel and demon blood, like for instance, the Seelies (faeries). Meliorn is the Queen of the Faeries’ right hand man. He is the Faerie Knight of the Seelie Court. It’s a dream role that I’ve conjured up in my mind over the years. I couldn’t believe how perfect this role was for me.
The show comes out at the same time it’s network, Freeform (formerly ABC Family), is undergoing major changes to adapt to a changing television demographic. How important do you think it is for a performer to adapt, in terms of making decisions on the roles you take, to changes in viewership?
Oh very interesting. Well I think the essence of the craft stays the same. I try to stay truthful with each performance and I think the dialogue and script keeps the role within the realm of the viewership. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked for ABC Family (Freeform) before on ‘Cyberbully’ and to have done other family/ young audience projects so maybe it’s become an intuitive part of my art.
You’ve also had a recurring role on the hugely popular Canadian series ‘Heartland’, based on another series of novels by the same name. What can you tell us about working on ‘Heartland’ and will viewers see your character again?
Shooting ‘Heartland’ was magical. I got to travel to Calgary, Alberta and shot in breathtaking landscapes in the country. There was a peaceful energy on set like I’ve never experienced because it is so relaxed out there in the country. I love animals and working with horses was very special. I’ve developed great friendships while on the show and have some collaborations coming with someone on the cast. Will I come back? Hahah I hope so! Ahmed caused a lot of trouble for Tamy (Amy+Ty) so maybe in a season when things cool down! But nothing has been confirmed. It’s the nature of the business. It would be really cool though. Playing a prince was awesome.
You said you were a fan ‘The Mortal Instruments’ prior to filming ‘Shadowhunters’ and the role was a “dream role”, did you do anything extra to help ensure you got the part?
It was a dream role in the sense that I’ve always envisioned and talked about embodying an elf/fair folk type being. So when the role presented itself, it was almost a big wink from life. My friends couldn’t believe that out of all the projects out there, this one came to me and me to it, the perfection was something we laugh about. To get the role, there was not much I could do besides focus on the scene because the audition wasn’t about portraying a faerie, it was about the chemistry with the other character (Isabelle). And since I auditioned for two other characters prior, I hadn’t anticipated Meliorn at all.
Do you feel any added pressure when working on a project adapted from source material already available and already beloved?
Being a fan of ‘The Mortal Instruments’, I can say that it was well written enough that I got a great intuitive sense of who/what the character is. By the time I was shooting I had delved deep into the Shadow World so I’d say it wasn’t as hard as it would seem. And thankfully the fandom embraced me with open arms and hearts. It’s humbling to know that I am the one to bring Meliorn out of the page and give him life. And I hope to continue and tell the story in its entire arc.
We were told you’ve worked on advancements in video game technology, including motion capture. How did this work come about? Are you a gamer?
I’m a huge gamer! But haven’t had the open schedule to play in the last years. I had a lot of friends who had done some video games before me, and so I had anticipated to one day join the crowd. But it wasn’t until I auditioned for a game and got to workshop it (and then got dropped because of re-writes) that I developed a real desire to continue. I come from a dance background so being a movement-type person helps a lot. After the first game, I was in their records so when I auditioned for a new game, they took me back! And then again recently! It’s such a different way of shooting. It’s like playing pretend as a kid, but now people take you “seriously” for it, hahaha! We all have a lot of fun on set.
So you call yourself a huge gamer. What are some of your favorite games?
Oh my! Kingdom Hearts will always be an epic for me, all Mario games, Zelda, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, and I’m a huge point-and-click adventure freak, I adore the Monkey Island series and Deponia. But I’d say I love all different platforms and genres. They all have their cool varying way of getting you through the story.
You had a part in ‘Cyberbully’ the premise of which has been a major societal issue for a few years. Were you involved with anti-bullying initiatives before or since filming?
I got to do a little but only over social-media. But I try to always spread a message of self-empowerment and self-love. We’ve all got to learn to stand confident and proud and whole within ourselves without needing outside validation. Because then, bullying has no effect on you and when you are filled with love, you naturally spread it and never think of hurting anyone. I hope that inspiring people to find their self-confidence and conscious inner stability will eventually lead to the solution. I’d love to be involved with or create something like Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.