Talk Nerdy With Us recently chatted with Canadian actress Nicola Correia-Damude to discuss her upcoming arc on Freeform’s “Shadowhunters”. Nicola portrays Maryse Lightwood the head of the New York [Shadowhunters] Institute and mother to Alec, Isabelle and Max Lightwood.
Nicola is best-known for her work on “Degrassi: The Next Generation”, “Margarita”, “Where Are the Dolls”, “Havana 57”, “Haven” and “The Strain”. Read our interview with Nicola below, and don’t miss “Moo Shu to Go” tonight at 9pm/8c on Freeform.
Tell us about your audition process for Shadowhunters?
The audition was a lot of fun! I was given three scenes from a couple of episodes and all three were very different. They really gave me a sense of the Shadowhunter world and of how complicated Maryse is as a person and as the Matriarch of this incredibly important family. I think the most important part of my process was finding a way to show that, while Maryse is really tough on her kids, she does it because she loves them and wants what’s best for the family.
Did you have to do screen tests with Matt (Daddario) or Emeraude (Toubia)?
Actually no! I didn’t do a screen test but having worked with Matt and Emeraude for a while now I think it was probably pretty clear that we were the perfect fit!
What drew you to the role of Maryse?
I am really drawn to female characters in positions of power whose role as leaders are as important as their more traditional roles as mothers and nurtures. I really want the next-generation to grow up seeing women on television who are in charge, who are bosses, who are running the show and influencing their children to be just as independent and strong.
Have you read The Mortal Instruments? Where you familiar with the series prior to auditioning?
I actually hadn’t read the books before I got the role. But my husband was in the movie so I was familiar with the story. Obviously once I got the role I started reading the books. What an amazing world! It’s been so much fun learning all the details and intricacies of this character I already love.
In what ways are you similar to Maryse? In what ways are you different?
Maryse and I are both career driven, independent, passionate women who believe in leading by example for our children. But…Maryse is dealing with life and death and stakes that are so high, she’s a warrior, so her approach to her work and her family tends to be much tougher than mine. She believes strongly in tough love and not being led by your emotions. I on the other hand, am a very emotional person and tend to approach problems with my feelings, and a desire to nurture the emotional instincts of the people around me, as my guide.
What can you tease about Maryse’s storyline this season?
All I can say is that it isn’t easy to be your children’s leader… (laughs).
The majority of the cast are Canadian actors. How do you feel Shadowhunters is improving the Toronto TV scene?
It’s always exciting when a new show comes to town but when the show is as creative and exciting as this one it really gets the blood pumping. It’s a whole different world we’re playing in, the characters are all so different and unknown to so many of us so there’s this real excitement around which characters are going to be coming next and what kind of opportunities Toronto Actors are going to have in this franchise. It kind of reenergizes us as a community when we have the opportunity to be a part of a new story!
Since so much of the cast is Canadian who had you met before? And who were you meeting for the first time?
I actually worked with Paulino Nunes (who plays my husband on “Shadowhunters”) on “The Strain” last year. We’ve been having the best time playing Robert and Maryse! I also went to college with Vanessa Matsui who is awesome so it was so great to catch up with her and I’ve worked with Susanna Fournier in the Toronto scene before. She is an incredible playwright as well as an amazing actor.
You’ve done a few sci-fi series, what’s your favorite part about filming a sci-fi show?
Sci-Fi is an amazing world to play in for an actor because you are not only embodying another person but you are telling the story of a world that is totally different from your own. It’s like being a little kid again, letting your imagination run wild and turning make-believe into something real and powerful.
What is your personal favorite sci-fi show?
Before “Shadowhunters” I would have to say that “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was my favorite. I actually love them for the same reasons. They’re funny, intense, heartbreaking and surreal all at the same time. At the end of the day the characters and their humanity (or demon-ity ) is always at the heart of every story.
What episode are you most excited for fans to see?
Right now, all I can think about is seeing my kids for the first time in tonight’s episode! But man… there is some exciting stuff to come!
What is something your fans don’t know about you… yet?
I am Guyanese-Canadian. My dad is Canadian and my mom is from Guyana. I am very proud of my mixed heritage. And I am also a singer!
Since our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, what makes you a nerd? Or what do you “nerd-out” about?
I am a total nerd about the “Harry Potter” series! I have read the books so many times that I could probably recite them by heart and I have all of the audiobooks for when I’m traveling or going to sleep. Also, I am OBSESSED with “Law and Order” (the original) I have seen every episode multiple times and can tell you everything about all of the characters over the 20 years and never, ever, get bored of watching them again.
But now, of course, a new obsession is born. Thank God I got this part because the “Shadowhunters” series is perfect for me!