Talk Nerdy With Us recently chatted with Canadian actor and producer Jordan Hudyma. Jordan is best known for Dead Like Me: Life After Death, Degrassi: The Next Generation and Suits. This Tuesday, January 12, fans can see Jordan as Samuel Blackwell on Freeform’s highly anticipated fantasy series Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments. Keep reading to find out more about Shadowhunters, Blackwell and Jordan.
To start things off, tell me a little bit about you and what made you want to get into acting?
I’ve been in the industry for about 10 years. I’m originally from a small town, Thunder Bay, in northwestern Ontario. I’m not going to lie, when I first wanted to get into acting, I got into it for all the wrong reasons. I thought I could get into this and it was going to be a piece of cake. I thought I was going to be as famous as Brad Pitt within a year (laughs), but let’s just say that I was rudely awakened. After having moved down to the city, I was 16 at the time, and I just realized sooner than later it was a lot of hard work. Acting was something that I was going to have to stick with if I really wanted to do it.
I remember my agent at the time, she gave me this old infinitude knowledge that an overnight success in the industry is 30 years working in the business kind of thing. Since then, that’s really stuck with me and fast forward 10 years, I’m finally getting some good traction.
How old were you when you booked Degrassi?
I was 18 at the time. That was probably one of my first bigger well-known gigs that I’d ever booked. I had just graduated grade 12 so yeah, I would have been 18.
I think I was in five episodes of what I believe was season eight. Then I came back for another couple of episodes in season nine. Then I just kind of disappeared. They left my storyline open but I just, like I said, disappeared. It was a great cast at the time.
The thing with Degrassi is that it’s such a big ensemble cast, so kudos to the writers for trying to juggle things as well as they have. You’ve got so many storylines intertwining with one another that some take and some don’t and unfortunately my experience on the show was maybe a little shorter than I would have wanted.
A bunch of the actors have actually moved onto Shadowhunters. So who from Shadowhunters had you known prior to booking the role? If anyone?
To be honest, no one. I knew Raymond Ablack. Ray is a great guy. He and I were very close at the time of Degrassi. We’ve since went our separate ways but even with Ray, he was in episodes, and on set days that I wasn’t. I caught through the grapevine, “there’s another guy from Degrassi, he knows you. Raymond Ablack.” I’m like, “Oh, yeah, I know Ray.” When I was on the set of Shadowhunters it was very much people who I was meeting for the first time regardless of previous projects that we might have worked on together.
Tell me about your Shadowhunters audition?
Honestly, it was short and sweet. I actually went in for two roles. The first role I went in for was the role of Alec. I never heard anything back from that. I had originally thought that at that point, the project was dead for me in terms of the first round of casting. Then I got a call from Stephanie Gorin that she wanted to see me again for the role of Samuel Blackwell. I’m like, okay, definitely want to get in on this. Now that audition was very short and sweet. It was probably three or four pages of sides, two short little scenes, one of which was the scene when we were in the club at Pandemonium with Magnus and Pangborn and Blackwell. That first confrontation. The second scene I actually haven’t seen in any of the promo footage yet so I’m going to keep quiet on that one. (laughs). You’ll see it in the first episode.
What was the first scene that you remember filming?
The first scene I remember filming would have been, a night shoot and we were on location in Jocelyn’s antique shop. The Circle members strut in with all their badassness and start breaking some stuff. (laughs).
Were you familiar with the book material or the movie? Or was it all kind of brand new to you?
Definitely not brand new. Actually, for full disclosure, I haven’t read the books, which I’ve been meaning to. They’re definitely on my list because I absolutely love to read. I saw the movie in theaters. I think I was actually with my mom, too. She loves seeing movies when she visits, and this is what was playing at the time. I originally thought the movie did well. It served its purpose for me. I found out after the fact that it didn’t really resonate with as many fans as they would have hoped.
I guess that shows that, not having read the books, as a standalone it was great, but it also just goes to show that there’s so much expectation on this series right now. The fans want to see what they want to see and they want it to do well. Just to quickly go back in full circle to answer that, I had no connection with the book part, it was only after seeing the movie and was expecting to see a sequel that I connected the two.
From the movie, who was your favorite character?
I would say Jace. He’s totally just a badass hero. I’ve always had a bit of a crush on Lily Collins. Full disclosure on that. I saw her in the Blind Side, and then I started following her career. To this day, I still think she’s an absolutely beautiful person.
Where were you when you found out that you had gotten the part of Blackwell? Do you remember what you were doing?
I auditioned on a Tuesday and I found out on the Wednesday. It was a quick turnaround.
Which is more on the uncommon side. I’m not going to lie, I was actually taking a snooze. I woke up and it was five or six, sometime in the evening. I checked my email and voicemail, I had a call from my agent saying I got the part. It didn’t really set in originally because you wake up and you’re still in a bit of a daze. I finally wiped the sleep from my eyes and was like, oh my God. I just got this part! This is insane. The first thing I did was call them back we did the whole congratulatory conversation. Then I called my mom, my dad was out at the time, and a couple close friends. I was living on cloud nine for the next few days for sure!
What’s your favorite characteristic of Blackwell’s?
I would probably say the fact that he just isn’t afraid to do what he wants to do. In that first scene where you see Pangborn, Blackwell, and Magnus in the club, clearly Magnus is giving Pangborn a run for his money in that moment. Blackwell is just right up in there in Magnus’ face, not afraid of what might happen to him. I think some people might call that carelessness or recklessness but I really just admire that characteristic, that he stands up for or to whoever he feels like standing up to.
Did you enjoy playing a bad guy?
Oh my Lord, I kid you not. Yes. Yes, yes, yes on so many levels! (laughs). This is my first bad guy role and it was absolutely fantastic. Just to kind of explore playing that a little bit, I feel that – and this is one of the beautiful pieces of acting, to be able to strip yourself of who you are and take on somebody else. I get to go to work and do things that in normal, everyday life would make me seem like an asshole or piss people off or get me arrested. (laughs). To be able to go to work and just have a healthy professional way to just expose and unleash what tension might be going on with you that day. It’s phenomenal!
RIGHT?!?! So what is the story behind your “right” catch phrase?
Long story short, I used to work retail to pay the bills and it’s something that I picked up at work one day. Somebody just said something totally, I think they were making fun of me in the moment, looking back at it. They said something just totally dry and sarcastic. It went over my head and I had nothing else to say other than, “Right!?” Somebody next to me just started laughing and I think I might have come out ahead on that because it was just so uncalled for and so random. It’s something that stuck since then.
It’s kind of like, okay, I’m going to take this. I’m going to make it mine and this is just going to be something that is going to rub off on a whole bunch of people and it actually did. Probably no sooner than a couple of months later, half the team in the store were starting to say it. I took that with me, brought it to set, and Curtis (Morgan) just totally latched onto that. It’s something that we share! You are now indoctrinated into it.
(laughs). Thank you! You’re new to Twitter: @TheJordanHudyma!
Yeah, I just launched my Twitter. That was a big step for me! The response has been phenomenal. It’s been everything that I would have wanted, the fans are so supportive. A couple have even gone as far back to comment on, “I watched Degrassi,” that they loved me on that and they can’t wait to see me again. The overall build of excitement towards the release on the 12th in the States and the 13th globally is remarkable. I’ve noticed a very overwhelming response in the last couple of days. Taking that, I can only imagine how much more buzz and excitement will take place in the coming days.
Are you going to live tweet?
For sure. I’m still finding my way around. I’ve still got to figure out how to do a few things on this but I definitely want to have a presence on Twitter. I want to be able to connect with the fans as much as I possibly can because at the end of the day, that’s why any of us are here, is to have a connection with them through our characters and ourselves.
What can you tease about Blackwell’s story arc?
You’re going to be seeing a fair amount of Blackwell. I’m going to be popping up here and there throughout the course of things. He might have to see something he doesn’t want to see. I think I’ll leave that there.
What episode are you most excited for fans to see?
I’m going to say the pilot because that’s where you’re going to meet all of the new actors taking on these roles for the first time. Working with our director McG, who brings so much energy to set that I could only imagine how that’s going to continue into the editing room and keep things together. The cast is phenomenal, so much action and intrigue in the first episode. The rest of the season is great too, definitely from the scripts that I’ve seen and whatnot, but I would just say the first. We’re going to make our mark in a big way.
Do you have any exciting plans to watch the premiere?
Yes! Curtis and I got this nice little location down on Front Street. It’s a condo screening room, a friend of his. We’re going to have our own little premiere party. We’re going to be inviting some close friends and family. More so his family because mine is all out of the city. We’ll probably have Brook Jones who was my stunt double and also did a few other pieces on the show as well. Mackenzie Alexander who was also wardrobe on the show too. Some people who are Toronto based but we interact with still. They’ll be there to help celebrate this momentous occasion with us as well.
Speaking of stunt doubles, how much of the stunt work did you actually get to do? How much of the fighting was you?
Luckily, I was able to do all of my own stunts, and most of the actors did do their own stunts. We also had stunt doubles that we did a second take with, so I think it will just come down to the editing phase to see when they cut the pieces together, what works best. I know from what I’ve seen from my ADR sessions, where we do additional voiceover work, I saw me doing all of my own work. I was really excited to see that.
Throwing a punch on camera is so different from throwing a punch in real life. I’ve never gotten into a fight either mind you, so I’m not saying I throw punches on a regular basis (laughs), but I injured my forearm, as lame as that might sound. I was doing stunt work with our incredible team a few days before a huge fight scene, in one of my last episodes. Just kind of going through the motions and all the repetitive strain did it for me. The trick is, you want to hit with your forearm or land it with your forearm anyway. I just kept landing the wrong way and so the next day I woke up and was like, oh my God, I can’t even close my fist and I’ve got to be on set. Luckily it was a Friday or a Thursday and I didn’t have to shoot the scene until Monday so I had a few days to recover. That is probably my biggest boo boo.
Besides Shadowhunters, is there anything else that you’re working on or worked on that’s coming out that you want to talk about? You’re producing a movie, right?
Yep. Long term for me, just a quick little snippet, acting is always going to be part of my life and I love what I do but I definitely want to test my grit in the whole producing and writing world. I’m actually writing a feature film script right now, a war drama, that is set against the backdrop of Syria and ISIS.
I think it goes without say that it’s very topical. From my research that I’ve been doing on the whole refugee situation, the international vigilantes going over to fight against ISIS, radicals who go over to for fight ISIS, and even just the whole geopolitical backdrop that’s going on right now. It’s definitely something that resonates with me, and I think will continue to be a defining moment for humanity in 2016. It’s a project that I started a few months ago, I’m over 30 pages in and now after a holiday breather, really looking forward to getting back at it.
Last fall I also had the opportunity to work with a good friend and colleague of mine, who writes and directs, Nick Butler. It was a short film called ‘Every Escape Imaginable,’ a passion project of his that he self-financed. It’s a really great piece. It’s always interesting working behind the scenes, especially when you’re working with actors, from another perspective. So just a couple of ways that I’ve been trying to educate myself on other aspects of the industry.
In terms of acting projects, there are a few projects that I’m really gunning for. I’ve been in the room a few times to audition for a few of those roles but it’s just a matter of finding the right one. As of now, nothing other than Shadowhunters is going to be coming out, but hopefully soon.
For your project that you’re writing, are you going to write, produce, and act in it, or are you only planning on writing and producing it?
I’m still on the fence with that. There is a role, a late twenty something, so I can definitely play it but it’s something that’s definitely up in the air whether I would want to at the end of the day. A lot of people reference the whole Ben Affleck, Matt Damon kind of thing, Good Will Hunting. You can write, produce, and star in your own stuff. I’m open to it but in this project, right now, probably not. I definitely want to use this as a launching platform to make my name and break out into the producing and writing (and potentially directing) side of the business.
Since our website is called Talk Nerdy With Us, what do you nerd out about or what makes you a nerd?
I nerd out about wine and food. One of the things I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time, is take a wine sommelier course. Anyone who knows me well enough will say wine is the same thing as water for me. I don’t know that I’m going to do anything necessarily with it work-wise in the future, but I can see myself progressing further in training. Sort of a ‘be more worldly’ kind of thing. Trying wines from different parts of the world is like traveling there in a way.
I love to cook. You’re probably going to see a lot of posts on Twitter, and anybody who has me on Facebook can attest to this. I love going through cooking books and just tweaking things, making them my own and seeing what works well together and what doesn’t. My mom always told me from a young age, “Jordan, a woman always loves a man who knows how to cook.” Words of wisdom that started out as a joke, turned into fact. Of course though, anybody who has a passion for something will always see others enjoy it.