Exclusive Interview with Shadowhunters Anna Hopkins

Anna Hopkins is as sweet and cheerful as her character Lilith is vengeful and powerful on Shadowhunters. Here, as part of our series of fan-led interviews, she answers questions about where she drew inspiration for her character, Lilith’s fantastic wardrobe, how fans have treated her and what to expect from tonight’s mid-season finale.

Anna: I think the regal aristocratic thing was sort of the place where I started. She is the queen of hell, so we played a little bit into that. I think also something that I thought about a lot was that her true form is something quite epic, and I always imagine that form trying to fit into a human body. And so I think that she kind of tries to keep her human movements, but when she’s angry, or when things start to crumble a little bit for her, there’s definitely some reptilian movements in there. And so I just thought a lot about what her true form was, and trying to fit into a human body.

Anna: I think that the thing that helps me the most is that the writers wrote Lilith as somebody who has something very grounded and real to get done throughout the season. And so it was actually quite easy to lock into the desire to bring her son back, and I guess the main event that was a challenge was… often I’m alone or acting with possessed people. ‘Cause usually if you’re in a scene, if I was in a scene with Magnus, it seems like it’s almost playing ping-pong. We’re doing something back and forth, and it’s really full. And I think that it was working on a different level, trying to navigate scenes with people who don’t think for themselves as possessed people. And so, yeah, that was kind of sort of a challenging part. And then, oh favorite outfit, I mean they’re all so amazing. I’d have to say, I think that Alexander McQueen gown, that purple one is definitely my favorite. And that’s what she wears I think most, so I fell in love with that one.

Anna:  No!

Terri:  Darn it!

Anna: I’m like, “Why?!” No, they keep everything. I don’t really know what they do with it, but yeah the production keeps everything. That said, all the people who work in costume, they scoured these amazing consignment stores and sites online that would ship internationally. So now I have a list of these incredible consignment places that you can kind of find some awesome, unique stuff. So at least I have that.

Anna: Thank you for the question Anna. Yeah I mean, there was something a lot… it was really exciting to read about Lilith in various mythologies, and draw what I responded to from that. So it’s really rare, usually you get a script, and within the script is what exists. And this was endless, endless literature about Lilith and how she shows up in various cultures in different ways, but there’s these through lines. And so, that was really exciting.

And I think one of my favorite scenes to shoot was near the beginning of the season, where she divulges a bit of her backstory about Jonathan, and Valentine asking for her blood. And I was really happy that they wrote that in, because she is extremely vulnerable. She’s completely kind of damaged and broken down in that scene, and I think that, that’s really important to balance out her power and rage throughout the season. So I loved working on that, and Dom was a wonderful scene partner in that. He did such an amazing job, especially because he was constantly possessed in my presence.


Anna:  Oh my god, those fans. Yes, so there’s so many different types of fans that they use. Some are really huge, and then have a couple of small ones. But I remember the first time that I worked with Dom, it was that scene where we’re under the Brooklyn Bridge, and it was the first time they used a fan, and we both were laughing so hard, because it’s supposed to be this really serious moment but there’s just something inherently comical about a huge fan just suddenly turning on, and blasting your face. So I had to grapple with that throughout the season, and keep my serious face, because the fan just became this humorous moment for me. But it was always warm wind, never froze to death.

Terri:   Is there anything that you can tease for your fans about Lilith as far as what to expect in the two hour mid season finale?

Anna: I think that if you’ve been sort of invested in what she’s trying to get done, she’s definitely not gonna be stopping anytime soon. And there’s gonna be a lot of road blocks thrown at her, and she, I think, is super resourceful, and she’s gonna be amping that up. And then also for the Shadowhunters, everyone is just going full force, and so I personally hope she succeeds, but we’ll see.

Terri: What has the fan reaction been like to your character?

Anna: It’s been really great, I was saying this earlier, but I find Shadowhunters fans have amazing Twitter etiquette. So they always… if they say they wanna murder Lilith, they always say, “But I don’t wanna murder Anna.” It’s very nice because some shows, I think as people start to use Twitter more in terms of live-tweeting and stuff, things have changed. But I remember early on I think people didn’t realize how intense it is when somebody hates your character, and then you get this sort of hate stuff online. But the Shadowhunters fans have been amazing, and they seem to love to hate Lilith, which I think makes a successful villain. So I’m so pleased, and thankful for the fans that are just so amazing.

Terri: That’s awesome, and then my last question for you, I think you stated before in an interview that Lilith doesn’t have any humanity, and no love. So considering what you would normally have as a mother-child relationship, what do you think is ultimately at the greatest core of her wanting to raise her son? And is it possible it could change her in any way? Whether that be for the better, or god help us, even worse?

Anna: Well I think that she doesn’t have any humanity, but I do think she has the ability to love. And I think that it’s just a different, what we would consider love. I think her definition is a little bit off or different. But I think also, there’s a sense of revenge that she has as well. She was made barren by Adam, and I think that pain drives her quite a bit too. And so, yeah I don’t know. In terms of having her change, are you saying because the way that she loves Jonathan? 

Terri: Yeah. Normally when a mother has a child that has a great impact on her. And so, there was just part of my imagination that went down that path and was like, “What kind of impact would this have on someone?” Because I’ll say that Lilith not having any humanity, I didn’t think of her so much as having love as being possessive I guess.

Anna: Mm-hmm (affirmative) yeah, I think that there is something about, well I mean you can see it anywhere. But people justify so many things with love as the core of it, but are those things good? I think that there’s major differences, and I think it shows that clearly in the season, the sense of family for Jayce, for Alec, Izzy, and then Lilith’s sense of family and love is so different, and yet they’re both working for the same thing. So I think that yeah, her being barren and all of these things, I think that there’s something about trying to fill a void, and a lot of time people say that they want love, but they really want to fill this void. And I think that, that’s part of it with Lilith. She’s almost an abusive mother in a sense, so yeah I mean more to come on that….

Shadowhunters 2-hour mid-season finale airs tonight on Freeform. 


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