One Wrong Move Left a Shadowhunters Star in Need of Medical Attention
The 20-year-old YA actress is kicking butt both on and off-screen. This year alone Katherine McNamara could be seen on the big screen as Sonya in Scorch Trials AND in less than two months, (ah!) she’ll be making our Tuesday night’s that much better as Clary, in ABC Family’s — soon to be Freeform’s — premier of Shadowhunters.
As if that doesn’t make her cool enough, she also partnered up with Girl Up and Donate a Photo app to give back and help ensure that girls everywhere have the opportunity to get an education. Now, that is Girl Power. Kat was super excited to share more details about this amazing effort and also couldn’t hide her excitement for Shadowhunters premiere. Same.
Besides all the kick-butt scenes that we’re anticipating to see, we should also look out for all the black and blues the actress collected while filming. She even shared her most painful on-set injury yet, and how she managed to “cheese grate” her own elbow. Yikes! Read all the gruesome details from our chat below.
You’ve teamed up with Girl Up and Donate a Photo app to kick start giving back this holiday season. Can you tell us more about Girl Up and how you got involved with this?
“I’ve always been a huge proponent for education; I graduated high school at 14-year-old and graduated college at 17-years-old. I feel like education is such an important thing for kids these days. It’s something that opens up so many doors for you and something that can never be taken away from you. It’ll always be with you no matter what happens in life. We have a lot of opportunities for education in this country, and that’s not the case in every country, especially for girls. That’s why what Girl Up is doing is so important. I was a part of their school cycle last year from Malawi and it was their most successful fundraising program. What’s so fantastic about Girl Up, is that they give girls, and anybody, an opportunity to give back to girls throughout the world. And, as they like to say, girl power is the most powerful force. Girls are the most powerful influencers to create a change. I knew as a young girl that I always wanted to give back, and I didn’t necessarily know how. Girl Up gives girls an opportunity and gives them a platform and starting point through which they can take it and run with it and help give girls the opportunity to have the freedom, independence and the ability to get an education. This year they’re working with Guatemala for their school cycle. They’re giving all the bikes there this year. Some of the statistics are really quite heart-breaking. Six out of ten indigenous adolescent girls there drop out of school before age 15, simply because it’s too far and too treacherous of a journey to even get to school. Girls will travel over 20 miles and sleep on the floors of their classrooms just because they want an education so badly and they want that opportunity. They have that drive and that ambition, so why not help facilitate that opportunity for them? It’s such an important thing and such a simple thing to do.”
How can people give back using this app?
“Through Johnson & Johnson you share a photo and it’s completely free. How many photos and selfies do we all take during the holidays? How many photos of the beautiful weather and holiday decorations do we take? If we simply post it through this app, for every photo, Johnson & Johnson will donate a dollar to Girl Up. It helps Girl Up to give a girl a bike and the tools that they need to fix it, as well as the opportunity they need to finish their education. You literally download the app. It’s free and available on all platforms — Google Play and the app store. You can log in through your Twitter of Facebook; I logged in through my Twitter and it was super simple. You simply upload whatever photo you choose and Johnson & Johnson will donate a dollar to Girl Up, or whichever charity you choose. I’m suggesting Girl Up, but make your own choice! I’ll be posting throughout the day and keeping people updated through the Donate a Photo app. You can do it today or any day throughout the holiday season to help benefit School Cycle.”
What are your selfie tips?
“Lighting! Lighting for sure! I’ve learned that from some people who are expert selfie takers *laughs*. I’ll be the girl circling around to find the best light. Lighting and just make sure you look like you’re having fun. Sometimes you’re SO focused on taking a photo that you’re too intense. Have fun and make sure it feels like you; it’s a selfie, so make sure your self comes through.”
Speaking of girl power, what does girl power meant to you?
“Girl power to me means being brave enough to take that first step and to speak out and be yourself. In this world, there are so many things going on and you always want to help with so many different causes, or there are so many things telling you no, but be the one ‘Yes’ in this world. Be the light and stand up and speak out. Have that bravery and people will be there to join you. Girl Up will be there to support you! You’ve got this huge network of girls all over the world; they’re in 66 countries now. That’s people in 66 countries that will be there to help you and support you in this quest. What I love about Girl Up is that it actually makes a direct difference in these girls’ lives throughout the world. It’s by girls and for girls, which is something so special and so amazing.”
Clary basically defines ‘Girl Power’ and besides having to get into character mentally, there’s also been a lot of physical training, as well. Can you tell us more about that?
“The physical training was a lot of fun. It kind of turned into our cast bonding for the show. We all hit the gym together because we had fitness training in the gym with a trainer who kicked our butts all the time, which was awesome! Then we had weapon training, where we had swords, bow and arrows, daggers, whips and every other myriad of demon-killing devices that we got to play with and train with. We also took it upon ourselves to do some gymnastics training so that we can do different stunts and other cool things. We love our stunt doubles, but we don’t have to use them all the time. We want to be able to do as much as we can. I was actually able to do the majority of my own stunts. I had a stunt double who was amazing and I learned so many things from her; she taught me everything I know about stunts and got me to where I can do the majority of them.”
That’s so cool that you do most of your stunts! Did you every get hurt from a stunt?
“For me I bruise very easily, so throughout the show I’m constantly covered in bruises. I think the biggest injury for me was on set when it was like, two in the morning. We just wrapped on a Friday and it was raining, so I was coming out of the hair and makeup trailer half asleep. The steps of the trailer were wet and made of this corrugated metal, so I slipped and fell and cheese grated my elbow on the carpet and stairs *laughs*. It was hysterical; we were all laughing as the boys rushed to patch me up until the medic got there. It was fine, though, we were all deliriously tired. I think that was the biggest “injury” for me to happen on set. We had a great team around us, and something that’s great about Shadowhunters is that people in every single department were so passionate about the show. From the actors to even the people in the props and the lighting crew, just everybody really believed in the show and brought all out work to another level. I think you can really see that on the screen.”
We also hear the romance stories are going to be pretty sexy! What was filming those like? Did you and Dom Sherwood have a chemistry test beforehand?
“*Laughs* We did have a chemistry test, but Dom and I were friends for a long time even before the show came into being. Walking into that chemistry test knowing that he was going to be there put me completely at ease. When you’re already friends, there’s already a level of trust there because you’re comfortable with the person; you can just play and try things and have fun. It’s always work because it’s different from life, but when you have someone you already have a level of trust with, I think it makes things so much easier. I think it adds to it onscreen.”
What was the first scene you guys shot together?
“The first scene that Dom and I shot together was the first scene where Jace and Clary meet and run into each other outside of Pandemonium Club. That was kind of the perfect way to kick it off, I think. The first scene that Alberto (Rosende) and I shot together was the scene with Simon and Clary in the coffee shop, so both relationships kind of started off at the beginning of shooting. It was a great way to kick off the season and their stories.”
Speaking of chemistry do you have a funny kiss story from on or off-set?
“My first kiss was on New Year’s Eve a few years ago in New York. It was really fun and sweet; it was magical, but it was awkward. At the time it was the greatest thing in the world, but looking back it’s like, ‘Oh, that was just awkward *laughs*.’ Story of my life.”
It’s already been made clear that Shadowhunters won’t be based directly off either the film or the book. What’s one major change that you think fans will totally be on board for?
“As a fan of the books, one thing I can say is that it only adds to the story. We want to make it something where it’s a fun experience for everyone — for people completely new to the Shadow World and for people who know every line of the books from cover to cover, because there are those people out there. I love those people! We go from Point A to Point B and have pretty much the same arch as book one in season one, and we really stay true to the characters; that’s our driving force. As the story progresses we add new characters that Ed Decter, our director, has created. We bring in characters from books two, three and four and see what twists and turns it takes. It’s still the same world, but a slightly different, darker interpretation that everybody can enjoy. Even the look of the show is very different; it’s very dark and shadowy. There’s a lot of darkness and it sets the tone for this dark mood, and almost Gothic appearance. It adds a lot to the show.”
This character is so different from your other ones. What are you most excited about for fans to see you in this role?
“Yeah, I think Clary is the closest to me as a person as I’ve ever played. I normally play the mean girls, and Sonya in Maze Runner is a completely different badass warrior chick… Clary is the strong, confident girl who gets thrown for a loop and has to find her way in this world. As a human being, she’s the closest to who I am, so it’s been quite a different experience for me playing this role. I’m really excited for people to see it, and each of us really put a piece of ourselves into this show. We really gave it our all and I’m excited for everyone to check us out.”
Like you said, Sonya and Clary are very different characters, so what’s it been like balancing two major YA worlds?
“It’s very different because in television you move so quickly and go through so much in short amount of time. With Scorch Trials we had a lot more time to explore things; we spent three weeks on one scene that we would have spent a day on in the show. It’s a completely different style of shooting. The worlds in themselves are completely different. Yes. They’re both sci-fi and YA novels, but Cassie (Cassandra Clare)’s world is so rich and romantic and beautifully twisted, while James (Dashner)’ world is so stark, raw and rigid. They’re completely different environments, but above all it’s so fun to shoot and to get into these worlds. You get on set and you’re just completely immersed in this alternate reality. I’m really lucky because both casts are such families. It’s amazing to have both sides of the coin in there. It’s a crazy wonderful honor, but it’s also terrifying to be bringing these characters to life, simply because people care about them and feel so strongly about them. My main goal is to do it justice and to bring these characters to life in way that’s all encompassing for everyone. When you read something, it’s a movie in your mind and such a personal experience. What we’re trying to do, is to bring a consensus version of that to life and make as many people happy as we can.”
Did you and the Shadowhunters cast do anything in particular to bond?
“None of us were from Toronto, so we all started out staying in the same hotel. I was the last to arrive and when I walked into the lobby of the hotel, there was everyone sitting on the couch like, ‘You’re here! Congratulations!’ They swept me away and took me to dinner and we had the best night chatting and goofing off. We stayed within the same blocks of each other and we would go to the gym and movies together. There’s this game called Werewolf that we used to always play — it’s like Mafia, but a card game; we used to always play that and we Periscoped it a few times. When you’re spending such long hours in the cold and rain and late nights and early morning, you see everyone at their best and worst. I have to say, there’s no one I’d rather share this experience with then with those six human beings. I adore them.”
Do you have anything else that you want to share with fans?
“Donate a Photo is such an easy thing to do and so fun for the holidays. For more information, visit GirlUp.org. There are so many different ways to donate and contribute through different programs. Donate a Photo is probably the simplest and easiest one because you upload a photo and you can make a difference; it’s that easy.”