Shadowhunters: Casting in the Movie VS TV Show

Let’s start this off with our heroine, Clary Fray. In the Mortal Instruments movie, Clary is played by Lily Collins and the Shadowhunters series is acted by Katherine McNamara. Even though the TV version of Clary is more inline with the book series description of the character, I am firmly in the corner of Lily Collins. Her acting is much more emotive and I absolutely hate the hair of TV series Clary.



Lily Collins


Katherine McNamara 

Next is the major heart throb of the series – Jace Wayland. Movie Jace is played by Jamie Campbell Bower, and TV Jace is played by Dominic Sherwood. This one was quite tricky for me to outright pick. I quite like the grungy, brooding version of Jace in the movie. Jamie plays a very intense, tortured feeling version, which I think would suit the upbringing of Jace. Dominic on the otherhand has the wonderful heterochromia iridum – that is, the cool brown part of his eye. He is also much more clean cut and transparent in his acting. Although I think Dominic Sherwood is super good looking, I am going to go with the Jamie Campbell Bower version of Jace in the movies.

The count currently stands are Mortal Instruments 2 – Shadowhunters 0.


Jamie Campbell Bower


Dominic Sherwood

Next up on the battle of the selves is Simon. Simon Lewis, best friend of Clary, is played by Robert Sheehan in the movie Mortal Instruments and undertaken in the new series by Alberto Rosende. This one for me was another Clary case – I knew exactly who I liked about five minutes into the first episode of the new series. AlbertoSimon looks like a cheap rip off of the RobertSimon. TV-Bert looks like the glasses do not even suit his face and acts like an attractive person that has donned glasses to be geeky. Movie-Bert acts much more awkward but sweet and later bad-ass hot vampire. Robert gets my vote on this one!


Robert Sheehan


Alberto Rosende

Next up is Alec Lightwood, fellow shadowhunter at the institute that has a crush on the unsuspecting Jace. Movie-Alec is acted by Kevin Zegers and new Alec on the Netflix show is played by Matthew Daddario. Alec’s canon description is tall, thin, fit and wiry and has jet-black hair  and stunning blue eyes. Matthew Daddario is an absolute babe in the new series, I didn’t immediately know which character he was playing. However, as much as it pains me to say, devastating good looks do not automatically win the vote. I actually think Kevin is good looking but, the main reason he is the clear winner, is that he convincingly plays the gay character in the movie.  I can see Kevins-Alec clearly harbouring secret love for Jace whilst having those ‘stunning’ blue eyes. Sorry Matthew, totally outclassed by Kevin!

Not doing too good TV series – down 4 nil.


Kevin Zegers


Matthew Daddario

Alec’s sister Isabelle is the first casting to turn the tables in this current battle. Isabelle Lightwood is played by Jemima West in the movie and Emeraude Toubia in the Shadowhunters series. My first impression of Isabelle when the movie came out that she wasn’t quite what I imagined when reading the books. Similarly, my first instincts with Emeraude version of Isabelle is that I really liked her. However, to be fair, I do not think Emeraude would go with my pick of Kevin-Alec. I think Kevin-Alec is much more impressive than either of the Isabelles! That being said, I think Jemima’s portrayal of Isabelle was a bit too hoitey toitey for me, I much prefer the sexy-flirtatious version of Emeraude.

One up for the TV series – finally!


Jemima West


Emeraude Toubia

The next characters into the ring to battle is the Jocelyn Fray’s (or Fairchilds). Stepping up for the movie version is Lena Headey and Maxim Roy plays Clary’s mother in the TV show. The first thought that struck me upon seeing both Jocelyn’s is that how similar they are. It was pretty much the same person to me – I think the casting choice was the same. Maybe they should have just hired Lena back? Only by the smallest of margins, I would pick Lena. Her portrayal was a little bit more convincing to me than Maxim’s was. Also would like to mention that Katherine-Clary does not look anything like Joceyln-Maxim, the family resembles isn’t cutting it for me.


Lena Headey


Maxim Roy

We move onto the Valentine Morgenstern – resident villain of the shadowhunter book series. The Mortal Instruments sees Jonathan Rhys Meyers taking the role of Valentine and Alan Van Sprang for the television show. Firstly – Jonathan, will you be my valentine? One does not get over the love for him in Bend it Like Beckham. I think I will always keep a school-girl crush on him. However, he was a bit of shock as Valentine in the shawdowhunters series. He doesn’t seem to be the appropriate age to me? He does, however, carry off the demented but charismatic version of Valentine that is to be expected. I can see the circle following Jonathan-Valentine. Alan Van Sprang on the flip side does look like about the right age. He also does an excellent job as a king in the Reign, so maybe he’s best leadership performance is yet to come. For this battle of the Valentines, I think I am going to fence sit. Alan is probably the more realistic casting but Jonathan is so charismatic it does not even matter!


Jonathan Rhys Meyers


Alan Van Sprang

The other man in Jocelyn’s life is Luke Garroway, reliable, dependable sweet-werewolf (bit of an oxymoron). Luke is played by Aidan Turner in the movie and Isaiah Mustafa in the TV show. This competition is alot more balanced than the other characters. I really enjoy both versions of Luke. Initially surprised at turning Luke black, I think the clean cut and now police detective version in the tv show is really engaging. However, I do imagine a shape shifter like Luke to be a bit more scruffy and have more facial hair. The canon description of Luke is that he is ragged-looking with uneven hair. Aidan’s styling is more in tune with what I think a werewolf would be too. I’m putting this one to a tie as well. Aidan’s casting is more aligned with the books but Isaiah’s-Luke allows for more plot lines to be weaved into the television show.


Aidan Turner


Isaiah Mustafa

One of my favourite first impressions when seeing the movie was Magnus Bane. Played by Godfrey Gao in the movie and Harry Shum Jr. in the television version, I think Godfrey was so well styled in the movie that he takes the cake without even trying. Although, Harry’s version is pretty similar to Godfreys’s, it’s almost like the Jocelyn casting in that they pretty much copied the first version as it worked so well. Godfrey looks slightly older which I think is more appropriate to me too.

The current count is Movie is at 5, TV show casting at 1 and 2 draws.


Godfrey Gao


Harry Shum Jr.

According to the Shadowhunters wiki, Hodge Starkweather is described as ‘He has a thick scar up the right side of his face. Hodge was thin and had a long beaky nose. To Clary, he seemed ageless, despite appearing older than he was due his gray-streaked hair—brought on at a young age presumably due to his long years of confinement within the Institute, and the grief of it. Hodge often wore neat, sharp tweed suits’. Played by two very different castings, the movie version of Hodge is undertaken by Jared Harris, versing the contrasting interpretation by Jon Cor. The reason I show the description above is that it is clear that is describes the Jared-Hodge version, however, those that are following along with the television show can support the exciting Jon-Hodge portrayal. This once again puts me on the fence (sorry folks!), as I am always for being true to the original story and think that Jared’s character is suitable for the movie. However, I think the television show requires much more room to play with the narrative and for that reason I think a bad-ass, not so old looking, Jon Cor version is appropriate.


Jared Harris


Jon Cor

Similar to Hodge, the movie and the television show have very contrasting interpretations of Madame Dorothea. Firstly, in the movie she is played as a witch and in the tv show she is a warlock, the same as Magnus Bane. Witch version of Dot is played by CCH Pounder and warlock-portal-making Dot is played by Vanessa Matsui. Key difference between the use of witch and warlock is that in the books Dorothea admits to being a “hedge witch”, stating that her adoptive mother was a true witch-warlock. From below it is clear that a different approach is being taken for the witch that lives downstairs from the Frays’. The Dorothea in the movie is simply co-existing with the Fray’s, whereas TV Dot is actively trying to protect Jocelyn and Clary. Again. I believe that this casting decision was aimed at giving the television show more space to grow with the narrative. It’s probably a much needed addition to the television show, however, CCH is much more aligned with the original description of Dorothea. Dot is said to look elderly, dress in vibrant colours, wear gold chains on her wrists and chandelier earrings. My vote for this one is with CCH Pounder, although, I totally understand the choice with a younger, more involved Dorothea in the television show.

Madame Dorothea

CCH Pounder


Vanessa Matsui


Well, it seems that my vote is pretty one-sided for the movie. The television show is still in it’s infancy but I was surprised at how poor the acting the was. I think the movie made a much more realistic stab at the characters.

Nevertheless, I am a hopeless junkie for anything fantasy related and will pretty much watch anything that I enjoyed as a book.

Don’t agree with me? Tell me why below!

-The Nominations Girl

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