Robin the Coaching for Geeks Overlord sent me along to MCM Comic Con Birmingham to meet Chai Hansen.
I headed to the Press Conference and his table to ask a few questions about his acting career, his experiences on Shadowhunters and Mako Mermaids, and his future projects.
I have been a fan since his acting career started. We talked about everything from his career to him being a big Harry Potter fan. Including that he is a Slytherin and plans to cosplay the next time he comes to MCM. Something else you may not know about Chai is his love for photography; he shares much of it on his Instagram at Chai Hansen. We could have chatted all day….
Coaching for Geeks’ Tessa Isted interviews Chai Hansen
When you’re taking on a role in a TV show or film, is there anything you have sometimes had to, like, prepare yourself? Do you have like any techniques that you have to go through before acting?
Yeah, I like to really get into depth with my characters. So The 100 was the first character that I played that I got to really discover him in-depth. So when I first read the script, I could see that he was quite traumatized from this past.
So that’s quite a dark beginning, I try and capture the energy of my characters. So for that, I would listen to music, very, very cliché, but I would listen to music for hours on end, I just thought about everything and anything. So that’s one approach that I have.
Another approach is physicality. To try and discover physical traits that my character would have and keep trying keep them consistent. Like Monkey which is exciting; The Monkey King. That was a very physical world. So I approach that from a physical standpoint. And I watched a lot of documentaries and monkeys are very interesting. Very funny trying to capture that the fun of the like, monkeys’ physicality. So I noticed that monkeys, they don’t really turn their head as much as they use their eyes. So I tried to capture that, little nose twitches, stuff like that. Just fun, fun stuff. So I try and get into depth with all my characters. It’s fun for me.
A program you that you haven’t mentioned, which I watched twice, is Mako Mermaids h2o
How did you feel about playing that kind of role, because you’re very exposed in it?
Yes, first role… So the first season I was very nervous, you know it was one of the first things that I’ve ever done that I was carrying as the lead, and big budget sets were huge. I just kind of felt out of my element, but I took it and ran with it. So super appreciate that opportunity. One of the most memorable experiences that I’ve had which have opened up a lot of doors for my journey, I was nervous but I had fun with it.
When you’re on various sets, Is there ever a time where you’ve walked onto the wrongs part of the set?
Usually from the first moment that you step on to like unit base, again, from the moment that you leave unit base, you have someone like a point of contact person, you know, so someone will keep track of you. Wherever you go they’ll have a radio in the ear, in communication and whenever he needs like particular person, he’ll contact them, and then they’ll come and get you. So you don’t really get lost unless they let you go wandering, because some sets can be quite big.
So has there’s ever been a chance where you’ve walked into, like, the wrong piece of the set ?
For the 100 was had a really big couple of sets. So they had, a location set, which is this big city I think that they, they took over from Firefly which is normal for some shows to do.
So they took that city which was in Vancouver under this huge bridge, and stepping foot onto that set was like you were just going into a city. So I didn’t get lost a couple of times. But the first day that I had on set on that particular set I was called out to go to my site, which was separate to where they were filming at the time. And I’ve walked through that set and walked through the shot.
You gotta, I gotta go back and watch the show. You might see me walking though it and think is kind of interesting.
You’re talking about things for fans to look out for. And to look forward to. Like the finale of Shadowhunters. These last episodes are going to be so precious for fans.
It’s quite sentimental because it means so much and not just because it means so much to the fans. But the show runners really love the product and treated as a baby. You know, Todd and Darren are the nicest people. Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I’m not kidding. They, they really care about everybody.
And because it’s their baby, they really put a lot of thought and effort into wrapping up the season. So there’s, there’s a lot of really beautiful, sentimental moments that you find in the next part of the season.
Unfortunately, it’s coming to an end. But I mean, like, all good things come to an end.
Are you sure we’re not going to be able to make them come up with something else? The Save Shadowhunters movement has been pretty global and pretty intense. Do you… think there might be future opportunities for you guys to tell the stories with these characters?
I mean, like, I’d hope so. Because I love working, and especially working with these actors, Alberto is one of my favourite people that I’ve worked with, if I get so lucky to continue on this journey with them, I’ll take it and run with it. Hopefully, maybe another network? But I can’t predict.
I guess the question I think fans would probably have, we’ve got this conclusion that you guys have given us already with these new episodes, these final episodes. is there still territory both in your character, and the show as a whole, that you wish that you had a chance to explore?
There is quite a lot that I’d love to go back and redo, not that I wasn’t happy with my performance, but you’re always constantly finding new things as you’re going on this journey. I mean, I could say that about every character, but it is unfortunate that it is coming to an end, you don’t really get to explore more because there’s always stuff you can find your characters. So that is unfortunate. But hey, it is what it is.
I’m curious what the most precious memories are of the time you spent with the rest of the cast, because you see you guys together on the MCM stage, and it’s really clear just how much you really do care about each other.
Yeah, most of my memorable moments were not just in shooting the scenes with them, it was off set. So behind the scenes my first day I had a camera test and I was in hair and make up in costume, and I walked onto set and I hadn’t met anybody at this stage. I walked past the cast table and as soon as the cast saw me they got up and they came over and introduce themselves. And that to me that was that was such a meaningful moment for me, because you know I came late into pre-existing family and they were so welcoming and it was such a beautiful moment.
I had my first read through and I was nervous to get it right, so the first read through I sat down and I saw Alberto come into the room and he walks over and he’s like saying hello to everybody he comes up to me ”Oh you’re Chai’! You’re playing Jordan. Oh wait we’re best friends in the show, let’s be best friends!” I was like ”yes I’d love to” so he was he was really lovely, which helps coming into a pre existing show.
Talking about love. Do you have a message to all the shadow hundred fans around the world who love what you guys do?
Thank you thank you so much. You know thank you for always supporting us, it means a lot because putting our hearts and souls on the line to tell the story is not easy at the best of times, so to get that support back is… it really means a lot, and it means a lot to everybody and I truly mean that. It can get like quite tough and it helps. Every positive message helps. Thank you!
Mako: Island of Secrets (2013–16) as Zac Blakely
We Were Tomorrow (2017) as Noah Reeves
The 100 (2017) as Ilian
The New Legends of Monkey (2018) as Monkey
Shadowhunters (2018) as Jordan Kyle
Dead Moon Circus (2012) as Sean McComb
Dead Moon Circus Part 2 (2013) as Sean McComb
Pavlomance (2013) as Zac
Revolving Doors (2013) as kitchen hand
Thicker Than Water (2017) as Ivan
CFG has met and interviewed some great celebrities, listen to the Coaching for Geeks podcast for all of them!