Shadowhunters’ Anna Hopkins describes finale as ‘epically heartbreaking’


Ahead of the Shadowhunters mid-season finale, we chatted with Lilith herself to discuss everything that’s happened this season and what to expect tonight.

It’s been a dark season on Shadowhunters, but it’s not over yet.

Tonight, the two-hour mid-season finale will see the Shadowhunters’ final attempt to stop Lilith from resurrecting Jonathan and wreaking havoc in the human realm. With her Owl firmly under her control once again, she seems near unstoppable.

Then again, Lilith has kind of been unstoppable all season. Fans love to hate her, hoping she fails so things can get back to normal, but also hoping she succeeds so she can stick around for a few more episodes.

An important character in the books, Lilith’s brilliant portrayal comes thanks to Anna Hopkins, who made her first appearance in the final moments of season 2.

Now, ahead of tonight’s mid-season finale, we got Hopkins on the phone to discuss all the chaos she’s created this season, and what to expect heading into the break.

To start out, how do you get into the mindset of playing Lilith? She’s intense as a villain.

I mean they gave me so much of the scripts and the storylines, and season 2 was a great way to connect, as myself, with Jonathan’s character. I think they just gave her something very specific and active to do throughout the season, and I think when you have that, you can start justifying all of this behavior.

I just kind of, weirdly enough, tried to keep it quite real like, “Okay, I’m just trying to get this thing done, and I will do anything.” And then, you know, the genre of fantasy allows for no boundaries on what she’ll do. And so you fly with that.

Was there any pressure for you, coming in as the new big bad after Valentine?

I hadn’t seen the show before, so I started watching it and I loved Valentine. I thought he was such a great character and just a fantastic actor. So I was definitely like, okay, these are big shoes to fill. But I didn’t feel that much pressure because Lilith is so different than Valentine.

So it wasn’t like I was trying to emulate something or fill an expectation that already sort of exists. Lilith is just so unique and strange, and as I was reading her in the scripts, I just kind of knew that the way that they’re writing her is going to appeal. The villain story is so well-connected to everyone’s character, I was really excited.

I definitely felt pressure [because] I had never played a villain before. And my mom is always like “You’re so sweet, your face is so sweet!” And I was like “Mom! I have to be scary!” But they helped me with that, you know, makeup and stuff.

Speaking of makeup — the red lips. They’re like her staple. She’s got these beautiful outfits and these ruby red lips. Is this the blood of her enemies? Is that the shade she wears?

We tried a few things early on. We did some makeup tests, and in the books, Lilith is actually pretty plain. We tried that, but we went in another direction.

To start off, we kind of wanted to make me look a bit older, just for practical reasons. Just kind of something that would read a little bit more regal on screen. And then [Executive Producer] Matt Hastings said “Okay let’s dye your hair black” and we just kind of started to go in more of like a severe look.

Once we found the look, we decided it’s not going to change. Like this will just be — she sort of just wakes up and snaps her fingers and she’s just like “This is my human form!” and that’s that. Which I kind of love.

Did you get any kind of input on Lilith’s demonic form? The demons are a lot scarier this season.

Yeah, oh my god, the demonic form was so terrifying. When they posted the photos of the mockup, it looked like something from Pan’s Labyrinth. Those monsters are so scary.

I didn’t know exactly what they were going to be doing, but they actually did take a 360 shot of my face, especially my eyes, because they wanted the demon to have my eyes. So you can kind of see it in there. But when I finally saw what they did, I was so impressed. It was amazing.

SHADOWHUNTERS – “Salt In The Wound” – With the OwlÕs identity revealed, Alec, Isabelle, and Clary head to Alicante to try and find a way to stop him. Luke and Simon team up to track LilithÕs latest possible victim. Maia reflects on her past. This episode of “Shadowhunters” airs Tuesday, May 1 (8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT) on Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)


The mid-season finale is coming up. It is going to be huge, we can already tell. We see Asmodeus is coming in. It kind of seems like Lilith and Asmodeus may have interacted before.

I mean, they live in Edom together. Not together together, but they’re around. He’s definitely one of the only other beings that I think is equal in power, or close to.

I think when she comes to the human realm, everybody including the Shadowhunters, to her, are just so not a big deal. But Asmodeus definitely is like more of a peer. So, I can’t really say if they’ll be interacting, but there’s definitely a history there. For sure.

One of the first things that Lilith did this season was corrupt the ley lines and everyone kind of blamed Asmodeus for that. Was that just a bonus for Lilith, or did she plan that?

Well, I think that she knew coming in that nobody knows of her, really. And so I think everything that she does is always multi-faceted. It took awhile to figure out who she was, and that was definitely by design. So the Asmodeus thing, I would say, was not a coincidence.

She’s definitely shaking up everything this season, including ripping up a fan-favorite couple: Clace. In real life, do you ship them? Do you ship Malec?

(laughs) Oh yeah, totally. I love Clace! When I started watching this show, I loved them. And I love obviously Malec, their journey has been incredible. I actually was saying this the other day, I’m just so happy that Lilith hasn’t ruined Malec this season.

Well, she came close when she started strangling Magnus!

She came close. She came close (laughs).

What are those scenes like? When you film these dark scenes, they say action and you’re Lilith, this big bad Queen. When they hit cut, do you guys just go back to laughing and having a great time?

Yeah, I think that’s what tends to happen. It’s a way of getting through the day. I was often working on my own, or with Dom [Sherwood] mostly. Sometimes I would have a scene here or there with other actors, but it was mostly Dom and we would definitely be laughing a lot, and then just snapping back into his possessed version of himself, and me just being a psychopath.

I think the only day that I kind of needed to work a bit on my own and make sure the scene was where it needed to be was early on when Lilith talks about her backstory and how Jonathan came to be. It’s a pretty sad scene, but beyond that, I think we tried to keep it pretty light.

It sounds like it was pretty easy joining the cast. They’ve been together for two seasons, while you’ve just come on plus entered a huge fandom. What was that experience like?

I think that’s a big part of the pressure. You never know how you’re going to be received with fans. Like I played a character on Arrow for a little while, and that character kind of screwed up Oliver and Felicity’s relationship, and I got so much hate. Oh my god. It was bad. (laughs)

And I notice with this what’s nice, and I keep saying this, is that the Shadowhunters fans are so thoughtful. So even though I’ll get a bunch of people like “I hate Lilith!” but they’ll always be like “But I love you! You’re the person, not the character!” And also, to hate a villain is kind of what you want, so the fans have been amazing.

And then the cast was so so so so nice. I mean, again, only until about midway through did I really start to work with other people, but Dom was kind of like my first person that I worked with. He was always making sure that I felt comfortable, and then eventually I got to know everybody else, and everyone’s so great.

SHADOWHUNTERS – “A Window Into an Empty Room” – Clary teams up with Magnus to investigate a recent demon attack. Simon is stunned with heÕs visited by someone he never thought heÕd see again, and who now wonÕt seem to leave. Meanwhile, Izzy worries about dinner with her family and a special guest and Luke reaches out to Maryse. This episode of “Shadowhunters” airs Tuesday, April 24 (8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT) on Freeform. (Freeform/John Medland)


That’s the hard thing about Lilith. You can’t totally hate her because you can get to the core of her plan. She just wants to bring her son back, which is a very human want.

Yeah, that’s a testament to the writers and how they foresaw this season and this arc. And I think it goes back to season two and creating a really multi-dimensional character for Jonathan. He was really bad, but I found myself obviously having a lot of sympathy for him.

Then… they can create his “mother” as somebody as multi-faceted. I think it just makes for a way better watch for people who are invested and are sometimes questioning the right and wrong. Some people might, at moments, sympathize with Lilith, which is a really troubling type of watch, which makes it a great show, I think.

Speaking of season 2, let’s talk the season 2 finale. In those final moments, Jace is clearly not okay. Is that the moment that Lilith possessed him? How exactly did this happen?

From what I can understand, it was the moment that Jonathan called for her, all hell broke loose. Literally. From what we talked about, she sort of sent out some sort of demonic possession, and [Jace] was susceptible to it, especially because he was the person who killed [Jonathan].

So it was kind of a pretty efficient enter into the human realm. But they didn’t really develop that so much in a written backstory in the script yet. But it’s cool, even in flashbacks, it would be awesome to explore.

Being the villain, do you have a favorite villain in TV or movie history? Where do you draw your inspiration to play Lilith, the literal Queen of Hell?

Hmmm. That’s a good question. I don’t know, I mean there’s so many amazing villains. This is going to sound really funny but I love Cruella de Vil. (laughs). I find that in a lot of ways there’s similarities.

A movie that I really love, and she’s not a villain but there’s a similarity in a sense, is The Lion in Winter, Katharine Hepburn. It opened up with her being banished to this castle, and the whole film is her being just so strategic and manipulative.

I think that was the main thing for me with Lilith, was how resourceful she is, and how long-game she plays, and how smart she is. So, those two characters really.

It’s funny you should say Cruella de Vil, because one fan sent us a question on Twitter: “Since Freeform is owned by Disney, does that make Lilith a Disney villainess?”

(laughs). Oh my god I hope so! That would be awesome.

I think you technically joined the ranks.

Oh my god, let’s start that. Let’s start that rumor. I mean Disney has the best villains, and Cruella, I think is the best out of all of them.

Another question from Twitter: “I would really like to know what qualifies a mundane to become her virtuous disciple.” Did the writers lay that out in any sense?

It wasn’t extremely explicit, but they all have to have somebody that they love in their life, that they kill. They have to have someone in their life who they love, who loves them back. For whatever reason, that’s the blood she wants to revive her son.

Besides Lilith, do you have a favorite character on the show?

This season, I think I’d have to say the Seelie Queen. And Lola [Flanery] is the sweetest girl. When I watched the show, you kind of assume she’s a little older than she is. But she’s just a regular 12-year-old girl who brought her stuffed animal to set and we hung out and played games. I was like “okay, this is definitely my favorite character, for sure” because she does such a great job. She’s so sweet.

So if you had to sum up this finale we’re about to see, in three words or less, how would you sum it up?

I would say, epically heartbreaking. And fun! (laughs)

Related Story: Shadowhunters season 3 mid-season finale preview

The Shadowhunters spring finale airs tonight at 8 p.m. EST on Freeform.