After spending eight years in the supernatural world of The Vampire Diaries — and directing five episodes of the series — Paul Wesley decided to stop through New York to visit the arguably more supernatural world of Shadowhunters. Wesley directed Monday’s episode, which sees Clary and Jace embark on a mission while Simon contemplates telling his family the truth about what he is. But before Wesley could step behind the camera, he had to brush up on the new, very complicated Shadow World.
“They sent me a PDF with a bit of backstory on all the characters,” Wesley tells EW. “Then, honestly, I went on the Wikipedia page and looked at that.”
Unlike his past experiences on TVD, he not only had to get to know a new world on Shadowhunters, but he also had to get to know the actors. “I don’t know their mannerisms and I don’t really know any of these cast members very well. On The Vampire Diaries, I sort of understood how the actors functioned, so I was able to direct them and guide them,” Wesley says. “There was a bit of an advantage there. With this, it was more acquired knowledge. That was the biggest difference. It was actually, I thought, really refreshing to have to learn a new set of skills.”
One of those skills was directing an hour with a lot of green screen, which required Wesley to put his trust into the digital effects department. Another skill? Directing with the flu. “I was sick,” Wesley says. “I had like a 103-degree fever while I was shooting all those exterior scenes. All these pictures came out where I look like an Eskimo and literally I had a massive flu. It was like -10 out. And it was my first show that I directed outside of the series I had been on and I really wanted it to come out well.”
Shadowhunters airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.