How Gay Love Helped Matthew Daddario's Shadowhunters Character Grow

Matthew Daddario

Matthew Daddario calls his Shadowhunters alter ego, Alec, “an ideal kind of man.” And while the character, a mortal living in a world of supernatural demon fighters, is easy to look at, that’s not what the 29-year-old New York–born actor means. “Alec is the best,” he says. “He cares about others more than himself, and he’s learned how to care for himself.” Daddario sighs. “But he’s young.”

This posed a problem in the show’s first season when Alec fell for head warlock Magnus (Harry Shum Jr.) but remained in the closet, offering what Daddario calls “the emotional availability of a rock.” 

Related | Shadowhunters Star Harry Shum Jr. on Playing a Bisexual Demon Slayer

Luckily, in season two (returning to Freeform on June 5), Alec has come out. “When he finally meets somebody he can open up to, it forces him to realize who he is,” says Daddario. “He becomes a more capable, better human being.”

Fans are swooning now that Alec and Magnus' ’ship is real—they’ve nicknamed them “Malec”—even if one recent scene, in which Alec pushes Magnus into a room before they finally consummate their lust, caused a bit of an online kerfuffle over the idea of consent. But Daddario is just happy viewers are paying attention. “People read into things and are sometimes very capable of understanding what the writers were thinking,” he says. “Other times, they don’t quite get it right. But it’s largely been positive.”

Photography: Greg Vaughan
Styling: Michael Cook
Groomer: Scott McMahan at Kate Ryan Inc.
Jacket & shirt: Ermenegildo Zegna
Photographed at the NoMo Soho Hotel, New York

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