Shadow And Bone Cast Facts


Jessie Mei Li took any new cast members out to dinner just so they’d have someone to talk to on set. :’)


Shadow and Bone is actually Jessie Mei Li’s first big project. Before the series, they appeared in the 2019 stage production of All About Eve and the Shortflix film Together, They Smoke.

Courtesy Of Netflix

They’re also set to appear in Edgar Wright’s new film Last Night in Soho alongside Anya Taylor-Joy.


Jessie Mei Li uses she/they pronouns and identifies as gender noncomforming.


Before being cast in the series, Ben Barnes met with showrunner Eric Heisserer and actually showed him a Tumblr fan edit with Ben as The Darkling.

Courtesy Of Netflix

Eric Heisserer recalled, “Ben slid over his phone at me, and it was the same Tumblr post, [and he was] like, ‘You’re gonna hire me now, aren’t you?’” Author Leigh Bardugo even shared a fan edit of Ben as The Darkling on Tumblr in 2013 too.


Jessie and Ben are close friends in real life, and outside of work they can be found “just winding each other up and having debates about literally anything.”


After watching the first cut of Season 1, Archie Renaux didn’t actually know if Mal was supposed to be a good guy or not.

Courtesy Of Netflix

He told Esquire, “I remember looking over at my mum and asking, ‘Gosh, am I good in this?'” Eric Heisserer even said that he and the writers have tried to make Mal much more likable and like a “perfect boyfriend” in the show compared to his character in the books.


Jessie was actually the one who thought of showing the moment in Episode 7 where Alina sees her antlers in the mirror for the first time.

Courtesy Of Netflix

While they were filming the episode, director Jeremy Webb asked Jessie what they thought Alina would be doing in the scene as she waited for Genya to enter. Jessie said, “Well, to be honest, as I stand here with the prosthetic on, I can’t see it, so I think Alina would go and look at her reflection because she hasn’t seen it yet but she can feel it.” They said it felt like they directed their own little moment in the show.


Freddy Carter consulted Shadow and Bone writer Leigh Bardugo, whose experience with osteonecrosis inspired Kaz’s condition and use of a cane.


They discussed how often characters with canes are considered villains, but they didn’t want Kaz to be seen as one. Freddy told Seventeen, “He may be an antihero, but he’s definitely not a villain…[The cane] added to the myth around him that people whispered about in Ketterdam. It’s something that he’s incredibly proud of and would never shy away from. It doesn’t stop him doing anything. He fully embraces it about himself. Leigh wanted someone to represent that side of her personality on screen: someone who was totally unashamed and, in fact, loved their cane.”


Amita Suman never actually got any professional knife training. At the beginning of the shoot, she was given 14 knives and would practice flinging and spinning them whenever she could.

Attila Szvacsek / Netflix


Kit Young had a similar experience with his guns. Over the course of Season 1, Jesper’s gun tricks get more intricate because Kit was practicing all the time.


The series was shot in Budapest, so Jessie learned how to speak Hungarian so they could bond with the show’s crew during filming.


Shadow and Bone author Leigh Bardugo stopped watching audition tapes for Alina after seeing Jessie’s for the first time.


Before he was even cast in the series, fans speculated Archie was somehow involved with Shadow and Bone because he’d followed Jessie on Instagram.

Courtesy Of Netflix / COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Archie’s mom was the one who told him of the fan theories, some fans even believed he was cast to play Kaz, not Mal.


Jessie made sure to take new cast members out to dinner so whenever they were on set, they’d at least have someone to talk to.


Archie had actually worked in an apprenticeship as an air condition engineer before acting full-time because he was afraid of “how unpredictable the business can be.”


Freddy, who was already a huge fan of the book series, said walking on set for the first time felt surreal and like his imagination was “brought to life.”

Courtesy Of Netflix / COURTESY OF NETFLIX

As a fan, he also felt like working on the show was a “responsibility, not a pressure.” He said, “Because I’m also such a fan of the world. I wanted it to be as good as the fans do.”


Ben first fell in love with fantasy in college, where he studied literature. Now, all of his most iconic roles are from that same genre.


Amita can speak three languages. Her first language is Bhojpuri and she learned to speak English when she moved to the UK in 2004.


Kit originally auditioned to play Mal but said it went terribly and was the “worst audition” of his life.

@kittheyounger /, David Appleby / Netflix

A month later, Kit performed in a play and Eric Heisserer happened to be in the audience. He told Kit to come in again and read for Jesper. After he was finally cast, Kit only had two weeks to pack everything, read all the books, and head to Budapest for filming.


Freddy had a Kaz Brekker playlist that helped him get into the zone during filming.

Courtesy Of Netflix

The playlist includes songs by the Black Keys, Royal Deluxe, Cage the Elephant, Sadie Wolfe, and Locksley. He also told Notion, “‘Sinister Kid’ by the Black Keys is my sort of go-to. If there was ever a day when basically I was having too much fun on set and feeling too happy, I would plug into ‘Sinister Kid’ and it would sort of take things down a notch and I’d get back into it!”


Archie hadn’t even thought about auditioning for Shadow and Bone when the first casting call came around, he was mainly focused on his movie at the time, Voyagers. Then, by the end of the Voyagers shoot, they still hadn’t cast Mal yet, and he decided to audition.

David Appleby / Netflix

Leigh Bardugo said that they’d seen a bunch of actors for Mal but none of them could agree on anyone. She said, “Everybody was this kind of square-jawed teen idol type, and I didn’t believe any of them. I didn’t believe that any of them grew up in this orphanage. They weren’t scrappers. And then Archie came on the screen, and I believed him. I believed that this person would do anything to survive and anything to make sure the people he loved survived.”


Ben is also a talented musician and singer, and he’s been featured on several of his films’ soundtracks.


Jessie was officially diagnosed with ADHD after realizing they couldn’t sit still during filming.

David Appleby / Netflix

They told Seventeen, “I tried standing in for myself for lighting. I was like, ‘I can do it. Don’t worry.’ I couldn’t do it. They actually banned me from standing in because I would just get distracted and walk off…I knew how to see ADHD symptoms in people and I started to think that maybe I had them. And then, lo and behold, I came back from filming and got formally diagnosed ADHD. My whole life, I’ve been like, ‘What is going on?’ I don’t think I would have got to that conclusion without this series.”


Finally, if they each could have any Grisha specialty, Jessie, Archie, and Amita would be Fabricators, Ben and Kit would be Heartrenders, and Freddy would be an Inferni.


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