Archie Renaux plays a leading role in Netflix's Shadow and Bone, but it was an odd journey for him to find his way there. Renaux plays Malyen "Mal" Oretsev, and in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com he revealed that he was cast at the last minute. In fact, the actor nearly gave up on the role while he was filming other projects, including the sci-fi movie Voyagers.
We asked Renaux if he had considered going out for any other roles in the Shadow and Bone cast, but he said he was only up for Mal. He continued: "I sort of came onto it quite late. Well, I found out about it quite a bit before I actually auditioned, but I was doing some tapes for another film. I did a sci-fi film, Voyagers... So, while I was concentrating on doing the tapes for that, I saw it come up and I literally — because I was meeting with the director and stuff for that film — I kind of put it to one side."
Thankfully, Renaux did not completely give up on Shadow and Bone, because the producers came back to him later on. While he was wrapping up Voyagers, the role of Mal "came back up" in the nick of time. "My manager said 'they still haven't found their guy for this, do you want to give that a go?'" he shared.
Renaux said that the source material drew him in, as with so many fans of the series. "I'd been reading the character breakdown and doing a bit of research about the book series, and just being like 'wow, I'll definitely give this a go,'" he said. "And then scrambling for information to find out as much as I could about Mal."
Renaux said that all of this scrambling landed him the role just about a month before Shadow and Bone began shooting. He said that he practically went straight from auditioning to costuming and camera testing, which went well for him right off the bat, as fans have seen since the show dropped this weekend.
Renaux now has one of the leading roles in one of the most highly-anticipated fantasy adaptations of the year, and he acknowledged that it is exciting to work at the forefront of this burgeoning genre. He even filmed Voyagers with Game of Thrones alum Isaac Hempstead Wright, who knows a thing or two about playing the lead in a big franchise like this. He said that Wright was "impressed" by the Shadow and Bone trailer, but said that he did not pick up any big fantasy tips from him.
Like so many other fantasy adaptations in the works right now, Shadow and Bone is vying to be the "next Game of Thrones," and it seems to stand a pretty good chance judging by the uproar from fans on social media so far. The whole show is streaming now on Netflix.