Opening tomorrow is The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone, the story of a teenage girl who discovers that she is part of a long line of half-angel warriors and is thrust into a hidden world of monsters and magic after the disappearance of her mother. We recently sat down at a press roundtable with the film’s stars Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower and the author of the novel series which it is based on Cassandra Clare and came away with five things you should know about the film.
You don’t need to have read the book before seeing the movie.
I tend to read a book before seeing the movie. I like to compare the differences, but I don’t want to do be prescriptive about it. I think you can see the movie and enjoy the movie without ever having read the books. Its definitely meant for non-readers as well as those who are intimately familiar with the books, for those who know them really well there’s some in jokes and stuff that you’ll get that you might not get if you never read them. – Cassandra Clare
Harold (Zwart, the film’s director) was very adamant that this had to be a standalone piece of art, aside from the books. Obviously we are basing our story on the books but we have to condense that and we have to make sure that the characters stay true. But also, this has to be something that is accessible to the masses, not just solely accessible to die hard fans. – Jamie Campbell Bower
Also, for any audience member who is not aware of what’s going on in the story, don’t worry because (my character) Clarey asks ten million questions every five minutes. I really play a part as one of the audience in a way. It is all happening through my eyes and it’s a world that I’m a part of but I don’t know that I’m a part of yet. I do act as that person who is confused as Clarey and can clarify things for an audience if they don’t know what’s going on. – Lily Collins
Author Cassandra Clare was heavily involved in the adaptation process.
They definitely invited me to be hands on with the adaptation process. I had a veto vote on the casting which is very unusual. I was very involved in the production design and the look of the movie. I was somewhat involved with the screenplay but less-so than with other aspects of the movie. They certainly invited me much more than they were required to. I have no “legal” role as in regards to the movie. I’m not a producer or anything like that. There were a few things where I would say “You need to add this on, it’s going to be really important later. If you remove it will backfire on you if there is a Movie 2 and a Movie 3 because you won’t have laid that groundwork.”
Literally the first day I showed up on set, they were like “We’re going to show you Jace’s outfit!” and it was a vest and whatnot decorated with runes. And I was like “You can’t use that one rune, it’s not invented.” Clary’s power is inventing runes and I was like “She invents it in the second book!”
There was actually one other thing that had been written where I was like “Yeah, you can’t do that because it will blow up on you later.” I was very adamant and they went and restructured it.- CC
It was Clare’s love of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings that helped get this film made.
The Lord Of The Rings are my favorite books. And the people at Unique Features, Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, were producers on The Lord Of The Rings which is why I sold them the rights. They know fantasy. – CC
Lily Collins was a fan of the books and its theme about mother-daughter relationships before being cast in the film.
I read the first one and then heard that were going to make it into a movie so I sent out every email that I could. I called. I was like “How do I get involved? Who is producing it? Who is directing it?” And it organically kind of happened that I got the movie.
To play a literary heroine that I thought that I already knew pretty well was a total dream and a huge honor. What I love most about her and what I associate first with her is her relationship with her mom. I am so close to my mom and for a book to portray a somewhat typical mother-daughter relationship at the beginning to then have it progress to where her mom gets taken and she goes after her and will do anything and stop at nothing to get her back. It’s that ultimate love and loyalty that moms and daughters have with each other that isn’t normally shown. – LC
Jamie Campbell Bower is looking forward to showing fans skeptical about his casting what he has done with the role.
Obviously the reaction when I was cast was somewhat negative and I’m incredibly aware that when I say somewhat I mean incredibly. The majority was negative reaction. But I think that there is always going to be a preconceived notion of a literary character or a historical figure that people are going to have in their minds and that’s not going to live up to everyone’s expectations. I guess what I’ve been able to do on this our was being able to show the people who were fans of Cassie’s book before we even made the movie was the fact that I am really appreciative that I got to do this. And I think that really means something to them. I’ve worked my fuckin’ ass off for this and that’s what I do. I put 120% into anything that I do. I really respect the fans and I really really respect the people for employing me. We’ll see when the movies. I hope that I’ve made them somewhat proud, but I know that I’m not going to please everyone. – JCB