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Interview with the cast of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

mortal-instruments1-600x400 attended a press conference for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, with all the major stars and the director. Here’s what they had to say:

On the panel:

Harald Zwart – Director
Lily Collins –  lead – Clary
Jamie Campbell-Bower –  lead – Jace
Robert Sheehan – lead –  Simon

You have directed coming-of-age stories before but they usually feature a male lead…

Harald Zwart: “You can say that The Karate Kid was for my son and this one was for Stella my daughter. Although she is way too young to see the movie but she saw it before the monsters were added.”

The film really doesn’t pull any punches, the demon dog is something out of a nightmare!

HZ: “You need to consider your audience before you make the film. I just wanted to make a really great movie that I would love to watch too. And to dumb things down just because people are young? I don’t think we need to do that. People like to be scared! I was constantly thinking ‘what would I show my own kids?’ And as long as long as there’s not too much gore and blood or girls in jeopardy which is boring after a while! I was inspired by The Exorcist and The Thing and I tried to make it as realistic as possible.”

Lily, Clary is a dream for any actress to play as she’s that rare thing a really strong female lead character, is that what attracted you to the part?

LC: “Yes I guess the fact that Clary is very normal. She cries, she’s going through an identity crisis. She embraces that and finds the strength in her weakness. She ends up kicking major butt and hanging with the guys, but all the while still having those very feminine young girl moments that make her real. It is too easy to play her very super-human, but that’s not relatable.”

Jamie, Jace is the kind of guy that most guys would like to be;  A mysterious stranger who can slay demons with one hand tied behind his back. He must have been a fun role:

Jamie Campbell-Bower: “Yes he’s everything that I’m not basically! I am not particularly cool. It was tough and I put a lot of work and effort into it. previous characters have been fairly ‘soft’ or ’rounded physically’ . In the book Jace is looking pretty hench so I had to get into that physical shape. I like to challenge myself as I have a short attention span. But honing my skills in stunts and fighting was a real joy.” 

Robert, Simon is the eyes and ears of the audience into this fantastical world and he is very funny. Was he fun to play or did you want a sword in your hand?

Robert Sheehan: “There’s always a way that I can make sure the comedy is juiced as he’s not doing any of the slaying, he’s doing all of the cowering! The audience need someone like that – it was lovely fun. Harald was always saying ‘It’s got to be real’ as my instinct is towards performance and gesticulating wildly, but Harald reined me back in.”

You filmed in lots of good sets, was there one that you really enjoyed filming in?

LC: “My jaw dropped when Jamie opened the door to The Institute and my jaw dropped (just like Clary’s). I was a huge fan of the books so you picture what you assumed it would look like. The depth of the sets and the set itself was pure magic.”

Did you have to train to get into shape?

LC: “We all did except Robert – I trained for three months before filming out at Los Angeles and then every day before, during or after work with the stunt department as well as our physical fitness trainer. In this film I have to keep up in heels and a very short dress. Luckily the heels are lower in the second film!”

I really like the CGI in this film and I’m not always the biggest fan of movie special effects. It looked amazing on screen, but how did you all finding working with it?

LC: “What stuck out from my first meeting with Harald was that this wasn’t a movie about CGI it was about character and emotion. You could wipe away all the other stuff and you would get the same storyline. The CGI is the icing on top. One of the scenes [involving stopping demons in time and moving quietly past them] involved Bobby and I dodging tennis balls instead. Robert kept drawing pictures on them – after the fifth take it’s just not funny any more!

“With other scenes there was nothing in front of me and Harald  just clapped saying ‘It’s there, look there. They’re merging.’ And I’m like ‘What is he talking about?’ It’s impossible to describe how it was as I’ve never seen CGI like that before. We had an amazing props guy called Mario who would be staring at me [to provoke a reaction]. It was not normal – just bizarre!”

RS: “Often Harald just jumped out from behind something to scare Lily. He makes a huge loud noise. If Harald ever writes a book they’ll be a whole chapter on how to scare an actor!”

JCB: “Harald is there pushing the actors out of shot saying ‘Come on you’re not reacting well enough!’ But what I’ve also learned about this industry is that things are so complicated. We had huge battery packs taped down our backs for filming [the sword fights]. But when I saw some of the merchandise there’s just a battery-operated pen – Why did we not have that when we were shooting?!” 

Jamie you’re known for always having seem kind of body art to mark finishing your projects. Is that still true?

JCB: “I was meant to be going today but the tattoo parlour round the corner on Frith Street was closed, where I get most of my stuff done.  I am going to get a quote from the book: ‘I am after all what you made me‘.” 



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