Spotlight on ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ + Interview with Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins, & Kevin Zegers

I just heard about this young adult series was I went back to Jakarta last June. My 9-year-old niece had been carrying The City of Bones novel in her bag, which had a shirtless guy on it on the cover. I thought for a moment it was one of those Harlequin novels, thank goodness that’s not the case, ahah. So yeah, my three nieces, age 9, 11 and 13 are all huge fans of the books, and they can’t wait to see this film!

The Mortal Instruments is a series of six young adult fantasy novels written by Cassandra Clare, of which five have been published so far, and City of Bones is the first film adaptation of what’s positioned to be the latest young adult sci-fi franchise to hit the big screen.

Author Cassandra Clare with her best-selling novels

On July 28, fans had a chance to meet three of the main stars at Mall of America. Originally author Cassandra Clare was also scheduled to appear, but she was unable to travel that weekend due to pneumonia. Now, before I get to the interviews, here is the synopsis of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones:

Set in contemporary New York City, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” tells the story of a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, as secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother (Lena Headey), Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures.

Director: Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid)
Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Lena Heady, Robert Sheehan, CCH Pounder, Jared Harris, Aidan Turner.
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 130 min.

I’ve posted the event photos in the weekend roundup post, but here they are again:

About an hour after the autograph signing, me and two other bloggers were escorted to the Mall of America Green Room downstairs for the interview. Take a listen to Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Kevin Zegers.


What’s the most interesting part for you guys to train to play shadow hunters?

Lily (Clary) and Jamie (Jace):

“I got to learn how to knife fight, which was really fun, I had done sword fighting before in other movies, so switching the blades up was pretty interesting, and in heels, the whole deal, was pretty fun.” – Lily

Kevin (Alec):

“… Shadow Hunters, the characters are so defined by fighting and by the way they fight. I really wanted to establish what, a lot of what these characters are is the way they look, the way they are, the way they walk, the way they fight, especially. So it was important to not just have some generic style of fighting …” – Kevin


You guys are getting on the ground floor of a new franchise… what was it like becoming these characters that people already love in the books?

“… I’m an actor but I’m also a fan. So it’s trying to put little bits of Lily in there, but staying true to how Cassie wrote her, but I think most of my character came into play once everyone else got into the room, you feed off of everyone else’s energy …” – Lily

“I guess what we have to do is we have to take on board what Cassie given us, the sort of bible there, for me I also wanted to please the fans, so I looked to what they wanted, and had to do stuff for me. It’s sort of those three things combined that, we worked around it and hopefully did something that was… comfortable.” – Jamie

“At the end of the day we’re making a film, and in order to, you’re not creating the exact person that was written on the page, you’re creating a person that has the same essence as that person.” – Kevin

There seems to be a lot of green screen in the filmmaking process, and also there’s a good dynamics between the three of you, so how’s the first day of filming like?

“There wasn’t too much green screen, maybe, like extending the height of the library, and there was a guy in a green suit pulling me when I was going through the portal. They pretty much had all the sets built for us, they had the characters, a lot of prosthetic work, so it wasn’t too difficult pretending.” – Lily

“… what I’m really keen to put out there that this a world that, the movie isn’t based in a world of werewolves and vampires, they’re just additions. It’s not like we’re trying to recreate the werewolf or the vampire, as an image, like some modern movies. They exist in this world but ultimately the story is about this girl who goes on this incredible journey who finds out who she is, and her heritage.” – Jamie


What drew you to the part that ended up being your role?

“I think to me it was an honor to be able to say “I can create this really strong, kind of badass character and have him also be gay”, and sort of kill some of the stereotype of the prototypical gay character.” – Kevin

“… there was this sort of “rock star element” that I really liked about Jace. The vulnerability about him, that I really dug…” – Jamie


“I liked the fact that this series in general, it’s not about romance, it’s not about drama, it’s not about action. It really stems from, it’s an ensemble piece, but the catalyst to start this whole experiment with Clary really finding out who she is, this whole journey is her finding her mom (played by Lena Headey)... I’m really close to my mom, so that to me was something I thought was really admirable about her.” – Lily

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opens Wednesday, August 21 in the US and the UK.

(For Grace, Gina and Gladys: It opens in Indonesia on August 28 😀 )

What do you think of this one folks? Will you be seeing the movie?

29 thoughts on “Spotlight on ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ + Interview with Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins, & Kevin Zegers

    1. Hello Mark! Thanks for your kind comment man, that’s so humbling 😀 Well, I wanted to be a journalist growing up so this is sort of my way to feed that secret passion, ahah. I’m terrible at it though, I’m better being ‘behind the scenes’ as it were, hence the blog.

      1. I wouldn’t be putting yourself down Ruth. You’re still out there doing it and it has been known for blogs to really take off. I’ve been very impressed with your recent posts. Not that I wasn’t impressed before 😉 but you’re getting that bit closer to the real deal. 🙂

        1. Awww, you made my day Mark. That’s very kind of you to say. I’m hoping one day I can make a living out of this blog, but then again I enjoy my day job too so who knows when that’ll happen, ahah. I appreciate your support my friend, as you know I continually learn from my fellow blog friends such as yourself 😀

          1. I speak the truth Ruth. Wouldn’t it be great to make a living from it, though? It’s not impossible but as you know it demands a lot of commitment. If I had the time, I’d throw everything into mine but as it is, I have to just keep it steadily ticking over until the big day comes. Still, it’s a hobby and thoroughly enjoyable so it’s not like it’s too taxing or anything. 🙂

            1. Thank you again, your words of encouragement mean a lot to me 😀 Yeah, it’d be great to be a blogger full time but I’m also wary that it’d become a job y’know, that it’d take the fun out of it. Right now I enjoy it because I can review whatever I want and not be pressured into reviewing films I don’t want to see. I don’t think I want to ‘sell out’ in that sense, because on principle, there are gonna be films I simply refuse to see. So yeah, right now I’m enjoying the best of both worlds, having this as a hobby whilst enjoying the perks, but still make an income out of my day job 😀

  1. Very cool Ruth! So glad to see you getting interviews like this and sharing them. I’m not too pumped about the film personally, but I love this post! Congrats to you.Jamie Campbell Bower was, for me, a weak King Arthur in the Camelot series that showed promise prior to its cancellation, so I am still apprehensive about his acting, but I may still give this one a shot.

    thanks for sharing these photos and interviews. Fun! You inspire me.

    1. Thanks for stopping by T! Yeah it was fun to do this once in a while, I’m starting to get the hang of it, though of course in hindsight I wish I had asked a DIFFERENT question! I’m not familiar w/ Jamie before this film but he’s actually quite a fun bloke, friendly and vivacious. Lily is gorgeous even up close, she sat only inches away during the interview and she’s got such gorgeous eyes. I LOVE her stiletto heels too 😀 Too bad I wasn’t able to make it to the screening, but I’m sure my nieces won’t miss this for the world!!

  2. Wow, so awesome that you got to interview them! Shame Lena Headey wasn’t there she is so entertaining – I’m seeing the movie just for her!

    1. Hi Sati! Yeah, I was so hoping Lena would’ve been there, though I probably would be gawking at her beauty, ahah. Turns out that Aidan Turner is in this as well, hopefully he had a decent screen time.

  3. Ted S.

    I have no clue about this movie or the books so of course I have no interest in seeing them, lol. Hopefully you’ll get to interview more actors and filmmakers of more “interesting” films down the road. 🙂

    1. Well ‘interesting’ is subjective Ted. I know there are loads of people who love this types of franchise, I know my nieces can’t wait to see the film. Yes of course I hope to interview ppl whose films I myself are looking forward to, but it’s still a privilege nonetheless to be able to chat with people from the film industry, be that the filmmakers or cast members.

  4. I’ll give it a look. I’ve only seen a few clips from it, but I really want it to be good. Hopefully it will be a hit. Otherwise, it will go the way of Eragon (which I didn’t hate), and not have any sequels made.

    1. Hi Josh! I think the studios are already planning for sequels, so yeah surely they’re hoping the first film would be a hit. I haven’t seen Eragon, so you’re saying that’s at least worth a rent?

  5. Very cool you got to do the interview! I’m open minded to this new franchise. I’ll wait for the reviews and see what the buzz is before deciding to watch it in the theaters or not. I’m also very curious about the books.

    1. Hi there! Thanks for reading, yeah it was fun to do interviews once in a while 😀 Sounds like a wise plan waiting for the reviews, I wish I had gone to the screenings but I had to miss because of work.

      1. Hmmmm… what to do, what to do… I am scared of putting childish junk on my reading list, but then there are adults recommending it… I hate shopping for new authors when there is so much hype surrounding them haha!

        1. Well, you could try reading an excerpt online or something and just get a feel for it. That’s usually how I do it, usually I know if I want to continue reading just by the excerpt 😀

  6. Interesting interview 🙂
    You are getting more famous with real-life interview … Keren!!

    But I have to answer I think I’ll pass for your closing question 😉

  7. Never read the books either, but it doesn’t sound too bad. And hearing that it isn’t too focused on the romance is encourging.(Also the world can use more kickass gay characters imo)

    And glad to see you getting interviews like this. You deserve it 🙂 And maybe in the future you will be interviewing me for a film 😉

    1. Yeah, I think that’s cool that it’s not about romance though there’s that aspect in the story. Hearing Lily describe the story and her character is cool, she seems to have a good grasp of what Clary is all about.

      Thanks Julian, I do hope I get more interviews during the local film fest in the Fall 😀

  8. Pingback: » Movie Review – The Purge Fernby Films

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