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Harald Zwart answers fan questions about CITY OF BONES movie

Photo: Harald Zwart

Director Harald Zwart took an hour to answer fan questions related to THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES on Friday (Nov. 16). He addressed many topics related to the movie, including on set secrets, his favorite character and just how many times it took Jamie Campbell Bower (Jace) to slide over that cop car hood (the answer: only once). Has he read the books?
Yes, and I love them.
On the best part about filming: 
Every day we had fans waiting for us outside the set. That gave the whole shooting experience an extra boost.
On his favorite character:
It's hard to say. I love that big scene with Dorothea. She's a great character.
On who says: "There is a map inside your head Clary" in the trailer:
Those words are coming from Magnus.
On where he got the idea to give Isabelle a flamethrower:
It was an image I liked and it seemed to fit Isabelle. It works great when she’s fighting at the end.
On how Geir Andreassen chose the look/lighting and color palette of the film:
Thanks. Geir is very talented. We looked at many movies together and worked out a palette and lighting plan.
On which character he finds the most interesting:
I love them all. Clary is brave. Jace has a great character arc. I think Hodge’s complex psyche is very interesting.

Photo: Harald Zwart

On when we’ll get photos of Magnus (Godfrey Gao):

Hang in there. They will be worth the wait.

On his favorite set on the film:

I loved shooting in the Library. The set was inspired by Jules Verne. City of Bones was amazing as well.

Photo: Sony Pictures

On staying faithful to the book:

When you make a movie you always have to make some changes. We worked closely with @cassieclare. She’s great.

On what inspired him to become a director:

I lived in Norway far from any movie industry and made my first film when I was 8. Star Wars sealed the deal.

On the costumes being specifically made for the film:

Yes, most of it was designed and made for the movie. Gersha our designer is fantastic!

Did Jamie Campbell Bower do most of his stunts:

Yes, he is amazing.

On a London premiere for the film:

We would love to come to London. Many of our cast are British.

On would he ever direct the new Star Wars:

Yes, please!

On his love for the MORTAL INSTRUMENTS fans:

TMI fans are the greatest. Thanks for the homemade cookies. I love you all.

On the cast going to Brazil:

OK! we’re there!

On who the creepy little girl is in the trailer:

You’ll have to see. She was a great actress.

On his familiarity with the runes:

Yes, I know them all pretty well.

On what series he was a fan of growing up:

Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

On possibility of a premiere in Italy:

Sure. I love Italy. I shoot commercials there all the time.

Describe Robbie Sheehan in one word:


On his favorite setting of the movie:

I loved shooting the greenhouse.

On Simon and Isabelle as a couple:

They are a perfect couple, aren’t they? They just don’t know it, yet…


thrillingactionepicromancescarecharacterdrama – does that count as one word?

On the cast:

From the first day we had a great time. They are all very professional and the sweetest mundanes.

On how he felt once filming ended:

It ended yesterday, so I don’t really know yet. I know I will miss it. It’s been a great experience.

On plans of the other MORTAL INSTRUMENTS books becoming movies:

I would love that.

Describe Cassandra Clare’s books in one word:


Photo: Sony Pictures

On how many times it took Jamie to nail the sliding across the cop car hood (in the teaser trailer):

Three takes. The first one was great. The rain made it more complicated for the camera so we did a few more.

On who he would play in the movie:

Madame Dorothea.

On which scene was the most fun to film:

We had a lot of fun with Hotel Dumort.

On who came up with the idea to put a rune in Clary’s coffee (in the teaser trailer):

Thanks. That was my idea. It came after a creative conversation with my brilliant conceptual artist Nikolai Lockertsen.

On which cast members made him laugh the most on set:

Lily and Jamie made the crew laugh many times. Lena got the giggles when she was fighting with a frying pan.

On his favorite rune:

I like the design of the rune of quietude.

On which character is most like him:

I identify most with Hodge.

Describe Godfrey Gao (Magnus)’s costumes:

He forgot to put on his pants.

Did he know how big the MORTAL INSTRUMENTS fandom was and about the immense fan support:

Now I know and share your passion. Personally I chose the material because it’s cinematic and a great story.


We’re very happy to have Gabriel Yared. Listen to his music and you’ll understand.

Thanks to Harald for taking time out to answer fan questions.

Be sure to follow him on Twitter and Tumblr.

About Alyssa Barbieri (2800 Articles)
Alyssa is the Managing Editor for Bears Wire. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @AlyssaBarbieri

25 Comments on Harald Zwart answers fan questions about CITY OF BONES movie

  1. KikilovesJace // November 16, 2012 at 8:33 PM // Reply

    So many questions, so many answers! Love it! 🙂

  2. I am so dying to find out who the little girl is an who that floating woman was… Can’t wait for next August. 😀

  3. A little not to Harald. You said the fans were great, but I want to say that the film staff was nothing less than awesome. I’ve never seen actors/actresses take so much time to sign autographs and take photos and talk with the fans. I’ve NEVER seen a director take time to answer fan’s questions and give out so much info during the actual filming. Plus from what I read from the people covering the filming there were a lot of people who talked to them, brought them coffee and stuff. I think you were all amazing and went above and beyond the call of duty!!! Cheers and high fives to you all!!!!! I wish I could have been there in person. I WILL make it there when City of Ashes get filmed!!!!

  4. “He forgot to put on his pants”… I still do not get it.
    Anyway, thank you Harald for being such a amazing person and answer this questions and directing our beloved City of Bones.

  5. Does isabelle still use her whip though?!

  6. Did Jamie Campbell Bower do most of his stunts:

    Yes, he is amazing.

    Direct quote from Harald. @ all you people who did not want Jamie as Jace – like I have been saying all along – There is no other person who could even come close to being the perfect Jace. In studying his character and acting, Jamie really “gets into” his character, he “becomes” the character. You can’t get get better than that. Awesome, fantastic, amazing…….all these words only begin to describe you Jamie!!!!! Thank you so much for taking on this role and bringing our beloved character, Jace, to life on the big screen. We were so lucky to have you ❤ ❤ ❤

  7. We love you, Harald. Thank you for directing this movie. You’re the coolest director! 🙂

  8. Raise your hand for those of us who want Harald to return to direct City of Ashes? “RAISES HAND”.

  9. Random question we know the other films are coming so who do you see as Mayrse, Max and Robert Lightwood, Maia Roberts, The Seelie Queen, Raphael Santiago, Aline, Sebastian ( Aka the real Jonathan Christopher), and Amatis?

  10. Does Isabelle still get a whip?

  11. I think it’d be so cool if, like, when other products are released (e.g T Shirts, Blankets, etc.) i think it’d be cool if they made family rings, like the Lightwood family ring. oh and steles. those look cool.

  12. teamedwardjace // November 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM // Reply

    Harold you rock! Thank you so much for answering the questions! it seem liked you did an amazing job and I love your enthuaism for the series and the fandom! Jamie, you are amazing and I you are a great Jace and sexy (cuz your looks , talents, personality thae fact that you’re british). and it’s awesome you did your own stunts and how dedicated you are to your roles and how you quickly become them! Lily, you are amazing and yes there are changes , but the changes are really cool! ok clary, discovers she can create new runes earlier than she does in the book, but that’s cool for the movie. I also love how they added Izzy and alec to rescue simon. it would be cool with just thre of them but it’s sitll awesome.! I can’t wait to see everyone! the whole cast is great, great with fans, great actors ,and dedicated and hardworking. lily and jamie are quite funny so is robbie. i hope you take the time to answer the questions agian and that I can be a part of it

  13. Dear Harald Zwart,
    my name is Dani Flack and im from spokane washington. I’ve read all the books myself and as love them too. i was excited to hear they were gonna make into a movie and so far your doing a great job and i know its not my place to critize you but i dont want this series to end up like the awlful twilight saga. im an artist and i would love to show you what my imagination created and hope that when you see them that you would give me feedback and hopefully take some details into consideration before you set your cast in stone.

  14. what was that rune that clary placed on her hand to freeze all the demons??

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