Valentine Morgenstern (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is holding Clary Fray (Lily Collins) down on a long wooden table. He’s angry, and getting more frustrated with each passing second. Standing close by is Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower), who is covered in tattoos, and he looks concerned. After some time passes, Valentine screams “I want my cup!” A second later, he slams Clary’s head onto the table and turns around and hits Jace. Immediately Jace says, “you said you wouldn’t hurt her!” and then grabs a long wooden staff to go in for the attack. A second later, I hear director Harald Zwart call cut.
Collider has a WHOLE LOT of coverage:
- 35 Things to Know About THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES From Our Set Visit
- Lily Collins Talks Script Changes, the Project’s Two-Year Development, Chemistry with the Cast, & More on the Set of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES
- Jamie Campbell Bower Talks Fake Tattoos, Female Protagonists, Working with Lily Collins, and More on the Set of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES
- Jared Harris Talks Fight Sequences, SHERLOCK HOLMES, and More on the Set of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES
- Author Cassandra Clare Talks Casting, Changes from the Book, and More on the Set of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES
- Director Harald Zwart Talks Collaborating with the Author, Why He Wanted to Make the Film, & More on the Set of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES
- Producers Don Carmody and Robert Kulzer Talk the Development Process, Casting, and More on the Set of THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES
Love is in the air. No, not just because of Valentine’s Day — unless you’re referring to Valentine Morgenstern, hehe — but because of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, too. This past Saturday, we revealed the first-ever still of Robert Sheehan as Simon Lewis as part of TMI‘s week of “Mortal Love,” which kicked off the same day. Now, to go even further with our obsession, we’re giving you the first piece of our interviews with the cast!
Prior to the movie wrapping up filming, we visited the Toronto set back in October 2012 and chatted with stars Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower, author Cassandra Clare, and more of the cast and crew. Since it’s the most romantic day of the year and all, get a taste of what we talked about while on location with their juiciest tidbits on Lily and Jamie’s chemistry, the film’s love triangle, plus tidbits on those who weren’t in love with the idea of Jamie playing Jace Wayland
Teen: We see you doing a flip in the trailer. What was that like?
Jamie: Harald [Zwart, the director], when Lily and I first got here, before we started shooting, we did a lot of pre-production stuff and fight training and sort of just warming up to being here while everything is going on, it’s nice to have those moments. So we were doing a lot of stunt stuff and Harald was like, “I don’t want any wires; I don’t want any wire work. I don’t want that. I want it to be very much — If you’re going to do something, if you’re going to do a flip, then you need to be able to do a flip. If you’re going to do a jump, you need to be able to do a jump” and all this kind of stuff. So for me, learning how to do flips onto tables off the mini-tram was really exciting because that’s me doing that in the movie. That’s nobody else. That’s not a facial placement. There’s no wires there. That’s me jumping from the floor onto a table doing a flip in midair, which I know sounds really stupid, but the 14-year-old boy inside me goes, “That’s f****ing awesome. That’s so cool.” I really appreciate those moments and I appreciate the fact that Harald’s been able to do that. And yeah some stuff isn’t going to look as, you know, necessarily as slick as something like, I don’t know, Crouching Tiger where there was a lot of wire work and all that kind of stuff. We know that it’s real and I know that it’s real and I love the fact that we’re able to do that and it is very physically demanding, yeah. But there’s a big payoff at the end, a big, big payoff. Hopefully. [Laughs] It’s nice to be able to go to bed at night and go, “Yeah, I tried my hardest… Oh well, we’ll see.”
Teen: Obviously, there’s a lot of other young adult-based stories with female heroes. (i.e. The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc.) How is your character different?Lily: Because literally, every five minutes, she gets told something that she thought was true, was a lie. She’s thrown a new twist literally every five minutes and it’s this constant battle against herself of, “How do I overcome this?” The end result is to find her mom and her bond with her mom is what takes her through the entire story. No matter what gets thrown her way, nothing is stopping her. Because everything she is being told is based on her past and her family, I think it’s a really personal story for her to get to the end. She meets all these people along the way that end up helping her, but it’s really a story about self-discovery. And because it’s based on a series of books, really focusing on the first one, this is when she finds out that she’s not who she always thought she was. She’s dealing with creatures that she’s never even believed in or thought existed. She’s got this new superhero power with the runes and being able to see people that no one else can. She’s a teenager growing up trying to discover herself. That’s enough of a worry. Now she has to find out she’s a Shadowhunter. So I think what makes her different is just this sense she’s constantly finding out new information about herself that she thought was a lie. And it’s how she gets through those to find her mom in the end that makes this a self-discovery story. And she doesn’t rely on any guys, but the guys end up helping her discover herself more.
Well, I don’t know about warrior quite yet, but man can Clary take a beating. Our glimpse of shooting starts off with a bang at the Institute set during the climactic battle for the Mortal Cup. We see a series of takes in which Lily (or, rather, her poor stunt double) gets her head slammed into a table by her father Valentine Morgenstern, played with evil cunning by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. There’s a round of applause for the headbanger, and afterwards I see the double sitting off set, drinking a coffee with an ice pack on her head… even when things aren’t real, the pain toll sometimes is.
This scene involves Valentine telling Clary that… well, we don’t want to spoil it for you now do we? It’s a big bombshell, though, like “Luke, I am your father”-style.
As Zwart and company continue to film, the footage on the monitors has chiaroscuro shafts of flickering light which bring to mind the films of Ridley Scott. As he fights with Jamie we see Jonathan with long braids dangling from his hair that make him look like a dark Jedi warrior. His bare chest reveals several rune tattoos. He slams Lily’s head down (the real Lily this time) and then evades a spear to the face from Jamie. After the first take, Jonathan smiles and shares a laugh with lily to break the tension.
Having your head repeatedly banged against a table by Jonathan Rhys Meyers is all in a days work. At least, it is if you’re Lily Collins and you’re playing Clary Fray, the protagonist in the long-awaited adaptation of Cassandra Clare‘s beloved YA saga The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
Clary is no ordinary girl (a New York City teen whose world gets turned upside down when she learns about her connection to a group of demon fighters called the Shadowhunters) and Collins is no ordinary Hollywood starlet.
“I’ve had many experiences on this set of intense, emotional, physical… I’m doing stunts in these [high heels] the whole time, sometimes in a mini dress, so it’s been maneuvering myself around the sets. I’ve gotten so many bruises at 4 in the morning, all hours of the night, so it’s been an intense ride, but it’s been really fun,” Collins told Hollywood.com on the Toronto set of The Mortal Instruments last October.
Perhaps most importantly, the sets impressed Clare, who was on the set as a consultant. “It’s amazing to see it come to life like this, the sets are really beautiful, they are very intricate,” the author said. “They really recreated these sort of imaginary places with incredible attention to detail. There’s a place in the books called “The City of Bones” that is named after the underground city built out of human bones and corpses, and I think they made 1,000 to 2,000 different models of skullsand each one is different aged to look differently, each one has different sort of features and has been changed in a different way so even though you probably only see it in a glancing shot in the movie like I know every single one of those is different and I think it adds incredible texture to the film.” (Fun facts: there were 87 swords on the TMI set and up to 16 runes scattered throughout).
Still, even after unintentionally finding himself in yet another supernatural film, he still found new and exciting challenges in playing the morally-conflicted Hodge. “He’s a fun character. You don’t know which side he’s playing on, which is always interesting to do,” Harris said. “[He] is someone who knows what the right thing to do is, but for his own reasons, is making a different deal, because he’s trying to change his circumstances. But he knows the difference between the right thing and the wrong thing to do, and he’s not delusional in the sense that he doesn’t think that he’s doing something for the betterment of mankind or some bulls**t like that. He knows that what he’s doing is purely to get his own ass out of the situation that he’s stuck in.”
The scene being filmed is a confrontation between Meyers’ character Valentine Morgenstern, Lily Collins‘ Clary Fray and Jamie Campbell Bower‘s Jace Wayland – all three featured players in Cassandra Clare’s bestselling fantasy book series “The Mortal Instruments,” of which “City of Bones” is the first installment. The set itself is a room in the so-called New York Institute – the meeting place of the “Conclave,” i.e. the New York branch of the Shadowhunter government. Described in the book as a cathedral invisible to human (i.e. “mundane”) eyes, the interior is a dimly-lit Gothic lair punctuated by a single spinning blue light.
“Take out the cup, Clary…I want my cup!” screams Meyers as he holds a grip of Collins’ long dark hair in one coiled fist.
“That’s enough,” says Bower, stepping forward protectively.
“Can we say that louder!” Meyers yells, out of character.
There is a pause.
“Keep rolling, keep rolling, keep rolling guys!” the shirtless actor directs.
“That’s enough!” Bower obliges, his voice rising.
There is more dialogue here, but seeing as it contains spoilers for those not familiar with the books, I’ll skip it.
“You said you wouldn’t hurt her!” pleads Bower.
Wham! Lightning quick, Meyers slams Collins’ head down onto a table before flinging her backwards to the ground. He then swings out with one of his fists in Bowers’ direction. Bowers returns the favor with a spear, which he lashes out with once, twice, three times. Meyers ducks and weaves, then swings again. They give off the impression of dueling male supermodels, which can’t be helped: both actors are blessed with runway-ready cheekbones.
Jamie Wants to Prove the Doubters Wrong
Campbell-Bower, however, had to do a little more work to convince both the producers and the fans that he was right for the part of Jace, the film’s male lead. He recalled the process, saying, “I walked into that camera test knowing that I wasn’t necessarily the person that they wanted to go for and that’s a hard room to walk into. That’s f**king tough.”
Luckily for him, he connected with his prospective co-star right away. “Lily and I just automatically clicked and these two characters just came out of us and it was like we had known each other for years. It was so weird,” said Campbell-Bower.
Collins agreed, “He left and I just turned to everyone and was like, ‘I really don’t know what else you could be looking for. That’s Jace.’ “
The feeling was mutual for Clare, who said that after watching the audition tape, “I just started to cry, because I was like ‘Those are my characters!’ It was perfect. So from then on I was completely cemented with ‘I love Jamie,’ and didn’t want anybody else.”
But Clare’s fans have been a harder sell, complaining about Campbell-Bower’s casting online. Kulzer explained, “He had a hard time because, as much as they embraced Lily and also some of the other cast members that we cast later on, the fans immediately went ‘Love it, love it, love it, love it.’ With Jace, they were always a bit, ‘Oh, but he’s not a Jace.’ “
And Campbell-Bower admits he let that bother him: “I think at the beginning I was very much aware of what was being said, whether it be positive or negative; predominately negative. That’s something that you’ve gotta deal with. I have to appreciate the fact that this is a series of books that people have already encountered and people will already have preconceived notions about who the characters are, and I have to respect that.”
Still, that fueled Campbell-Bower to work even harder to prove them wrong. “Of course it affected me. I’d be a cold, heartless and self-absorbed person to have it not, but it made me want to prove to these people that say I can’t do this that I really can,” he said. “If I can win over 50 percent of the people who said that I couldn’t do this or didn’t want me to do this, then I feel like I’ve done my job.”
Here are a couple of set reports from international fan sites:
What is one of the best things that can happen to a fan big fan but a fan of a franchise that has made the leap from the pages to the big screen? Aside from your favorite literary characters come true, is to visit the place where the magic happens!This past October I had the privilege and pleasure to embark on a trip to Toronto, Canada, and visit the set of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Can you believe it?? I still cant believe it! Been thanking daily eOne Films Spain (Aurum Producciones old), Constantin Film, Film Alliance and the entire City of Bones team for giving me this opportunity.
In October I was given the opportunity to visit the movie set of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones in Toronto, Canada along with a group of other bloggers, websites and competition winners from Europe.
Walking into the production offices for City of Bones, the first thing you see is the concept artwork for the movie. What struck me immediately was how everything written by Cassandra Clare for me to imagine was right there in those pictures. It was definitely a WOW! moment with me saying oh my, someone has been in my brain!
The embargo hasn’t lifted for us yet, unfortunately, as Sony wants to save our–the fan sites that went to Toronto in September–reports for a bit closer to the release. Fret not, because they are coming and they are going to be great. I cannot stress enough how great of an experience it was.
How great are these set reports?!