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Lily Collins discusses script changes, how MORTAL INSTRUMENTS differs from other YA adaptations

Lily Collins as Clary Fray
Lily Collins as Clary Fray

Lily Collins as Clary Fray was one of several media sites that visited the Toronto set of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones last October and they discovered lots of information to share with the fandom.

Collins discussed a number of topics, including script changes, how it was having author Cassandra Clare on set, how The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones differs from other Young Adult adaptations and more.

Teen: Since you’ve been attached for so long, has the script changed?
Lily: The script has changed multiple times. We get rewrites very frequently. One thing I wasn’t expecting on this project is how collaborative it is with the actors and Harald. If we get sides of a scene and we’re like, “I don’t know if this flows as well as we’d like it to in this emotional scene,” or “It’s a little sticky here,” he’s like, “Well, what do you want to say?” And it’s like, “Well, maybe something along these lines.” He’s like, “Great, let’s try it.” So we’re kind of able to reword our own scenes as we go to see how things flow in the moment, especially with new actors coming in like [Jonathan Rhys Meyers]. Lena [Headey] is coming in soon and Jared Harris. We’ve all been really collaborative in that sense. And then also having Cassandra [Clare, the author] here to help clean up things that need to be fine-tailored and stuff.

But I think Clary has become way more proactive since the beginning, since the first script. She really fuels a lot of the scenes. It’s less about being thrown all this information and floundering. She gets thrown a lot of information now and she’s actively pursuing an outcome. I really liked that about her in the books. I felt like she’s gotten stronger and stronger in the rewrites.

Teen: Having the author on set, has that been helpful for you at all?
Lily: Yeah, no it was funny. I was cast, I think December 2010, and I never had talked to Cassie. We hadn’t had any contact. Then, I just met her the Friday or Saturday before we started filming. So it was like this big lead up and it was, like, the creator was there a couple of days before filming, so of course I had questions. I almost didn’t want to pry too much into certain questions I had about certain scenes, because I wanted to see how organically it would flow. But I didn’t realize how much she’d be on set, so it’s been really great to have her here, see her reaction to stuff and to have her input on the way we are changing up certain scenes for film. Just really hearing her laugh and her enthusiasm on set is really awesome. She’s the creator of this fantasy and it’s an honor to have her here and have her blessing on things. When you’re a fan of something, the person that created it is the be-all and end-all, so it’s great to have her be here and work with Harald and all the producers.

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.

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About Alyssa Barbieri (2801 Articles)
Alyssa is the Managing Editor for Bears Wire. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter @AlyssaBarbieri

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