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Lily Collins sounds off on Clary’s shade of red hair in ‘THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS’


One of the things that comes with adapting an extremely popular book series into film are the expectations of the passionate fans.

The Mortal Instruments has seen its share of fan expectations turned dark, be it the initial reaction to Jamie Campbell Bower’s casting as Jace to the shade of red of Clary’s (Lily Collins) hair in the film.

Prior to filming when photos of Lily sporting dark red tresses hit the web, some fans were upset that Lily’s hair was too dark and didn’t resemble the shade of red they had envisioned.

In a recent interview with SciFiNow, Lily addressed the issue of the shade of Clary’s red hair.

“Everyone was blogging, ‘Your hair is not red enough!’ and I was like, “First of all, you’re seeing me in the shade walking in Toronto, it looks darker but on screen with the lighting…” Collins tells us. “But when I asked [Cassandra Clare] about the red hair, she goes, ‘Well, I never exactly specified what colour red; that’s the fans.’ So that was a weight off my shoulders.

“I’m like, ‘Did I miss something, that they talked about how red her hair was?’ and she’s like, “No, you just keep doing your thing. Someone is always going to have something to say, but you were chosen for a reason.” And she had every faith in all the actors. So that was kind of the most important thing.”

Cassandra Clare explained the reason behind the darker shade of red being that Lily had her dyed too much — for previous movie roles — and that if they dyed it any more her hair would fall out. And we can’t have that. After all, the acting is the most important thing.

Lily also talked to SciFiNow about her connection to Clary.

“She is really close to her mom and this whole journey is about her quest to save her, and she’ll do anything she can to get her back. I’m so close with mine, so I saw myself in that position as doing exactly what Clary would have done.”

Notice: Any rude or hateful comments will be deleted.

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

46 Comments on Lily Collins sounds off on Clary’s shade of red hair in ‘THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS’

  1. Wig itt!!not to be mean or rude her head. Just saying. 😉

  2. Sometimes, the cast sounds way too defensive~ Like the fandom is attacking them. It’s not that. We have an opinion and yes, we’ll blog about it. So yeah, we’ll always have something to say because we care about TMI.
    As for the shade of red never being specified in the book… well, clary is a natural redhead so OF COURSE readers will assume she’s ginger (as in orangey red hair)… not some obviously fake dark red shade. However, I understand the colour will look different on screen so hopefully it’ll be lighter and more clary like 😀 Can’t wait!

    • Pretty sure you’d be defensive if you’d worked long hours every day, pushing yourself to every limit to make a good movie then coming online to see sections of ‘fans’ making immature and rude comments about irrelevant things.

      It’s like Jamie said. It’s ok to have an opinion and be passionate about the book/movie but there’s no excuse for putting these opinions across in rude/nasty ways.
      I’m not sure about Lilys fan reaction but Jamie’s was so bad it was bordering on bullying, (death threats? Really? Your saying they shouldn’t be upset about that?)
      If ‘fans’ can express their opinion, so can the actors.

      • ForeverJem // July 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM //

        I agree with you! The sad part is that these people don’t think what they’re doing is wrong. I’ve been a Jamie supporter from the beginning and it sucks hearing all those negative comments about someone as sweet as Jamie! You can see that he really cares what people think of him, he’s been on
        calmost every book signing and fan events and he trained very hard to get the body for this role. Every comment on YouTube was mean stuff about Jamie and how he’s going to ruin the movie and the books. Him not looking pretty enough, him being skinny, ugly and too feminim. That’s just childish and immature and yes it counts as bullying! I’m getting sick of all these fandoms trashing people all the time, the message in all the big franchise books like HP, THG and TMI is the same: treat everyone as equals and be nice to one another.

    • I agree. The book did not state: “Clary had beautiful red FAKE hair” but like her mother she was originally red headed. We did not want red-red hair. But a red-orange is the only one that could be considered natural.

      • TMI Stalker // July 8, 2013 at 5:02 PM //

        Did u not just read that her hair would fall off?
        A wig would look dumb no matter what beside she wouldn’t look good in bright red.
        Her hair is perfect she is nothing but nice to her fans and we just send rude comments.
        Yes i understand you are trying to put your input and try to make a great movie but it not your job it theirs!
        Let them and trust them. The book will always be the same and it will be there. The movie is not something that can judge the book.
        The book is always better because it is your head imagining it. The way you want it.
        I think we should all sit back and let them do what they do best. We have been given so many things in the first MONTH they finished filming the try to keep us happy because they care about us,
        🙂 Im sorry but its my opinion

      • I am a Blackthorn (in my dreams) // July 8, 2013 at 7:10 PM //

        I know a girl who had ginger hair when she was little, but when she was about nine, it started to NATURALLY darken. It’s now auburn-ish, but its closer to brown than ginger. So ginger is, in fact, NOT the only natural red hair colour.

      • see i disagree. the orange red hair is not the only natural. I had a friend as well who’s hair stared that way, but got darker as she got older. I also know people who have strawberry blonde type of hair. So while most may think the red-orange is a true read head, its not the only. That’s like saying there is only one color or blonde or brunette, which we know that varies as well. My hair is a light brown in the winter and in the summer it looks more blonde.
        I also think it is how the lights hits it as well.

    • I’m a ginger and I don’t have Orangey red hair, I have darker red

  3. OH *claps*

  4. (okay, that was meant to be a reply for a comment that doesn’t exist anymore o.o)

  5. mina blak // July 8, 2013 at 3:32 PM // Reply

    Like most of the fandom, I have accepted the changes they made for this movie even if I don’t agree or understand some of them (like for example, their inability of sticking to the simple description of a character’s hair-colour from the books for God’s sake!) and that doesn’t mean that I’ll pretend that I don’t absolutely agree with your comment. 🙂
    Don’t get me wrong, I love Cassie to bits, but I call shenanigans on her for the same reason! And saying that “Lily was chosen for a reason” is just another way of placating some unhappy fans. We all know that the only sure and legitimate reason that Lily was cast as Clary at that particular point was because Lily had just done ‘Priest’ and Screen Gems were in the process of turning her into their new “up and coming star”. And after the whole deal between Screen Gems and the TMI movies fell through and with Lily already attached to the project, Sony couldn’t exactly re-cast another actress! A fact which in the end wouldn’t be a problem at all if only they’d coloured her hair a proper Clary-red – as Cassie clearly described in the books. Same goes for Valentine’s hair-colour and the ridiculous way they’re dressing Alec in the movie. I apologise if my brutal honesty has offended anyone as that wasn’t my intention 🙂

    • Exactly. And in the case of Alec, it interferes directly with his character. He was supposed to be shy, always trying to hide, be invisible and please everyone. The way he looks so does not say that~

      • I hate how you guys act like you’ve already seen the whole movie. We’ve only seen the trailers with Alec is shadowhunter gear. I highly doubt he’s going off to battle in torn hoodies. I saw a couple of stills from the movies and he was dressed more Alec-y. 🙂 Also, about the Valentine hair, the actor playing him has too dark hair. The amount of times they’d have to bleach his hair would cause it to fall out.

      • mina blak // July 9, 2013 at 1:24 AM //

        Stating an opinion, to which we are all entitled, is fine. Bullying is not. There is a definitive difference between the two. I can only speak for myself here when I say that my comment was not about bashing the actors; it’s actually to do with the wardrobe, hair and make up department. You can’t judge the acting until you’ve seen the movie (and from what I’ve seen in the trailers – I love the acting!) but you can have an opinion about the pictures you see. And I stand by my original statement that Alec would never, not in a million years, wear the kind of Shadowhunter gear they have him wearing in the movie. Noticing and voicing that kind of opinion does not make me any “lesser” of a fan. In fact, I was here from the very beginning, before there was ever any talk of CoB becoming a movie. Just because I might not agree with every single choice the movie studio makes, it doesn’t make me a hater. We all LOVE these books and we’re all anxious to see how they get translated into movies. We all hope the movies do them justice. There is a big difference between not liking someone’s costume/hair and actually hating on the actor. Just saying 🙂

  6. Everyone is entitled to their opinion – about anything. I just think that true TMI fans are not going to care about Clary’s hue of red being one shade or another. What we really NEED to see is the accurate portrayal of Clary’s character. This will make the story meaningful to us if Lily brings Clary’s character to life as written by Cassie. Personally I’ve known several “red heads ” and they are not all “carroty orange”. I think a lot of people also are expecting more orangy hair because of the hair color on the covers of COA , COFA and COLS. But they are not accurate. Look at the pic of the girl on COLS and tell me that is a 15 year old. No way! She looks more like 20. I really believe that we all need to see the movie and then we can comment on everything! I’m betting that we are going to be so engrossed in the movie that we will not even think about Clary’s hair color. I know I won’t be thinking about that while watching and re-watching COB!!!

  7. TMI Stalker // July 8, 2013 at 4:50 PM // Reply

    Okay its a movie
    not an exact replica of the books
    there will be changes to make it better!
    Its a book were every person has a different imagination!
    How are they going to go and put every little detail
    Dont judge the movie until you have seen it
    This is a fandom where we give everyone a chance
    and here we are STILL putting hateful stuff on actor

    • Yeah! And I have only read three of the harry potter books and aren’t his eyes supposed to be green? they were blue in the movie and that made absolutely no difference to me bc the HP movies were amazing and well made 🙂

  8. Honestly I don’t mind the color… I kind of like it. So what if it’s not natural? Acting is the only thing that matters in this case. If she can act the part, and if Cassie is fine with it, then that’s good enough for me!

  9. geez, some fans are bitter… but I prefer accurate acting over accurate physical appearance and we don’t even know how that will be for sure yet so I don’t believe there should be any judgements quite yet until it’s actually out in theaters. Either way, don’t forget that if there really are changes to be made there are 5 movies [hopefully] to follow and they can change it then if needed (like Katniss’ hair from THG to CF, etc)…

  10. I really wish people would stop complaining about stupid stuff like the shade of red her hair is. I think she would look stupid with a lighter shade and the darker shade fits in better with the tone of the movie. Also like other people are saying what’s important is not her hair color but her portrayal of the character, which I think Lily will do an amazing job of doing

    • Thank you for also thinking it would look stupid with lighter hair.

      And I also wish people would understand how difficult the color red is. I’ve had RED hair. Like really red hair and it doesn’t look natural (which isn’t the point either) and you can’t fake ‘ginger hair’ so the only option left is dark red.

      And I still don’t she why lighter red hair would make the film better ? Seriously Harry Potter had the wrong eyecolor and he did just fine.

      • hahaha i just replied to a comment above talking about harry’s eye color haha its so true! i love lily and i think she’ll do clary great justice ❤

  11. I’m confused, and I might be wrong as I don’t have the book with me right now, but didn’t Clary say her hair was carroty in CoB?

  12. Guys, Lily’s hair would fall out if they dyed it. We wouldn’t want that, would we? Besides, they can always dye her hair in the next movies!(if they make the other movies and Lily’s hair is okay to the process).

  13. But I think her hair is just fine, all I want is to see her acting in the movie, I hope I like her. 🙂

  14. one things to really consider, is the TMI is Cassandra Claire’s books, they are HER CHARACTERS, HER STORY, AND HER IMAGINATION CREATED the books we all came to care about. So if these actors and actress are good enough for her, then we should not only trust the actors and actress, but also the AUTHOR HERSELF, to chose who she likes and what is okay with her.


  16. teamedwardjace // July 8, 2013 at 8:27 PM // Reply

    i love the shade! and there are lots of girls with natuaral aburn hair, burguydny red etc

  17. At least it isn’t a totally different color! I didn’t realize how much fans went crazy about this. I was just relieved she dyed it at all!

  18. I personally have no issue with Lily’s hair colour at all. I actually think it was an interesting and cool surprise. Its not often to come by true auburn hair, Its a hair colour that comes up in Celtic and old English backgrounds, think Rose in Titanic. I think The hair colour gives the character more depth in her appearance and think it was a cool choice! BUT what I do have to say is, while Cassandra Clare never bluntly said “Clary Fray is a straight up orange haired Ginge” she did hint pretty suggestively to the tone of Clary’s hair. She refers once to Clary’s eye lashes being coppery (which is an orangey brown colour) and then also describes Clary’s hair as being Carroty. Unless I see colours differently than other people, that means orange. Again, I actually like the colour of Lily’s hair in the movie… it almost seems magical or something. I just like to be an observant nerd on the internet. I feel safe to run free here 😛

  19. i do think her hair is kind of on the too-dark side, but i kind of wonder if a bright orange-red (like i imagined Clary having) would even look natural on Lily. i think it probably wouldn’t, so i’ve mostly come to terms with it.

  20. Her hair is actually the color I pictured it to be… Cassie said in an interview that Lily had died her hair too much for previous films and that she just couldn’t full on die the hair bright red, so she put a red tint in it. I think it looks great, and either way, she is the PERFECT Clary!!!

  21. JHerondale134 // July 12, 2013 at 1:56 AM // Reply

    Even though everyone is probably done commenting on this, I would just like to say a few things. I would like to point out that there are kind of two sides here; the ones who have issues with the movie and the ones who are trying to defend the movie. I’m not saying that there’s a better side. In fact, I’m on both. At first, I was so set on having the girl who played Clary with bright red/orange hair (because I love that colour and because it was implied that it was that colour) and I wanted so badly for Alex Pettyfer to play Jace (because he fit the discription and the image of Jace of the cover of CoLS) so when I found out that neither of those things were happening, I got really upset because I felt like they weren’t staying true to the books. And that’s how half of the fans feel. They are upset because they had their hearts set on something being a certain way, and are upset because it didn’t happen, which is completely understandable (I’m the same way), so don’t get mad just because they have an opinion and just want them to stay true to the books. But that’s not excuse to bully Jamie for example. I have come to terms that Lily could not have orange/red hair and that Jamie is Jace. I see that the orange/red hair was not possible, and it probably wouldn’t have suited her anyways. As for Jamie, Cassie says he’s like Jace in real life, and she says that all of the actors understand their character, and to me, that’s all that matters. As long as they understand how important their role is and potray it well, then that’s all we can ask for. The movie isn’t going to be as good as they book, no movie ever is, but as long as it makes an entertaining movie and gets more people to hear about the book, then that’s all that matters. We’re fighting over something that we all have in common, which is the stupid part. The books are what we love, and no matter how the movie turns out, it’s not going to define or change in anyway the book that brings us together.

    • JHerondale134 // July 12, 2013 at 1:59 AM // Reply

      By the Angel, I didn’t realize how long that was… Sorry to whoever reads it… I write a lot 😛

  22. I really love the color of Clary’s hair! Would love to dye my own hair the same. Does anyone know which color/brand I can use?

  23. Omg lily Collins you are pretty and I love your hair in the mortal instruments great actors and movie love it xxxxxxxx

  24. Ever since I saw the mortal insturments I loved her hair and green eyes. I myself have green eyes and I just died my hair in a dark auburn and it’s similar to Clarys and I can’t hardly tell that it looks red . Other people can see it though and I can a little

  25. It’s temporary though and it’ll come out in about a month

  26. Now, as a man, he feels regret for the way he has treated women in the past due to their inability to attain society’s required level of beauty.

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