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Cassandra Clare sounds off on movies, control and women’s work


Cassandra Clare took to Tumblr to address some important topics that have been brought up to her, including her involvement in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

To answer the original question: I did not have control over the film. I’ve said that a thousand times, and I know it’s confusing, because I have thanked the moviemakers for letting me have input. For listening to me at all. I have talked about having influence and being asked questions and being allowed to contribute and collaborate. But those things are not control. Control in Hollywood over a film is actually a legal issue. If you have a certain amount of control over decision-making, or if you wrote a certain amount of the script, you must legally be credited. There is a pretty easy way to tell if an author has control over a movie: look for a producer credit or a co-writing credit attached to their name. If there isn’t one*, if all it says is “based on the books by”, then you can assume no, they didn’t have control over the movie. In the end, it isn’t a matter of he-said-she-said, or sound bytes in interviews, or hastily dashed off tweets, but what’s in black and white in a contract and on the screen. When I said I did not have control, that is a contractual fact, and that is what I mean when I say it.

Cassie addressed the confusion surrounding her supposedly “changing her story” about having a lot of influence to having none. Like she’s always said from the beginning, she’s had some involvement, including casting, props, submitting script notes (which the studio doesn’t have to use), etc., but she’s never had control. Movies and books are two different things.

Nothing I have said since the movie’s release has been any different from exactly what I have said for the past year and a half. (And indeed, it is kind of weird even to imagine why I would about-face, since it would only be completely harmful to me and my career — it wouldn’t be so much a move of selfishness as total stupidity. The City of Ashes movie is still on the cards: why would I want to alienate the people making it? Why would I want to annoy them considering they also own Magisterium and I’m writing a screenplay for them right now? That would be dumb and bad for me on a million levels. There’s just no advantage to it. None.)

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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

14 Comments on Cassandra Clare sounds off on movies, control and women’s work

  1. Hi, I was wondering what ever happened to the “Cassie’s biggest fan” contest that was in July (I think)? Just wondered 🙂

  2. teamedwardjace // October 2, 2013 at 8:40 PM // Reply

    Great post and Cassie was clear that she had influence but that not much control and I agreed with her on the sexism thing. I loved cob the cast and found it faithful but hopefully they fully utilize Cassie’s input and the fans

  3. That makes sense but why must she continue to say she had no control? It’s redundant.
    She’s already stated this. Now it just seems like she’s throwing the blame onto someone else. It should be an united front to keep the franchise strong. It’s just confusing the fans, myself included.

  4. It’s an interesting questions she raises: When a female is criticized, is it always because of sexism?

  5. She is saying that a lot, cause people got confused i was myself confused cause i though that when she said she was involve in the casting, was around the movie when it was filmed i though she had a say in the end, but now i see she had none she was like a guest for them, but im wondering what were those little changes she helped with i remember Jamie C Bower and Lily Collins saying that Cassandra help them to change something about how the movie was gonna end or something like that…..
    I saw the movie this weeekend (it was released in my country 2 weeks ago) and i finally i could see it and it was good not great but good, i think they rush things a litle bit like they were in the Magnus`s Party and then they were in the church looking for Weapons and another thing i dislike was that Valentine didnt got the real cup at the end (why did they do that¿?) the all point of the first book was that Valentine wins at the end and leave with the cup and leave Jace and Clary scarred for what he said about being brother and sister but didnt happen either cause Hodge and Valentine make a plan and the audience already know it`s a lie e.e… I just hope that if COA gets the green ligth again they fix their mistakes with the plot, all the effects were well done the demons were kind of scary…. But anyways for me it was good cause i read the biooks but for the person i went to see it she loved it she was talking all the way to her house about it and asking me what they did that wasnt part of the book!

    • first COA has the green light already, they just moved the filming date back so they could make sure the screen play was well written and I assume to fix the mistakes they made in COB. I am happy about this and wish that they would have started in September so that we could see the movie sooner but I would rather them take their time and make sure everything is right and in place for the next few movies that come after. As for Cassandra I think if they are smart they listen to what she has to say because she knows whats happens in the next books. so she knows what they can leave out and what parts have to be left in. I am sure she gives them her input when it is important but they so not have to listen or follow what she is saying.

  6. Ehhh, whenever Cassie mentions this whole feminism/women’s issues thingy she has going on, I get more annoyed with her. The turning point for me was when she had that post on tumblr linking to Ally Carter’s article that if a female centered movie bombs, that means we, society as a whole, are sexist and that’s the only reason the movie bombed. She keeps harping on about how we need to support female driven movies no matter what, and she interestingly never talks about whether the movie is good or not. Basically even if a movie is crap, horrible, terrible, we must support it if the lead role is a girl, otherwise we are sexist.

    Just to clarify, Cassie didn’t write that article but she did post about it on tumblr, so clearly she believes some/all of it. And another thing is, it was very self serving of Carter to write that article because her Gallagher Girl’s series was optioned for movie rights like 7 years ago, then got released because nobody wanted to make a movie about it, and then re-optioned just recently in 2013, so clearly she is invested in studios making more female driven movies, rather than her having an issue with sexism in general.

  7. I think Cassandra Clare is in a Catch-22 situation. I don’t believe she’s making apologies for the film, only trying to explain the difference between control and input in the film. And she does make some excellent points. She wasn’t a producer like Stephenie Meyer or Suzanne Collins, but has always thanked the producers and Harald Zwart for giving her input on the cast and certain other aspects of the film. She’s been fully supportive of the film but I’m sure as the author of the book, there were certain aspects she didn’t agree with or wished had been included. But as she said, if she complained about everything, she probably would have been banned from the set, so she saved her criticisms for things that mattered most to her like keeping Magnus Asian and keeping Alec gay. As to her belief that sexism is rampant in the film industry, she’s not the only person who believes that and she’s entitled to her opinion. Ultimately she damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t. She can’t please everyone. So she should probably stop trying to explain herself and just keep on writing.


  9. Also i believe they did a great job on the movie (except for the ending) but i’m very excited to see how they put that together and still stay as true to the book. Also i believe they tried to make the movie more 3rd person omniscient so that the audience would know they aren’t siblings but have the suspense when they still think they are related and have those romantic scenes. This article and all these comments help to calm me cause now i know that they are making COA but they are going to slow down the process to get it right. (which i would rather wait and get an amazing movie then have them shoot now and get a train reck of one.) c:

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