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Report: Harald Zwart no longer attached to direct ‘City of Ashes’


While it’s been quiet on the City of Ashes movie front, a new report has surfaced indicating that Harald Zwart, who directed The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, will not be directing the sequel.

Zwart had previously been signed on to direct The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes before the project was delayed.

Here’s what is reporting:

While the studio has made no official announcements, as of this time Zwart stated that “The studio is still certain that they will make this movie, but it’s not me who directs it. I will focus on other projects in the future. Shadow Hunters was a great experience and it gave me a good window to show off.”

Now, this is all speculation until an official announcement from Sony Pictures is made. But it’s nice to hear that it sounds like the studio is still moving forward with the project.

Who would you like to see direct City of Ashes?

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85 Comments on Report: Harald Zwart no longer attached to direct ‘City of Ashes’

  1. Someone who is actually going to follow the novels storyline.

    • Shidoni2311 // May 20, 2014 at 11:39 PM // Reply

      What I want to see is a movie that actually follows the book. Look at The Hunger Games for example.

      • The Hunger Games was done with the author’s input. Cassandra Clare sold her movie rights, so they no longer have to follow the books to a T because she has no right to complain, and she in fact doesn’t complain anyway. This is just how the system works, as unfortunate as that is. So, get used to it. Movies are never as good as the books. Learn to like them as completely separate entities because otherwise you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. Just a little piece of advice.

    • I concur. I think the weak script was the fault in the movie not doing as well as it could have.

    • Tanis Quinn // June 18, 2014 at 12:12 AM // Reply

      I think most of the people involved with the making of City of Bones mention quite a bit that this film is meant to be slightly different from the book. I was an avid fan of the series prior to the movie and I actually quite liked the movie. The script was relatively weak in terms of general screenplay, but I think it captured the characters well enough and was sufficiently witty; the screenwriters captured the essence of Clare’s novel fine, in my opinion. No movie is going to follow the plot line of a book exactly. Novels do not often lend themselves to film, which is why we use the word “adaptation” when turning a book into a movie. I think that half the problem with the movie is the fan base that expected a translation of the book onto the screen. I think the casting of the five leads was perfect, I think Lena Headey was a great choice, I also think Jared Harris was great. I would love to see Kenneth Branagh take a stab at directing, or maybe Robert Stromberg, who has just come out with Maleficent. I think that some people are taking the film and the book too seriously…we have to be willing to let go of the little things (i.e. Clary’s hair colour, or Jace not being buff, or the story not being EXACTLY the same) in order to enjoy the bigger picture.

      • it’s not just “a little off,” it’s COMPLETELY BUTCHERED!!!!! And anyways, moving forward with city of ashes will be hard because they included parts from that book in the movie

  2. Francis Lawrence!!! 🙂

    • Yes! Francis Lawrence!

    • That was my first thought. How did you know?

      • I agree the first wasnt a perfect adaptation. They actors seemed like actors portraying a book I didn’t feel them embody them fully Jace Clary and Izzy the most. A newer cast might have helped because Jace still sounds IDENTICAL to his character from Twilight. With special effects being what they are today I expected better on the magic part. Its definitely made for those who haven’t read the books, because the twist on the Clary/Jace brother/sister piece is essential later on and I didn’t think it was smart to mess with that. On a more personal level why is clary not even a redhead minor I know but it messes with the mental picture. It was a prettier /cleaner version in my opinion. I picture a little more grit if anyone gets when I mean.

    • Definitely Francis Lawrence! I think he would do the book justice. City of Ashes has been my favorite TMI so far. I have not yet read the last book though. I really hope they go through with making this movie. The first movie did not get much recognition but I think it did get some people who have not heard of the books attention. So if they are able to pull off this movie, they should be able to keep on going with the series but a bad movie will definitely shut down any hopes of more movies for quite awhile.

    • Yes he saved The Hunger Games series, because the first movie really sucked and he saved it in the second movie

  3. Alondra Bower // May 20, 2014 at 7:44 PM // Reply

    Thank you, Raziel!

  4. How about the person who directed the last of the harry potter movies. They fallowed the story fairly closely and really did the book justice. Also how about some new writers that won’t twist the story into something that barely resembled the booked it was basted on. After all the writes are the ones write the script not the director

  5. teamedwardjace // May 20, 2014 at 7:50 PM // Reply

    I’m glad they still plan on making them. Hopefully coa (as much as I loved cob and found it mostly faithful) will fate better. They maybe better off without Jessica too

  6. So glad they are taking the time to do it right.. can’t wait to hear more. I want to see this done right

  7. I figured this was going to happen, and I’m actually sad for it, but it might be for the best.

    I am certainly going to miss Harold Zwart, though, who made our first movie for us and tried so hard to please us fans with it. Having read the City of Bones official guide, I know how much he put his heart into it, and how much he loved the characters and tried to make them feel like them.

    Thank you for that, Mr Zwart. Thank you so much for giving us this film, which I personally enjoyed and know how easily it could have been messed up in another’s hands.

    Thank you for keeping Clary a girl, when originally Hollywood wanted her to be a boy. Thank you for making sure that Magnus was in the script (when he originally wasn’t going to be), and for making sure that we actually heard all the characters’ names in the first film (unlike Twilight). I know you collaborated to Cassie to make sure that, and other equally important things, happened as it should.

    And thank you most of all for mostly staying true to the book, and keeping in some fan favorite lines and things from it that you really didn’t even have to–you just wanted to.

    You will be missed, sir. And I wish you–and this franchise–nothing but success and good fortune, as you move forward into the future:)

  8. Oh, and thank you, Harold Zwart, for redoing the ending to the film–and working on that with Cassie, Lily, and Jamie–to make sure it was better and was more like/felt more like the book. I know you guys did that, too:) So thanks. Your hard work truly showed!

  9. kaelynn johnson // May 20, 2014 at 8:25 PM // Reply

    Francis Lawrence

  10. I don’t know. But I want the movie. City of Ashes is my favorite of all.

  11. How about the team directing The Fault in Our Stars?? I’ve heard that that movie follows the storyline REALLY closely… I just want my visualization of the book to be the movie. Clearly, that is not going to happen. But I want the best adaptation we can get. (I personally would like the movie to be re-cast..)

    • That’s a great idea

      • Amalia Morgenstern // May 21, 2014 at 2:07 AM //

        I just wonder why we haven’t though of that for the last 1000 years…?

      • Amalia Morgenstern // May 21, 2014 at 2:09 AM //

        Sorry I had tooooooo, hehehe, and cheers anyone who read that with Jamies UK accent!! I think though that the team would need to have some fantasy world experience, though too us, loyalty to the books is obviously more important than precious CGI.

    • Mina Blak // May 21, 2014 at 7:52 AM // Reply

      Me too! I hated 95% of the casting choices as they didn’t capture the characters’ essence nor their looks.

      • yeah I only liked Valentine, Alec, and Magnus casting clary and jace weren’t the best choices but once you get used to the idea of them its ok. I just hope in city of ashes jace is more of a smart ass and makes more jokes 🙂 but this is only my option

    • well its been a year and there turning it into a TV show but can someone tell me why they cant use the prequel money and the TV shows money to make the sequel????? I love the original cast and wanna see city of ashes desperately!!!!!!

  12. bookfreak13 // May 20, 2014 at 10:35 PM // Reply

    Reblogged this on bookfreak13.

  13. i hope city of ashes is made dont change the cast it wont make sense they have done that in other films and it has made me not like them .

  14. I think this sucks. Harald did not write the skript, he was actually the one who was so in love with the book, that it put so much more “original stuff” in it, that the first cut was about 3 1/2 hours long. He had to cut the whole thing to 2 hours, so he clearly had to make some sacrifices. It’s just sad and I hope they will come up with a director who is able to collaborate with the actors as well as Harald has. So, thank you Harald Zwart.

    • Amalia Morgenstern // May 21, 2014 at 2:11 AM // Reply

      That is quite true, it wasn’t entirely him, and the script writers NEED to be better, though I haven’t forgiven him for that Valentine latest sequence of the movie….

  15. Mandy Fletcher // May 21, 2014 at 1:49 AM // Reply

    Josh Whendon would be nice 😀

  16. Mandy Fletcher // May 21, 2014 at 1:50 AM // Reply

    Josh Whedon i meant sorry xD

  17. Amalia Morgenstern // May 21, 2014 at 2:07 AM // Reply

    Sorry but pretty relieved here he won’t be directing any sequels. You all know why. If that was a direct quote from him he couldn’t even write Shadowhunters properly as one word…

  18. shereadssheblogs // May 21, 2014 at 2:24 AM // Reply

    I really enjoyed the city of bones movie and I liked Herald Zwart. I’m happy to hear any city of ashes news 🙂

    • This is exactly my sentiment too. All the heavy negativity in many of the posted comments about the last movie is one of the reasons why there may never be another one.

  19. They have to get a whole new creative team. A new screenwriter who writes a script closer to the books, but who won’t make it boring and a director who is as passionate as Harald, but who is able to make some different choices, and direct some cast members differently. They also have to hire somebody else to do the score. Do I need to remind you guys of the midnight flower scene…?

    They also have to get a new marketing team. Try something different (which may not always work, just look at VA..).

    Also, as much as it pains me to say this, maybe they should recast some roles. I really like Jamie as a person, but he really did not work for me as Jace. He was too serious and deadpanned and IMO his delivery of the ‘funny’ lines did not work for me. However, it might be because of the director, so maybe that will fix the problem.

    Again, it pains me to say some of this because the old creative team seemed so nice. But if we want more movies this is what must happen IMO.

    • I agree with everything you said!

    • Mina Blak // May 21, 2014 at 7:44 AM // Reply

      Dear TheFirst , I agree with everything you wrote.
      Despite all of Zwart and Co.’s good intentions, this is good news! I hope he’s not the only one to go lol. I was beyond disappointed with the way CoB turned out. It didn’t even come close to resembling its source material. The studio pretty much disregarded any and all of readers’ suggestions and as it turned out, they didn’t even particularly care about Cassie’s input!! I decided not to watch any subsequent sequels if they were to be made by the same people involved with City of Bones. Before the movie came out I was among its most passionate and vocal supporters, but after seeing it I could barely stomach discussing it online and I certainly wasn’t alone.
      The whole fiasco left me wondering if it’s even possible for the mistakes of the first movie to be rectified in the sequel. I seriously wish that they could start over and redo CoB by hiring a new team of screenwriters, directors as well as different actors.

      • I wish they would star over as well. I was so looking forward to seeing the big renwick battle with the werewolves. Didn’t happen. They made alaric look like a wuss. The portal was suppose to be glass so jace would have a piece of glass to mourn over. Please just start over.

    • Agreed… A few of the people I spoke with who had watched the trailer before the movie came out said they thought it looked ridiculous and I quote “like a Disney movie”. And I actually liked it, turns out the movie itself was much more of a disappointment.

      Somewhere something went wrong, it’s more than failing to follow the storyline, but also failing to catch the entire “air” and “mystique” of the Shadowhunter world and making it feel all the more real and less ridiculous. Some things were really laughable, like Clary hiding in the fridge while the bomb went off? From that moment I just couldn’t take the movie seriously.

      • tmiparabatai // July 25, 2014 at 5:35 PM //

        I loved and got so excited over the first trailer. The movie started out ok but lost it towards the end.

  20. Francis Lawrence!!!! I think he has accomplished the best novel-based movie I have seen so far! My friends and I have been saying he should direct COA for SOOOOO long! and he should ^.^

  21. Jessie's twin // May 21, 2014 at 4:53 AM // Reply

    definatly francis Lawrence
    he did such a great job for the hunger games
    I couldn’t find that many diffrences that were in the book to the movie
    and some things he added in there made it awesome as well
    and they should have more directers that read all the books then make the movie knowing what effects what like how in CoB movie, clary walked away with the cup…D:
    it kinda doesn’t make sense for CoG

  22. CoA needs a director that will follow the storyline more.

  23. The director is the one who brings out the actors quality, it is the screenwriter that follows the story line of the books along with the author (exp. Twilight) TMI needs a new screenwriter too, someone who read the books and understands the storyline. Don’t make up a bunch of stuff, Clary did not use majic to fix up her apartment at the end of City of Bones. How will they fix that in City of Glass. I love these books and hope they make the next movie!!!

  24. Neil Burger!!!

    • Jace Herondale // May 21, 2014 at 6:42 PM // Reply

      Neil Burger did an amazing job with the Divergent movie, but the ending is completely different so I don’t know what changes he would make with CoA.

  25. Wouldn’t it be great if the scriptwriter they hire for the movies were actually fans of the book? That way he/she would know and realize what the fans would want to see in the movie and not mess them up… Harald Zwart was a great director. If I haven’t read the books and all, I would have said it was a great movie, it’s the scriptwriters who needs to change their ways…

  26. WarlockBane // May 21, 2014 at 4:22 PM // Reply

    I agree with Francis Lawrence and if he got signed on after the official announcement that they’re taking CoA off the back burner, I’m sure he would find a way to correct the end mistake of the fact that Clary has the cup ( let alone, a new script writer please ._. ) because that most certainly needs to be corrected for CoG (o.O) and Mr. Lawrence is brilliant! His work with THG is just outstanding 😀
    Other than that, I rather enjoyed the CoB movie as a stand alone and didn’t mind the odd twists in there as I found it kind of….well…an interesting ”fan fiction” twist vs the original ending. That’s how I looked at it anyway. So thank you for you hard work Mr. Zwart for bringing our fandom to the big screen 🙂

    So, *fingers crossed* , let’s get CoA back on board with a few corrections such as Valentine /having/ the cup and the mention of parabatai would be nice too as I have a feeling it’s going to play a rather big role in CoHF!

  27. Jace Herondale // May 21, 2014 at 6:33 PM // Reply

    Definitely either Gary Ross or Francis Lawrence. Both Hunger Games movies are amazing, so they’ve proved they can make a good movie that follows the story line of the book. I’m okay with some changes in the movie, but a lot of the changes in City of Bones didn’t make sense.

  28. Lena Grace // May 21, 2014 at 7:35 PM // Reply

    I’m pleased. I really hope its Francis Lawrence.

  29. so, no more movies then, people stop asking fro Francis Lawrence he is working and he probably ahs other stuff on the way, we are not going to het CoA anytime soon

  30. Finally some CofA news, I check this website like everyday hoping there will be some news and now there is. I personally think that it is great that they are getting a new director as this must mean they are re-evaluating their work. I think Harald did a great job he brought the book to life and included lines from the book that meant a lot to us. I really liked the way the institute came to life. But ı feel he was under pressure from the studio and the script wasn’t great either, he did his best and did try to include lots of things that were left out. The problem with Harald was that he wanted to make the movie too much of his own not the fans, like leaving out renwicks and the glass portal. If I quote from Emma Watson “director’s vision is key” and Harald’s vision was not ours. But we can’t completely discredit Harald even though he messed up the ending, he put his heart and soul into this and don’t forget he brought soup to those fans who camped out. Harald just didn’t capture city of bones and I understand that not everything can be put into the movie but a new director with a better vision will be great. Don’t lose hope guys this means that CofA will definitely be going ahead.

  31. scarlettspectre // May 22, 2014 at 3:14 PM // Reply

    Wes Ball ^^ seems hes done an awesome job with the maze runne!

  32. Okay, DO NOT change the cast. I loved Jamie as Jace, he is supposed to be that way at first. Also, Francis Lawrence would be good c:

  33. Kenneth Branagh – as both an actor and a director, he would be a great choice. I loved Thor, because it showed heart as well as action.

  34. I’m actually glad to hear they might be changing director. I liked CofA, but I do have to say, I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t follow the story line as closely as I would have liked. I’m also not the biggest fan of Jamie Campbell as Jace. Nonetheless, I’m excited to see where a new director could take the series.

  35. then who is gonna direct it??? WHO!! T.T.T.T

  36. I think I like the idea of a new director😊 I was actually thinking they might change the director like they did on the hunger games. I hope they stick to the books more to!

  37. anyone else feel this way? // May 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM // Reply

    Notice how the Studio has said nothing about VIA. It’s a long shot. I really like the books and I’m 29 just finding them from the movie. I guess I’m more of a fantasy reader like Jane Austen. This movie could have an audience com 16_45.

  38. How I Feel // June 4, 2014 at 7:59 PM // Reply

    A movie that is more related to the storyline of the book, please. I also think there should be a movie for the infernal devices(a movie for each book.)

  39. JCB a perfect Jace – looks, attitude, and edge. Pettyfur too soft. Keep cast, director. Screenwriter was the disaster. Rob Sheehan perfect Simon.

  40. I loved the movie, but considering that many people don’t, I’m glad that the next movie will have a different director, because maybe he will please everybody! I still think Harald did a great job, and that people need to loosen up a bit. Books and Movies are different arts, let them be a bit different.

  41. Valentine was actually the worst casting honestly. I like JRM but not even close. Maybe if they hadn’t changed so much of how things progressed it would have been better. Movies of books aren’t for the readers sadly

  42. Destiny Starr // June 12, 2014 at 2:03 PM // Reply

    the person who directed divergent or beautiful creatures

  43. Thank you for some long awaited news on COA!
    It’s a shame, really, that they let Zwart go. He wasn’t the problem with COB, it was Jessica more than anyone else, the script was just too simplified and shortened to convey the whole quite complicated story and capture the interest of people who haven’t read the books. It would be REALLY mean if they fire Zwart now and Jessica will continue to wreck the franchise (seriously, she didn’t at all quilify for this job objectively, she is an amateur in writing scripts!). If you have to fire someone, she should go first. And than the market analysts who falsly determined the age range of the potential movie goers and are therefore responsible for COB being so juvenile in some scenes and music choices.
    It’s also bad because now there won’t be just one directing hand in the franchise (if it is indeed to be continued), and in my opinion change of directors is never good for a franchise – each director has his own style and vision, and watching the whole series of films isn’t like watching one long movie anymore, it feels like a song playing on a broken stereo – constantly and senselessly changing it’s rhythm.
    Recasting the main roles would make even a bigger mess than changing directors, so I am against it though I didn’t like the actors playing Clary and Valentine much.
    I must admit I don’t have much hope left that the COA will be made. The longer they wait, the older the actors become, the more other projects they will get involved in, it will get harder and harder to get them all together which means recasting characters which is expensive and troublesome. Besides many fans may be unhappy with the new choices even more than they were with the original casting.

  44. I think Bill Condon or Francis Lawrence are both my first two choices as Bill Condon did quite a good adaptation of breaking dawn and obviously francis Lawrence did very well for the hunger games. Herald Zwart’s film adaptation was horrible. Sorry Mr Zwart but it’s true.At Least Half the story was changed and all the fantastic parts were taken away or combined with another scene. And I m not sure how this new director will continue after Valentine’s Death in the movie. Maybe plot twist, maybe he did not die. I hope he did not.

    • He did not do a horrible job! How would you direct under so much pressure from this big fandom. At least there was a movie! He did a pretty spectacular job, it followed the plot more than most book to movies do. Be appreciative.

  45. Francis Lawrence bcs the hunger games was done so well or the director of the fault in our stars

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  47. Is there any official reports for the continuation of CoA? Will CoA be made into movie? Because I saw some reposted tweets from Lily and Jamie’s accounts and I want to know if they are legit. Any information will be appreciated. thank u!!

  48. Just make the movie already !!! I cant wait !!

  49. Ryan Kadlec // August 26, 2014 at 9:21 PM // Reply

    With Harald ZZwart left The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes, The Whole Series could get a reboot and a new cast.

  50. Im fine with anyone as long as they bring Sebastian into it. They also need to you know…. FALLOW THE STORY LINE!!! 😀 XD

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