Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zeger, Lena Headey, Kevin Durand, Aidan Turner, Jemima West, Godfrey Gao, CCH Pounder, Jared Harris, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Director: Harald Zwart
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Synopsis: Clarissa 'Clary" Fray (Lily Collins) has been living quietly in Brooklyn for as long as she can remember, when she suddenly begins to see startling and seemingly impossible things. Just as suddenly, her single mom (Lena Headey) disappears after a violent struggle. As she and her best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) search for her mother, Clary begins to uncover the dark secrets and darker threats in the hidden world of the Shadowhunters, angel-human warriors who have protected humanity from evil forces for centuries.
Surrounded by demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other supernatural denizens of the Shadow World, Clary joins forces with young Shadowhunters Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), Isabelle (Jemima West) and Alec (Kevin Zegers) to locate and protect an ancient Cup that holds the key to her mother's future. Discovering abilities and courage she never knew she possessed, the young woman surprises even herself as she proves to be a formidable opponent against an array of deadly adversaries.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Release Date: 22nd of August, 2013
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) is a seemingly normal teenager, who lives with her artistic mother, Jocelyn (Lena Headey). Simon (Richard Sheehan), Clary's best friend who has a crush on her, are drawn to a nightclub where Clary sees strange symbols and people no one else can. Her discovery unlocks a new world filled with demons, vampires, witches, warlocks and werewolves and the disappearance of her mother.
When a gruesome demon dog that grows extra limbs attacks her, Clary finds a new ally in Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), a Shadowhunter, a half-angel, half- human creature, who hunts demons as her world is turned upside down. Retreating to the institute, the Shadowhunters masked cathedral style building home, Clary discovers she has repressed memories of an evil Shadowhunter, Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who is looking for the lost Mortal Cup that can create more Shadowhunters.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones dives head first into a world of mythology where the underworld turns into a battlefield. As Clary discovers her heritage and powers, the vampires close in, and we see some bad-ass action from Jemima West's Isabelle as she whips her flamethrower.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a fantasy adventure that ticks all the boxes for romance & the supernatural please book fans. We look forward to another great film series.
In 2007 author Cassandra Clare introduced young adult readers to the reluctant warrior, Clary Fray, in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the astonishing first entry in what would become a fantasy-adventure empire. In Cassandra Clare's carefully constructed magical world, a young woman finds herself surrounded by warlocks, vampires, werewolves, demons"and the mysterious Shadowhunters, a hidden race of angel-human hybrids who secretly protect humankind from the ultimate evil.
Cassandra Clare began writing her New York Times, USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly best-selling series of young adult novels in 2003. 'I've always been a huge fan of fantasy and epic stories of good and evil," she says. 'I wanted to write a coming-of-age story with a girl at its center, which I don't see very often, and I decided to set it in New York City, because I had just moved there and fallen in love with its beautiful and amazing history."
Four years later, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones hit the bookshelves and became a worldwide phenomenon, launching not just five more novels featuring Clary Fray and her Shadowhunter comrades in The Mortal Instruments saga, but three more multi-part series set in Cassandra Clare's brilliantly imagined Shadow World as well: The Bane Chronicles, The Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifices.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones was optioned for film in 2009, something Cassandra Clare says she dreamed of but never thought would really happen. 'It's been quite a journey from the kernel of the idea of the book to the production of the film," Cassandra Clare says. 'And it's been surreal. When you write a book, you hope maybe someday it'll be a movie, but you don't count on it. I still can't quite believe it."
Producer Robert Kulzer read Cassandra Clare's The Mortal Instruments series at the suggestion of his colleagues, Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne, producers of blockbuster movies including The Lord of the Rings franchise. 'When you read the novels, you discover a new world," says Robert Kulzer. 'I found myself wanting to spend more time with these characters as they go on this incredible journey of discovery. There are so many surprises contained in this world and we want to create a similar sense of wonder in this movie."
Robert Kulzer shared his find with Don Carmody, with whom he has produced the five hugely successful Resident Evil movies. 'Since the success of the Twilight movies, every movie producer has been trying to find their own equivalent," Robert Kulzer says. 'After reading these books, we felt they had the potential to become a huge franchise."
While Don Carmody was unfamiliar with the young-adult fiction market, he had a panel of experts close at hand. 'It turned out that my teenage daughters are huge fans of the books," the producer says. 'They had grown a bit blasé about the movies I make, but this made them take notice. The Mortal Instruments is what they really want to see on screen. When I started checking around and realized how big the audience was for the novels, I enthusiastically came on board."
The books have been translated into 36 languages with more than 22 million copies in print worldwide. A sweeping epic that spans centuries and continents, the series has inspired legions of dedicated fans, with whom Cassandra Clare keeps in close contact through personal appearances and social media.
'As an author, one of the most amazing parts of the experience has been to be able to create a world that started off in my head and that so many other people now want to live in," she says. 'I try to stay in touch with them as much as possible online, through book groups, through signings and traveling the country. It's been wonderful to be able to share the excitement with people who are as involved with the story as I am. They love the characters like family and now they are fully embracing the film's actors as their avatars."
As compelling as the fantasy elements of the books are, Don Carmody believes the appeal lies deeper. 'It's all about a young woman discovering who she really is," he says. 'It's a brilliant premise and a great yarn, but it addresses themes that young adults are particularly interested in, because they are in the process of finding themselves."
The producers spent two years developing the script, always keeping in mind that Cassandra Clare's legions of dedicated fans were watching the process closely. 'We had to be very careful when we altered the narrative or made changes in a character," Don Carmody says. 'The movie had to be as true to the books as we could possibly make it."
Screenwriter Jessica Postigo Paquette was tasked with drafting three chapters in what is envisioned as a major franchise with an enviable heroine. 'When I first read The Mortal Instruments, I fell in love with Clary Fray," says Jessica Postigo Paquette. 'She is no damsel in distress"in fact, she kicks ass. She is thrust into this parallel world that no one would ever have imagined even existed and handles it fearlessly."
'I also love the realistic urban setting," says Jessica Postigo Paquette. 'Clary lives in Brooklyn and her life is not delicate or precious in any way. You want to know more and more about the characters. Despite having lived with them for years now, I never tire of them. I want to hang out with them."
Jessica Postigo Paquette says her first responsibility is to Cassandra Clare and the books' fans. 'It was very important for me to protect Cassandra Clare's baby," says Jessica Postigo Paquette. 'That's how I saw it. I have so much respect for the world she's created. The Mortal Instruments books are very different from any other young adult novel I've read."
She was careful to seek the author's counsel along the way. 'Cassandra Clare was an integral part of the process," says Jessica Postigo Paquette. 'We consulted her often while we were developing the script. She was always very understanding of our concerns and sometimes had a solution we hadn't considered. She has such a strong, beautiful voice and she's very smart about the way she chooses to collaborate."
Cassandra Clare also provided the filmmakers with an intimate understanding of her readers. 'The fans have been very supportive," says Don Carmody. 'I know it helped that Cassandra Clare was part of the process. Nobody knows this story like she does. She was extremely helpful with casting and with helping us communicate with the fans."
With the writing process underway, finding the right director became the next step in the equation. 'We were really looking for something very specific in our director -- someone who had already worked in the genre world and knew how to manage the fantastical elements of the book with the special effects, and create an original world.
When Harald Zwart, fresh off the enormously successful remake of The Karate Kid starring Jaden Smith, came in to meet with the producers, they realized he was the right director for the film – approaching the material, not from the genre world as they had anticipated, but from a grounded, character-specific perspective. Says Robert Kulzer, 'Harald Zwart had fallen in love with the characters and the world," says Harald Kulzer. 'He wanted to recreate them just as they are in the book. Harald Kulzer had a whole folder full of tear sheets and boards that he had put together. He had envisioned the characters, the setting, the colour palette, even the magic, in such incredible detail."
After a single two-hour meeting, Harald Zwart was hired. 'I said, Harald Zwart, I get the feeling you really want to do this movie," Harald Kulzer says. 'He agreed to drop everything else he was working on and focus on prepping this film. He soaked up the world, reading all of the fan blogs to learn what they like and don't like. If he had questions about anything, he went directly to Cassandra Clare, which made it a very transparent and fluid process, because she is so intimately connected to the fans. If she mentioned any aspect of the film to them, we immediately had thousands of responses."
The director says he was drawn to the excitement and the visual possibilities of the story, but his strongest connection was to the characters, especially Clary. 'In some ways it's really a detective story about a young woman searching for something that is lost," he says. 'On the way, she discovers that much of what she's believed all her life is not true. Every day, the character has a -what?' moment that turns what she thought was true upside-down. But Clary is a very powerful young lady and she takes control of her own life. One of the things I love most about the character is that when someone tells her not to do something, you know she's probably going do it."
Harald Zwart and Cassandra Clare made a strong connection and worked closely together to develop a cohesive world for the story. 'The first time I met Harald Zwart in Los Angeles, he launched into all these questions," says Cassandra Clare. 'It was so much fun talking to someone for hours about something that I've thought about almost exclusively for seven or eight years. It's very real to me at this point. He didn't have any experience with fantasy, so he was really fascinated by the rules and systems that you have to adhere to once you establish them. In Harry Potter, we know you have to point a wand and say a word to make magic. The magic in these books is completely different, but it is just as consistent."
Most importantly to Cassandra Clare, Harald Zwart was completely attuned to the emotional lives of the characters. 'In this genre, it is easy to get caught up in the visuals, and he definitely understands that aspect. But he knows that no matter how cool the movie looks, it's no substitute for rich inner lives and emotional connections between the characters. Harald Zwart is a great director for the project because he is extremely interested in all the relationships: familial, friendship and romantic. That makes it feel real."
Harald Zwart also sought Cassandra Clare's advice on the best ways to fit the sprawling narrative into the limited length of a feature film. 'When you adapt a very popular book, you have to make some difficult choices," Harald Zwart says. 'You have to give up certain things for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps something doesn't work for the logic of the movie, or it's a stumbling block to moving the story forward, or simply for budgetary reasons. We did our best to preserve what's really important, and thankfully, Cassandra Clare was very supportive of the choices we made."
Cassandra Clare sounds more like a fan than a best-selling author when she speaks about viewing the finished film. 'To be able to actually see the City of Bones, the greenhouse, the Institute, Java Jones, Clary's apartment"all these places that I have described in the books, is an amazing experience," marvels Cassandra Clare. 'The fans will finally get to meet the characters that they've come to love."
Inside The Shadow World
In The Mortal Instruments book series, the world we know holds within it another, hidden world populated by magical beings engaged in a constant struggle of good against evil. Known as the Shadow World, it contains mysteries that go back a thousand years to a time when darkness was threatening to engulf the earth.
Ten centuries ago, the Black Death ravaged Europe and endless Holy Wars tore apart the Middle East. According to Cassandra's Clare's elaborate and meticulously plotted mythology, demonic forces trying to destroy humanity and take over the world for themselves were behind this strife.
Fearing that evil was about to triumph over good, the Angel Raziel took desperate measures. He mixed his blood with the blood of men in a mysterious crystal goblet. Anyone who drank from this Mortal Cup became part of a race of half human-half angel hybrids known as Nephilim or, more commonly, the Shadowhunters.
This singular race, gifted with great strength and magical abilities, has been protecting the human world against demons ever since. That battle has been ongoing in the Shadow World, although ordinary humans live their entire lives without ever knowing it exists.
'The Shadow World is not an alternate universe," says producer Don Carmody. 'It's right here, right now. Humans just don't see it, unless they are Shadowhunters who are there to control the demons and other creatures when they get out of hand and try to cross over into our world."
The Shadowhunters pursue their enemies relentlessly, without thought for their own safety. 'Their selflessness is what fascinates me," Don Carmody says. 'It's a very difficult life. They're constantly in danger of being hurt or killed themselves, yet they never think twice about stepping in when a demon crosses the line."
For all their strength and unusual abilities, the Shadowhunters remain mortal, with all of the frailties that implies. 'It's important to remember that they are humans with human emotions and a thankless life," says Cassandra Clare. 'Humans don't even know they exist, much less risk their lives daily."
Their primary job is fending off demons, the immortal source of everything evil, that continually try to wrest control of the earth from humans. These inter-dimensional beings, who travel from world to world destroying everything in their path, are divided between lesser and greater demons, with dozens of sub-species. When they are -killed,' they do not actually die, but rather return to their home dimension where they exist in a weakened state until they recover from their wounds.
'Sometimes demons are disguised as other humans and sometimes they're simply invisible to the human eye," Cassandra Clare explains. 'They travel through the world, murdering people, taking over their bodies and destroying what has been created. Shadowhunters are our only protection against these predators."
The Shadow World teems with other supernatural creatures, also known as Downworlders. Downworlders include warlocks, faeries, vampires and werewolves, each with their own unique histories and abilities.
Warlocks, like Clary Fray's protector Magnus Bane, are the offspring of humans and demons, often conceived through trickery. Also known as Lilith's Children, they are immortal and their demon ancestry enables them to perform magic. They can be male or female and are the most powerful of the Downworlders.
Vampires and werewolves are humans who have been infected by demonic viruses. In werewolves, the infection can be passed on through a werewolf bite or from parent to child. Their ability to shape shift from human form to wolf initially depends on the phase of the moon, but with experience, a werewolf can learn to control that power. They live in packs and the New York clan is led by Luke Garroway, who is a close friend of Clary Fray's mother, Jocelyn.
Vampires, also known as the Night Children, are blood drinkers who must hunt between sunset and sunrise. A human can be transformed into a vampire by drinking vampire blood and then being drained of blood by a vampire. Traditionally, vampires and werewolves are mortal enemies, and both were formerly at war with the Shadowhunters, but an uneasy accord is now in place.
'With the Downworlders on their side, the Shadowhunters have a better chance of fighting off the demons," says Cassandra Clare. 'But there's a lot of friction between them. It's not unlike the NATO alliance. They've united against a larger threat, but the constantly shifting loyalties and enmities make it very unstable."
'Because ordinary humans remain oblivious to the mortal combat going on around them, Shadowhunters and Downworlders are a bit contemptuous of them," says Cassandra Clare. 'They refer to them as -mundanes.' I got the term from friends who play Dungeons and Dragons. It's what they call everybody who doesn't play. I thought it was a terrific and evocative phrase. Anybody who isn't actually a Shadowhunter or a supernatural being is a mundane."
Until she meets the Shadowhunters, Clarissa Fray, known as Clary, doesn't believe in magic. 'She is not interested in the supernatural," says Cassandra Clare, 'and then suddenly she starts to see this other world. That's because she is herself a Shadowhunter, but she's also something more."
Clary's quest throughout the series is to recover and protect each of three magical items that are central to the Shadowhunters' struggle. 'The three Mortal Instruments are items that the Shadowhunters require to survive and keep their race going," the author explains. 'There's the Mortal Cup, which Clary and the others are looking for in City of Bones. There is the Mortal Sword, which Shadowhunters use in battle as well as in peacetime, when it can compel any Shadowhunter to tell the truth. And there is The Mortal Mirror, which has been lost to antiquity. This movie focuses only on The Mortal Cup, but the other Mortal Instruments will take center stage later in the series."
The Mortal Cup is the goblet in which Raziel mixed his blood with the blood of humans. Anyone who drinks from it will become a Shadowhunter. 'The Shadowhunters continue to use it to make more Shadowhunters," says Cassandra Clare. 'It also has the power to heal and to bestow unique abilities on Shadowhunters. For centuries, it was kept very carefully by The Clave, the body that oversees Shadowhunters around the world, but it was stolen years before our story starts and the hunt for it is the engine that powers the story."
Each warrior amasses unique abilities that are manifested by elaborate markings that appear on their bodies. These markings take the form of runes, ancient symbols that originated in Northern Europe. Cassandra Clare says she first learned about runes from a friend in New York who designed a series of markings based on traditional designs.
'Runes originally served as both a sort of alphabet and as magical talismans," she says. 'Each has a unique meaning. Warriors wore them into battle because they believed that the runes would protect them against injury and allow them to win out against evil. I thought, what if there was a race of people who used these symbols to fight demons and use magic? They were an important part of the initial idea for the books."
Given to the first generation of Shadowhunters by Raziel to assist them in fighting the demons, some runes are temporary, fading with time, while others remain permanent.
'In our story, once you tattoo yourself with these runes, you acquire a particular type of power," says director Harald Zwart. 'You can make yourself invisible or stronger. They can heal wounds or freeze time. The runes are the source and the symbol of the Shadowhunters' abilities."
The mysterious Shadow World remains hidden from mundane eyes through the use of glamours, spells that can make a majestic cathedral appear to be a ramshackle old church, covered in graffiti, as it does the Institute, the Shadowhunters' magical stronghold.
'In every large city there's an Institute, usually built on holy ground," says Cassandra Clare. 'In New York, it is an enormous cathedral that I based on St. Patrick's. For the Shadowhunters it's both a sanctuary and a war room. So when Clary is endangered in the supernatural world, she is taken to the Institute because that is the safest place the Shadowhunters know."
In The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Cassandra Clare's mythological world has been spun into a rich and fascinating three-dimensional land. 'The mythology initially seems very complicated," says Harald Zwart. 'But once you get in to it, you see that Cassandra Clare has absolutely made sense of it all. There is a real logic and a beauty to it that works seamlessly in the film."
Angels, Demons and Downworlders
Casting is always a sensitive and important part of filmmaking, a delicate balance of alchemy, artistry and the practical realities of the box office. But for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the filmmakers had the added pressure of the fans' expectations.
'I've never experienced anything like this," says Don Carmody. 'And I've made a lot of fanboy movies. We didn't want to disappoint the readers. I don't want to disappoint them as much as I don't want to disappoint my daughters. They want to see this story come to life as true to the book and the characters they love."
Reassuringly for filmmaker and fans alike, author Cassandra Clare gives the casting choice an enthusiastic thumbs up. 'It's been amazing to see it take place," says Cassandra Clare. 'They've made some really wonderful decisions. Lily Collins was cast first and I was just delighted, because she looked exactly like Clary did in my head."
Clary Fray and Simon Lewis
Lily Collins had played just two small film roles when she was cast as Clary Fray, the Brooklyn teen who comes into her own as a supernatural warrior in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Even so, the word was out in Hollywood that she was a young actress to watch.
'We thought she would potentially be a great Clary," says Kulzer. 'When we experienced some unexpected delays, she was offered the lead in Mirror, Mirror, and she took it. That turned out to be a total blessing for us, because all of a sudden she was starring opposite Julia Roberts."
'Collins has a talent that is rare to find in an actress just starting her career," says Robert Kulzer. 'She's an acting phenomenon. Off screen, she seems like any other pretty young woman, but the minute she walks on set, there's a transformation. She really is completely absorbed in the world of her character. Clary spends a lot of time listening to other people talk and there's something about the way Lily reacts that tells you she is completely present."
A fan of the books long before she was cast, Lily Collins immediately agreed to play Clary. 'Once you start reading the books, you just really can't stop," she says. 'That's the beauty of Cassandra Clare's writing."
But, she says, being a fan of the series adds a little bit more pressure. 'There are advantages and disadvantages to reading a series of books before doing the movies," she says. 'I've read them all, so I had to distance myself from the subsequent books, because Clary doesn't know what's coming next. At the beginning of the series, she really is a normal girl. Having too much knowledge would compromise her purity in the situation."
It was exciting for the young actress to watch as the script evolved. 'It is a faithful adaptation of the book, but it can stand alone as a film," she says. 'It's character-based and emotionally driven in both the way it was written and the way that Harald Zwart directed it."
'Clary Fray is just a teenager living in Brooklyn when the story begins," says Lily Collins. 'But when her mother disappears, it's up to Clary to retrieve a sacred object that has been hidden away from dark forces. She goes from an ordinary girl to a heroine with all this responsibility and these new powers that she doesn't yet understand. She's in peril for the whole movie, but she finds these new relationships along the way to help her, and she's forced to question ones that she thought she knew."
Lily Collins has the ability to be convincing as both a tomboyish, all-American girl and a soldier in a treacherous and confusing new world. 'She's never winking at us or trying to play a superhero," says Don Carmody. 'As she plays her, Clary is just a regular girl who finds herself in this incredible circumstance. And she goes for it, because she has no other choice. She's not unafraid, but she's not cowering either, which makes her a great heroine."
Lily Collins had already committed to playing the role when Harald Zwart signed on as director. In fact, she was one of the reasons he pursued the project. 'She shows great range as an actor, which makes my job very easy," he says. 'It can get very technical making movies like this. She's great at preserving her emotions even when it does."
Clary's longtime best friend is Simon Lewis, a slightly nerdy young man she has known since she was six. Simon Lewis is alongside Clary on every step of her journey into the Shadow World.
'Simon Lewis is that geeky gamer type," Lily Collins says. 'He's also that best friend that she can joke around with. They finish each other's sentences, they've had sleepovers and they know each other's' families really well."
A beloved character in the world of The Mortal Instruments, he is also secretly in love with Clary and has been for years. 'Everybody sees it, everybody knows it, except Clary," says Robert Kulzer. 'In a weird way, he's the most heroic character because he's just a regular guy with no special skills or weapons. But he uses his brain and his bravery to defend Clary. He has almost a Clark Kent quality because he is the geeky guy with the glasses who is there with the funny line, but who hasn't quite found his place in the world yet."
In casting this and other key roles, the filmmakers relied heavily on fan input for guidance. 'The name we heard over and over again was Robert Sheehan," says Robert Kulzer. 'He's an Irish actor, not a big name, but with solid credits. Simon has some really funny, kind of skewed one-liners and Robert Sheehan has the perfect comedic timing."
Clare agrees wholeheartedly: 'Robert Sheehan is an absolutely terrific Simon. He has both that funny energy and the passion and accessibility that Simon has."
For his part, the actor responded to what he calls the script's 'lovely sense of adventure and unpredictability."
'Simon is a different sort of character for me to play," says Robert Sheehan. 'He's the only normal guy in the whole script and he brings a sense of perspective to this entire magical world. He doesn't really have a moment to digest what's going on, which brings a bit of humour to the proceedings. Once they're thrust into it, he just has to concentrate on what's truly important to him, which is Clary."
He is also forced to face the attraction Clary has for the young Shadowhunter, Jace Wayland, creating a tense love triangle. 'Simon sees immediately that Clary fancies Jace and Jace fancies Clary," he says. 'That comes down on him like a ton of bricks. Simon and Clary have some lovely quiet, personal scenes where they address the unspoken love Simon feels for her."
Those are the kinds of moments in which director Harald Zwart really shines, Robert Sheehan says. 'What Harald Zwart always seemed most interested in was those small and emotional moments between the characters. These days, our eyes are tricked so commonly and casually in movies. Clary and Simon have something very real."
The actor gives his leading lady high marks for her dedication and authenticity. 'I know when you do a movie with someone, you are expected to blow their horn a bit," he says. 'But she really is a consummate professional. She's becoming a true movie star, but she just takes it all in stride."
When Clary witnesses a trio of Shadowhunters"Jace Wayland and Alec and Isabelle Lightwood"apparently kill a young man in a nightclub, it is the first time she gets a glimpse of what is happening in the Shadow World. She is as frightened and confused by the fact that she seems to be the only who can see them as she is by what she has seen.
'Jace, Alec and Isabelle are actually battling a demon," says Lily Collins. 'And they're quintessentially beautiful beings, fantastical people that seem a little unreal. The fact that she sees them, though, is a complete surprise to them as well as her, because she's supposedly a mundane."
Casting Jace was one of the tougher tasks the filmmakers took on, according to Carmody. 'As written, he is incredibly handsome and extremely intelligent. Jace is wise beyond his years, because he's been killing demons for a very long time. He has a sardonic point of view about what he does, because he sees that he is protecting these humans from the stupid things they get themselves involved in. He's noble, but not that noble."
Millions of fans had very specific ideas about Jace, who is closely connected to Clary in a variety of ways throughout the six books. 'We needed someone really special," says Robert Kulzer. 'We were lucky because Lily Collins wanted to be involved in the casting and make sure they had real chemistry. We brought in Jamie Campbell Bower because he has a slightly ethereal, but still very dangerous, quality that we thought would be perfect. When he first read with Lily Collins, no exaggeration, sparks were flying."
'The character of Jace is vibrant, endearing, mysterious and very cocky," says Lily Collins. 'You like him and you feel for him as well. He's not afraid to show insecurity. Jamie Campbell Bower brought all of that to the table. He did all of his own stunts with a smile and was so genuinely proud of his work."
The character is cocky, agrees Jamie Campbell Bower, but with real justification. 'He knows that his late father was a great Shadowhunter," says the actor. 'And Jace is very good at what he does. He also knows women are drawn to him. But that cockiness is dangerous because it leads him to take too many chances."
Jamie Campbell Bower, whose previous credits include Caius in the Twilight Saga and the lead role of King Arthur in 'Camelot," the epic television adaptation of the classic Arthurian legend, points out that Jace's vulnerability is always just under the surface. 'He has a façade that is very strong. He appears to be the archetypal warrior, but he's still a boy. I enjoy his bluntness, which he uses to conceal his vulnerability. He's very sarcastic and hides behind his humour, particularly to deflect a situation that becomes awkward or hurtful to him."
'Jace is drawn to Clary by a kind of strength he's never seen in anyone else," he says. 'Plus, she's smoking hot, which doesn't hurt. He's destined to fall in love with her. The fact that he initially believes her to be a mundane cements his fascination in a strange way. When he discovers she isn't one, that becomes even more intriguing."
That love story is what drew Jamie Campbell Bower to the script in the first place. 'Of course I love the world of demons and Downworlders, but it's also touchingly real," he says. 'I think that's what audiences want to see as well. I'm very proud to have been a part of it and honoured to have been given the opportunity to work on a book that is loved by so many."
Once the filmmakers had Lily Collins and Jamie Campbelll Bower in place, they began to build the rest of the extensive ensemble. 'The most important thing was to find really great actors," says Harald Zwart. ' It's a movie where you can get carried away in the special effects and the fantasy of it, but unless the actors are just superb, it just wouldn't work. For example, we really worked at taking the fantastical elements from the book and grounding them in reality to make the performances accessible and believable for the audience."
Jace may have been immediately fascinated by Clary, but his companions, brother and sister Alec and Isabelle Lightwood, are not as taken with the unusual young woman. Fearing she has a hidden and possibly evil agenda, they view her as a potential threat, but Jace impulsively brings her into their world.
'Isabelle has to be beautiful and have a strong physicality," says Harald Zwart. 'Jemima West has an aristocratic air that is perfect for the character."
While Jemima West had not read the novels, the script itself was enough reason for her to get involved. 'It was an incredibly cool story," she says. 'And I knew they had great actors like Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower attached. After I was offered the part, I read all the books and was completely captivated.
'When we did our first read-through as a cast, I was blown away by the rest of the actors," she continues. 'Everyone was very focused on doing their best. When you have actors who are working hard and enjoying themselves, it can't get much better."
The character's sense of loyalty and family appealed to West. 'Isabelle has such strong values," she says. 'No one can come in the way of her family, which includes Jace, so she is so tough on Clary and Simon. I grew quite attached to her. She sometimes says things without really thinking them through, which gives her an entertainingly human side."
Isabelle has multiple objections to allowing Clary in the inner circle. 'First of all, she thinks, -what the hell is this mundane doing here?'" Jemima West says. 'And not only is she a mundane, she's another girl. Isabelle is used to being the only girl."
Cassandra Clare commends the actress' ability to bring both tenderness and fierceness to the Shadowhunter. 'Jemima West has all the warmth that Isabelle has, but she also looks like someone you wouldn't necessarily want to get into a fight with, especially if she has her whip with her."
Isabelle and her older brother Alec were raised with Jace after he was orphaned. As close as siblings, Alec and Jace fight demons side by side. The filmmakers chose Kevin Zegers to play the role. 'We did a film with him years ago called Wrong Turn," says Robert Kulzer. 'It was an incredibly hot young cast, but the line outside Kevin Zeger's trailer was always the longest."
Alec joins his sister Isabelle in her suspicions about Clary. 'He doesn't particularly like anyone new coming into their situation," says Kevin Zegers. 'He has much less patience for her prettiness and all that stuff that Jace finds so appealing. What they have going on works and has been working very well for a long time. Clary is a variable that nobody's fully considered and when she arrives everything starts to go badly for them."
The character has a secret that makes him a bit of an outsider among the Shadowhunters. 'Alec is a pretty complex character," the actor says. 'It's always interesting to play a guy that people can't really pin down. On a basic level, Alec is a killer and it's all he thinks about. His main life objective is to do his job and do it well. Some guys, like Jace, are just naturally very good. Alec has to work really hard at it."
Clare and her fans think he makes an excellent Alec, very much in keeping with the book's depiction. 'He looks like Alec should look," she says. 'He has a little bit of that elegant standoffishness that Alec has.
Kevin Zegers has a lengthy resume of lower profile projects, but The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones should send his profile soaring. 'I've done so many things that not too many people have seen," he laughs. 'This has a lot of the things I like to see in a movie, like a great story and fun characters. I think audiences will enjoy it as well."
When Clary takes refuge at the Institute, the Shadowhunters' home and training ground, she comes under the tutelage of Hodge Starkweather, a seasoned Shadowhunter who has been overseeing the education of Jace, Alec and Isabelle.
'Hodge is one of my favorite characters," says Cassandra Clare. 'I was so excited when they told me Jared Harris was going to play the role. I'm a big -Mad Men' fan and his character, Lane, is one of my favourites. He captures Hodge's essential dilemma. Hodge is extremely conflicted about his life and what he believes the Shadowhunters should be doing about their ultimate destiny. If anyone can capture those shades of grey, Jared is the guy."
Hodge is still dealing with the consequences of ill-considered choices he made earlier in life. 'He is essentially a good man, but he makes some bad decisions, which is always interesting to play," says Harris. 'He has an inner life that is an integral part of the saga, so there's a lot of information available in which to ground the character. Working on this was not so different from playing an historical character."
Hodge's conflicted nature leads him to do things he later regrets. 'But I don't think Hodge is evil," says Jared Harris. 'I've played other characters who were just out-and-out bad guys. Moriarty, whom I played in Sherlock Holmes, was evil. He simply didn't believe in right and wrong. But Hodge's moral ambiguity comes because he knows what the right thing to do is, and he doesn't do it."
For the last 18 years, Hodge has been confined to the Institute, prohibited from leaving the premises by the Clave. 'Harald Zwart and I had the idea that the curse that keeps Hodge from leaving the Institute is a psychological effect, a sort of Jedi mind trick," says Jared Harris. 'But that doesn't change the fact that he is stuck and he wants his curse to be lifted. At this point, he's prepared to do what he must, even if he knows it's wrong."
Jared Harris is confident the movie remains true to the spirit of the book. 'Personally, I love the whole mythology," the actor says. 'It reinvents a lot of stories that we're familiar with and throws in a good old-fashioned teenage love story at the center, with two people who are attracted to one another but discover there's an impediment."
Over the centuries, the Shadowhunters have divided into factions: those who believe they were meant to protect the world selflessly and those who believe they should be well rewarded for the risks they take. The movie's elegant and dangerous villain, Valentine, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers, is in the latter camp and his machinations threaten to disrupt events in both the Shadow World and the mundane world.
'Valentine is not some drooling, evil character or incredibly wicked mega-villain," says Don Carmody. 'His danger lies in his charm. He represents everything the Shadowhunters should not be. And yet he has managed to get all these people to follow him down a path of darkness."
Valentine's whereabouts remains hidden for most of the film, but his shadowy presence infects the atmosphere. 'Just his name is enough to send a cold shiver down people's spine," says Robert Kulzer. 'As Clary starts investigating what happened to her mom, he comes up time and time again. That sets the stage for the moment when he finally shows up."
Cassandra Clare says Jonathan Rhys Meyers' brooding intelligence makes him an ideal Valentine. 'I've loved Jonathan Rhys Meyer's work since I first saw him in Velvet Goldmine," says the author. 'He gives Valentine a sort of evil reasonableness. Even though you know that what he's saying is fundamentally immoral, you want to agree with him. A number of theoretically good people became part of his Circle. When I first posted online that Jonathan Rhys Meyers was going to be our Valentine, a lot of people wrote back to me and said, -well, I would join the Circle if he was running it.'"
Valentine made off with the Mortal Cup years earlier, only to have it stolen from him. He wants it back and will do whatever is needed to get it. 'Valentine is undeniably charismatic, but most dangerous men are," says Jonathan Rhys Meyers. 'He has been at war for so long that he now only knows war. He's trying to save his people. He stole the Mortal Cup because he no longer believed in the laws of the Clave, which is the political arm of the Shadowhunters. His experiments with it have made him half-man, half-demon."
Each time Valentine drank from The Mortal Cup, the stronger he became. Valentine has acquired powers that set him apart from every other Shadowhunter in history. He can call up demons, travel through time and space, and perform magic that no other Shadowhunter can.
A wickedly inventive performer, Jonathan Rhys Meyers constantly surprised his co-stars. 'After we shot the first scene with Valentine, Jamie Campbell Bower said to me quietly, -I'm a bit scared of him,'" says Robert Kulzer. 'And Lily Collins came over and said -he's great, but I'm a bit scared of him.' And I said, that's the way it's supposed to be."
'Even in rehearsals, his intensity was apparent," says Lily Collins. 'He's so alluring and that's what I imagined when I read the book. Valentine is the scariest, most frightening person alive to Clary, and he really captured that danger."
Valentine is aided in his search to recover the Mortal Cup by Emil Pangborn and Samuel Blackwell, two literally larger-than-life brawlers played by Kevin Durand and Robert Maillet, respectively. 'Valentine doesn't get his hands dirty," says Cassandra Clare. 'He directs them to take care of the violence that he wouldn't sully himself with."
And they do it with gusto. 'When I heard Kevin Durand and Robert Maillet were cast in those roles, I was really excited," Cassandra Clare says. 'I knew Kevin's work from the Resident Evil movies and I remembered Robert from his very memorable role in Sherlock Holmes. He was huge and terrifying. I think they are great choices for these characters. I wouldn't want to tangle with them in a dark alley."
Pangborn's sole purpose in life is to help Valentine find the Mortal Cup. 'He's a dark character," says Kevin Durand. 'I have played a lot of dark guys, so I wasn't sure about this. But once I got a chance to speak with Harald Zwart, I realised there was going to be room for me to create something that was beyond what was on the page. We've made him a little goofier, even though he's quite intense and focused on his task."
The 6-foot-6-inch Kevin Durand is used to physically dominating whatever set he is on, but when partnered with Robert Maillet, who stands 7 feet tall, he felt almost petite.
'For the first time in my career, I am emasculated by another actor's size," admits Kevin Durand. 'He's such a big man, which was cool. Someone had my back for once. We got close, comparing notes on the characters, as well as comparing notes on what it is to be a vertically gifted human being. When I walk down the street, people constantly comment, but when I'm with him, they don't even ask me those questions anymore. I got to feeling protective of him. Stop asking him how the weather is up there, because we'll rain all over you!"
Robert Maillet describes Emil as the brains of the operation, while his character is the muscle. 'Emil does most of the talking," he says. 'I'm there to add presence to it all, which is kind of funny because he's a such big guy himself. But if he doesn't get his way, I'm the insurance. And we will do whatever it takes to get the Mortal Cup."
Fray and Family
Clary's extraordinary quest is sparked when she returns home to find her apartment ransacked and her mother, Jocelyn, missing. 'In a lot of books, you have a boy coming of age and becoming a hero," says Cassandra Clare. 'Often his father is a hero himself. I wanted to create a strong heroine with a heroic mother this time. Jocelyn is actually a great champion in the Shadowhunter world, but the experience was so frightening that the most important thing in the world to her is to make sure her daughter never experiences anything like that."
While Jocelyn appears only briefly in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the stage is being set for her to step forward later in the saga. 'The story arc for Jocelyn over the six books is pretty extraordinary," says Robert Kulzer. 'It requires an actress who can believably portray an elegant, modern woman who also happens to be a major action heroine. Lena Headey, who is gorgeous and has played both Cersei Lannister in 'Game of Thrones" and Sarah Conner on -The Terminator Chronicles,' was at the top of our list of casting possibilities."
As the movie begins, Jocelyn has given up her former life as a Shadowhunter for a simple life as an artist in Brooklyn. 'She keeps her past a secret from Clary because she wants to keep her safe," says Lena Headey. 'It's her wish to give Clary a normal life. She has done everything she can to keep the truth at bay, even having a magical block put on her daughter's memory to prevent her from remembering anything about the Shadow World, but Clary is beginning to see inexplicable things."
The actress is looking forward to continuing to work with this cast and crew as the story progresses. 'I've never really experienced such collaboration from a director," she says. 'He got excited about the actors' ideas and let us experiment. That makes for a great working environment, because you are able to discover new things all the time. It was a constant lesson for me, a constant evolution. And an added benefit is that we've made a film that my son will actually be able to see and enjoy one day." The memory block that Jocelyn sought out for Clary was put in place by Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Magnus' magic has kept Clary safe during the years she and her mother have been in hiding by making her forget everything she sees in the Shadow World as soon as she sees it. Now, the spell is starting to fade and she is becoming aware of the magical events and creatures all around her.
'There had to be a warlock who ran the New York society of warlocks," says Cassandra Clare. 'But I rejected the idea that warlocks and wizards have to be wise old men with long grey beards and white hair. Warlocks live forever. They have the power to be any age they want to be. Why not make him a crazy raver kid from New York? He is also incredibly smart and extremely dangerous, but he has this unbelievably fun lifestyle. Fans have really responded to him. Aside from Clary and Jace, he is the most beloved character in the series."
Taiwanese model and actor Godfrey Gao makes his American feature-film debut in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. 'Magnus Bane is a party animal on a level all his own," says Godfrey Gao. 'First of all, he's an 800-year-old warlock, so he's done it all and seen it all. He basically owns Brooklyn. He throws parties that everybody wants to attend. Magnus is very powerful as well as very flamboyant, so when he's in a room, everybody listens. Both men and women are drawn to him and he takes full advantage of that."
But Clary brings out a different side of the powerful warlock. 'He is unexpectedly fatherly to her," says Godfrey Gao. 'She is very special to him and he wants her to be safe as much as her mother does. He's very drawn to her because she's so pure. Lily Collins brings exactly what Clary should have to the character."
Magnus' elaborate costumes and over-the-top androgyny make an unforgettable visual impression. 'I wear really seductive, sexy makeup," the actor says. 'Every day I put on my earrings, got my hair done and slapped on some lip gloss. Magnus Bane has a look that is all his own."
Clary has another male protector in Luke Garroway, the gentle proprietor of a Soho antique shop who is close friends with her mother. But what she doesn't know about Luke, played by Irish actor Aidan Turner, is that he is a werewolf.
'The first moment I read the script, I wanted to do it," Aidan Turner says. 'It's a really exciting and believable portrayal of this crazy world full of demons, Downworlders and sinister dark lords. Ultimately, it is the age-old story of good versus evil and how you inevitably have to answer for the choices you make. Cassandra Clare's writing is so compelling. She's created this complete world for us to inhabit where there's something happening all the time."
Luke Garroway has become a sort of a surrogate father for Clary. 'He looks out for her when she has nobody to confide in," Turner explains. 'He's protecting her without impeding her path of discovery."
The role was something of a change of pace for the actor, who is perhaps best known for his portrayal of John Mitchell, a vampire, on the British television series 'Being Human." Aidan Turner believes that finding the familiar in such exotic characters is essential. 'Luke Garroway, for the most part, lives a very ordinary life. I never felt I had to drive home the fact that he is the leader of a werewolf pack. I have trouble with supernatural characters playing the supernatural element all the time. It's more interesting when you can see them as real people first. Being a werewolf is more of an affliction for Luke than a defining characteristic."
Downstairs from Clary and Jocelyn lives Madame Dorothea, a storefront psychic living in a cramped apartment full of crystal balls and 'magical" paraphernalia. 'Madame Dorothea represents the kind of magic that mundanes are aware of," says Clare. 'She's a palm reader and a Tarot card reader. The fun of it is that Madame Dorothea is hiding in plain sight. She is actually a powerful witch who has chosen to disguise herself as a -witch,' because that is the last place that someone looking for her would go."
Veteran stage and film actress CCH Pounder, currently a regular on the Sy-Fy Channel series 'Warehouse 13," plays Madame Dorothea. 'CCH Pounder brings a gravitas to the table, but what we didn't know was how much fun she would have with playing the character," says Robert Kulzer. 'Madame Dorothea undergoes an amazing transformation and CCH was so unbelievably good. There's no monster in the world that can that can be scarier and more fun that she is, basically kicking the ass of three Shadowhunters who are in top shape. The crew was applauding after each take, and she just had so much fun doing it."
Pounder describes her character as, 'a lovely woman who lives in Brooklyn and will tell you the future, for a price. In the book, she seemed perhaps to be Eastern European. We reconceived her as a Caribbean lady. I'm such a completely unexpected choice for the character that I felt I did not have to live up to anyone's expectations. It's always fun to be able to break the mould. To my great surprise and pleasure, Cassandra Clare told me she never thought of the character this way, but was delighted with the casting."
Madame Dorothea undergoes a terrifying metamorphosis over the course of the film, which Pounder was asked to create without the benefit of elaborate special effects.
'Harald Zwart decided that he'd rather see the internal emotion expressed by the actor, rather than creating a CG effect," she says. 'I was thrilled. The modern film industry has been taken over by technology, but in the theatrical tradition I grew up with, this is the way we would do it. It was wonderful to feel like I was on the stage, where you have to create the character and have it come out of you rather than the editing process."
With such an enormous cast, the filmmakers say they felt fortunate that everyone involved bonded so quickly. 'That was a delightful surprise," says Don Carmody. 'Especially watching Lily Collins, Jemima West, Jamie Campbell Bower, Kevin Zeger and Robert Sheehan interact with each other. They've really become a close unit."
Jamie Campbell Bower points out that it may be because they each share so many personality traits with their characters. 'As Cassandra Clare wrote in the books, we get along even though we have conflicting qualities. I do feel very connected to everyone. We are like a pack, very protective over each other."
Building The City Of Bones
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones takes place in a beautifully realised, visually stunning world that, like the Shadowhunters themselves, balances elegantly on the very edge of reality and fantasy. Blending real-life, gritty urban locations with imaginatively conceived enchanted spaces, the film's lush and gorgeous settings"from the cluttered comfort of Clary and her mother's bohemian artist's flat to the gloomy grandeur of the titular City of Bones"reflect the director's insistence on a stylised version of reality.
'Harald Zwart always said, if we make it too fantastic, no one's going to believe it," producer Don Carmody explains. 'We went for very realistic locations, costumes and casting choices. We have to believe that this place exists within the city, here among us."
Harald Zwart began by assembling an eclectic and international creative team to develop and execute his vision. 'It was very important to me that this didn't become a monster movie," he says. 'I really tried to approach it from a completely different angle. We have the most talented director of photography in Scandinavia, Geir Andreassen, with his beautiful lighting. Our production designer is François Séguin, who has created extraordinary sets for films, as well as for Cirque du Soleil. Atli Örvarsson did the amazing score. The costumes, which were designed by Gersha Phillips, are incredibly fashion forward."
'We worked with a very strict palette that developed together," the director continues. 'It is, for the most part, quite muted. Although it's tempting to go high contrast with this type of movie, we always went for soft light sources to enhance the angelic look of the skin tones."
That approach fit well with Carmody's theory that good filmmaking requires many of the same elements as throwing a great party. 'It's all about the people you invite," he says. 'We've got an amazing cast, we've got an astonishing crew. Cinematographer Geir Andreassen is an incredible find. Robert Kulzer and I sat on the set looking at the images on the monitors and couldn't believe he got that kind of quality so quickly."
The filmmakers decided to shoot on film as opposed to using digital cameras to give the film a lush and classic look. 'We actually shot this movie on 35mm Panavision Scope which makes it look absolutely gorgeous," says Harald Zwart. 'I know I'm one of the few still holding back on doing digital. I'm not going to argue for or against either, but I think for this movie, where there's a lot of romance and skin tones and beautiful colours, shooting it in a traditional fashion on film gives it a very special look."
Production designer François Séguin had previously worked with Harald Zwart on The Karate Kid. 'François Seguin is incredibly talented," the director says. 'I obsess about the look of everything I do. We have created a beautiful world for this movie. He brought a sort of fairy-tale realism and artistic quality to it."
The film's fantastical setting is something of a departure for the production designer. 'As with Harald Zwart, it didn't seem a natural fit at first," says Harald Zwart. 'But once we saw his sketches, it was clear he could create an astonishing world for us, sometimes with very limited means. He was able to use certain lighting or simple, old-school techniques to create illusions that didn't require gigantic visual effects or a gigantic budget. He and Harald Zwart came up with incredible solutions that allowed them to do so many things in camera that we never expected to be able to do."
'François Seguin really stepped up on this one and created some amazing sets and set pieces," agrees Carmody. 'The greenhouse sequence, which I know the fans are looking forward to, is one of the most romantic sets I've ever been on. It's just amazing."
Emphasising in-camera effects over CGI, Harald Zwart and Fracois Séguin accomplished some mind-boggling imagery. 'Some of the optical illusions we're doing work so well because the audience can see that it's absolutely happening in front of you," says Harald Zwart. 'Look at the construction of the pentagram; I love this scene because the scene seems to be about something else, and that Valentine is randomly hitting swords into the floor out of anger, then in the end we see that he has with extreme precision been able to make a prefect pentagram when seen from a specific angle. I spent days constructing the idea in 3d on my computer because I wanted it to be looking like a random mess unless you see it from one, and one only specific angle ."
Francois Séguin began his designs with the book's original artwork, which he has adapted and sometimes reimagined for film. 'My job was to try to create a world hidden in New York City that we humans never see," he says. 'There was detailed artwork already in existence, but it didn't always translate to a three-dimensional, live-action movie. We took some license in order to fit the vision of the book into the script in a certain time span with the budget we had."
With a mandate from the director to emphasize the use of three-dimensional settings over green-screen re-creations, Francois Séguin used a combination of practical locations in metropolitan Toronto, and specially-built sets on the Cinespace Film Studio stages to stand in for the New York City settings. Over the course of the 12-week shoot, Francois Séguin, his supervising art director Anthony Ianni and their team designed, constructed and dressed over 50 different sets, one of the most important of which is the Shadowhunters' safe haven, the Institute.
A number of different locations were utilized in creating the Institute, including the University of Toronto's stately Knox College and Casa Loma, a historic medieval castle. One of the biggest challenges for the production design team was the Institute library. Constructed on a stage at Cinespace Studios, the massive circular set sports bookshelves that rise two stories. It took 10 weeks to build and dress.
Realising he would be unlikely to find a location that could stand in for the lair of the sect of Shadowhunters known as the Silent Brothers, Francois Séguin constructed the subterranean necropolis known as the City of Bones from the ground up. The set is inspired by the famous Paris catacombs, with one notable exception. 'It is a very short sequence," says the designer. 'We shot it in a day, but we wanted to give an expansive feeling in just a few shots. I came up with the idea that it would be round, rather than series of long corridors, so we see more of it."
A very different approach was taken to create the vampire haven known as the Hotel Dumort. Once a glittering Art Deco showplace, the derelict Manhattan hotel is now overrun by the undead. The filmmakers located an actual abandoned hotel and renovated it for their purposes. 'The Hotel Dumort was a lucky find," says Carmody. 'It had six years of complete decrepitude and thousands of pigeons roosting in it. Vandals had stripped it of everything. We had to clean it up so we could work there and then have the art department dirty it up again. It's a very creepy place."
It was, in a word, perfect. 'It was almost like an abandoned soundstage," Francois Séguin says. 'The whole structure was already there, like a half-painted canvas. We had real corridors and real staircases. We redressed and repainted it, but we had the bones."
Costume designer Gersha Phillips faced a tall challenge of her own. Harald Zwart asked the designer to create a unique look for the Shadowhunters, something that went beyond the obvious and helped to define the characters while tying in to contemporary fashion.
'When I first met with Gersha Phillips, I instantly saw that she was perfect for the job," he says. 'We could have ended up with very conventional black leather outfits. We do have leather and a lot of black, but these Shadowhunters make a bit of a fashion statement. Everything looks like tomorrow's new jacket or tomorrow's new pair of pants."
The Shadowhunters' costumes had such specific requirements that, for the most part, they had to be custom designed and built. 'I wanted the clothing not to look like anything you could just buy in a store," Gersha Phillips says. 'They had to be things we hadn't really seen before. And then, because they're warriors, everything that they wear has to take that into consideration. Things can't be too confining or restrict their movement. We had to build knit panels into the inseams and padding into the knees and elbows. We had a high fashion take on everything, sometimes taking period pieces and redoing them in contemporary fabrics and contemporary styles to give them that edge."
The designer also incorporated runes into the costumes. 'The Silent Brothers, who communicate telepathically, have one called -clairvoyance' that we used around the sleeves and hems of their robes," she says. 'Jace's costume incorporates the runes for strength and fearlessness, which are so characteristic of him."
Clary's transformation from schoolgirl to demon hunter had to be reflected in her clothing, as well. 'In the beginning, Harald Zwart was concerned about her looking too hip," Gersha Phillips says. 'We put her in Doc Martens and boyfriend jeans, which suited her tomboy spirit. Then there's a very sharp switch when she enters the Institute and Isabelle gives her those first pieces of clothing, the tighter pants and the leather jacket."
Lily Collins, a budding fashion icon in her own right, found the designs impeccable. 'It could have become very costumey, but the Shadowhunters shouldn't look like they tried too hard. She nailed it. They just have the right vibe."
Jonathan Rhys Meyers wanted Valentine to have a Samurai-like edge and Gersha Phillips was happy to collaborate with him on his costumes. 'Of course, there's a lot of black and there's a lot of leather," says Jonathan Rhys Meyers. 'That's the world they live in. Leather is such a sexy fabric and it brings a certain element of danger. Valentine also has a Samurai topknot ponytail that swings during the fight scenes. It's very effective."
During those fight scenes, Harald Zwart insisted on having the actors perform as much of the action as they could and the performers embraced the challenge, undertaking months of training for the film. 'They're all pretty athletic anyway," he says. 'I tried to make sure that they were able to do pretty much everything themselves, so we could avoid the old -cut to a double, and then cut to a close-up of the actor.'"
'We wanted to base the stunts in reality," says Carmody. 'When they're fighting vampires or demons, they're not doing anything way out of the ordinary. They're not superheroes. They're human beings who have trained all their lives to do this. Thousands of years of training has been passed down to them, so they're very good at it."
[Stunt Coordinator] Jean Frenette worked closely with the performers to develop fighting styles that set each of them apart. 'One of the unique aspects of the project was the sheer number of varieties of characters," says Jean Frenette. 'We have Shadowhunters, demons, vampires, werewolves. Harald Zwart wanted each of them to have signature weapons and fighting styles, so the werewolves are more animalistic and physical. The vampires might fly or leap great distances. That gave the luxury of the creating action sequences that stretch reality a little bit more."
Because the Shadowhunters have existed throughout the world for ten centuries, Jean Frenette was able to draw on a millennium's worth of weapons and fighting styles from around the globe. As Jace, Jamie Campbell Bower becomes an elegant, acrobatic killing machine, as ruthlessly efficient as he is effortlessly graceful.
'Jamie Campbell Bower trained intensely for months before shooting began," Jean Frenette says. 'Even during production, every day he was off, we trained together. He looks very natural because we designed his stunts to showcase what he does well naturally. Jace is very agile and an expert with blades, so we put Jamie through a mixture of different types of sword work. He also studied Krav Maga, a brutal fight technique developed in Israel by the Mossad."
Using Rhys Meyers' Samurai analogy as inspiration, Frenette gave Valentine an expertise in Asian martial arts. 'I trained with a Samurai sword and a 17th-century epee," Jonathan Rhys Meyers says. 'For hand-to-hand combat, we're using Pencak-Silat, a martial art from Indonesia and Wing Chun, which is a form of Kung Fu. They both use the other person's body strength against them. Everything is almost elegant up until the last moment, where it's pure danger."
The overall result is that even during the chaotic jumble of battle, the audience will be able to identify each character. 'Alec's fighting style is violent and ferocious," says Robert Zegers. 'It reveals a great deal about him. He's an over-killer. And when you're fighting side by side with people, it makes a difference for the audience if they can tell who is who.
'We were in Hotel Dumort for four days fighting with vampires and werewolves," he notes. 'No matter who the camera was on, the rest of us were all working in the background. Because of Jean's attention to those details, people will be able to see that it's me, and see that it's Jamie, and see that it's Lily Collins or Jemima West."
Jean Frenette worked with the filmmakers to devise unique weapons for the Shadowhunters, as well. 'We tried to create something special for each of them, a weapon that fit the character," he says.
'Isabelle, for example, has a whip, which allowed us to do some very creative choreography. Jemima West had never had any fighting training, so we had to start from scratch with her and she did really well."
Jemima West was intimidated at first, but learned to wield Isabelle's signature weapon with panache. 'Shadowhunters have been born and raised fighting," she says. 'Each of us has a specialty. As soon as I arrived, they handed me a whip. It's a scary and quite dangerous weapon, but very elegant." James R. Murray, the film's inventive propmaster, created most of the weapons from the ground up. He ingeniously disguised Isabelle's whip as jewellery. 'Throughout the books, Isabelle wears a snake bracelet on her wrist," he says. 'We built it so that as Isabelle extends her hand, the snake uncoils and becomes a whip."
James Murray and his team were responsible for a variety of custom weapons, including a wide assortment of blades. 'We had so many sword meetings," says Robert Kulzer. 'What is the difference between the blade that kills a demon, the blade that kills a vampire and the blade that kills a werewolf? The number of blade discussions that we had would blow your mind."
The most challenging and iconic is undoubtedly the glass sword used by Shadowhunters to kill demons. 'Actually crafting them from glass would have been impossible," says James Murray. 'They would have weighed 17 pounds and been extremely fragile."
Instead, his team developed a process that allowed them to mold the weapons out of acrylic and polish them until they were crystal clear. 'I think we made about 60 blades in total," says. 'The first day of shooting, we brought the blades to set and they were too clear. We had to buff them out a bit." Cassandra Clare seems a bit awed when she looks at her creation brought to life on the big screen. 'Writing is a very solitary process," she says. 'You imagine this world. These characters come to life inside your head, so you feel a little bit as if you're chronicling a story that already exists. To come to the set of a movie and to see it in three dimensions, to see the City of Bones and the runes, to see the actors dressed as the characters was such an incredible experience. It makes me feel a little like I'm in the movie Inception. It's like I dreamed this and now it's become real."
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Characters
Clarissa 'Clary" Fray (Lily Collins) – Clary Fray is living a low-key and relatively sheltered life in bohemian Brooklyn when her mother suddenly disappears and their apartment is left in shambles. Searching for her missing mom, the beautiful and sensitive young woman is astonished to learn that she is the descendent of a long line of Shadowhunters, human-angel hybrids charged with protecting humanity from unseen evil. As she valiantly faces a shocking new world filled with demons, vampires and werewolves to track down her mom, Clary must also learn to harness the power she has suddenly discovered and to navigate an unfamiliar tangle of new friends and adversaries"who are often difficult to tell apart.
Jace Wayland (Jamie Bower Campbell) – An orphaned Shadowhunter raised by the Lightwood family, Jace is cocky, courageous and extremely deadly. One of the world's most ferocious and effective Shadowhunters, Jace takes Clary under his wing, introducing her to his foster siblings, Alex and Isabelle Lightwood, and their mentor, Hodge Starkweather, as she begins to put together the pieces of her family history. Angelically handsome as well as a fierce warrior, Jace finds himself drawn to Clary in a way he has never felt before, despite his friends' objection to her presence.
Simon Lewis (Robert Sheehan) – A slightly geeky gamer with an irreverent sense of humour, Simon has been Clary's best friend since childhood. When Clary is drawn into the treacherous world of the Shadowhunters, Simon remains by her side without any thought for his own safety. He is also completely in love with Clary, a fact that is obvious to everyone but her.
Isabelle Lightwood (Jemima West) – As slender, graceful and deadly as a dagger, Isabelle has spent her entire young life training beside Jace and Alec to hunt down the demons that threaten humankind. Accustomed to being the only female on the team, she initially resents Clary's presence, but when she sees the newcomer's innate skill and courage, Isabelle becomes her mentor and friend.
Alec Lightwood (Kevin Zegers) – Isabelle's older brother and Jace's best friend, Alec is intense and reserved. The elder of the Lightwood siblings, he is extremely protective of his family. Alec resents Clary's intrusion on his relationship with Jace and mistrusts her motives for joining the Shadowhunters.
Hodge Starkweather (Jared Harris) – Hodge tutors the young Shadowhunters at the New York Institute, including Jace, Isabelle, Alec" and eventually Clary. A former member of Valentine Morgenstern's infamous Circle, Hodge has been confined within the Institute walls for the past 16 years as punishment for his transgressions, and he is desperate to find a way out.
Valentine Morgenstern (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) – Valentine is a renegade Shadowhunter who formed a band of rebels known as the Circle and stole the Mortal Cup"the vessel that created the Shadowhunters 1,000 years ago. Decades of experimentation with the Cup have warped Valentine to the core, making him the most powerful Shadowhunter who has ever lived, as well as the most evil. He believes that Jocelyn stole and hid the Cup and will do anything to get it back.
Jocelyn Fray (Lena Headey) – Clary's mother, Jocelyn was once a daring Shadowhunter herself, but she fled to a quiet life in the 'mundane" world, taking her daughter into hiding with her. Believing that Jocelyn knows the whereabouts of the missing Mortal Cup, Valentine dispatches his henchmen to abduct her so that Clary will help him locate it.
Luke Garroway (Aidan Turner) – Luke is Jocelyn's confidante and the closest thing to a father Clary has known. By day, he runs a SoHo antique store, but by night, Luke is the leader of New York City's powerful werewolf pack. A Shadowhunter and member of the Circle, he is devoted to the Fray women and marshals the strength of his pack when he learns that Clary and Jocelyn are in danger.
Magnus Bane (Godfrey Gao) – The 800-year-old High Warlock of Brooklyn, Magnus appears to be in his early 20s, with an intense personal magnetism and flamboyant style that make him irresistible to both men and women. Unbeknownst to Clary, her mother has been depending on Magnus' magic to protect the girl for many years.
Madame Dorothea (CCH Pounder) – Clary and Jocelyn's downstairs neighbor, Madame Dorothea is a real-life witch masquerading as a store-front psychic in the 'mundane" world. Although she is unaware of it, she is hiding the key to an important mystery on Jocelyn's behalf.
Emile Pangborn and Samuel Blackwell (Kevin Durand and Robert Maillet) – Valentine's enforcers, Pangborn and Blackwell take Jocelyn hostage in an effort to locate the Mortal Cup for their boss. Massive and ruthless, they are also deeply loyal to Valentine and his cause.
The world of The Mortal Instruments is a magical one. Mortals walk the earth ignorant of the secretive shadow world. Shadowhunters, part-angel and part-human, maintain peace and protect humans from the dangers of downworlders and demons.
Rune: Burned into the skins, runes are used by the shadowhunters to fight demons. Each rune is a mark that must be painfully carved into the skin. Some are permanent, but most disappear after they're used.
Runes possess great power and without them shadowhunters become vulnerable. Each mark has a specific purpose and use. Placement of runes is also important, as the closer it is made to the shadowhunter's heart the stronger its effectiveness. The parabati rune pairs two shadowhunters together and allows them to draw on each other's powers. The mendelin rune is an invisibility rune which can be used to hide people or objects from mundanes.Other more simple runes are more self-explanatory like the fire or acid rune.
Downworlders: Known by several designations, downworlders are part-human and part-demon. Downworlders are separated into several factions including warlocks, werewolves, and vampires.
Shadowhunters: Sometimes referred to as nephilim, shadowhunters can be traced back to the Bible. Several thousand years ago, a demon invasion threatened humans with extinction. To save the human race, a warlock summoned the Angel Raziel for help. Raziel mixed some of his own angelic blood with that of a human in what became known as the Mortal Cup. Those who drank the blood from the Mortal Cup became the first shadowhunters. The mandate of the shadowhunters was and shall always be to protect the mortal world from demons and rogue downworlders. Shadowhunters are governed by the Clave and call Idris their home country.
Mundane: Mundanes or mundies are ordinary mortal humans. They are neither part of the Shadow world, nor can they see beings from that dimension. Demons appear to mundanes as something ordinary like a dog or even another human being. Glamours can be placed on objects or buildings to obscure them from mundanes, like in the instance of the shadowhunters' New York Institute. If bitten by a vampire or werewolf, a mundane can be turned into a downworlder.
Vampire: Vampires, also referred to as Night Children, are downworlders. Like the myths and legends, must consume blood to survive, but only rogue vampires drink the blood of humans. Like werewolves, vampires do not have demon blood, but are instead infected by demonic disease. Vampires can mesmerize mortals and have been known to use this power to control and capture human prey. If bitten by a vampire, mundanes can contract the demonic disease and consequently be turned into a vampire.
Warlock: Warlocks are the only downworlders who can cast magic or possess demon blood as they are the direct offspring of humans and demons. Because of their hybridism, warlocks cannot procreate. Most warlocks possess a physical abnormality or a -demon's mark' such as goat feet, cat eyes, bat wings or lizard tails.
Werewolves: Werewolves, sometimes called Children of the Moon or Lycanthropes, are downworlders who shapeshift into wolves. Like vampires they are human, but have been infected by a demonic disease. Werewolves possess the strength and power of wolves whether in their human or wolf form. If a mundane is bitten by a werewolf, it can contract the demonic disease and turn into a werewolf.
The Clave: Short for the Conclave, the Clave is the governing body of the shadowhunters. They hand down curses as punishment for breaking laws. The Clave meet at Alicante, capitol of Idris. Every fifteen years, the branch of the Clave called the Council signs the Accords.
New York Institute: The New York Institute is a sanctuary for shadowhunters. It is located in a gothic cathedral in New York City, but a glamour makes it invisible to ordinary humans. There are several Institutes around the world designed to offer shadowhunters refuge while away from their home country of Idris.
New York Pack: The New York Pack is a collective of werewolves who live in the Chinatown section of Manhattan.
The Circle: The Circle began as the Circle of Raziel, named for the angel who created the race of shadowhunters. A group of young shadowhunters led by Valentine Morgenstern founded the group dedicated to wiping out all downworlders in an effort to purify the world and protect the shadowhunters. Most of the original members of the Circle abandoned Valentine when his directive became overwhelmingly extreme.
Silent Brothers: The Silent Brothers are archivists, but that is not all they do. They can read minds and are among the most feared of all demon hunters. They walk in darkness and do not speak, but they can crack a mortal's mind for good or detrimental purposes.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Release Date: 22nd of August, 2013