The Mortal Instruments Cast Interview
The Mortal Instruments Cast Interview
The costumes are great. What was your favourite item to wear?

Robert Sheehan

Well, before they get into all the complex stuff, I would say my Nike high tops - grey, pink, very cool, very sporty, very vintage.

Jamie Campbell Bower

Robbie's totally angling for a Nike advert gig! The leather trousers are great. Everyone's always asking, the leather must be really difficult to wear? It's quite constricting! But leather is actually like a really versatile material. Although I ripped mine. But that's because I was doing superhero jumps and then the crutch would go. I'd be like, 'I'm going to need a clean-up on aisle three over here!' If you look very closely at some of the stunt scenes you can see there's rips appearing and then they're disappearing - no, no, our continuity is brilliant, obviously. Please, let me do the second movie!

Lily Collins

For as annoying and impractical as they were, I think the boots – just because they kind of symbolise Clary. I mean, she's delicate like a petal but she's also a tough cookie. So, being able to wear those boots and do all the things that I did, and to still keep up with the guys, I think was pretty cool. And it also trained me to run around the city in heels when need be.

Jamie Campbell Bower

Clary is like an armadillo, right? Hard on the outside and soft on the inside.

Lily Collins

She's like an onion - she has layers!

Harald Zwart

My favourite thing was my big directorial jacket that I could wear when everyone else was freezing their butts off!

Robert Sheehan

Remember those rain machines? They had a special ability to make you absolutely soaked to the bone within about four seconds of them being on. And we spent a whole evening shooting under those babies, didn't we?

Harald Zwart

And it made the acting so much better!

Robert Sheehan

Yes, all that shivering was real.
At the heart of this epic film is a relatable love triangle. How was working on that? And for Clary, why was it important to have two such different men to choose from?

Lily Collins

Well first, I think it's somewhat of a love cube - you've got to remember that Alec loves Jace. I've not been in a love cube before.

Robert Sheehan

It's actually a night club in London called Love Cube!

Lily Collins

I think when Jamie first walked into the audition room that was pretty much just it, like right away it was created - whatever was needed to be created was created. And then we both walked into the room with Robbie and they are so different in real life that they embodied their characters perfectly in those different ways. And I'm just in the middle of these two competing characters. So, I don't think there was any work that needed to be done when it came to this triangle situation because we were so open to improv on the set. And I've said that my Clary is only the Clary that she was because Jamie was his Jace and then enter Robbie and he became Simon.

It's weird to be in the middle of two guys [laughter] again, it's not something that I've done. You can imagine - it's pretty weird. But I think it's important for Clary because it's kind of like having the angel and the devil on your shoulders. She's just figuring out who she is and sometimes it takes figuring out what you don't like to know what you do, or what you do like to know what to avoid. And she sees pros and cons in both Jace and Simon and she finds pieces of herself within both people.

The romance never defines Clary, which I really loved about this particular franchise. It's not just a girl stuck between two guys. It's a girl who finds herself in a situation but she never lets it victimise her or define her journey. So, I think it's important to have two types of men, because there are more than two types of men in this world - you could easily categorise them in two categories but I won't [laughs]. I'm just saying there are ways, the good and the bad. But she finds pieces of herself within each person and I think to have that physical choice is just a metaphorical exploration of herself.

Jamie Campbell Bower

I think every character goes on their own journey. Jace is a Shadow Hunter prior to the movie starting. He goes out there and he kills demons and he protects the human world. His world is turned upside down by her [Clary] introduction, so his entire motivation and shift is because of her entrance. Now, I don't want to speak on Robert's behalf but Simon is someone who's been a part of Clary's life, and so he is thrown into the world of the Shadow hunters and he's trying to find his voice at the same time.

So, it was never something that we came at together and went, 'This is the main focus of our story'. The main focus is actually the journey that each character specifically has to go on, which is what makes it an ensemble and actually what makes it an interesting piece, because you can relate to every single character. I can see bits of myself in all of them. There's not one character that I don't understand what they're going through. So, I think for each of us, we were very focused on our own journey within our own love story.

Robert Sheehan

Simon is very much tumbling into this crazy other world. In a way, Clary is very much his focus. She's the hand that he's holding onto. As he's experiencing this world, I think the thing that irks him the most is not all the demonic forces, it's the fact that Clary is falling for this other guy and that's probably the thing for Simon. I think probably he's an old romantic. So, seeing this happen is kind of the subtext for his journey until he puts his hand to the fire and declares his love for her. So, it was nice because that's his focus and that's his thread through this world.
Jamie touched on this before, but did you feel any pressure in casting such well loved characters?

Harald Zwart

Lily was already on board when I decided to do the movie and she was part of the reason why I wanted to do the movie. And then Jamie was a hot candidate. I was aware of some of the chit-chat out there. I completely ignored that. I thought it was totally irrelevant. I thought he was absolutely perfect. And in my mind, I always keep thinking something I learned from advertising, which is: 'You shouldn't give people what they want, they deserve so much better.' So, I thought the two of them were already perfect.

Robert didn't look anything like Simon so we had to do a little bit of work. But I saw him with the glasses and I just envisaged him. I thought also he did a good job with his accent, which is also completely convincing. So, these guys were pretty much already the hottest candidates. And like I said, I had conversations with Cassandra [Claire, author] and we looked at the chatter online and we decided we were going to go for the ones we thought were best. You can never avoid that stuff.

With Jared [Harris] and Lena [Headey] I just wanted the movie to be filled with incredibly great actors, just like the Harry Potter series – no matter how tiny the part is, but really, really great actors delivering the lines with the biggest conviction. I think Alec [Kevin Zegers] also, his character is a complex character, which is quite a ballsy move for him and he does it very, very well. And funnily enough, Isabelle was the one that... doing this in Hollywood you get presented with [does finger quotes] 'the hotties'. We did readings with the hotties but none of them were Isabelle because we didn't want her to be just that - we wanted her to be a little more. So, we looked high and low and we found Jemima [West] in Paris. She lives in Paris, she's more French than British, and I think she's an incredible right idea. She's maybe not as much as what the fans wanted, but she's very smart and intelligent and incredibly tough girl.

So, I felt very confident in what I wanted and I had the support of Cassandra, and we just decided to basically more or less ignore some of the fans. It wasn't all of the fans. Going back to what Jamie was saying, there were just a few. Overall, there was a great response to Jamie. It's just that these few have a very loud voice all of a sudden through the media. But I guess you just have to trust your own instincts.
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Content updated: 25/02/2020 04:01

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