YAH had the opportunity to sit down with actress Lily Collins at Wondercon to chat about her role as heroine Clary Fray in the much-anticipated YA film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones based on the hugely popular book by Cassandra Clare. Lily chatted about being a fan of the series, Jamie Campbell Bower being cast as Jace and the franchise potential.
YAH: What was it about this particular series that attracted you to the role and were you familiar with the series before being cast?
Lily Collins: Yes, I had heard of the series. I was actually a big fan and like all the other fans I looked up to Clary. She was inspiring and a heroine I looked up to. I saw a lot of similarity between she and I. My mom and I are really close, pretty much best friends and I identified with this girl going on a quest to find her mom. It’s a self discovery quest, a feisty woman who grows up and finds herself along the way. That is the kind of character I am attracted to and I have always been a fan of fantasy so being able to be part of a story that was in a fantasy world that was still somehow based in reality and how Cassie (Clare) married these two worlds with the character of Clary going back and forth between the two different worlds..that was something I had never encountered before. When I found out they were making a movie of the series and they came to me with it, it was pretty much a no brainer..(Laughs).
YAH: You were the first one cast correct?
YAH: I know you had a lot to do with Jamie Campbell Bower being cast. Were you involved in casting of any other characters for the film?
LC: I did chemistry reads with Jace’s and Simon’s. It only makes sense that for that type of triangle you needed the right chemistry. Jamie was part of the readings for Simon. It was fun to play around with the chemisty and different combinations with actors. We had so many different types of people coming in for the readings but when Jamie walked in it was just like..he’s Jace. He walked in and out and that was just Jace. You know when you have someone come in and just be that character it’s hard to see someone else as the character after that. You want to give everyone a fair shot of course but it’s hard because Jamie just WAS Jace.
YAH: How early in the process was Jamie’s audition?
LC: This project has been around now for a while. I want to say that within the first few months of my being attached to it we had some readings and Jamie flew to LA for it. Then it was the two of us cast in the film. Then the project went away for a while, changed hands a bit and then came back and he and I were still attached and then we started looking for Simon’s.
YAH: Visually the Simon is perfect.
LC: I know..Robbie is perfect. When you see it he is so so funny, so relatable and has that kind of goofy quality but at the same time girls are already swooning over him. He has this very flirty personality. You always find him on set talking to all the extras, he will just go and charm everyone and that is just very Simon. Each person really has their character down to a tee without even trying which is great because being able to cast on personality, you have to have actors who can put parts of themselves in the character and you just have to hope that can happen but it doesn’t always so we got really lucky.
YAH: I don’t know how involved you are in social media and the buzz around the film, casting etc but Magnus is huge with fans. Fans are freaking out about that casting. People are SO excited.
LC: I know..laughs. Well Godfrey Gao is a beautiful person. He definitely has that exotic Magnus look and when you see him in the movie he has the makeup and the look going on and that is a really fun character to play. Especially in the series as the character storyline gets bigger. Obviously Magnus and Alec will have their storyline play out but yeah it’s a really fun part to play. Godfrey is perfect for the role and yes I had read that everyone is very excited about the casting and the role..he is an entity unto himself in this series.
YAH: It’s rare that there isn’t any backlash at all in a character’s casting and I have not read any. He just seems perfect for the role.
YAH: Are you prepared for the idea of a franchise ? Everyone wants to compare everything to Twilight and there will never be another Twilight and there shouldn’t be another Twilight.
LC: Right. It was an entity unto itself. It was the first one that really caught on. I signed on for this project hoping and knowing that it might potentially grow into a franchise because I love Clary and I am prepared to play her for as long as people will have me. I feel so proud of this film and what we have made it because I think as well as inviting fans of the book I think we are also inviting people who haven’t read the books and don’t know anything about the series to join. I had my first experience last week doing a Q&A with around 500 people and they were like faint worthy and I was like this is so weird..laughs. So I don’t know. I’m excited and I guess we will see what happens.
YAH: I personally think this series, because the books are so solid and the casting is so solid in the film, has a good shot to be the next big thing in YA Genre.
LC: Thanks so much for saying that! We LOVE hearing that!
Interview conducted by Angela Veach.
Wondercon, Anaheim CA
March 30, 2013