The bad news: the film adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones doesn’t hit theaters until Aug. 23. (That’s 284 days away, but it’s not like I’m counting or anything.) The good news: Clare spoke with me about the movie for the new issue of EW on stands this Friday. You’ll have to wait until the end of the week for the first look, but read on for the rest of my chat with Clare. If it’s any consolation, Clare says she is just as eager as fans to see City of Bones. Here she talks about being involved in her first movie, and teases the next installments of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How involved have you been in the movie-making process?
CASSANDRA CLARE: They are very good about listening to my opinions. It’s interesting to me because I’m coming from the world of books. A book is really a one-person project, and a movie is a multiple-person project. So they’ve let me be a voice in the room, which I really appreciated, but mine is not the only voice. They’ve let me participate in discussions about casting, and they consulted me about props and about what people’s costumes should look like. And they let me have unlimited access to the set, so I was there for quite a bit of the shooting which was really nice. But the project is really [director Harald Zwart’s] project. You know the director is always going to be the person with the final say.
Can you talk about casting Lily Collins as Clary?
Lily was actually cast first, and she was the only one cast without my being involved at all. I didn’t actually know that much about her at the time. I went running to find out more information. I watched her in The Blind Side, and I talked to Sony and they sent me a copy of Priest. I really liked her. When they cast her she was pretty unknown. In the interim period she’s gone on to be in a lot of projects, and she’s gotten some really great work. So I feel like we got really lucky getting Lily when we did. She’s extremely dedicated and a really hard worker.
Is there one person you were most excited about being cast in City of Bones?
I was incredibly excited that we got Jared Harris, actually. He is fantastic. He’s playing Hodge [Starkweather]. I had just seen him as Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and I knew him from Mad Men. He’s so great at playing these conflicted characters. My other favorite casting was Robert Sheehan for Simon. He’s not as well-known here in the U.S. as he is in the U.K. I first encountered him when I was in the U.K. and a friend of mine showed me his show Misfits. He’s an amazing comic actor and so funny. I was really excited to meet him, and then I discovered he’s exactly like his character on Misfits. If you’ve seen it, you know what that means.
When we were talking about casting initially, Harald was concentrating very hard on wanting to build a team of people who would work together well. And I don’t know how he predicts these things, but he really did manage to get a whole bunch of people together who get along incredibly well. I think it’s a huge relief for everybody because they had to work on this project for three months together. They’ll be doing publicity and—fingers crossed—more movies in the future. So it’s great that they all are actually really good friends.
What can you tell me about City of Heavenly Fire, the sixth and final book in The Mortal Instruments?
I actually was writing it while I was on the set of City of Bones. I guess I could tell you that it’s a really epic conclusion for the story of Jace and Clary and their friends. We face in Sebastian an almost unbeatable enemy, and one who knows all of their weak spots. The Shadowhunters are going to lose a lot before they can win this one. So expect a very hard-fought battle and a lot of epic romance. [City of Heavenly Fire is scheduled for 2014.
What about Clockwork Princess, the last installment of The Infernal Devices series?
Clockwork Princess comes out March 19. It was really fun to write because it takes place all over England and Wales. I went to England and Wales and mapped out the routes the characters would take. Part of the reason I wanted to write The Infernal Devices is to have this huge love of the gothic romances of the Victorian era. I wanted to end it on that note. So there are mistaken identities. There is a headlong race on horseback across the countryside in the dead of night to rescue someone. And Tessa, of course, is torn between the two boys she loves.
As if you weren’t busy enough, what can you tell me about your new series The Dark Artifices?
The Dark Artifices takes place in Los Angeles, and it’s really a direct outcome of what happens in the sixth Mortal Instruments book, City of Heavenly Fire, which is pretty much that the Shadowhunters’ whole world has changed forever—the way the Nephilim live and they way that they operate. The next generation of Shadowhunters is going to grow up in a very strange world. I wanted to write about that and those kids. In The Dark Artifices Jace and Clary are going to be intertwined too, but as slightly more distant figures who are very famous in the Shadowhunting world to this new generation of kids. The new generation of kids have this whole new set of problems. And it has many of the elements that I always love: humor and romance. I wanted to take the Shadowhunter world and work a really fundamental change on it, so that when I was writing the new series it would have a different feel to it.
Anything else you want to add?
I also have a middle grade series coming up that’s co-written with Holly Black called Magisterium. I love writing YA, but I always wanted to do a really classic kind of coming of age. Something that would span a kid’s life more. With YA you’re a little more restricted to writing in the age of 15, 16, 17. You want to stay around there so that it’s relatable. But the hero of Magisterium is Callum Hunt. He starts at the age of 12 and ends at the age of 17 so we really get to explore his whole life with him, and I’m excited about that. And the movie rights to Magisterium are with the same people who are doing City of Bones. Holly Black and I are co-writing the screenplay. It’s fun for me to be writing a screenplay at the same time that I was watching them make a movie out of City of Bones. They would literally rewrite scenes if something wasn’t working, so it’s a fascinating thing.