Adapting a book is hard work. Adapting a book which already has a massive fan base is close to impossible – adapting it well anyway. Young adult novels from the Harry Potter and Twilight franchise seemed to adapt well overall, though many fans took issue with some of the changes to the story, casting decisions or directorial approaches. Then last year, the first film from Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, was released under the direction of Harald Zwart.
The DVD, released at the end of the month, has an impressive selection of bonus features which cater to the fans who so enjoyed the novel, by paying close attention to the adaptation process and includes interviews with the cast and Clare herself. So what was their take on being part of such a popular story?
The-Mortal-Instruments-City-of-Bones-Image-01Clare says that Lily Collins was very good at capturing Clary’s strength and vulnerability. She also commented that she looks like her, is small and delicate like her but can also punch and fight. Lily Collins says she felt the pressure, having been a fan of the books before being cast as the heroine but it was clearly a challenge she relished taking on.
Jamie Campbell Bower, Clare adds, was so good that he made Collins even better and vice versa. She notes that as soon as he was cast, many fans said that he just didn’t look right but they could only see still pictures. ‘They’re not seeing the character in motion,’ Clare insists. ‘There’s no one person that’s gonna satisfy everybody’s mental image of what the hottest guy in the world is!’
‘I wanted Robbie from the beginning! . . . It’s not often that you can be that young and be that great with comic timing.’ – Cassandra Clare on casting Robert Sheehan as Simon
Bower notes that even Clare appreciates that this is an adaptation, explaining that ‘we have an hour and a half to show people a book that you couldn’t read in an hour and a half so we have to condence it.’ He is clearly happy to be involved in the project, adding that ‘we’re very proud to be here bringing her book to life.’
On the casting of Robert Sheehan as Simon, Clare was very enthusiastic! ‘I wanted Robbie from the beginning!’ she explains. ‘It’s not often that you can be that young and be that great with comic timing.’ She was delighted when, after exhaustive auditions, the director agreed with her choice.
Clare also spoke very highly of Kevin Zegers who plays Alec, explaining that a lot of people came in to play him and just played him angry. Zegers, she says, added a level of vulnerability that really makes you feel for him.