Wednesday, 28 August 2013

London Press Conference Write-Up: An Interview With The Cast and Director of City of Bones!

Last Monday I was lucky enough to be invited to an exclusive press conference with Lily Collins (Clary) Jamie Campbell Bower (Jace) Robert Sheehan (Simon) and City of Bones director Harald Zwart in London by the books publishing house Walker. I’m a huge fan of this series and of course jumped at this once in a lifetime chance! The interview lasted for about 30-40 minutes and although I was too nervous to ask a question I loved hearing everyone else’s and the cast’s responses.

It was quite a small environment so felt really personal and one on one. The cast were all so down to earth and after a while I kind of forgot who they were because it was just like chatting to any other person my age. Jamie and Robert were really funny but my favourite had to be Lily. She has such a calming presence, she’s very graceful and intelligent and I loved hearing her thoughtful answers. I think I may have come away with a new girl crush!

I voice recorded the interview but some of it got muffled and because there was so much footage I had to edit some of it out or this post would have gone on forever! But I decided that I wanted to type up and share some of the highlights of the press conference with you. I hope you enjoy the interview!

P.S: If you haven’t seen the movie yet this interview contains spoilers!!!

An Interview With The Cast and Director of City of Bones 

From left to right: Harald Zwart, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan and Lily Collins

Harald, you have directed coming of age stories before usually featuring a male as the lead was the idea of telling a coming of age story with such a strong female character in the lead role one of the things that attracted you to this film? 
HARALD: Yeah, you could say that The Karate Kid was for my son and this was for my daughter who needs good role models. She’s way too young to see the movie but she saw it before the monsters were added and she loved it then and now I think she’s going to be terrified!

The demon dog at the start is something out of a nightmare!
HARALD: Yeah, people asked me did you consider your audience? I just wanted to make a really great movie that I’d love to watch too. I think younger audiences today are much more sophisticated than when I was younger, people like to be scared. I was constantly thinking what would I show my own kids? I think that as long as it’s not too much gore and blood and girls in jeopardy which I think is a little boring after a while - they need to stand up for themselves. I was inspired by The Exorcist and the original movie The Thing I loved the idea of something cracking apart and reassembling itself.

Whilst we’re on the subject of a female character who isn’t in any way a damsel in distress Lily, she is I’m imagining a dream for an actress to play because she is a really strong female lead is that what attracted you to the part?
LILY: Yeah, Clary is very normal. She cries, she’s confused, she’s going through an identity crisis but she embraces that and she finds strength in her weaknesses and ends up kicking butt and hanging with the guys. But all the while still having those feminine, young girl, moments that make her very real so I think it was kind of this journey that she goes on but never losing sight of how she is very normal as well because I think it’s very easy to play someone superhuman but that’s not relatable to a normal person so that’s what really drew me to her.

She does kick butt alongside your character Jamie. Jace is a cool guy, I think he’s the kind of guy most guys would like to be. He’s a mysterious stranger who turns up, is incredibly charming and can slay demons with one hand tied behind his back he must have been a fun role.
JAMIE: Yeah he’s everything I’m not basically! You know performance is always a very cathartic process for me, I’m not particularly cool. He was a great character to play. It was tough; I put a lot of work and a lot of effort into it. A lot of the characters I’ve played before have been fairly soft or rounded. You have the book and there’s that guy there with his shirt off and he’s looking pretty buff and pretty hench and so I had to get into that physical shape. I’ve always liked to push and challenge myself I think without that I’d get quite bored I have a short attention span. It was fun and it was difficult learning how to hone my skills in terms of stunts and fighting was a real joy.

There were so many incredible sets in the movie, which one was your favourite?
LILY: The Institute library. The first time I saw it my jaw literally dropped just like Clary. Just the detail behind the props that you never even saw in the movie. There were bookcases filled with books that you’d think is just a spine but it was a complete novel and then there were all of the weapons that were made for it so really that set to me was pure magic.

What was training for the movie like? How long did you have to train for?
ROBERT: To me they were like “just have a sleep in, the rest of them are going to do stunt choreography. Just show up for the filming bit and put a t-shirt on.”
LILY: Or not. For the girls…
ROBERT: Or not.
LILY: I trained for three months just before filming out in LA every day before and after work along with our physical fitness trainer. I am an active person and I really enjoy getting down and bruised I guess especially with this one I have to hang with all the guys and keep up in heels and a very short dress for the guys.
JAMIE: Why are you two getting all sexy? (laughter)
ROBERT: I was just jealous of the heels.
LILY: Kevin got to wear platforms which was pretty cool, but yeah I guess the hardest part for me physically was that I didn’t train in the outfits except for the day before and then I’m thrust into it with these heels and this dress and as Lily it was very awkward but I could just pawn it off on Clary. I never twisted an ankle and I barely tripped I just bruised a lot.
HARALD: You’re going to do a lot more butt kicking in the second film.
LILY: Yes, but the heels will be lower.
ROBERT: What’s the vitamin that stops you bruising?
LILY: Arnica I take it every day. It doesn’t make a difference on me.
ROBERT: You’re like porcelain.
LILY: It’s a better word than pale, thank you.

Jamie previously you’ve said that you get a new tattoo done for every project are you having anything done to mark this movie?
JAMIE: Yeah I was meant to be getting it done today around the corner but it’s closed today and that’s where I get most of my tattoos done. I’m getting the quote “I am after all what you made me” a line from the book on my back.
HARALD: We need to cover them all up every day when we’re shooting.

Was it hard to cover you up each day? 
JAMIE: Yeah it takes about four hours to cover up and then to put on the rune tattoos over the top.
HARALD: Why don’t you just tattoo the tattoos we need on?
ROBERT: That’s the problem with these runes! 
JAMIE: I quite like having them there underneath the make-up. I like to know that I’m still Jamie underneath all that at the end of the day. That’s one of the reasons that I have them.

How are you dealing with the fandom and attention?
ROBERT: It’s been an eye opener! Comic Con was my first real direct interaction. When we turn up to premiers it’s kinda like Beetle mania, you know? We’re getting out of our cars and there are hundreds of people screaming.
JAMIE: When we were in LA you went “God I feel like the Rolling Stones!”
LILY: Yeah and then a fan said “Yeah, not quite.” I loved that! It’s very special to see fans up close and personal. I guess the weirdest moments for me are like in LA when I go to a mall that I’ve shopped at since I was twelve and now there’s like massive pictures of our faces everywhere. At my local coffee shops now there are billboards and people wearing t-shirts and stuff. It’s very strange but really exciting. I don’t think there’s ever a way you could fully prepare and I wouldn’t want to prepare for anything because I like the spontaneity of it all and I want everything to be as exciting as it should be because when you set an expectation it’s either above or below but when you set nothing then it is what it is and it makes it special regardless.
HARALD: My first meeting was interesting. I went to a book signing with Cassandra Clare at the LA Book Festival and we realised that that line were all coming for us and I was like “oh my goodness this is unbelievable!” Cassandra will talk to them and give them attitude - she’s a very cool lady.

The CGI in this film was fantastic what was your favourite part watching the film back?
LILY: What stuck out from my first meeting is that it wasn’t a movie about CGI or green screen it was character and emotion and you could wipe away all the other stuff and you’d still get the same story. It’s just as strong and the other stuff is icing on top. The two things that stick out CGI wise is the scene where I stop the demons and they all freeze in time. Robbie and I and a couple of others were bouncing around tennis balls on sticks it was very strange we were fighting for our life and he kept drawing pictures on them to make us laugh and I mean after the fifth take it’s not funny anymore. You’re just like can we just get this done?! It’s just not normal to be doing that obviously I don’t do that with my free time. And then the other scene I guess was the dog scene when it’s coming after me and changing shape and I’m setting things on fire there was nothing to look at. Harald just clapped and was like “it’s there!”
HARALD: I was just scaring her as much as I could.
ROBERT: You’d see Harald jumping out from behind the scenes.
HARALD: If you lower the sound then make a huge loud noise you get a natural reaction.
JAMIE: What a lunatic! It sounds like he’s joking but he’s deadly serious.
LILY: The parts where the body parts are moulding back together on the floor all he said to me was “okay they’re growing and now they’re merging.” The only time it made any sense was when I watched the movie. My look of confusion is me thinking “what is he talking about?” But it actually plays into “oh my god they’re merging! I don’t know what’s going on.” Luckily it played into it.
JAMIE: He’s out of shot but he’s there pushing the actors.
LILY: He’s like “you’re not reacting well enough!”
ROBERT: If Harald ever writes a book there will be a whole chapter on how to scare an actor without using too much CGI.
Harald: It’s true the cup…
LILY: Oh yeah the cup! When I have to pull it out of the paper? We had this amazing prop guy called Mario and every time I would go to pick it up he’d be holding the card and he’d just be like staring at me and in this moment of fear all I can see is Mario gazing up at me. It’s just not normal!
JAMIE: We had these wires down our entire arms and down our backs for the witchlight and stele and I went to this mall the other day and the merchandise is just a battery operated thing and I was like why didn’t we have that when we were shooting?
ROBERT: That was another luxury of being a mundane I had none of the shadowhunter technology that I was laboured down with!

If you could make up a rune for anything what would it be?
LILY: I created one the other day I was asked to draw one on someone and as I was drawing it I just thought of what it meant and I said it was the rune of grace and confidence so that you always carry yourself with grace and confidence and it turned out the girl’s name was Grace. Kinda weird!
ROBERT: The get up in the morning rune to help me be awake. That’s the one thing I could really do with just getting my motor running without heavy amounts of caffeine. Even after eight hours sleep I’ll still get up and after the first hour or two still have one eye closed, so if I could be one of those morning people.

You got to wear some cool costumes. What was your favourite item of clothing?
ROBERT: Before they get into all the complex shadowhunter stuff I want to say my Nike high tops. Grey, pink, very cool, very sporty, very vintage.
JAMIE: The leather trousers are great. Everyone’s always like “oh the leather must be really difficult to wear because it’s constricting” leather’s actually a really versatile material!
LILY: You ripped yours!
JAMIE: Yeah I ripped mine a few times, that’s true. That’s because I was doing like superhero jumps and then I’d go into costume and they’d be like “we’re going to need a clean-up on aisle three over here.” If you look very closely in some of the stunt scenes you can see that there’s rips appearing and disappearing and it’s just like our continuity is brilliant.

How did you find developing the love triangle? Did it take a lot of work?
LILY: When Jamie walked into the first audition room that was pretty much just it. Right away it was created and then we both walked into the room with Robbie and they are so different in real life that they embody their characters perfectly in different ways and I’m just in the middle of these two characters. I don’t think there was any work needed to be done when it came to this triangle situation. My Clary’s only the Clary that she was because Jamie was his Jace then enter Robbie and he became Simon. I think it’s important for Clary because it’s like having the angel and the devil on your shoulder. 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. She sees pros and cons in both Jace and Simon and she finds pieces of herself within both people and I think it’s really about her. The romance never defines Clary which I really liked about this particular franchise. It’s not just a girl stuck between two guys it’s a girl who finds herself in this situation but she never lets it victimise her or define her journey. She finds pieces of herself in each person and I think to have that physical choice is just a metaphorical exploration of herself.


I hope you guys had fun reading this! If you met the cast what question would you ask them? And also what were your thoughts on the film?
Thank you to Casey from Dark Readers for the photo's! It was great to finally meet you!

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