Our friends from Bookish had the chance to sit down and talk with Miss Cassandra Clare about The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and the Magisterium series–that she’s co-writing with Holly Black in this new interview.
“Ten years ago, Cassandra Clare was a “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” fan fiction writer. Now, she’s the bestselling author of “The Mortal Instruments”series, with the movie adaptation of the first novel, “City of Bones,” releasing in theaters August 23. Clare spoke with Bookish about the parts of “City of Bones” she was committed to keeping in the movie, the use of “mundane” in both her books and pop culture, her forthcoming “Magisterium Series” with Holly Black and her blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo.”
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Bookish: “The Mortal Instruments” has several more mature jokes and darker themes–a departure from a lot of YA, which keeps things fairly clean. How does that more mature sensibility translate to the movie?
Cassandra Clare: It’s interesting, because you never know how something is going to be digitally realized until the director puts it on film. [The movie’s] got a very dark sensibility–gritty urban fantasy, which I really like.
Bookish: Are there any scenes in particular you feel express that?
CC: Yeah! I think that they did a great job with Magnus Bane’s party. And also the club scene that opens the book, where Clary and Simon first go to [Pandemonium], the first time she sees the Shadowhunters. For me, urban fantasy has always been about the marriage of modernity and fantasy, and I think that captures it very well visually in the film.
Bookish: How did you feel about Lily Collins getting cast? She’s a great actress but doesn’t look a ton like how Clary’s described in the books–redheaded, freckled. Was that difficult to adjust to?
CC: Lily is the only one I wasn’t involved in casting; she was attached to the project when Sony picked it up. I went and watched “The Blind Side,” and really loved her [in it]. And she actually does have freckles! As a person who’s covered in freckles myself, it’s one of those things where… If you’re a star in Hollywood they cover up the freckles with foundation whenever you do photo shoots and everything. And I was so happy, because she got those freckles in there, and I think they’re completely cute. You can see them a bit.
We’re really lucky to have [Collins in “City of Bones”]. Not only is she in every project going on right now–she’s one of the hottest young actresses in Hollywood–but she really was a big fan of the books before she started on the project, so she brought a lot to Clary in that way. I think that the reason they didn’t dye her hair bright red was she’d had her hair dyed for four different movie roles before that. They were going back and forth, like, “We could have her wear a wig, or we could put a red rinse on her hair, but we can’t really do the bleaching and dyeing, or it’ll all fall out.” I figured, you know, as long as she could capture Clary’s bravery and vulnerability, that was more important to me than the exact shade of red for the hair.
Bookish: Right, pick your battles.
CC: Exactly. [laughs] I would’ve felt really bad if her hair had fallen out and it would’ve been my fault!
Bookish: When Jamie Campbell Bower was announced as Jace, many fans were up in arms at first. If you check Tumblr now, they seem like they’ve accepted him, but what was that like initially?
CC: It was probably hardest on Jamie. He talks about it in interviews, but he took things to heart. It made me think about what it must be like as an actor. Because if you’re a writer and you write a story that’s rejected–well, they rejected your story. But as an actor, if you’re being rejected in some way, they’re rejecting the whole of you. It must be really difficult.
When I saw the reaction, I thought, “Well, I was kind of braced for this.” Jace is supposed to be the embodiment of your fantasy, what the boyfriend would be based on all my favorite literary characters. He’s supposed to be incredibly talented and incredibly funny and good-looking, so everyone’s got their different idea of what that looks like. So, you just have to remember that this happened when they cast Robert Pattinson in “Twilight,” and when they cast Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth [in “The Hunger Games”].
Bookish: It’s definitely one of those “you know you’ve made it” moments, when people get that bent out of shape.
CC: Yes! It’s one of those things where [you think], “Well, I guess it’s a good thing in disguise.”
Bookish: You started out as a fanfic author, writing the “Very Secret Diaries” series for “Lord of the Rings.” What’s been the biggest adjustment for you since you’ve developed your own avid fanbase, having once been such a huge fan of someone else’s work?
CC: When I was a big fan of “Lord of the Rings” and whatnot, you kind of think of these creations as not having been created by a person so much as existing; they feel real to you. To be on the other side of it, you think, oh my gosh, these stories were created by just one person–in this case, me–and it’s strange. You’re like, “Oh, it’s not that it was created by a faceless conglomerate, it’s actually the work of individual people.” Also, having been a fan, I come to it sometimes from a fan’s perspective: “If I were a fan of this material, what would I want? Would I want to see scenes that were cut from the material? Would I want a sneak peek of the next book, or drawings of characters?”
Looks like great things await for miss Cassandra Clare and Miss Holly Black!!!! What you think? Are you excited for Miss Clare new projecs?? Sound off in the comments!
By Pamela Pena(Site Owner)