Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan and Harald Zwart discuss The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones at the London Press Conference
Jamie Campbell Bower hit back at 'fans' of The Mortal Instruments novels who had deemed his casting as inaccurate, speaking passionately at the London press conference for the forthcoming picture, which hits our cinemas on August 21.
Alongside co-stars Lily Collins, Robert Sheehan and director Harald Zwart, Campbell Bower, who plays Shadowhunter Jace, branded the cyber warriors criticising his casting as being 'idiots'.
“Upon being cast I was very aware of a negative reaction from the fandom,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t aware of that. That reaction was based on image and looks alone. That was two and a half years ago. As an actor and a performer I’m very much aware of the fact that my job is to change physically and emotionally, and that was what hurt the most, because of the fact that people were judging me based on nothing. I think sometimes with social media and the internet there is no brain to hand co-ordination. People don’t think, it’s like this continuous diarrhoea. People don’t really understand that it can affect people. I just don’t think that’s acceptable in any way shape or form.
“Have I seen the reaction change? I think so. It’s always hard for anyone in our position as an actor to receive praise. Naturally as people we are quite self-deprecating. I think sometimes we do what we do as people because we’re looking for recognition. But next time before you judge anyone just think, just use your brain. Don’t be an idiot. It’s annoying.”
However Zwart was on hand to justify Campbell Bower's inclusion, and hopefully put an end to those against the selection.
“Jamie was always a hot candidate for Jace. I was aware of some of the chit chat out there and absolutely ignored that. I thought that was totally irrelevant. I thought he was perfect for the part.”
That justified rant aside, the mood in the Soho venue was one of fun and joviality, as the performers displayed a natural chemistry, making jokes amongst themselves. At the forefront of the humour was Irish actor Sheehan, who plays the 'mundane' character of Simon in the movie.
“There’s always comedy to be juiced from being the guy at the back of the group who isn’t doing any of the slaying, who’s doing all the cowering,” he said. “Also tumbling into this world and being the normal eyes on this very very abnormal world. You get to frown and ask “What the hell is going on?” every five or ten minutes. The audience do in truth need someone like that.”
Sheehan – who has the least of the big action scenes of the trio, also spoke of his own, personal training regime... “My training was very much sleep… just sleep in. Have a good sleep. The rest of them are going to go and do some stunt choreography for a bit. You just show up for the filming bit and put a t-shirt on.”
The bestselling Mortal Instruments novels, written by Cassandra Clare, have got quite a fervent following, and our cast spoke of their surprise at the response the film has been getting, and how they go about adjusting to this new found fame, with Sheehan also comparing it to Beatlemania.
“Comic con was my first direct experience of the expectation,” he said. “I’m not a very savvy social media person. I’m not on checking the traffic. I don’t know how to use Twitter very well. So it was there that I first realised wow the anticipation is huge. Since then it’s been building and building. When we show up to premieres it’s almost like Beatlemanina. We get out of our cars and there’s like hundreds of people there screaming. It’s very hard to compute at times.”
Such a sentiment was echoed by Collins also, who has also been taken aback from the audience's response. “The weirdest moments for me are when I go to mall that I’ve shopped at since I was like 12 and now there’s massive pictures of our faces everywhere. At my local coffee shops now there’s like all these billboards and people wearing t-shirts and stuff. I don’t think there’s any way you can ever full prepare and I wouldn’t want to prepare for anything. I like the spontaneity and I want everything to be as exciting as it should be. When you set an expectation it’s either above or below, but when you set nothing it is what it is ad it makes it special regardless.”
Finally, Collins also had some words to say on the role of Clary – the film's lead protagonist, who embarks on an adventure to save her mother, citing the normality of the role as one of the main reasons she came onboard.
“I guess the fact that Clary is very normal. She cries, she’s confused and she’s going through an identity crisis. I know I sure did that and I don’t know if anyone really gets over it,” she said. “But she embraces that and she fins the strength in her weaknesses. She’s ends up kicking major butt and hanging with the guys, but all the while still having those very feminine young girl moments that make her very real. It’s about this journey she goes on, but never losing sight of how she actually is very normal as well. I think it’s too easy to play it very superhuman, but that’s not relatable to a normal person. But that’s what really drew me to her.”
Zwart, who was behind the recent remakes of both The Pink Panther 2 and The Karate Kid, backed up such a statement.
“You could say that Karate Kid was a bit for my son and this one was a bit for Stella my daughter. She needs some good role model.” he finished.
THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES HITS CINEMAS ON WEDNESDAY AUGUST 21