Lily Collins Interview The Mortal Instruments City of Bones

The Mortal Instruments City of Bones opens on 21st August, based on the bestselling fantasy book series by Cassandra Clare. Stars Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower and Robert Sheehan joined director Harold Zwart in London for a press conference with fans. Check out what beautiful star Lily Collins in particular had to say about her role as heroic lead Clary. 

What attracted you to the part of Clary?

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. 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.

Some of the locations are amazing; did you have a favourite set?

The first one that I remember was when my jaw actually dropped, which was very reminiscent of the scene actually. Jamie opened the door to the institute library for the first time for me to see it and I stood there with my mouth open just like Clary. I was a huge fans f the books before I was cast and you automatically imagine what it’s going to look like and for me it was absolutely hands down exactly what I’m imagined, if not even better! The depth of the sets and the intricacies of the props, even ones you never really saw were just amazing. There were bookshelves filled with books and you’d think they were just the spine of book, but it was complete. All the weapons and the things that were made for it was pure magic.

What kind of training did you have to do to get into shape for the film?

We all did actually, Robert didn’t train so much though. I trained for three months before filming out in Los Angeles and then every day before, during or after work on set with the stunt department. I’ve always been an active persona and I really enjoy getting down and bruised I guess, especially on this one.  I get to hang with all the guys and keep up, in heels and a very short dress, for the guys! I guess the hardest part for me physically was that I didn’t train in the outfits except for the day before. It was only then that I was thrust into it in these heels and this dress. As Lily it was very awkward but I could just pawn it off on Clary. I never tripped, I just bruised a lot. Battle scars.

What’s it like being part of such a popular franchise that already has a big fanbase?

We were in LA and Rob went “It’s like we’re the Rolling Stones!” then I heard a fan say… “Yeah, not quite!” I think it’s been very eye-opening, because I was a fan before I made the films. We’ve been going to these malls and with every one they get progressively more exciting. There are more people there’s, more screams, more weird anecdotes. It’s very special to be there hands on and see them up close and personal. 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.

There’s a lot of elaborate CGI and special effects in the film what was it like to work with that?

The Great thing about Harold I think what stuck out form my first meeting with him was that it wasn’t really about CGIU or green screen it was about character and emotion. You could wipe away all the other stuff and you’d get the same storyline. It’s just as strong and the other stuff is like icing on top. The Two things that stick out the most CGI wise is a scene where I stop the demons and they all freeze in time. Robbie and I were balancing under tennis balls on sticks. It was very strange because we were supposed to be fighting for our lives and he kept drawing picture son them to make us laugh. After the fifth take it’s not funny anymore. It’s like let’s get this done. It’s just not normal to be doing; I don’t do that on my free time obviously.

The other scene is the dog scene where it changes shape and comes after me and I’m setting things on fire. There was nothing to look at, the director just clapped and said it’s there… now it’s there. The part where part of the monster’s body are bulging back together on the floor, all the director said to me was “okay they’re growing, they’re growing and now they’re merging.” The only time that made any sense to me is when I saw the actual movie. I was like looking confused thinking what on earth he is talking about. It’s impossible to describe because I’d never seen CGI like that anyway. But luckily it played into it.

We also had an amazing prop guy called Mario and every time I was supposed to reach through into a card he was staring at me.  So all I saw was Mario gazing up at me, it was so not normal.

If you could choose to draw a rune in real life what would it be?

I create done the other day, on my spare time. I was asked to draw one on someone and as I was drawing it I just thought of what it meant. I said it was the rune for grace and confidence, like you’ always carry yourself with that added bit of grace and confidence. It turned out the girl I drew it on was called Grace! (sings twilight zone music). Kinda weird!

What was your favourite costume to wear?

As annoying and impractical as they were I think the boots. Just because they symbolise Clary. She’s delicate like a petal but tough like a cookie. So to be able to wear those boots and be able to do all the things that I did and still keep up with the guys is great. It’s also trained me to run around the city in heels.

At the heart of this big fantasy adventure is quite a relatable love triangle. What was it like to work on that aspect of the story and why for Clary is important to have these two very different relationships with Jace and Simon?

First I think It’s somewhat of a love cube, don’t forget Alec who also loves Jace. I’ve no bene in a love cube before. When Jamie walked into his first audition room. That was pretty much just it. Right away it was created; whatever was needed to be created was created. Then we both walked into the room with Robbie and then they are so different in real life that they embody these characters perfectly in their own ways and I’m just in the middle of these two competing characters. So I didn’t think there was any work that needed to be done when it came to this triangle situation because we were so open to improv on the set. My Clary was only the Clary that she was because Jamie was his Jace. Then enter Robbie who became Simon. It’s weird to be in the middle of two guys again… not something that I’ve done. It is pretty weird. But I think it’s important for Clary because it’s kinda like having the angel and the devil on your shoulders. She’s just trying to figure 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. She finds pieces of herself in both people. The romance never defines Clary, which I really loved about this particular franchise. It’s not just a girl stuck between two guys. It’s a girl who finds herself in a situation but she never allows herself to be victimised by it or to have it define her journey. I think it’s important to have two types of men, because there are more than two types of men in his world. I mean you could easily categorise them in two categories but I won’t. But you know she finds pieces of herself within each person and I think to have that physical choice is just a metaphorical explanation of herself.

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