Actors Robert Sheehan (left)

Actors Robert Sheehan (left)

The witty side of life in a world of shadows

It’s the big-screen adaptation of a series of bestselling books where werewolves take on vampires. A beautiful girl falls in love with a young heart-throb, but the relationship is complicated by the affections of others.

It’s the big-screen adaptation of a series of bestselling books where werewolves take on vampires.

A beautiful girl falls in love with a young heart-throb, but the relationship is complicated by the affections of others.

The girl comes of age in a world that lives in the shadows.

You may think you’ve heard this one before.

But The Mortal Instruments is decidedly different, says 24-year-old star Lily Collins.

“Ours has wit and humour, which I think is not so much in the other ones,” begins Collins, as she sits in a downtown hotel rattling off the differences between her film and the brooding Twilight and The Hunger Games — the character-driven plot; the presence of a love cube, not a simple love triangle; the fact that her character, Clary Fray, is not merely defined by two men.

“There’s always going to be that comparison, but it’s kind of like comparing any great actor to another great actor. The key audience may be the same target audience, but the stories are so different,” she said. “So (Twilight and Hunger Games) has set some sort of bar in the sense that we’re always going to get compared to it, but really they are like apples and oranges.”

Fortune helped bring Collins the part of Clary Fray, a 16-year-old who discovers that her mother (and by virtue of her lineage, Clary herself) is a Shadowhunter, a race of humans with angelic blood that secretly protects the rest of the world from demons.

She read Cassandra Clare’s first book of the series, City of Bones, and became a “huge fan,” prompting her to make inquiries about the rumoured film adaptation.

It ended up that producers for the project had been involved with a film she was working on, and gave her the role without an audition.

“It just kind of organically happened for me.

“And it was such an honour, because I loved Clary, and admired her and looked up to her.”

The rest of it — the ardour that has turned teenaged fans agog as the cast embarked on a tour of malls around the United States? That’s perhaps less organic.

“Never did I imagine with every mall it would get louder and (bring) more people,” said Collins.

“We did one in L.A. where 800 people showed up screaming, and it was like, ‘The film’s not even out yet.

“It’s not even a sequel.”’

Fortunately, she has had her male counterpart, co-star Jamie Campbell Bower, to lean on. Bower, 24, plays the dreamy Jace Wayland, and he’s seen this kind of fan fervour before, appearing in three Twilight films and even making an appearance in the Harry Potter movies.

His philosophy? Let things take care of themselves.

“We’re in an industry whereby we get scrutinized 24/7, no matter what movie we do,” Bower said.

“Are we ready? I don’t know. I don’t think it’s something that any of us are ever thinking about, really.”

If anything, his time surrounded by shrieking fans has affirmed the message he wants to send his growing and impressionable young fanbase — that celebrities are not worthy of worship.

“None of us are going to sit here and say that we’re perfect, because we’re all (messed up) in our own way.

“And that’s beautiful,” Bower said.

“Just because you’re in a movie doesn’t make you a sort of an idol. And it should never be that. I would never want someone to want to be me.”

It’s a hard thing to do, but the cast appears to be taking the long view as they prepare to shoot the next instalment.

“The only thing we can control is we show up in a month and make an even better film, and hopefully people like it,” said Kevin Zegers, 28, who plays terse Shadowhunter Alec Lightwood.

“Outside of that, the reality of the situation is a Jamie’s Jamie, and whether he becomes (insanely) famous … he hasn’t done anything different, it’s just the perception of who he is.

“If none of us were talented a if we weren’t going to do something after these films, if this were it for us, then I’d be terrified.

“This just opens doors for us to do the kinds of films we want.”

Collins shares their approach, and it’s a wise move, since many — fairly or not — will view her through the expectant lens of Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart of Hunger Games and Twilight, respectively.

That will come with the good — Lawrence and Stewart have since become style icons, something that the fashionable Collins is excited about — but also with the pressure of playing a character that readers have already created for themselves in their mind.

The hype is familiar, the pressures recognizable.

You may have heard this one before. But not if Collins has anything to say about it.

“Luckily, this isn’t my first film, so I feel like I’ve been able, with every project, to step out of boxes,” she says.

“Hopefully, this is just another character I get to embody and step away from and step back into, and I admire Kristen and Jennifer because they’ve been able to do independents and franchises.

“People are able to see them as different characters, and I think that’s really important.

“I didn’t see Clary as a vehicle to get me anywhere better. I saw her as a vehicle to better understand myself as Lily.”

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opens in theatres nationwide on Wednesday. The sequel, like the first movie, will be filmed in Toronto, starting in September.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read