THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES
Fray and Family
Clary's extraordinary quest is sparked when she returns home to find her apartment ransacked and her mother, Jocelyn, missing. "In a lot of books, you have a boy coming of age and becoming a hero," says Clare. "Often his father is a hero himself. I wanted to create a strong heroine with a heroic mother this time. Jocelyn is actually a great champion in the Shadowhunter world, but the experience was so frightening that the most important thing in the world to her is to make sure her daughter never experiences anything like that."
While Jocelyn appears only briefly in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the stage is being set for her to step forward later in the saga. "The story arc for Jocelyn over the six books is pretty extraordinary," says Kulzer. "It requires an actress who can believably portray an elegant, modern woman who also happens to be a major action heroine. Lena Headey, who is gorgeous and has played both Cersei Lannister in "Game of Thrones" and Sarah Conner on 'The Terminator Chronicles,' was at the top of our list of casting possibilities."
As the movie begins, Jocelyn has given up her former life as a Shadowhunter for a simple life as an artist in Brooklyn. "She keeps her past a secret from Clary because she wants to keep her safe," says Headey. "It's her wish to give Clary a normal life. She has done everything she can to keep the truth at bay, even having a magical block put on her daughter's memory to prevent her from remembering anything about the Shadow World, but Clary is beginning to see inexplicable things."
The actress is looking forward to continuing to work with this cast and crew as the story progresses. "I've never really experienced such collaboration from a director," she says. "He got excited about the actors' ideas and let us experiment. That makes for a great working environment, because you are able to discover new things all the time. It was a constant lesson for me, a constant evolution. And an added benefit is that we've made a film that my son will actually be able to see and enjoy one day."
The memory block that Jocelyn sought out for Clary was put in place by Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn. Magnus' magic has kept Clary safe during the years she and her mother have been in hiding by making her forget everything she sees in the Shadow World as soon as she sees it. Now, the spell is starting to fade and she is becoming aware of the magical events and creatures all around her.
"There had to be a warlock who ran the New York society of warlocks," says Clare. "But I rejected the idea that warlocks and wizards have to be wise old men with long grey beards and white hair. Warlocks live forever. They have the power to be any age they want to be. Why not make him a crazy raver kid from New York? He is also incredibly smart and extremely dangerous, but he has this unbelievably fun lifestyle. Fans have really responded to him. Aside from Clary and Jace, he is the most beloved character in the series."
Taiwanese model and actor Godfrey Gao makes his American feature-film debut in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. "Magnus Bane is a party animal on a level all his own," says Gao. "First of all, he's an 800-year-old warlock, so he's done it all and seen it all. He basically owns Brooklyn. He throws parties that everybody wants to attend. Magnus is very powerful as well as very flamboyant, so when he's in a room, everybody listens. Both men and women are drawn to him and he takes full advantage of that."
But Clary brings out a different side of the powerful warlock. "He is unexpectedly fatherly to her," says Gao. "She is very special to him and he wants her to be safe as much as her mother does. He's very drawn to her because she's so pure. Lily brings exactly what Clary should have to the character."
Magnus' elaborate costumes and over-the-top androgyny make an unforgettable visual impression. "I wear really seductive, sexy makeup," the actor says. "Every day I put on my earrings, got my hair done and slapped on some lip gloss. Magnus Bane has a look that is all his own."
Clary has another male protector in Luke Garroway, the gentle proprietor of a Soho antique shop who is close friends with her mother. But what she doesn't know about Luke, played by Irish actor Aidan Turner, is that he is a werewolf.
"The first moment I read the script, I wanted to do it," Turner says. "It's a really exciting and believable portrayal of this crazy world full of demons, Downworlders and sinister dark lords. Ultimately, it is the age-old story of good versus evil and how you inevitably have to answer for the choices you make. Cassandra's writing is so compelling. She's created this complete world for us to inhabit where there's something happening all the time."
Luke has become a sort of a surrogate father for Clary. "He looks out for her when she has nobody to confide in," Turner explains. "He's protecting her without impeding her path of discovery."
The role was something of a change of pace for the actor, who is perhaps best known for his portrayal of John Mitchell, a vampire, on the British television series "Being Human." Turner believes that finding the familiar in such exotic characters is essential. "Luke, for the most part, lives a very ordinary life. I never felt I had to drive home the fact that he is the leader of a werewolf pack. I have trouble with supernatural characters playing the supernatural element all the time. It's more interesting when you can see them as real people first. Being a werewolf is more of an affliction for Luke than a defining characteristic."
Downstairs from Clary and Jocelyn lives Madame Dorothea, a storefront psychic living in a cramped apartment full of crystal balls and "magical" paraphernalia. "Madame Dorothea represents the kind of magic that mundanes are aware of," says Clare. "She's a palm reader and a Tarot card reader. The fun of it is that Madame Dorothea is hiding in plain sight. She is actually a powerful witch who has chosen to disguise herself as a 'witch,' because that is the last place that someone looking for her would go."
Veteran stage and film actress CCH Pounder, currently a regular on the Sy-Fy Channel series "Warehouse 13," plays Madame Dorothea. "CCH Pounder brings a gravitas to the table, but what we didn't know was how much fun she would have with playing the character," says Kulzer. "Madame Dorothea undergoes an amazing transformation and CCH was so unbelievably good. There's no monster in the world that can that can be scarier and more fun that she is, basically kicking the ass of three Shadowhunters who are in top shape. The crew was applauding after each take, and she just had so much fun doing it."
Pounder describes her character as, "a lovely woman who lives in Brooklyn and will tell you the future, for a price. In the book, she seemed perhaps to be Eastern European. We reconceived her as a Caribbean lady. I'm such a completely unexpected choice for the character that I felt I did not have to live up to anyone's expectations. It's always fun to be able to break the mold. To my great surprise and pleasure, Cassandra Clare told me she never thought of the character this way, but was delighted with the casting."
Madame Dorothea undergoes a terrifying metamorphosis over the course of the film, which Pounder was asked to create without the benefit of elaborate special effects. "Harald Zwart decided that he'd rather see the internal emotion expressed by the actor, rather than creating a CG effect," she says. "I was thrilled. The modern film industry has been taken over by technology, but in the theatrical tradition I grew up with, this is the way we would do it. It was wonderful to feel like I was on the stage, where you have to create the character and have it come out of you rather than the editing process."
With such an enormous cast, the filmmakers say they felt fortunate that everyone involved bonded so quickly. "That was a delightful surprise," says Carmody. "Especially watching Lily, Jemima, Jamie, Kevin and Robbie interact with each other. They've really become a close unit."
Bower points out that it may be because they each share so many personality traits with their characters. "As Cassandra wrote in the books, we get along even though we have conflicting qualities. I do feel very connected to everyone. We are like a pack, very protective over each other."
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