First, there was Edward vs. Jacob, then there was Peeta vs. Gale. Now, two new heartthrobs will divide the teen masses as Clary must choose between Jace and Simon in The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
Sony’s foray into the hot YA genre — the first in a planned franchise adapted from Cassandra Clare‘s best-selling books — hits theaters on Wednesday and has critics, including The Hollywood Reporter‘s Michael Rechtshaffen, crying “Twilight wannabe.” But Jamie Campbell Bower, who previously starred in both the Twilight and Harry Potter franchises, is quick to say: “It’s not.”
“The werewolves and the vampires — we’re not trying to re-create an image of that. That’s not what this world is about,” Bower tells THR. “Whereas with Twilight, the world was about vampires. This is not about vampires.”
To break it down for those who haven’t read Clare’s books: Her protagonist, Clary Fray (Lily Collins), discovers that she is a Shadowhunter, able to see people, symbols and things that the Average Joe is oblivious to. After her mother (Lena Heady) is abducted, Clary turns to fellow Shadowhunters Jace (Bower), Alec (Kevin Zegers) and Hodge (Jared Harris) to discover her roots and save her mom. Along the way, she discovers a new world — right there on the New York City streets she calls home — filled with vampires, werewolves and demons.
“I’m not choosing to become something that I’m not,” says Collins, referencing Bella’s journey from human to vampire in Stephenie Meyer‘s famed series. “I’m already a Shadowhunter, and it’s just my journey into figuring out who I am. I’m not defined by romance. Yes, there’s a love cube, [but] it’s very action oriented. It’s very much geared towards guys and girls. It’s not just the story about a girl in between two guys.”
Without revealing spoilers for non-book readers, it’s not just a simple love triangle in City of Bones. And to hear Collins tell it, things can get very “convoluted.” See what she has to say about her on-screen suitors — Bower’s Jace and Robert Sheehan as Clary’s longtime “Mundie” (read: human) friend Simon — in the video above.
The actress says that the tried-and-true formula of two guys chasing one girl serves to illustrate each heroine’s journey of self-discovery.
“You can’t always find one person that has all the qualities you want,” she says. “You find the qualities in different people and it’s kind of like this journey of self-discovery that she’s going on, not knowing what’s right, what’s wrong, what she likes, what she doesn’t like.
“So having the two guys represents the qualities that she likes in somebody, and it’s kind of pulling her in both ways,” she continues, “but it’s how she deals with them and gets through them that defines who she is.”
For director Harald Zwart, who previously helmed Jaden Smith‘s Karate Kid reboot, inspiration came not only from the pages of Clare’s book, but from two iconic films.
“I never looked at this movie as a young adult movie,” he tells THR, noting that viewers need not have read the books before heading to the theaters. “For me, it was a really interesting story and I was inspired by The Exorcist and Harry Potter, and those amazingly visual worlds where you just get really scared.”
For more on City of Bones, watch the video above and click here to read how Clare helped bring her book to the big screen.