'Mortal Instruments: City of Bones' Premiere Brings the Next YA Adaptation to Life

From left: Jared Harris, Kevin Zegers, Jamie Campbell Bower, Lily Collins, Robert Sheehan and Godfrey Gao

The cast of the supernatural film promises that the film stays loyal to Cassandra Clare's book.

Fans camping out overnight, groups of screaming teens holding homemade posters and a supernatural love story -- sound familiar?

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones premiere on Monday in Hollywood brought back some memories of the fervor surrounding another YA fantasy series -- The Twilight Saga. At the premiere at the ArcLight Cinemas, screaming fans crowded the sidewalk, holding up homemade fan art and crying out when the stars of the film walked by.

Based on the popular YA book series by Cassandra Clare, Mortal Instruments follows a teen named Clary (Lily Collins) who discovers that she's a shadowhunter (a hybrid of angel and human), tasked with rescuing her mother after she's kidnapped.

"Twilight has an incredible following of loyal fans, and I would be lucky to have such a huge amount of readers, and to have people love it as much as they love Twilight," Clare told The Hollywood Reporter at the premiere. She added that Twilight author Stephenie Meyer was one of the first people to speak out in support of her book.

Clare admitted to THR that she was a bit apprehensive at first about having her story made into a film. "I love movies, and I so much wanted to see a movie made of the books because I felt like a good one would be such a great gift," she said. "There's no way you can get a good movie without risking have a bad movie, so I feel very lucky to have worked with the people I worked with, and have them care about the books."

Clare told THR that she was on set for about three or four weeks of filming and that director Harald Zwart kept her on speed dial for any questions. 

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City of Bones, the first in the five-book series (Clare will release a sixth in May of 2014), reached No. 8 on the New York Times Best Seller list in April of 2007. Clare, who has written companion books for the series along with the five published novels, has sold 12 million books in print domestically and 24 million worldwide.

Even though the first film won't hit theaters until Aug. 21, production is set to begin on the second film, City of Ashes, in September, with Zwart returning to direct.

Many of the stars of the series revealed that they were very aware of the book's strong fan base, which added plenty of pressure to their portrayals of these beloved characters.

Jamie Campbell Bower, who plays shadowhunter Jace Wayland, told THR that he felt "a lot of pressure" to please the book audience.

"Obviously, they made it possible for me to be here. I have to stay true to what they like and stay true to the characters that they fell in love with, but also bring my own flavor to that," he told THR. "I only hope that I've done them proud."

Bower told THR that he did four months of physical training to prepare for the role, and one month of stunt training ahead of shooting the film, which is being released by Screen Gems.

He also sought inspiration from photos online and created mood boards. He printed out fan art and pictures of actors he considered a base for his character.

"Pictures of James Hetfield and Kurt Cobain for the aggression and then for the vulnerability I took Heath Ledger and River Phoenix and young Johnny Depp," he told THR.

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Collins, who told THR she was a fan of the book series, was also very aware of the passionate fan base.

"I hope that they feel that we stayed true to the story, but at the same time added some new elements to it that they accept and appreciate," she said. "Fans have been waiting over 10 years for this character to be brought to life, and I just hope that what they envisioned is at least partly what they see."

Collins, who is the daughter of musician Phil Collins and starred in 2012's Mirror Mirror, added that she hoped the film wouldn't completely affect fans' "vision of who Clary should be for themselves."

"Everyone has their own idea who characters should be in their own heads. I'm just the actress who gets to play her," he said. "So, I hope that it blends really well with their own thoughts."

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opens in theaters on Aug. 21.

E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford