Set Visit: Lily Collins takes a dark trip in 'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones'
HitFix gets a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming YA adaptation
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Meyers will not be available for an interview, we are told. There is a reason given, though I can't remember what. Instead we have Jamie Campbell Bower, a sort of junior version of Meyers with the same pouty lips and diamond-cut jawline. He wears a paperboy cap above a mane of long blonde hair and red-rimmed eyes. His thin forearms sport a number of rune-like faux-tattoos.
Bower's credits include supporting roles in films such as "Sweeney Todd," Roland Emmerich's "Anonymous" and three of the "Twilight" sequels, in which he played a member of the fearsome Volturi. He also portrayed King Arthur in the Starz miniseries "Camelot." This is his first top-billed role in a studio film.
"I walked into that camera test knowing that I wasn’t necessarily the person that they wanted to go for, and that’s a hard room to walk into," he told us of booking the role. "So I had to go in there and I had to be able to a) prove myself and b) there had to be something more; there had to be this, like -- it was funny because it happened without sort of looking for it. Like, Lily and I just automatically clicked and these two characters just came out of us and it was like we had known each other for years, it was so weird. We watched back the camera tests… gosh, when we first started shooting, so maybe three months ago. And we both looked -- I was bloated, I was fat, I’m surprised anybody wanted me to walk into that room."
Bloated? Fat? I seriously doubt it. What I don't doubt is that "The Mortal Instruments" presents a major opportunity for the on-the-verge young actor to prove his leading-man chops - and Bower knows it. Smartly, after booking the role he even calculated which body type might best appeal to the series' target audience - a strategy whose success or failure might very well be judged by how many Jamie Campbell Bower-devoted Tumblr accounts are opened in the wake of the film's release.
"Physically, I’ve trained really hard for [the role]," he says of sculpting the right look. "I sort of toyed around with different physical forms...we’ve seen this sort of big jock kind of character before and I didn’t want that, I didn’t really think that that was something that I believe, particularly, you know, with my younger cousins or whatever -- the 15-year-old markets -- I don’t know if that’s as sexy as it once was anymore. I think it’s more about the rock star...the 15-year-old girls they’re into, like, skinny motherfuckers from bands and the sort of lost souls and all that kind of shit."
Campbell's character Jace (whom the actor refers to as a "Class A wanker") is what's known in the "Mortal Instruments" universe as a "Shadowhunter," a race of half-man, half-angel warriors invisible to humans whose sole purpose is to protect mankind from "interdimensional" demons capable of sowing chaos in the physical world. The formers' powers come from a specific set of rune tattoos of the type Bower sports on his forearms.
"Each tattoo has a specific power [in the film] so I’m covered in them," he says. "I have real tattoos as well, so my real tattoos have to get covered and then runes get put on top of my real tattoos. I think I should just get runes tattooed all over me [for real], then at least I wouldn’t have to spend three hours in the makeup chair. I’d spend fifteen hours in the tattoo parlor and be done with it for the rest of my life."
Seeing as "City of Bones" is the first book in a series of six (the last as-yet unpublished), should the film prove successful Bower will no doubt be sitting in that "Mortal Instruments" makeup chair for a good number of years to come. For their part, Sony/Screen Gems is clearly hoping to strike "Twilight"-style paydirt here. And if the ploy should fail? There's plenty more where this came from, for both the studio and Bower; with his delicate, almost elfin features, the actor is keenly aware of his suitability for the realm of young-adult fantasy - not a bad place to be in given the current Hollywood feeding frenzy.
"Maybe it’s just the way I look," he grins. "'Mortal Instruments is a great series of books that taps into a genre that is very popular and I think that a lot of studios are making those kinds of movies now. So is it that there’s opportunities? Yeah, of course there’s opportunities."