Friday, July 12, 2013

TMI SET EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Campbell Bower talks training, playing Jace

Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland (image courtesy of Sony Pictures)

I may have been one of the luckiest people on the planet when Sony Pictures sent me on a trip to Toronto to see the set and meet the cast of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. Even luckier still, I sat down with a group of amazing bloggers to chat with Jamie Campbell Bower, who plays our very own Jace Wayland in the screen adaptation of the beloved book by Cassandra Clare.
It's the middle of the afternoon on our TMI set day. After interviewing Kevin Zegers and Jemima West (we'll have that interview soon), we sat down for a chat with Cassie (Cassandra Clare interview) There was a buzz in the air because we all knew who would be walking in the room next. Jamie  Campbell Bower. He walked in, and I can safely say we were all starstruck.
Among all the questions I haven't been able to answer until now, the biggest one has been, "What is Jamie like?" Instead of my standard "Jamie is Jace" reply, I thought I'd share my thoughts. Jamie is a thoughtful, well-spoken, delightfully cheeky, gorgeous guy who just happens to love and embrace the character Jace Wayland as much as we do. He made us laugh a lot and maybe even understand why taking on this role was such a perfect choice for the 24-year-old Brit.
I can honestly admit that I nervously restated my name after being introduced to him and was lucky enough to ask the first question.
TMI Institute: What’s the training process been like to get you ready to play Jace?
Jamie: To the point of almost passing out, it’s paid off in abundance I hope, and it’s something that I never really been comfortable with before I suppose would be my word in. I sort of shied away from such things. I did Ballet at school but, yea, I was pretty crap. But yea, it’s been really difficult but worth it. Not something I would recommend for everyone that’s for sure! But it’s good.
Fangirlish: Were you familiar with the series before you acquired the role?
Jamie: I was not. I was not familiar with the series. It was interesting because I heard about it. I actually heard about the project through somebody else whilst I was working on another job. So I started doing research into it because I was interested in the story and of course you hear about a job that’s sort of floating about and you think it sounds cool or whatever. So, you kind of want to poach it a little bit. So, upon receiving the interest of casting, I delved a little deeper let’s say. But, I wasn’t aware of such books like Twilight and Harry Potter. I didn’t read much as a kid. I watched a lot of cartoons.
Hypable: What has been your biggest challenge in playing Jace?
Jamie: My biggest challenge in playing Jace, I think the physicality of what I have to do in playing him has been a big challenge. And I’ve wanted to do a hundred percent of the stunts and everything like that. There’s been but one thing that I haven’t been able to do. And unfortunately it happened two days ago and the guy got a bad ding on his head so I’m kind of thankful I didn’t do it. Hence this being on my face now. This isn’t real; it’s to match his ding. So, that’s been really tough, but also really exciting for me. And I’ve pushed myself further than I’ve ever push myself before. It’s been a challenge but it’s been a challenge I’ve wanted to do, and I do love to challenge myself. And I do love to push the boundaries of what I believe I can do and what I didn’t believe I could do. So, that would be the main thing. And also, you can steal an answer from somebody else because it will come back to me.

Page to Premiere: What was your favorite part about Jace’s character?
Jamie: This, there you go steal this. My favorite part about his character, and what’s interesting to me when I was discovering out who he was, was this vulnerability that exists underneath this shield of wit or rudeness effectively as I have seen it, and when that vulnerability is shown to the one person that he believes that he can trust it’s scary for him. It’s scary to let someone in, and the moment he feels almost instantly he feels that’s been betrayed, he just shuts back off again, and I love that about him. I love this…I wouldn’t say he’s a cool customer, but he’s a bit of a dickhead. And I kind of love that….I love that about him. I just think it’s brilliant. Because you don’t get dickheads in stories anymore. Yeah that’s what I love about him.
MTV Next Movie: How much have your costumes, tattoos, and make-up affected you portrayal of Jace?
Jamie: Dramatically, I was very fortunate enough to be here over a month prior to shooting, so I got to work with Gersha, our costume designer, quite closely and she’s pulled some incredible stuff together. But, it was great for me because I was able to go in there and go I don’t know if this is going to work. I feel uncomfortable, and if I feel uncomfortable and then (someone) is going to feel uncomfortable as well. Of course there will be times when you are wearing things that are uncomfortable. What’s interesting for me about Jace is the fact that I genuinely can relate to him so everything that I feel…I feel that he feels too. And everything he feels I feel. So, it’s been really exciting for me, and also I love leather and there’s a shitload of leather. So, that’s been cool. The tattoos, I love tattoos. It’s great to be tattooed. It’s not so great to be sitting in hair and makeup for three hours but it’s fun. And hell it makes him look badass.
Mundie Moms: What was your first impression of Jace either when you read the book or first read the script?
Jamie: That he was a dickhead. But a loveable dickhead. Like I was saying with the vulnerability thing, there are times I just wanted to give him a cuddle and sit him down and go dude it’s okay don’t worry everything is going to be. . . .you don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. You don’t to, you know, fight demons, um you do that’s your job so yea, I loved him and I wanted to sit him down and have a chat with him, cuddle him, and then discard him.
Bookshelf Banter: What’s been the most fun experience that you’ve had on set so far?
Jamie: Everyday. The training is fun, it’s just hard. This is the most comfortable I’ve ever felt on a set. Which is great, and I trust Harald with my life and with what he is doing with the story. And the fact that he gives us the freedom also to be able to put things in or put our input in is really interesting for me. Because you know you can work with a lot of people where “this is it”, this is what we’re doing, this is how it’s gonna be, no deviation from this, you can’t bring anything into this because this is how it has to be. The words are there, the stage direction is there. We don’t have to do that with Harald. We are very much given this open forum where we can just bounce ideas around. If he thinks an idea is crap he’ll just tell us. But that’s been really fun for me. I guess all the fighting stuff, the Hotel Dumort stuff has been really cool. I got to do a front flip onto a table, so that was pretty cool. It was awesome.
TMI Source: What do you love most about The Mortal Instruments series?
Jamie: The covers. They are nice covers. I feel sorry for the guy that was on the cover of the first book though because he’s probably going, “Why wasn’t I cast”? Maybe he’s a crap actor, maybe I’m a crap actor. Like I said before, the underlying love story, the torment that exists in the characters, particularly in Jace. I love his sort of angst and his confusion in his own my mind whilst trying to be Mr. Sly.

And with that, Jamie bid us farewell and went down to set. We all eyed each other quietly as we gave him time to mostly get out of earshot before the fangirling began.
Again, I could easily just say Jamie is Jace. But, I think that's understating the reality. Sony, Screen Gems and Constantin put their faith in a promising young, talented actor, one we've seen in films like Sweeney Todd and Twilight. He's just like you or me. At the end of the day, he just hopes to do the best work he can and make others happy. As a follower of his Twitter account for a while now, I've seen his wit and love of music shine through his words. Meeting him, I was even more convinced, if I could have even needed any more convincing, that Jamie would make the fandom proud. He is adorable. He is Jace.
Stay tuned Monday at 3ET/2C/12PT for my next set exclusive interview with Robert Sheehan!

Cassandra Clare
Robert Sheehan
Kevin Zegers and Jemima West

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