Jemima West phoned in from Paris, France to have a very special conference call with us, along with fellow bloggers: TMI Source, Mundie Moms, Fangirlish, Page to Premiere, TMI Movie News, Fanspired, and City of Shadowhunters. We were able to speak with Jemima about the Shadowhunting world and beyond - How she personally relates to her character Isabelle, whip vs. flame thrower, her family, fangirling over the Spice girls, a message to her fans, her favorite rune, and of course Robert Sheehan! Check out the interview below and prepare yourself for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones as Jemima West steals the screen and wins your heart!
The Mortal Institute: I noticed that you said that you had never done action before, action quite like the Mortal Instruments. When I watched the film, you stole the film for me, so it’s incredible that it’s your first time doing something like that.
Jemima West: Aw, thanks, thanks. Well, it was my first time, and it was so much fun! We had the most amazing stunt coordinating team. We had a physical fitness trainer. We applied ourselves really hard. But we were also really, really well taken care of and taught, so we were in the best hands possible. Not all of that is me.
The Mortal Institute: We talked about role models earlier and Isabelle is such a great role model. She has this amazing strength and loyalty. There is definite girl power going on, as Harald Zwart would say. What would you like to say to the young girls who look up to you and see you as their role model?
Jemima West: I’d like to say why? Don't look up to me. Seriously I’d like to say be happy and go wherever makes you happy, listen to yourself and stay grounded. Stay true to yourself and think of that every day. Making yourself happy every day. It sort of is weird that I would have any influence on anyone to say that but it is my advice to myself so I try to keep that in mind.
The Mortal Institute: We keep getting asked by fans this question, and we have already asked Lily, Kevin, and Jamie. So they (fans) really want to know, who your first celebrity crush was or is?
Jemima West: Oh, that is such a hard question. Before actors, I would say I was really into the Spice Girls. I only ever wrote a letter once and it was to the Spice Girls, and I still love them.
The Mortal Institute: Do you know all the words to their songs?
Jemima West: Uh, Ya! I would sing, but I don’t know how to sing - that would be kind of awkward, but I love the Spice Girls.
The Mortal Institute: What do you most look forward to, in getting deeper into your character Izzy? She really kicks butt. We see a lot of action, but what are you excited to reveal about Izzy to the fans on a more personal level for Isabelle?
Jemima West: I think maybe her sensitivity; that she’s going to open up to love and to a new friendship and almost like a new sister. It’s going deeper into her relations to others that I am looking forward to see.
The Mortal Institute: Thank you so much for talking with us, Virtual hugs.
Jemima West: You’re so sweet, thank you. Yay, Virtual hugs, I love that.
Jemima West: It was really intense work. It was all good fun all along because we were such a good team working all together. Even in the hard moments we were supporting each other at all times of the day. It was very intense. I didn’t prepare as the others in advance, but it was very intense for everyone. As soon as I got to Toronto, I was training several hours a day and we were all in it together. At the end of the day, it was fun and it was challenging and when you get to see the results it really pays off, I think. When people like Jamie do their own flips and stuff it’s so much more exciting and cool than having someone else do it.
TMI Source: What was your favorite scene to film?
Jemima West:Tricky question here. They were all so much fun. My favorite – and the hardest – would be the Dumort scenes. And I liked the Institute scenes. They were some of the first scenes we shot and we were getting to know each other. It was really good fun.
TMI Source: What was it about Isabelle that most appealed to you?
Jemima West: Her will to fight and protect her own – her family and friends. She’s faithful and determined.
TMI Source: What was it like working with Robbie and sort of hinting at the future relationship that’s to come between Isabelle and Simon?
Jemima West: It was great fun. Robbie’s a great guy. He’s so much fun to work with. He’s such a great human being, and he’s such a good actor. It was just great. I’m really looking forward to working with him more, definitely. Great guy.
TMI Source: Is there a certain scene in City of Ashes that you’re most looking forward to?
Jemima West: Everything in City of Ashes is amazing. It’s so hard to know because there’s so much. But I’m just looking forward to doing it again, really. I have to be honest. All of it. All the fighting, all the more intimate scenes, there’s so much. So much is going to happen and I’m looking forward to it all.
Jemima West: It’s so funny that you ask me this question because you see I live in Paris and I’m blonde so I don’t look the same as in the film. I don’t have Facebook, I don’t do any social networking. I know that lots of stuff is going on, but because I’m working at the moment it’s very difficult for me to relate to the craziness that the others are going through at the moment. I do remember, just when we started doing the film, I knew and I was aware that these books were really successful. But it was sort of a shock that I had when I was coming out of my trailer and a young girl came up to me and touched me and said, ‘You’re Isabelle. You’re Isabelle.’ It was so overwhelming. I almost sort of ran off because I was so intimidated. I’m really excited and I hope to meet the fans soon because it’s so frustrating for me to not be able to see the people that are so committed to these books and so excited about the film.
Mundie Moms: Enjoy the calm before the storm hits, because people are looking forward to meeting you.
Mundie Moms: I loved to watch you out there on the big screen and really embrace Izzy, what is one of the things that you really came to admire about Izzy’s character?
Jemima West: I was just saying, actually, I love Izzy because she’ so committed and so strong and willing and faithful. She’d do anything for the ones she loves. That’s something I related to immediately. I find her very funny and that’s what I tried to show. I think she’s quite insecure deep down, but she has to put on this good front and this little soldier front and that was really interesting to work on.
Mundie Moms: look at you, you are Izzy. You definitely nailed Izzy on that one!
Mundie Moms: You had the whip, you had the flamethrower and you rocked in those boots. What was more fun to play with: the whip or the flamethrower?
Jemima West: The whip was great. They were both so dangerous, and when I was doing the whip it was CGI so it was a secret. I trained with a real whip, of course, to see what it was really like. And then in the scenes I was faking the whip. It was great because having all these moments and having all these stunt guys pretend to get caught and dragged by my whip was actually pretty cool. And then the flamethrower was really good fun. It’s sort of scary at first. Before I started using it I was like, ‘Wow, the second this thing goes on, I’m literally throwing flames several meters across the room full of people.’ Obviously they had security measures and stuff, but it was a bit scary. To be honest with you, it got thrilling after a couple of shots it got really thrilling. It was heavy, it was heavy, though. The real one was about 40 kilos, I think, so it was somewhat heavy to carry.
Mundie Moms: Izzy also has those awesome – she rocks those awesome outfits and accessories. Did you have a favorite outfit or accessory that Izzy wore in the movie?
Jemima West: To be honest with you, no, because I loved wearing all the leather. The boots were painful, but they were really part of Isabelle’s look and that’s all thanks to Gersha Phillips’ costume, which was amazing. I also did love the white dress, as well. I loved every costume. They were all different sides of Isabelle, where it be fight mode or glamour mode.
Mundie Moms: We’re really looking forward to seeing what you do with Izzy in City of Ashes because that’s one of the books that she really shines in. We’re looking forward to seeing you kick some butt on the big screen in that movie.
Jemima West: Well, I’m really looking forward to starting work again with all of the others, I have to say. It’s really exciting that we can get a second chance at this. It’s so cool.
Mundie Moms: We’re hoping for many more chances!
Jemima West: Yeah me, too! Tell me about it. That’s so, so great.
Mundie Moms: well, thank you for working with us.
Jemima West: Thank you, take care.
Jemima West: Obviously you want to please the fans and the fans are so involved in the books and love the books so much and you sort of want to do the best job possible. But as an actor I sign on for a project because I want to defend the character and defend the movie and I want to do the best I can. I put a lot pressure on myself before I think about what’s going on outside, and when the film is released, indeed, I think, ‘Oh, yeah other people are going to see this now. Uh oh.’ But I try not to think of the pressure while I’m filming because I got my own pressure, but once we’re done filming, yeah definitely, especially on this film. I’m really curious to see people’s reactions and what people have thought of it.
Fangirlish: When you recorded your short video talking to fans, most of us got an overwhelming reaction. Like we were getting emails and comments like, ‘Oh my God, she’s so amazing. She’s so beautiful. She really cares about us.’ So people really embraced that are really love you.
Jemima West: Awe.
Fangirlish: One thing you have been missed on are the mall tours. And it’s been a constant thing for a lot of us where fans are like, ‘Where’s Jemima? Where’s Jemima?’ So you’ve been filming something we’ve been told, but like,
Jemima West: Actually, I started filming in early August and I’m doing a film that’s really exciting for me and is here in France. It has nothing to do with the world of the Shadowhunters. It’s a period film about Gerard Depardieu. It’s an organization. It takes place in the 20s to the 90s. I’m in the first segment from the 20s to the 50s. I play Gerards’s daughter. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him he’s a pretty big French actor and I’ve always dreamt of working with him. I’m really sad that I can’t be at these premieres, but I’m working. It’s an excuse for all of this.
Fangirlish: no, no, no, no, I just wanted to know what you’re working on next because we’re all very excited. Even if it’s something I have to watch with subtitles, I’m very excited to see it.
Jemima West: Actually, it’s French, but we’re shooting in English so you won’t need the subtitles.
Page to Premiere: In terms of playing Isabelle, what did you find the most difficult part to portray in her personality or what did you spend the most time on in terms of putting on the screen?
Jemima West: The action. The fighting, that was the hard thing because I’d never done that before, but also one of the most exciting aspects. I think the hardest was to make it feel like it was natural and innate that she was a fighter.
Page to Premiere: Isabelle is a fan favorite and she’s also a big inspiration for so many female readers. What are your thoughts on that and why do you think Isabelle means so much to the female fan base?
Jemima West: She appealed to me a lot. Her strength and she’s so faithful and committed and she’s in a world of men and has to fight for herself, fight for the others. She’ll do anything for it. What I like about her is that she fights and goes on fighting and sometimes forgets about her own self and how sensitive she is. And that’s what happens when she just falls in love and her sensitive side comes up. It makes for something quite funny because she’s full of contradictions. She wants to stay this strongIzzy but deep down she’s just dying for some affection and love. She’s quite a role model because she fights for the ones she loves.
Page to Premiere: With Izzy, her relationship with her siblings and just family in general, it’s a huge thing for her, and like you said, she forgets sometimes about herself and focuses on her family, did you take from yourself personally or from previous roles that you have done and applied it to the role of Izzy.
Jemima West: I am sorry, I don’t really understand. Is there anything I used from my other characters that I brought to Isabelle?
Page to Premiere: Yeah, in terms of how much she loves her family.
Jemima West: My other characters I played were quite different then Izzy. I think the love of her family is quite familiar to the love I have for my own family, as a human being, as Jemima. It’s funny, cause I was talking about this reminds me that Lily is very close to her Mom and Clary goes looking for her Mom and I think all the actors portraying these characters are all very family oriented. And that’s also too what sort of bonds us as actors and helped us bring all these characters to life and bring their own bonds between them.
Page to Premiere: The fans constantly badger us about asking about you and Robbie.
Jemima West: Sorry, that’s funny .
Page to Premiere: They love it. They absolutely love you and Robbie. They go crazy for pictures.
Jemima West: Who wouldn’t love Robbie. I love Robbie. He’s great. He’s the best.
Page to Premiere: What was your favorite scene to film with him, just in terms of banter and chemistry?
Jemima West: There were so many. There were so many little moments. Often we’d be sort of going, running through halls, and he was running behind, and he made me laugh so much. But we also had a funny scene where I take him around the institute, that was really good fun. There’s a lot more to come, which is even more exciting.
TMI Movie News: Is a Twitter Account somewhere in your future?
Jemima West: I don’t have twitter and I don’t know. I can’t say. I can’t say. Not yet. Maybe. It’s a hard question. I am not quite sure what I think of twittering andfacebooking yet. But it could be, we’ll see. It’s a good question, I’ve always wondered.
TMI Movie News: We all would love to hear from you [on twitter]
TMI Movie News: My next question is about Robbie. Do you think that there will be a gag reel? They have enough footage. of Robbie cracking all of you up?
Jemima West: Possibly. Well I have got a lot of memories of it anyway. I don’t know if they got it on film, but we do have a lot of funny moments. Not only Robbie to be honest, everyone actually, Lily is hilarious. Kevin and Jamie are so funny as well. It was all of us non-stop, but ya, Robbie is kind of the most out there. He’s very subtle and funny as well.
TMI Movie News: You talked about your love for your family, and how that is being brought into the film. How do they feel about you being part of such a large franchise here in the United States.
Jemima West: I think that they are very happy and proud, because I think they feel that I am living my dream as an actor, which to, you know, is to be able to perform exciting roles. But if I were doing anything else, they would be equally happy if they knew I were happy. My siblings are sort of scattered around the world and they see posters of The Mortal Instruments and go ‘Ooooh, oooh’, so it’s quite cute.
TMI Movie News: Lily, Kevin, and Jamie had responded, If you were to sell this movie to someone who didn’t know anything about it, how would you sell it to them?
Jemima West: I would sell it to them saying, ‘go and see it.’ It’s full of, how can I say it – there is lots of action. Lots of proper acting, and when I talk about proper acting I think of Lily and Jamie who have done an amazing job with lots of different things. It’s a really exciting, action packed, intensely acting film. It’s got everything someone wants to go see in a film. It’s got emotion, it’s got action, it’s got excitement. It’s got fun and comedy. Great esthetics and a really cool edginess to it. I don’t know, how did the others sell it? Cause there is so much to say about it.
TMI Movie News: Lily in boots, in thigh high boots I think that was one of the answers.
Jemima West: That’s a good answer. Lily in boots. So much easier. I should have thought about that.
TMI Movie News: Thank you Jemima you are wonderful!
Jemima West: Thank you, thank you so much.
Fanspired: Isabelle has the best sense of style ever and I’m totally obsessed with her outfits in the entire movie. I know you weretalking about it earlier, but how would you describe your personal style?
Jemima West: To be honest, when I was filming in Toronto I went to an Urban Outfitters and bought of pair of leather leggings, so she inspired my own style at the time! I’d say I’m slightly more casual than she is. I wear flat shoes and I love to wear skinny pants and thick jumpers and I’m slightly more boring actually.
Fanspired: Isabelle is obviously a very strong and powerful character how did you prepare to jump into that role? Did you listen to a certain kind of music? Was dying your hair helpful?
Jemima West: Yeah, I mean as I’ve said already when you work on a role all the stuff you do personally as preparing and thinking of your character and then you get to meet all the creative team and the hair dresser and the make up artist and the costume designer and all of that together gives you an idea and really all of a sudden you’ve got your hair dyed black and your leather on and your high boots and you think, okay, this helps so much in building and giving the final touch to the character and you know it’s truly inspiring what everyone else will bring to your character and um, how they inspired me as well.
Fanspired: Who is your acting role model? What actor do you draw inspiration from?
Jemima West: I love, there are very few females actress I am really crazy about but I’d say Cate Blanchett is definitely my number one just because she goes from one role to the next and she goes from completely different characters every time, always making really risky choices and that’s what I admire about her. And she’s just a stunningly beautiful, talented actress and I’m very, very fond of actors like Daniel Day Lewis as well.
Fanspired: Someone had asked Lily this at one of the mall tours and I just loved it – if you could play anybody else in The Mortal Instruments movies who would you want to play?
Jemima West: Who would I play? I’d probably play…I don’t know, sometimes I think one of the boys?
Fanspired: Yeah, Lily had chosen Magnus so if you want to pick one of the boys.
Jemima West: Yeah, Magnus! Magnus is quite cool because he gets to wear his underwear and have really cool parties. And he’s pretty casual. Maybe I’d play Robbie’s role maybe, Simon, because he gets to be a vampire and that’s pretty cool.
Fanspired: Yeah, definitely.
Jemima West: There are lots of characters, or one of the fairies!
Fanspired: Thank you for talking with me I really appreciate it.
Jemima West: Oh thank you, thank you.
We hope you enjoyed this interview as much as we did! Go see The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, in theaters today! Tell us your favorite part of the interview in the comments below!