I was among three other TMI super fansites the weekend leading up to the LA premiere to discuss with the incredible Cassandra Clare about the upcoming book-to-screen adaptation of her novel The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. In this interview, we discuss Cassie's favorite scene in the film, the impact her writing has on her fans and seeing her characters come to life on screen.
Katie, Mundie Moms: Besides the Greenhouse, what was your favorite scene to see on the big-screen?
Cassie: I think, um, my absolutely favorite scene, cuz I'm a sucker, is when they have the fight in Madame Dorothea's and then Simon comes in and whacks her with a shovel which I just enjoy cuz I love Simon. And then Jace comes out of the apartment and Clary's standing there and basically she's looking from Simon to Jace and then she goes over to Simon and hugs him, and Jace of course looks totally destroyed. I love that scene because it so underlines how significant that friendship is between Clary and Simon and how much it means to both of them. Even though they had that fight about their relationship, she ya know, they truly love each another in a way that is not necessarily romantic but I love to see that kind of portrayal of intense friendship on the screen.
Erin, Fangirlish: What is it like to have written something that has changed so many people's lives?
Cassie: I think it's such a big idea I think it's really hard to encompass it. Individual people write me and are like, the book changed my life in this way - or this character had a big impact on me - then it really, each time, it's like equally startling and meaningful as the time before. But I never sit there thinking "I have written something that has changed many lives!" I just can't think about it that way.
Kristen, TMI Movie News: Previous authors have tried to stay a part of their movie adaptations, but how do you think you have done this differently? To stay such a part and make the movie better?
Cassie: Well, I think that it's sort of a combination of flexibility and communication with the whole creative team that I had to be kind of like, when they would say, ya know, this is a thing that they can't do because it just isn't going to work. You wrote it, but trying to do it on screen. For instance, Simon turning into a rat. They went over and over the possible ways of doing the transformation, and how it would work, and the special effects and what not. While you can, obviously do an animated rat, there was no way to do it and sort of remain within the kind of aesthetic of the movie. So we had to discuss, ok, well what can we do that's going to give kind of the same. To me, the essential thing here is Clary goes to save Simon. She goes to save Simon and that's the most important thing to her. And the second most essential thing is that Jace goes with her, because he's already at that point decided this is a person that's important enough to him, that he's going to go with her. Ya know, to save a guy that he really doesn't like that much at that point. So we wound up having a whole discussion about how are we going to realize this and also bringing Alec and Isabelle in as well, so that we could see more of them and kind of experience more of their characters. So I think that, as a particular example, I think what we wound up with was something that fit with the unified esthetic of the film more than introducing Rat-Simon. Even though, of course, I thought of Rat-Simon. You kind of have to think of it as a different medium, it's an interpretation, and as you were saying - they have the benefit of my hind-sight. I'm on book five, I'd been writing book six, and I'm like 'Well, these characters, this is where there going to end up'. And now what you can do is for instance, Simon and Isabelle spend a lot of time together in this movie. And part of that is because they know that those characters are going to wind up having a - as you know- a romantic relationship further on down the road, and they wanted to set that up. And I think that was a really good idea. I was like, ok great, you have this relationship and you can really start building on it and make people kind of see them as a team and that they work together. I liked that they didn't push it too far, ya know, they weren't like 'and now, by the end of this movie, Simon and Isabelle are making out'. But, they definitely set them up as a pair, and they hinted at a lot of things that were going to come. And they took a gamble in doing that, because you have to think of each movie as a discreet kind of stand-alone thing. But they know what's going to happen, they went with the bite marks on Simon's neck. You see them, it's never talked about or explained. That and the fact that he no longer needs his glasses are an indicator of the fact that he's altering. And that's a promise like there's something to come here later on in this story and you're going to have to wait and see what it is.
Amber, The Mortal Institute: What was it like for you the first time to see the relationships between your characters grow on screen?
Cassie: The first time I saw it, I didn't know how it was going to turn out. I'd seen it in pieces, but until you see it together you're like judging pieces of a jig-saw puzzle without seeing the whole image. So I have no idea how it's going to be. I loved the action scenes and I loved the sets and I loved a lot of all the stuff that they did with the pacing, which moves like a train - never a boring moment. But for me, it's always going to be about the character interactions. Some of them I just love, and even the bits that aren't necessarily from the books. I love the scene where Jace tells Clary 'I'm a Shadowhunter, and I'll protect you with my life', I was like that's his mission statement. That's him that's what he believes in. For me, watching the characters meet has a magical quality the first time, you know Clary sees Jace. But not only that. The first time that Simon sees Isabelle the first time Clary sees Isabelle, these are all big moments for me.