Jamie Campbell Bower: EXCLUSIVE The Mortal Instruments Interview
By: Lynn Barker
We are still at the classy SLS Hotel in L.A. to bring you the latest from the cast of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, the first movie made from Cassandra Clare’s popular YA novels. Jamie Campbell Bower, who played ancient and stoic Volturi vampire Caius in the “Twilight” movies and a hot, young King Arthur in the TV saga “Camelot” is happy to play Jace in the new film and feels a great responsibility to the fans. He confided that the original ending for the film was changed at he and co-star Lily Collins’ suggestion to please the fans.
We learned that Jamie has an apartment back home in England but is “living out of a bag” on his press tour, around the world. For our interview, the 24-year-old, blonde actor pulled out of his bag a casual, cute gray sweater, black pants and a fun black hat. The star was also wearing the silver Morgenstern/Wayland signet ring worn by Jace in the movie.
We start chatting and after I tell Jamie where I live he says:
- Jaime: What was going on in the (San Fernando) valley yesterday? I was out there training and it was crazy. Cops were everywhere!
We assure him we have no idea. They weren’t after us and here we go:
Kidzworld: What qualities does Jace have that are like you and what about him is very unlike you?
- Jamie: I’m actually pretty similar to him. Jace is very dark but acting I find is a very cathartic process for me. I get to explore sides of me that don’t exist or that I don’t utilize on a daily basis. I suppose I can be quite childish. Jace can be quite childish in his responses. I related to him a lot. Sometimes I can throw out some wit but I don’t know if I’m intelligent enough to throw out the wit all the time though, (he laughs).
Kidzworld: Did you get to keep any of the wardrobe or weapons Jace uses?
- Jamie: (showing me) I’m wearing the ring with the W turned to the world. There are more. I asked if I could keep it. I didn’t just steal it. I keep a lot of things from set like I’ve kept Kevin Zegers (who plays Alec in the film) in the trunk of my car. No…I let him out for press days and put him back in there. (There is the wit).
Kidzworld: Like a badly-treated pet.
- Jamie: (laughs) Exactly! I didn’t get to keep clothes but there are signed, you know autographed cards going around with pieces of the costumes in them. I’m like “Don’t rip that up. They’re gonna need that for the second movie!”
Kidzworld: What surprised you about Lily Collins once you started working with her?
- Jamie: Her confidence. She’s incredibly confident and I’m not. I can appear quite confident but when I’m at work I’m really not at all. I probably kind of pissed (director) Harald (Zwart) off a bit by constantly going up to him doubting myself or getting mad at myself. Lily doesn’t do that. She’s confident and focused.
- She was instrumental in me becoming a part of this project. We bonded over being from 45 minutes apart in the English countryside. We went out for dinner before we started shooting. She can recite (all the stops) on the train line from London Waterloo (station) to Portsmouth Harbor. That’s the train line I take to go see my mum. Anybody who knows that is pretty cool in my book. All of us are tight. We all look after each other. We are genuinely glad to go to work together again. It’s not B.S.
Kidzworld: Cool! Is there a big jokester on set?
- Jamie: We all make jokes. I’m a big one for fluffing lines and making them sound rude. That would be R-rated on the DVD. I’m a terrible swearer. I’m cursing the whole time. Kevin does some pretty hilarious voices. Lily is a big giggler. Robbie (Sheehan who plays Simon), for being how he is in life, is pretty chill on set. You have to have fun while working and be nice.
Kidzworld: If you weren’t a Shadowhunter in the film which creature or person would you be: warlock, demon, mundane, vampire, werewolf?
- Jamie: Warlock. I like to party and Magnus is a warlock and he likes to party. He’s got a great party pad, doesn’t he? And he doesn’t wear any trousers…some scenes were cut… (he is so messing with me).
Kidzworld: Okay! Moving on. We know you are a musician but what music artists or bands do you listen to a lot?
- Jamie: I’m pretty much working on my own music all the time. I wrote a song yesterday kind of rocky/folky/alty/angsty but I’m into a lot of heavy music. I listen to bands like Asking Alexandria and Bring Me the Horizon but I do like to listen to folk music. I’m a huge Dylan fan and Woody Guthrie but then I also enjoy bands like The Naked and Famous and The Joy Formidible.
Kidzworld: Have you seen anyone in concert lately?
- Jamie: Yeah, Biffy Clyro I saw play the other day. They are a great Scottish band. I love the Scottish bands.
Kidzworld: So what is a typical day like for you back home in England when you are not shooting a film?
- Jamie: I sleep all day occasionally but it depends. I get very restless so I have to do things. Normally I wake up go to the gym, go for a run, call my friends and go have lunch with my dad, then see my friends in the evening but I always plan holidays. Like I took myself down to the Southwest coast of England for two weeks just by myself just to go surfing and I rented a cottage down there. Those are the silly things I do.
Kidzworld: Are you at all worried about this YA-novels-made-into-movies trap that some of the “Twilight” actors fell into? In this case, you might have to do five of these films or are you taking it all as it comes?
- Jamie: I can do things in between the movies and this is my first opportunity to be the male face of a major motion picture. I’ve been around for seven years and no way does this, in my mind, define me and the next projects I’m moving on to and projects I want to be involved in are incredibly different (like his new film Overdrive by the filmmakers of the movie Taken). There is a movie that I want to be a part of about a very well-known band in the ‘80’s. It’s a mess but I love that.
Kidzworld: Did you read the books?
- Jamie: When I went to audition I was aware of them but hadn’t read them. Then I went back for the chemistry test with Lily so I read the first three. Then I got cast and read all of them. For me it was more about utilizing it as a tool for creating a character. I didn’t come at it as a fan.
Kidzworld: Were you into Fantasy, Sci-Fi or Horror books or films as a kid?
- Jamie: Oh horror. Horror was huge. “Goosebumps” for me was massive growing up (laughs). I read “The Lives of Christopher Chant” and other novels like “Exorcist” and stuff. I loved scaring myself. I have no idea what that’s all about (laughs). That movie ruined stairs for me. I felt like something was always chasing me up the stairs.
Kidzworld: There are tons of fight scenes in the film. You must have done a lot of physical training.
- Jamie: I did four and a half months of training; Krav Maga (martial art), circuit training every day and I actually called up the producers and asked if I could go out a month before I was originally meant to be there to train with the stunt guys because (director) Harald and I came to the conclusion that whatever I could do, I should do. So I do 99 percent of what you see in the film. There is only one I didn’t do. It was great to create a style and put my fighting style into Jace’s fighting but it was tough.
Kidzworld: Can’t you get hurt?
- Jamie: Oh yeah. I burnt my ankle doing a stunt as Arthur in “Camelot” (on TV.) It was really rushed and hadn’t been thought through enough. One of the great things about the way myself, Kevin (Zegers who plays Alec) and Jemima (West who plays Isabelle) work is the fact that we have this spacial awareness of each other but also like with the Hotel Dumort stuff with the vampires, we were shooting that at like four in the morning which is cool. That’s how the job is but you get tired at that point. I think one of us said “I just need five minutes to make sure we have this down” because the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself, somebody else or have one of the valuable stunt team go down.
Kidzworld: Lily said you did the stunt flipping over on the table but which stunt did you not do?
- Jamie: It’s a table gag where Jace is smashed across the face by Madame Dorothea. It was a wire rig where the stuntman was thrown backwards over the table and smashes his head and goes off the table into a wall and goes down. He dinged his head a bit but he’s fine. He’s a solid man.
Kidzworld: You have your own tattoos but did you keep any of the ones of the runes that the Shadowhunters all have?
- Jamie: I was contemplating getting a real rune. They are very dark and heavy. The imagery on my body is very light and I like that. It’s more fine work, a skull, flowers etc. I had to spend like three hours in make-up every day getting my own tattoos covered and runes put on. So when we had a very early morning call, I’d sleep in them. It will be longer for the next film.
Kidzworld: Are you in touch with some of the actors in the “Twilight” films?
- Jamie: Oh yeah. With the career advances I have now, I can go to those people and be like “This is crazy!” and they’re like “Yeah, It is. It’s nuts” and it’s great to have that support and friendships. In the last two “Twilight” movies there were 72 of us! Not going to say who I’m good friends with. Not fair to them.
Kidzworld: Do you have any memories of the shoot for “City of Bones” that you would share?
- Jamie: I cried at the end of shooting. I was like weeping and everyone was like “What’s wrong with you?” I know that sounds sad but it’s testament to the fact that we shot the final scene of the movie on the last day. It was a great way to wrap up the whole film. We didn’t know then that we were coming back and I’d had a great time working and meeting people.
Kidzworld: Do you mean the end scene where you and Lily are riding away on the motorcycle?
- Jamie: Oh, no. That is actually a re-shoot. The scene in the apartment just before that. Lily and I were like “The ending is not what we think it should be. Let’s make it different and change it up” because we all, including Cassie (author Cassandra Clare) knew that if it stayed the way it was, there would probably be a lot of really upset fans. Can’t tell you what it was but it was great that our director Harald listened to us.
Kidzworld: What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned about the business since you were a little kid in Sweeny Todd?
- Jamie: To have the people that I love and trust the most around me. Like my dad is involved in my career. He helps me with my business. Both my parents are in the music industry so they know what can happen so it’s great to have that. Also, to stay true to who I am.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is in theaters August 21st, 2013!