Harald Zwart

Mortal Instruments

One of the most anticipated (and packed) panels during this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was the “Mortal Instruments on Page & Screen” which featured the author of The Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare, and the director of the upcoming The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones film, Harald Zwart, to expand on the process of bringing this beloved novel to life. Moderated by Los Angeles Times movie writer Nicole Sperling, Clare and Zwart explained the challenges and differences between writing a novel and creating a film, how they collaborated with one another, and what fans (and non-fans) can expect from the movie. Sperling began the panel by asking Clare about the process of turning her book into a film and Clare explained that the big question was, “Who do you sell your rights to?” And then, once those rights are sold, it becomes a process of letting go. Clare was shopping her book before the Twilight and The Hunger Games films had been released, so studios were mainly concerned with taking on a property that had a girl for the main character because it had not yet been proven that films with female heroines could become successful franchises.

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Mortal Instruments

A seemingly average girl who’s not all that happy with her life discovers that there’s a magical world beyond the boring one and that she, surprise, has special powers to see into and affect that exciting realm. It’s pretty much the way most fantasy novels play out, and the hit series from Cassandra Clare is no different. In the case of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, our not-so-average girl is Clary Fray (played by Lily Collins). She starts to see some strange stuff that no one else seems to, but instead of finding her way to the self check-in counter at the local insane asylum, she’s brought in on the truth by a ridiculously handsome young man named Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower). As pretty much everyone will point out, this Harald Zwart-directed flick is looking to tap into the YA adult success that “Twilight” gave birth to and that “The Hunger Games” has perpetuated. In doing so, the marketing team is playing the long game here – hyping up every small casting notice, delivering a first image yesterday and now tossing a full trailer to the wolves a full 10 months before the movie is in theaters. It turns out everything we’ve heard around campfires is true. Check it out for yourself:

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Mortal Instruments

First off, what in the hell is a mortal instrument? It sounds just terrible – like some sort of ancient torture device, perhaps something used to extract teeth or fingernails or even entire eyeballs. Are these instruments good things? Can they be immortal? Who wields them? Will we ever know? Well, probably. With the final film of the unfathomably popular The Twilight Saga franchise, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, hitting screens this week, studios everywhere are scrambling for the next big YA cinematic adaptation that will set the cinematic world on fire. While The Hunger Games is still poised to slip into Twilight‘s vacated throne, a fresh crop of new potential franchises are springing up left and right, including Beautiful Creatures, Divergent, and The Mortal Instruments. It’s a topic we’ve long been interested in (remember this piece from Comic-Con?), but it’s still unclear just who will prove to be the winner. A possible contender – the first film in a potential Mortal Instruments franchise, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, which is coming to us from The Karate Kid (remake, duh) director Harald Zwart from author Cassandra Clare‘s wildly popular series. With the release of the film’s first official still, we’ve just got nothing but questions.

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Seeing as shooting is set to begin next month on Harald Zwart’s adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s smash-hit YA fantasy novel “City of Bones,” it’s starting to become crunch time as far as putting together a cast is concerned. When we made our last casting update, pretty much every major role had been filled other than that of Luke Garroway, the teenage protagonist’s surrogate father-figure, and Valentine Morgenstern, the primary villain of the story who has many and sometimes mysterious ties to the pasts of the protagonists. Well, worry not, fans of demon-killing Shadowhunters, because it looks like the film is going to be able to fill all of its big roles with weeks to spare. First off, Luke Garroway: he’’s the gruff, flannel shirt wearing fellow that spends a lot of time hanging around with the protagonist Clary’s (Lily Collins) mother (Lena Headey). Though I can’t find any place where this casting was actually announced, Irish actor Aidan Turner is now listed as playing the role. He’s probably best known for his role on the BBC show Being Human, which is also heavily concerned with creatures of the night, so he should feel right at home dealing with mystical and dangerous things.

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Kevin Durand and Robert Maillet

After the success of Twilight and The Hunger Games, film executives all over Hollywood are presumably falling all over themselves trying to find the next series of young adult novels that could become a film series cash cow. Smart money has to be on the upcoming adaptations of Cassandra Clare’s ‘Mortal Instruments’ series of books, the first of which is called ‘City of Bones.’ They’ve got everything a young adult series needs: a protagonist with a vague destiny, supernatural shenanigans, monsters to be killed, a love triangle involving a bad boy and a nice guy; everything. Two of the main roles for the ‘City of Bones’ adaptation (just called The Mortal Instruments) have been filled for a while. Director Harald Zwart (The Karate Kid) has cast Mirror Mirror star Lily Collins as the protagonist, Clary Fray, a girl who finds that she has ties to a race of mystical demon hunters called Shadowhunters, and Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland, the troubled and mysterious Shadowhunter who Clary develops a crush on. And now things seem to finally be picking up on the casting front, because Variety has a report that Zwart has started the process of filling the film’s villain roles.

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Adaptations of the Cassandra Clare-penned books best known as ‘The Mortal Instruments Series” have been in the works for a while. The first substantial bit of news about them was that Lily Collins would be playing the protagonist, Clary Fray, and then came word that Jamie Campbell Bower would be playing the smoldering bad boy character of the books, Jace Wayland. But that was a long time ago, and we haven’t heard much since. Fear not, these movies are still getting made, and we should be hearing a lot more about them from this point on, because they’ve finally just announced a director. According to Deadline Alacante, the director of the Karate Kid remake, Harald Zwart, is on board to make the first film in the series. The press release they cite also confirms the ages-old casting of Collins, so fans of the series don’t need to start all over again picturing a new Clary in their heads.

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Harald Zwart Karate Kid

His next film, a remake of The Karate Kid, is the kind of movie most web-savvy movie fans might not expect much from (or might downright despise the very idea of it as another studio-insisted reboot). With those expectations, the film is sure to surprise more than a few people, and, again, Zwart will be one of the main reasons for that.

I was fortunate enough to speak with the director about a variety of topics – the beauty of China, getting Will Smith to carry sound equipment, and the possibility of getting your ass kicked by an 11 year old.

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hops in a time machine to 1984 to grade The A-Team and The Karate Kid.

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Dre Parker (Jaden Smith) and his mother Sherry (Taraji P. Henson) have been relocated (with no other real financial options) to China, where Sherry will be working in the automobile plant there. When Dre gets his eyes blackened by another boy on playground, he becomes obsessed with learning how to defend himself, and finds an unwilling mentor in maintenance man Mr. Han (Jackie Chan). Dre falls in puppy love with Meiying (Wenwen Han), but he faces difficult training ahead and the threat of fighting his attacker in an open kung fu tournament.

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Jaden Smith The Karate Kid

They should do this for every action movie, not just the ones that involve Jackie Chan’s ill-advised facial hair experiments and Jaden Smith’s desperate attempts to take over the family business. Sony Pictures has released a trailer for The Karate Kid that is dedicated to one thing and one thing alone: action. Whether it’s young Chinese kids doing kick-flipping Parkour or Jackie Chan hitting Jaden Smith with what appears to be a broom handle and a boxing glove (ouch), it’s all about action.

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The film is going the way of a , and that might not be too terrible.

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Sony Pictures has released the full theatrical trailer for their upcoming reboot, The Karate Kid, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan. And while this trailer does look like it might eventually turn into a movie worth of the moniker, I can’t help but feel as if The Kung Fu Kid might have been a more appropriate title for the film.

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published: 04.20.2014
B-
published: 04.20.2014
B+
published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+

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