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‘The Mortal Instruments’ Couldn’t Cut It as Movie Series, So Now It’s a TV Show

The Mortal Instruments

Screen Gems

Talk about immortality! (Sorry.) The Hollywood Reporter shares that The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare’s bestselling and beloved YA book franchise (that first started as Harry Potter fan fiction, lest we forget), is bound for the small screen. And, no, you’re not misremembering things here – the series has already made one attempt at adaptation, with last year’s underperforming feature film, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.

The Lily Collins-starring feature was originally imagined as a franchise starter, but the film made less than $32m at the American box office (interestingly, the feature did make a grand total of $90.5m with worldwide receipts, but such a take still puts it in the bottom half of YA adaptations). Although there has been some chatter about lensing a second feature, it now appears that these Instruments are pointing in a different direction. Constantin Film, the rights-holding production company, will now revisit the series as a “high-end drama series,” with writer and producer Ed Decter on board as showrunner.  More..

Warren Beatty’s Long-Awaited Howard Hughes Project Finally Gets its Wings

Howard Hughes

It’s hard to imagine, but it’s been thirteen years since screen legend Warren Beatty has starred in a film, the last time being in 2001’s Town & Country. Even longer than Beatty’s absence from the silver screen is his desire to get a project off the ground centered around famed reclused aviator Howard Hughes. After 20 years of negotiating, Beatty’s got the financing and the rest of cast on board to go forward with filming his untitled pet project, in which he’ll direct and star as Hughes and be supported by a talented cast.

The film isn’t a biopic of the iconic pilot — those duties go to 2004’s The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio — but rather a story about Hughes’ loyal (and likely long-suffering) assistant and the assistant’s love interest, played by Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures) and Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones), respectively. Though details about the film are sparse beyond that tidbit, previous reports stated that Collins’ character would actually turn her attention away from her assistant beau and fall for Hughes himself; it’s not clear if that’s the case anymore, but it’s certainly an interesting pairing if there ever was one. More..

‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ Review: A Rune Without a Clue

review city of bones

Clary (Lily Collins) has moved to Brooklyn with her mom (Lena Headey) and pseudo step-dad, but while her best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) still lives close enough to visit on a daily basis something is amiss. A visit to a nightclub sees her witness a murder that no one else seems aware of, and when she awakens the next morning after a night of somnambulistic rune doodling her day goes progressively downhill. Her mom is abducted, their apartment is left in disarray, and she’s attacked by a dog that’s seen John Carpenter’s The Thing one too many times. On the bright side though she meets and falls for Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), the lanky, blond killer from the night before, and discovers that she’s not quite the “mundane” teen she thought she was. Instead, she’s descended from a line of Shadowhunters tasked with killing demons, policing vampires, and keeping Hot Topic in business. Together they race to rescue her mom and find the chalice from the palace with the brew that is true before the evil Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) can use it to rule the world.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the first film in a hopeful new franchise based on the best-selling YA fantasy series, but while it checks the boxes on many of the genre’s most common ingredients it neglects the ones necessary to tell a good and engaging story. It’s crowded, dumb and more interested in the set-piece destination than in the journey getting there, but if nothing else there are also some impressive visual effects and many, many unintentionally funny moments.


True Collaboration Could Make ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ a Genre-Buster

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. More..

‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ Trailer Brings a Little Horror to YA

The Mortal Instruments City of Bones

The new trailer for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is incredibly encouraging. Not because it avoids the overused normal-person-discovers-they-have-extraordinary-powers-in-a-magical-world-beyond-our-own trope that’s been hollowed out for a decade. Not because it steers clear of what looks like a crush-triangle. But because it looks like it’s injected some horror sensibilities into the Young Adult world.

Which is kind of funny to think about. With the two most famous horror icons at its disposal, Twilight never went that route. It was all big CGI action and brooding. Meanwhile, TMI: CoB (which really needs the acronym) definitely has a dark side.

It even has werewolves. Check it out for yourself:


‘Writers’ Trailer May Offer Insight Into Why Authors Often Kill Themselves

trailer writers

Been itching to see a movie about introspective creative types? Then Millennium Entertainment has the film for you. It’s called Writers, and it stars the always likable Greg Kinnear as the patriarch of a broken family who all fancy themselves to be authors. As you might imagine, that means they’re all pretty bad with other human beings and relationships and whatnot, and they’re far too sensitive to make it in such an unforgiving world, so their lives are filled with all sorts of delicious drama. Don’t worry about things getting too heavy though… this is a movie, not real life, and poignant lessons about love and togetherness take the place of a head in an oven.

But maybe you’re not looking for a movie about introspection. Maybe you’re looking for a movie that casts Lily Collins and Jennifer Connelly as an almost creepily pretty-in-the-same-way mother/daughter duo, or a movie that has Kristen Bell jogging around in a sports bra. Well, as you can see from its new trailer, Writers has that too. Aren’t you in luck?


Casting Couch: Johnny Depp Is Getting Gangster Again, Captain America Gets a Girlfriend Again, and More

Johnny Depp

What is Casting Couch? It’s a thing on the Internet that’s primarily concerned with which actors are going to be in what movies. Today it includes news regarding attractive folk like Colin Farrell and Lily Collins.

For the last decade or so, Johnny Depp has largely been occupied with wearing makeup and putting on silly wigs, but once upon a time he used to play actual human beings in movies like Donnie Brasco and whatnot, and while it didn’t afford him the opportunity to use nearly as many crazy voices, things weren’t so bad. Things were so decent, in fact, that Cross Creek Pictures has announced [via ComingSoon] that they’ve cast Depp in another gangster story that’s based on real life events, just for old times’ sake. Depp will be playing infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in director Barry Levinson’s (Toys, Jimmy Hollywood) new film Black Mass. Bulger, for the uninitiated, was a gangster who informed for and was later double-crossed by the FBI. Those cads. More..

‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ Trailer Shows Us a World We Can’t See

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:


8 Questions Raised By Our First Look at Lily Collins in ‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’

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. More..

TIFF 2012 Review: ‘Writers’ Will Only Strengthen Your Mom’s Crush on Greg Kinnear

If you’re looking to make a talking heads movie that’s able to create big drama using little more than simple dialogue scenes, then populating your cast of characters with a bunch of sensitive, insecure creative types is probably a good strategy. And it’s exactly the strategy that first time writer-director Josh Boone has used for his debut picture, Writers. The film focuses on an unusual family that includes a critically acclaimed author (Greg Kinnear) as its patriarch, a daughter (Lily Collins) who has just published her first work, a teenaged son (Nat Wolff) who is developing his craft through journal writing, and a mother (Jennifer Connelly) who has been excommunicated from the family, probably because the guy she left the father for doesn’t have an impressive enough personal library.

Each character has a struggle to go through. Kinnear hasn’t been able to get through the dissolution of his marriage, and he has found himself in a slump of depression that has not only affected his work but also turned him into the sort of creepy weirdo who hides in his ex’s bushes and peers through her windows. Collins, still processing the loss of innocence she experienced due to the infidelity in her parents’ marriage, has built a wall of acting out and defensiveness between herself and the rest of the world and may be in danger of becoming permanently bitter. Wolff is dealing with the pitfalls of being a sensitive young man in a world where thoughtlessness is a more valued state of being. He’s decided to begin a campaign of reckless experience-gaining, so that he can one day become a writer of substance. Connelly’s character, while less clear what exactly she’s struggling with, would certainly like it if her daughter would start returning her calls.


‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ Finally Casts Its Big Baddie and Readies For Shooting

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. More..

‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ Fills More Main Roles With Attractive Young Actors

Casting is currently at a fever pitch regarding the next great hope in the Young Adult film franchise arms race, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. The most recent news we had about director Harald Zwart’s series-launcher is that Game of Thrones and Mad Men vets Lena Headey and Jared Harris had landed roles as two of the adult characters, and today comes news that two of the teenage roles that make up most of the primary cast have also been filled.

The thrust of the City of Bones story, again, is that a girl named Clary Fray (Lily Collins) becomes suddenly involved in the hidden world of Shadowhunters (powerful beings who hunt demons right under our noses). The first Shadowhunter that she comes across is dreamboat Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower), a troubled orphan who comes complete with a foster family. Said family is most importantly made up of two siblings who Jace lives and hunts demons with, Isabelle and Alec Lightwood. These are the oh-so-important roles that have now been filled. More..

‘The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones’ Adds ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Mad Men’ Vets to an Expanding Cast

Mortal Instruments Casting

Recently, a round of bad guy casting pointed to the fact that the next big YA novel-to-movie franchise, The Mortal Instruments, might be getting ready to move forward in earnest, and another chunk of casting announcements that came out today seems to serve as confirmation. Joining names like Lily Collins and Jamie Campbell Bower – who are cast as the young, attractive leads – come a couple of more experienced actors who have been tapped to take on some of the adult roles, and one more (relatively) young actor, who is set to play a hip side-character.

First up, Game of Thrones’ Cersei Lannister, Lena Headey, has been tapped to play Jocelyn Fray, the mother of the film’s protagonist, Clary. Seeing as much of the first film involves her disappearance, she probably won’t have much to do here, but one can only imagine she’s also been locked in for potential future installments. Next on the list is Mad Men’s Lane Pryce, Jared Harris, who has signed on to play a character named Hodge Starkweather. Starkweather serves as a live-in tutor to many of the young demon hunters who make up the main cast, so Harris’ extreme Britishness should serve him well there. Finally, All About Women actor Godfrey Gao is taking on the role of Magnus Bane, a flamboyant hipster who also happens to be the most powerful Warlock in Brooklyn. Glamour shots of the actor on the Internet confirm that he should be pretty enough for the part. More..

Kevin Durand and Robert Maillet Set to Misbehave in ‘The Mortal Instruments’

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. More..

Review: ‘Mirror, Mirror’ Is a Terrible, Generic Posioned Apple

Let’s come right out with it: Mirror Mirror is a disaster; a jokey, stagy bomb that sputters around like the worst faux-clever high school play you’ve ever seen before it mercifully comes to an end. After 10 minutes, I’d had enough. By the time Armie Hammer licks Julia Roberts’s face, I envied the old lady in Airplane! who hanged herself rather than listen to the rest of Ted Striker’s story.

There’s nothing worse than a movie featuring material that everyone involved clearly found hilarious, forgetting to let us in on the joke. Director Tarsem Singh (The Fall) is a great visual stylist, but he’s the wrong director for a campy Snow White rehash that’d barely qualify for ABC Family. The movie looks like a grandiose pageant, boasting the filmmaker’s trademark outsized visual compositions and some ridiculous costumes, but it’s tongue-in-cheek slop, with a bunch of phoned-in dramatics and sprinklings of vaudevillian humor that would have been dated during the vaudeville days.

Roberts delivers an annoyingly self-absorbed turn as the evil Queen, who appoints minion Brighton (Nathan Lane, giving the exact performance you’d expect) to kill her step daughter Snow White (Lily Collins), the famed “fairest of them all.” A proud young woman, Snow naturally escapes her fate, finding her way to the seven dwarfs in the process. Together, they engage in banditry and plot to take back the kingdom, while winning over a hopelessly slow-witted handsome prince (Hammer) in the process.


Lily Collins Won’t Be Ash for ‘Evil Dead’ After All

The girl with the eyebrows won’t be playing the man with the chin. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “scheduling issues” (which they also put in quotation marks) have forced Lily Collins to back away from taking the lead role in the remake of Evil Dead being produced by Sam Raimi and directed by Fede Alvarez.

On the one hand, this is good news. On the other, it seems likely that the production team is still trying to make the film about a young drug addict trying to get clean when bad people with melting faces start biting at her. Why they’re moving so far away from the original concept is unknown, and whether or not the finished product will even resemble the original movie is also unclear.

The real victim here? Alvarez – who has the impossible task of recreating a cult phenomenon. Too much to the right, and he’ll have a bland retread with no outside appeal. Too much to the left, and he’ll piss off fans. If he teeters both ways, he might fall off the tightrope altogether. Can’t we just pop in the discs in our Book of the Dead Box Set and forget about all this?

The ‘Evil Dead’ Remake’s New Ash Is…Phil Collins’ Daughter?

Get ready to cringe, people who hate the idea of remakes, reimaginings, and redos, the latest news about the Evil Dead remake is a doozy. Anybody who is a fan of the original Evil Dead movies, or any of Sam Raimi’s work in general, knows the name Bruce Campbell. He of big chin and cocky attitude is such a strong personality, such a big screen presence, that finding somebody to replace him in his iconic, fame-making role as Ash was probably the biggest hurdle that this remake had in front of it. How many young actors can you think of out there that could feasibly replace Bruce Campbell and not make it seem like a total letdown when he chops his hand off? I can’t think of many. Maybe Paul Dano would have been fun, just for the overacting.

Well, instead of dealing with this problem head-on and trying to find the perfect person to play the new Ash, it looks like the creative minds behind this new Evil Dead are throwing us a curveball. In this movie, the main character is no longer Ash. Ash is now Mia, and the role is going might be played by…Lily Collins.

I know what you’re asking yourself right now, you’re asking yourself, “Who the heck is Lily Collins?” I know, I had the same reaction. Well, she’s a young actress who was not only in the movie Priest (did anyone go see that one?), but she was also the daughter in The Blind Side. Oh, and she is also Phil Collins’ daughter. More..

Snow What? Trailer for Tarsem Singh’s ‘Mirror, Mirror’ is Delectably Awful

Looks like the Snow White feature film death race of 2012 has kicked off its second leg with a bang – a terrible, gobsmacking, color-dazzling nightmare of a bang. Tarsem Singh‘s take on the tale of the snow-white-skinned princess and her vertically challenged woodland friends is the more comedic of next year’s dueling Snow White features – Mirror, Mirror is the one that stars Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Julia Roberts, Nathan Lane, and Sean Bean – though after this first trailer, absolutely no one will mix it up with Rupert Sanders‘ darker Snow White and the Huntsman.

Tarsem’s take on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale has long been rumored to be a comedic family adventure, though this first extended look at the film looks more like a comedic adventure for drug addicts and people who think Julia Roberts is capable of pulling off an accent that is somehow not totally laughable. Tarsem’s seemingly pulled together all the elements of the Snow White story – evil queen, lovely princess, dumb bunny hunk o’ prince, dwarfs to save the day – without even a smidgen of irony. Take a bite of the acid-laced apple that is Mirror, Mirror and check out the first trailer after the break. More..

Kevin Carr’s Weekly Report Card: September 23, 2011

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr decides he’s going to learn history from Hollywood. After all, why not when three out of the four major releases are based on or inspired by a true story.

He learns about the true history of baseball with Moneyball (and was sorely disappointed it wasn’t called Monkeyball because a movie about monkeys playing baseball would have been awesome). Then he learns all he needs to know about marine mammals and depressed children in Dolphin Tale. Finally, he faces the cadres of screaming tweenage girls to see Taylor Lautner in ABduction. That’s based on a true story, right?


Jamie Campbell Bower Will Fight Demons as Jace in ‘The Mortal Instruments’

Have you been shedding tears now that casting news for The Hunger Games is starting to die down? Fear not, because the next big series of young adult novels to be adapted to the big screen The Mortal Instruments is starting to fill its cast out as well, so we should have a whole new batch of casting decisions to scrutinize soon. “The Mortal Instruments” is a series of fantasy novels written by Cassandra Clare. They focus on the lead character of Clary Fray (the already cast Lily Collins), a teenage girl who discovers that she has the ability to see a whole world of demons and demon hunters that it hidden from the view of mortal men. As she starts exploring this new world, she comes across the typical teen fantasy novel stuff; the revelation that she is a very important figure in a very powerful bloodline, a love triangle between a dangerous bad boy and a sensitive quiet type, and a bunch of battles with yucky things that go bump in the night.

The big news coming out of Mortal Instruments casting is that they’ve found their man (boy?) to play the character of Jace Wayland. More..

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