The Mortal Instruments

2013: The YA Invasion Continues

If you hadn’t heard, 2013 is the year that a small indie production called The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, starring little-known commercial actress Jennifer Lawrence (am I saying that right?) stormed into theaters. In truth, the massive-scale production, bolstered by a months-long marketing campaign (step into a Subway sometime for a District 12 themed sandwich, because nothing screams “we’re actually starving” like footlongs), has earned over $600M worldwide to date, and is expected to reach $800M by the end of its theatrical run. This is also the year that everyone and their producer attempted to find the next Hunger Games franchise and fell completely, utterly flat. Line ‘em up: The Host, Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters and Ender’s Game all tried their hand at making the jump from page to screen, but nothing achieved anything near what Catching Fire created, both in terms of financial success and creative content.

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

This week saw the countdown to the end of the Twilight movies, though we didn’t pay it much attention. Kevin gave us a drinking game to play while watching the whole series in marathon form, but that’s it. Maybe we were all too busy still appreciating the greatness of the latest James Bond — a series that fortunately didn’t conclude after only five installments — or skipping through to wonder about the future, as in whether The Mortal Instruments is the new Twi-like sensation. We did, of course, review the final Twilight Saga film, and we remind and invite you to check out that and other reviews of new releases (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2; Lincoln; Anna Karenina; Price Check) as well as an interview with Anna Karenina director Joe Wright. We also watched a lot of trailer, including new spots for The Host (from Twi-lit author Stephenie Meyer), Oz: The Great and Powerful, The ABCs of Death (Red Band) and, yeah, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. We also saw some short films that readers seem to have enjoyed a lot, including The Sleepover and Dragon Baby. Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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mortal-instruments-header

Even though Halloween is over and done, it appears as if studio execs in Hollywood are still prowling. They’re not looking for candy, though. As it turns out, all they want this holiday season is to find the next Twilight.

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