Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments books have a lot in common with other recent urban fantasies — but one thing they have that's different is a major character who's revealed to be gay. We caught up with the stars of the film at Wondercon, and asked whether that will remain the case on screen. Spoilers ahead...
In Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Kevin Zegers plays Alec Lightwood, a Shadowhunter, who is revealed eventually in the books to be gay — and gets to have a same-sex romance. We asked Zegers if his character's sexuality is addressed in the first film, and he responded:
You know, it's not something that's really addressed totally. There's kind of the subtext of people assuming that [Alec] is. But it's not something that we really focused on in the first movie, just because theres so many traits that he has. It wasn't a focus, really.
But he says that they still "played around" with the idea that Alec has feelings for Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), and that there's a hint of a love triangle between Alec, Jace and Clary (Lily Collins). "It's definitely in there," says Zegers. "We didn't hit anything straight on the nose. It doesn't have to be. But there's a lot of subtle things that go on between the three of us, that the audience can make up their own mind about."
As for whether we'll get to see Alec get a love interest of his own if there are sequels, Zegers says: "Of course. It's a huge part of the progression of the character. So I hope so. It's what the fans seem to love about the character, is his love story." So if they actually make more movies, he definitely hopes they explore that aspect.
Also, Zegers says that his character is suspicious of Clary at first, because "he's not certain of her." He's concerned about her, and "his priority is his family, not this new girl." At the same time, Clary "probably reminds him a little bit of himself. And she's reckless, and I don't think he wants her to get his family killed."
Meanwhile, we also spoke to Collins, who is stoked to be playing the hero of a story after having played a victim in other films — the first time we interviewed her, she was playing a girl kidnapped by vampires in the movie Priest. She's excited to be a more heroic character, and she's in awe of the fanbase these books have. "It's a responsibility to take on a character whom so many people know." And since she was a huge Harry Potter fan growing up, she's thrilled when people compare her character to Harry.
And she was excited to play off Lena Headey (Game of Thrones), who plays Clary's mother in this film. "Lena is a go-getter," says Collins. "She's awesome. She's so cool. She's a badass at heart, as well. But she's so particular with her choices on her characters, and to be able to play her daughter was an honor."
One of the tough parts of playing Clary is the fact that she often sees things that nobody else around her can, because of her supernatural powers. This means the other actors have to pretend not to see something that Clary can see, "and I’m trying to show this amazement and wonder, but also not make it seem somewhat cheesy," says Collins.
Meanwhile, we also talked to Jamie Campbell Bower, who said he enjoys the scenes where he gets to be an "expositional character" and show Clary around the magical world. "I like being an expositional character in my own life." But actually, in his own life, Bower says, "I feel like an alien."
And he says Clary is a "huge catalyst" for Jace to change. "He's been very happy to live in this world, closing off to the world, closing off to his environment. And he meets her, and she completely changes his world and changes his life."