What has your contact with author Cassandra Clare been like?
I didn’t meet with her before I was cast. I spoke with her on the phone a few times during the casting process but I met her for the first time the weekend right before we started shooting, when she came out to Toronto for the table read. We all went out to dinner with her. It was so crazy to be at the table with her, the creator of these stories. The ability to pick her brain about things, and hear her opinions and ideas and just for her to be at the table read and give her two cents on the script. To have her involvement and enthusiasm in the project was unparallelled. I just wanted her to revel in her books being made into movies! I wanted her to come on set and I wanted to see her reaction to the scripts and all this kind of stuff. It was really amazing to have her there and hear her feedback.
Fans are quite pumped about seeing Jace on the big screen. What do you like about his performance?
I love that Jamie plays Jace in this way – he’s got this amazing balance between being this cocky and sarcastic guy, which is what we love about Jace, and then all of sudden he can turn and be incredibly vulnerable and emotional and sensitive. And Jamie’s got these two sides to him – I think it takes an incredible actor to be able to want to show a vulnerable side, because I think so many actors just want to be this masculine character. Jamie can be doing amazing fight choreography and flips and sword fighting, and the next second he can be getting emotional and cry. … I’ve said from day one [when Jamie walked in], that was it. He had this amazing playful energy that is so collaborative. I cannot wait for people to see him as Jace because it is Jace come to life. I’m really proud of him.
[Slight SPOILER alert if you haven’t yet read the book!] I need to talk to you about the ending of the film. If you don’t change anything from the books, you’ve got quite the scandalous ending for Clary when the first movie ends. Were you concerned at all about fan reaction?
It’s interesting: For fans of the book who’ve read the series, they know where [the ending] leads, so it’s not going to be a shock for them. But obviously making it into the film, you also want to draw in a new audience so you’re kind of toying with [the scandalous revelations]. It’s interesting because the people who don’t know the story are going to think it’s really weird — and it is weird! — but there’s a fine line there. [Director] Harald [Zwart] (The Karate Kid) was really amazing in the way he talked to all of us about how we were going to end it. It’s all about our reactions; it’s all about our physicality and awkwardness. A lot of it is played out not needing words. But also, that’s the way the first book ends. So you have to pay tribute and honor Cassandra’s work, but at the same time it’s that fine movie line where you have to make sure you don’t turn viewers off who don’t know the story! I think we’ve done it in a way that keeps people wanting more and addresses the issue but doesn’t leave you going, “Eww!” [Laughs] I think [the ending has] been done in a really balanced way and I’m excited for people to see it.