The Arena in the Anaheim Convention Center showcased some upcoming film offerings from Sony Pictures yesterday at WonderCon 2013. Kicking off the triad of films on a balmy Saturday afternoon was the latest book to be adapted into a large-scale theatrical release as the panel for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones made its appearance.
The film, which is set in latter day New York City, has a face value ordinary teenager as its protagonist Clary Fray, played by Lily Collins, who did a turn as Snow White last year in Mirror, Mirror (and whose dad Phil has played drums for Genesis and has had a stellar solo pop music career). The film eventually reveals that Collins is a descendant of a group of half-angelic warriors known as Shadowhunters, who become locked in an ancient battle to save the globe. The disappearance of her mother (played by Game of Thrones’Lena Hedley) acts as the catalyst for her to jaunt into an evil, dark, mysterious world known as Downworld, inhabited by stalwart fantasy/horror characters such as demons, vampires, warlocks, werewolves, and the like. Based on the worldwide best-selling series of tomes, the film adaptation looks to be the next in the long line of successful book adaptations of this type of genre to the silver screen.
Collins, along with the author of the books, Cassandra Clare, and co-stars Kevin Zegers and Jamie Campbell Bower, discussed the film to an eager audience. Hosted by Dalton Ross from EW magazine, who introduced the panel to shrieks and delight from an audience largely made up of a post-Twilight fans who’ve been hungry for the next new franchise, threw questions to the panel. Clare commented on how much of a surreal situation it was to see what she wrote in the books come to physical fruition and felt that the film would be true to her original literary visions. She was impressed that she was allowed to be involved in a creative capacity during the filming of the production in many capacities, from casting to art design. Clare also was excited she was an extra in the film adaptation.
Lily Collins, looking rather demure and decked out in black, spoke about the challenges of the character she played, who she ultimately sees as aggressive and fearless, considering the narrative adventure that’s laid ahead for her in the film. Already a fan of the books, the young actress had confidence in knowing that she would bring Clary to life in a satisfactory way that would live up to the fans’ expectations. Bower, who had a supporting role as a Volturi vampire in the Twilight films, and played King Arthur in TV’s Camelot, told the audience of the physical demands that the role required and that he would do justice by playing his character cocky and with a sense of arrogance. He was funny and lighthearted throughout. Zegers talked about falling into the role and being exposed to the story without trying to get too far into the book series to know about his character’s fate. He admired the fact that his character was ambiguous and rather mysterious.
An exclusive trailer for the film then followed at the halfway point of the panel, which was surprisingly done with rich colors, vivid cinematography, and rather creative art design. Fantasy and light horror intermingled as the Dolby soundtrack pulsated throughout the hall as the trailer played out.
The fan Q&A was full of youthful rabid fans weaned on the youth literature, which Clare had pointed out via a disclaimer on her name card which spoke that the audience might be filled with those young types. But she stressed that the film is for everyone, and even though the intensity level runs high, it still tried hard to cater to all audiences. Most questions were asked by zealous fans of the book series, which Cassandra answered patiently and humorously. Like a Stephenie Meyer, she knows her role and responsibility with this genre, and gives those fans of it what they want.
City of Bones has all the makings of a Summer hit to the tween audience as the film just might take over the baton left dormant since The Twilight Saga bid its adieu last year.
[Photo credit: City Of Bones panel photos from 2013 WonderCon in Anaheim, CA, by Andrew Sorcini (Mr. Babyman) for Geeks of Doom.]