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Video/Q&A: 'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones' stars Jamie Campbell Bower and Kevin Zegers

(Lenny Gilmore / RedEye )
August 19, 2013|Matt Pais, @mattpais | RedEye movie critic

In the highly anticipated big-screen adaptation of “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones,” Shadowhunters/part-angels/demon slayers Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) and Alec (Kevin Zegers) are meant to be symbols of toughness and resolve. If the actors had to battle each other in real life? Not as intense.

“It would be like that scene in ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary” where they just slap each other a little bit,” says Bower, previously seen in both the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” franchises. “’It’s a fight, a real fight!’”

“We’d probably be wearing hockey helmets to not mess each other’s faces up,” adds Zegers, now a decade-and-a-half removed from his starring role in the “Air Bud” franchise. “I grew up in Canada playing hockey and because I was a young actor I got picked on an awful lot, so I was forced to fight a lot when I was a kid. I don’t know about you, Jamie?”

“I grew up in the English countryside,” Bower says. “I know how to shear a sheep. That’s about it, man. [Laughs]”

Starring Lily Collins as Clary Fray, the film opens Wednesday. At the Peninsula Hotel, Bower, 24, and Zegers, 28, talked about a Chicago demon infestation, their favorite Victoria’s Secret angel and the franchise’s, uh, complicated sibling relationships.

Click here for our video/q&A with star Lily Collins

How would a demon infestation be different in Chicago vs. the film’s setting of New York?
Kevin Zegers: There would be a lot more please and thank yous.
Jamie Campbell Bower: [Laughs] That’s amazing.
KZ: And everyone would be wearing a coat most of the time.
JCB: There’d be suave demons, sharp demons …
KZ: And the wind would cause a lot of messy hair.
JCB: That’s true. There’d probably be bald demons then.

That’s what people care about with demons all over the place: how their hair looks.
KZ: Absolutely, yeah. That’s what I’d be worried about.
JCB: That’s what I was worried about most of the movie. [Laughs]
KZ: That’s why you wear a hat.
JCB: Exactly. That’s why I’m wearing a hat today.

You guys have talked about bonding as a cast and feeling protective of each other. When’s a time you felt like you had to be protective of each other?
JCB: I think on the set when there’s a lot of fight scenes and choreography and stunts going on you naturally have to be aware of your environment anyway. There’s a sort of spatial awareness, but then also if somebody gets a ding or if it looks like it’s’ going a little bit out of shape then one of us would call it off, even if it wasn’t us. Like we go, “Let’s just stop this right now.”

For example?
JCB: For example there’s the scene in the Hotel Dumort, and it was late at night when we were shooting it and we needed to get it done. But I think I remember they were like “Let’s just go for it.” And we all bonded together and we were like, “We’re just going to need 15 minutes just to go do this” because otherwise one of us could get hurt.” Because I’ve worked some jobs before--I broke my ankle on a job because it was rushed and a choreography scene was rushed and we didn’t have time. So we were all very aware of that. So we do get quite protective of each other, and also in another sense about the protection of each other when we’re doing scenes together we’re very aware of whose scene it is. If there’s a specific scene that’s poignant for Kevin’s character, none of us are going to jump in there and be like (goofy voice), “Oh, I think I should get a close-up at this point because my reaction is really important.” And that doesn’t happen all the time. Sometimes you unfortunately work with people that want to get in on every shot. I’ve worked with people that have appeared—
KZ: Their heads are always in the--
JCB: Yeah. They’re like 360 degrees. You go, “How did you get from behind me to behind the character I’m talking to? I don’t understand.”

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