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We Read It: Casting Cassandra Clare's 'The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist April 19, 2012 at 12:04PM

With "Twilight" wrapping up this year, and "The Hunger Games" proving a giant hit, the hunt is on for the next big young adult movie franchise. And we suspect that of all the projects brewing, "The Mortal Instruments" has one of the best chances. The book series by Cassandra Clare has sold millions of copies across its four novels (plus two more in a spin-off series, "The Infernal Devices") to date, as many as any of its competitors. And since the movie version started development, the books' fervent fan-base has come out in force for any tidbit on the project.
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Jane Levy
Clary
Our young protagonist, Clary is a red-haired, diminuitive outsider (described as 'delicate' by Jace), who gets drawn into the mysterious world of the Shadowhunters after accidentally stumbling upon them taking down a vampire, only to discover that she's long been destined for involvement. This is the one part that's already been cast, with "Priest" and "Mirror Mirror" star Lily Collins long attached, even since the previous incarnation of the project. And... yeah, we suppose she's fine, even if she's not overly impressed us in her work so far. Our preferred choice would be someone like Jane Levy, star of ABC's hit sitcom "Suburgatory." Levy's a little spunkier and funnier than Collins, and is a better physical match for the original character. But even if Collins wasn't involved, Levy couldn't do it: she's using her hiatus to star in the remake of "The Evil Dead." Other possible choices that we would've liked to see include "Martha Marcy May Marlene" star (and one of our 2012 On The Rise picks) Julia Garner, "Peter Pan" and "Tomorrow When The War Began" star Rachel Hurd-Wood, Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa on "Game of Thrones" (although she might be a touch young), Juno Temple or "Shameless" star Laura Slade Wiggins.

Callan McAuliffe
Jace
Brought up, as most are, to be a shadowhunter from birth, Jace is arrogant, sarcastic and cold, thanks principally to the death of the man he thought was his father. Despite all that, he finds himself drawn to Clary, and him to her, only for the two to discover a fairly serious roadblock: *Spoiler* Like Luke and Leia before them, they appear to be brother and sister (although, eventually, it turns out they're not after all). *End Spoiler* After courting Alex Pettyfer, the production originally cast "Twilight" star Jamie Campbell-Bower, but as best as we can tell, the actor's no longer involved in the new incarnation, opening the door to other possible choices. Our favored pick would be Callan McAuliffe. The 17-year-old Australian actor first turned heads last year in "I Am Number Four" and Rob Reiner's "Flipped" before landing the part of the younger version of Leonardo DiCaprio's character in the upcoming "The Great Gatsby." A young DiCaprio seems like a pretty perfect fit for the part, if you ask us. Other possibilities might include "Scream 4" actor Nico Tortorella, Chris Zylka from "The Secret Circle" and "The Amazing Spider-Man," the ridiculously-named Chord Overstreet from "Glee," Ed Speleers, the star of "Eragon," and Sam Jackson from the most recent series of the U.K. version of "Skins."   

Dan Byrd
Simon
The Jacob to Jace's Edward, Simon is Clary's long-time best friend, who's long been secretly in love with her, although she's yet to think of him in that way. *Spoiler* Caught up along with her adventures, he's initially comic relief, but is turned into a vampire in the second book, at which point he and Clary finally get together, albeit briefly. *End Spoiler* In terms of casting, the fans favor "The Three Musketeers" star Logan Lerman, but we're up for a more offbeat pick: Dan Byrd from "Easy A" and "Cougar Town." He's got that right friend-in-deep-unrequited-love vibe, and yet could pull off the more attractive side once Clary starts to consider him a viable romantic option, plus he has some serious comic chops. We also like the idea of Johnny Simmons ("Scott Pilgrim," "21 Jump Street") in the part, or "Scream 4" actor Eric Knudsen, while "American Horror Story" actor Evan Peters might make sense too. At risk of enraging fans who don't get the idea of color-blind casting, someone like Maestro Harrell ("The Wire") or Daniel Kaluuya ("Skins") could also be interesting.  

Shelley Hennig
Isabelle
Jace's badass, thigh-high boot-wearing, whip-wielding Shadowhunter colleague, Isabelle, like her brother, comes from a prestigious Shadowhunter family. She becomes involved in a flirtatious relationship with Simon. The name of "Wuthering Heights" and "Skins" star Kaya Scodelario is a favorite of fans, but we'd lean towards Louisiana-born Shelley Hennig, the star of the hit CW series "The Secret Circle." Like Isabelle, her character on the Kevin Williamson show is responsible but with a rebellious streak, and she certainly looks the part. Otherwise, her co-star Phoebe Tonkin might be a possibility, or, while they'd need wigging-up (Isabelle is black-haired), Aimee Teegarden from "Friday Night Lights" or "Glee" star Dianna Agron could do a decent job.

This article is related to: Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, Lily Collins, Harald Zwart, Sony, Features


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