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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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Luke Pasquiliano
Alec
Isabelle's brother, an equally tall, equally dark demon-slayer, Alec has one big secret: he's gay, and in love with Jace. *Spoiler* He'll find happiness in future books with warlock Magnus Bane. *End Spoiler* "Romeo & Juliet" star Douglas Booth and "On the Road" lead Tom Sturridge have both found favor with fans and Cassandra Clare, but we've got a lesser-known actor in mind: Luke Pasqualino, who with Scodelario and Jack O'Connell starred in the second generation of the British "Skins" and he's got his Hollywood debut coming up in "The Apparition". Tall and sensitive, but capable of being a badass, he'd be a fine match for Hennig, or whoever ends up being cast. Otherwise, both "Vampire Diaries" star Steve R. McQueen and "The Secret Circle" thesp Thomas Dekker could be good bets, or British actor Aneurin Barnard ("Ironclad"). Or for a version less close to the book, what about Michael B. Jordan from "Chronicle" and "Friday Night Lights"?

Liam Cunningham
Hodge
What we'd describe as "the Stanley Tucci role," Hodge Starkweather is the mentor and tutor of the young Shadowhunters, but he has a darker past. *Spoiler* He assisted Valentine with his uprising back in the day, and betrays his young charges in exchange for the freedom from the curse placed on as punishment for his earlier disloyalty. *End Spoiler* It's a part made for a veteran character actor and our ideal pick would be Irish actor Liam Cunningham ( "Hunger," "Safe House," "Game of Thrones") -- he's got the right wounded, morally ambivalent vibe for the part and at least would be a different face to obvious names like Richard Jenkins and Mark Strong. Hugh Laurie has been a popular choice for fans, and he'd made sense too, while Toby Jones and Bill Nighy would undoubtedly be considered for this kind of role. If everyone turns it down, British actor Adam Godley ("Battleship") would be another good, lesser-known alternative, while Bryan Cranston would be perfect, but is likely to be too busy, given that he's in every movie ever at this point.

Connie Britton
Jocelyn
Clary's mother, whose disappearance sets the main story into motion, isn't a huge part, but it's a good one, and there's plenty of room for flashback sequences and what not. *Spoiler* As it turns out, Jocelyn is a former shadowhunter herself, and so has to be able to pull off the retired badass feel while also being someone who gave up the life for the love of her child. *End Spoiler* Given that she's described, like her daughter, as red-haired, we'd suggest "Friday Night Lights" and "American Horror Story" star Connie Britton, who could do something like this in her sleep. Gillian Anderson and Kate Walsh would be alternatives, while departing from the literal visual version of the character from the books, it's a part that we'd like to see Rosemarie DeWitt or Melanie Lynskey up for.

Richard Armitage
Luke
Luke helped raise Clary as a sort of de facto step-father, although he and Jocelyn were never in a relationship together. In fact, *Spoiler* he and Jocelyn were Shadowhunters together, and he's always held a candle for her. Oh, and he's a werewolf. *End Spoiler* As such, you ideally want someone who can be somewhat unassuming, but who can be paternal when needed and bring the pain when it's called for. Our pick? Richard Armitage. The British actor is right now best known worldwide for a small role in "Captain America: The First Avenger" (he's the Nazi spy who blows up the lab at the end of the first act), but he's gathered a substantial following in the U.K. thanks to roles in "Robin Hood," "Spooks" and "Strike Back," and he's about to be a big deal thanks to the key role of Thorin Oakenshield in "The Hobbit." He can play buttoned down, but he's also got something a little...feral about him. Otherwise, his 'Hobbit' co-star Luke Evans ("The Three Musketeers") might be a good shout, or possibly David Tennant or "300"/"Lockout" actor Vincent Regan. Liev Schreiber has been a fan favorite for the part, while Toby Kebbell, Luke Kirby or Oscar Isaac might all work if they were a little older.   

Aidan Gillen
Valentine
The big baddie of the piece, Valentine led the rebellion of the Shadowhunters a decade-and-a-bit earlier; he's believed dead, but is back to wreak an almighty vengeance and finish what he started. So, yes, basically Voldemort. *Spoiler* But he also turns out to be the ex-husband of Jocelyn, and the father of Clary and (seemingly) Jace. So, yes, basically Darth Vader. *End Spoiler* The silver-haired villain is charismatic, brilliant and pretty much 100% evil, and he only crops up towards the end of the first book, so you need someone who can make an impression quickly. Fans talk about people like Robert Downey Jr., but there's no chance he's going to do it. We'd put our money on someone like Aidan Gillen, the star of "The Wire" and "Game of Thrones." He's got the right look, and his profile's raised in recent years (and will again thanks to a small cameo in "The Dark Knight Rises"). Otherwise, people like Dominic West, Jonny Lee Miller and Patrick Wilson would all be appropriate. And while some might hope for Jude Law, he's likely out of the price range for the production.

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


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