British actor Jamie Campbell Bower, who first got attention for his singing opposite Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" and went on to showy roles in the "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" sagas, now has his biggest part yet.
As the half-human, half-angel "Shadowhunter" Jace in "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones," Campbell Bower is poised to become the next big thing.
During a recent press junket for his new movie, Campbell Bower, 24, spoke to Moviefone about his favorite weapon, the oddest thing a "Twilight" fan ever sent him, and his kissing scene with co-star Lily Collins.
Moviefone: How would you describe "The Mortal Instruments" to people?
Campbell Bower: My, God! That's a difficult question to answer. I suppose it's a coming-of-age story of a young girl who is thrown into a world of demons and shadowhunters and battles. It's sort of got a little bit of everything in it, but my biggest thing throughout the tour and throughout talking to the press is that this is by no means trying to redefine any sort of genre. It's not trying to re-imagine the vampire; it's not trying to re-imagine the werewolf. Our movie doesn't exist within that world and that's what I try to tell people most about. Because when people hear it, they naturally say, "You're trying to be the next 'Hunger Games,'" or whatever -- well, no, actually we're not. This is actually more about heart and soul than it is about vampires and werewolves.
How do you relate to your character, Jace?
I am very good at hiding. Jace is a good hider -- as in emotionally hiding.
Did you do martial arts training for the film?
I did. I did four-and-a-half months of cardio and circuit training and Krav Maga, and then I went to Toronto a month before we started shooting and worked with the stunt guys. I did all the stunts but one in the movie.
What was your favorite weapon in the film?
Probably my fists! I like hand-to-hand combat. I had to do aerials in the air, flips and stuff.
So that's all you?
All me. No wires!
Are you attracted to dark roles? You've been in "Twilight," "Sweeney Todd," "Harry Potter"...
Yeah, absolutely, of course. I've always been into the damaged character. And whenever you play a bad guy, the actor always playing the bad guy goes, "He's not a bad guy. He's just misunderstood." I like that.
What did you learn from Johnny Depp and Tim Burton on "Sweeney Todd"?
Everything. It was my first ever job. I was still living in school. I learned from them how to be in this industry and still stay true to yourself and still stay true to the art form you're trying to create rather than just doing it for the sake of doing it, which I was never going to do anyway. I think that one can become quite jaded in this industry. I've been very fortunate that I learned that from Johnny and Tim and then I got to spend a lot of time with Ian McKellan. I did a television show with him and he just compounded those things for me. He's an incredible human being.
Did the musical aspect of the "Mortal Instruments" role attract to you? You do play the piano.
It was fun. I play a lot of musical instruments but the piano I started when I was like nine and then when I saw in the script that Jace played the piano I called up the production company and I was like, "Oh, can we get a teacher to come and teach me the pieces." The guy came to my house in London twice a week and I learned the pieces. It's cool. I love doing that.
Are you angling for maybe singing in the sequel?
I don't know. I'd love to be on the soundtrack for the sequel, but we'll see.
You have a pretty hot kissing scene with Lily Collins in this. Is it awkward or fun for you to do those scenes?
It's always going to be awkward. Those scenes are never going to be the sexier scenes to shoot because there's like 30, 40 people in a room with you and there's a big furry boom [microphone] being swung about your head. But that whole scene is a big moment for Jace. It's a huge character moment.
What's the craziest thing that happened to you as part of the "Twilight" phenomenon? Any Beatles-like encounters?
A few weird things, like when we were shooting, a girl would call my room every day and would just breathe on the phone. I also got sent a wheel of cheese and some nipple clamps attached to a bondage collar. Craziness!
What about while you've been on tour for "The Mortal Instruments"?
Whilst on tour for this, a girl fainted in front of me. That was bizarre.
So do you have any plans to record music on the horizon?
That's the plan, yeah. That's what I would love to do. Both my parents are in the music industry and it's sort of finding the correct time and the right outlet to do it through because the industry is f*cked. The music industry is ruined. There's no money anywhere. It's a bizarre place to be. It can chew you up and spit you out faster than the acting game can. It's finding the correct way for me to do it.
So you can do both?
Yeah, exactly. I want to do both, of course!