Set in contemporary New York City, a seemingly ordinary teenager, Clary Fray, discovers she is the descendant of a line of Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of young half-angel warriors locked in an ancient battle to protect our world from demons. After the disappearance of her mother, Clary must join forces with a group of Shadowhunters, who introduce her to a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld, filled with demons, warlocks, vampires, werewolves and other deadly creatures.
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) is an ordinary Brooklyn teenager until the night she meets the mysteriously tattooed Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), who turns out to be a half-angel warrior known as a Shadowhunter. When Clary finds out her mother Jocelyn (Lena Headey) has been abducted, she desperately hopes Jace will be able to help. After a whirling golden portal transports her across time and space in a heartbeat, Clary realizes she too has the powers of the Shadowhunters. But can she harness them in time to save her mother?
Clary, Jace and their fellow Shadowhunters endure one breathtaking battle after another against vampires, warlocks and demons—only to discover Jocelyn hid a terrible secret from the fiercest warrior of all: Valentine (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Cast out from the world of Shadowhunters, Valentine abducted Jocelyn believing she had a powerful tool known as the Mortal Cup. Using her newfound gifts, Clary finds the Cup, only to be brutally betrayed and forced to relinquish it.
Still reeling from this setback and racing to save Jocelyn before it's too late, Clary finds herself caught in a battle between forces she barely understands. Based on the best-selling series by Cassandra Clare, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a magnificent urban fantasy rich in detail and suspense, about a girl's journey to the darkest corners of the underworld to save those she loves.
One night, 18-year-old Clary Fray was at a club called Pandemonium with her best friend Simon Lewis. There, she witnesses the apparent murder of a man by a group of teenagers—two men and a woman—whom no one else can see, in the middle of the dance floor. She screamed in horror at the sight, prompting the group to flee but catching the attention of one of the men.
The next day, Clary wakes up to see she has drawn a strange symbol all over her room and takes off to a local coffee shop to talk about what is going on with Simon, fearing she may be losing her mind. Here, she is stalked by the man from the night before. Wanting answers, she goes out back and confronts him, demanding to know why she can see him whereas no one else can. She shows him the symbol she has been drawing, which leads him to declare he is right: that she is not a mundane, which the boy, whose name is revealed to be Jace Wayland, explains is an ordinary human. Confused, Clary demands to know what she is, if not human. Their conversation is cut short when she receives a distressed phone call from her mother, Jocelyn, telling her not to come home, but to tell Luke that Valentine has found her.
Concerned, she frantically races home to find her mother missing, and their apartment trashed and occupied by a monstrous creature known as a Ravener demon. After trying to destroy it with fire to no prevail, Jace rescues her and kills the demon with a seraph blade. Here, Jace explains to her about the world of demons.
Clary then runs downstairs to talk to Madame Dorothea. She lets them in and tells Clary that her mother is a Shadowhunter, something she has inherited, and then spreads out a pile of tarot cards. When she is magnetically drawn to the Ace of Cups, Jace notes that it looks exactly like the Mortal Cup. After speaking with Madame Dorothea, Clary hears someone lurking around in her and her mother's trashed apartment so she rushes up there, followed by Jace, desperate to find out where her mother is. She sees the intruder's back and begins attacking him before she realizes that it was Simon. Simon and Clary talk about what happened to her mother while Jace looks around the apartment, finding a half burnt photo of the man Jocelyn let Clary believe was her father, Jocelyn's phone showing quite a few calls to Clary and Simon that weren't picked up, and a bottle which Jace assumes that Jocelyn drank before she was taken. The three of them then decide to search at Luke's place.
Outside Luke's place, Jace and Clary tell Simon to wait outside and keep watch. Jace and Clary go into Luke's shop and find Luke being interrogated and tortured by two Shadowhunters working for Valentine: Pangborn and Blackwell. Clary desperately asks Jace to help Luke. While Jace thinks of an exit strategy, Clary listens to the interrogation and hears Luke claiming that he never truly cared for Clary and Jocelyn. Upset and shocked, Clary accidentally knocks over objects, revealing their presence in the room. Jace manages to fight off the two men and instructs Clary to run.
Clary finds Simon outside speaking to what he assumed was a police officer, in fact a demon. She rushes forward to get him away from the demon but then the demon grabs her arm. Jace eventually comes out and kills the demons. The three leave together and head for the New York Institute, an old Gothic cathedral that normal "mundanes", including Simon, couldn't see beyond an abandoned dump, because it is concealed by magic called glamour.
Once inside the Institute, Clary collapses from demon poison. Jace heals her with a stele and she is taken to the infirmary. After recuperating, Clary is introduced to the two other Shadowhunters with Jace at the Pandemonium: Jace's adoptive siblings Isabelle and Alec Lightwood. After changing to Isabelle's clothes, she is brought to their tutor, Hodge Starkweather.
While Clary meets Hodge, Jace goes to send a message to the Silent City and the Silent Brothers, asking for Clary's mind to be searched for her memories. After speaking with Hodge, Clary and Jace leave to go to the Silent City (or the City of Bones) and meet Brother Jeremiah at the entrance. The Silent Brothers attempt to search Clary's mind for her memories but are blocked because they discover a block in her mind. They were able to unlock a few memories that are shown as flashbacks of Clary drawing the angelic rune and were also shown a name: Magnus Bane. The Silent Brothers attempt to break through the block in Clary's mind but fail, leaving Clary and Jace no choice but to find Magnus Bane.
Tracing this name to a party, Clary, Jace, Alec and Isabelle, along with Simon, discover that Magnus is the High Warlock of Brooklyn, and he placed the block on Clary at the request of her mother, an ex-Shadowhunter. Every year, since the time she caught the two-year-old Clary teasing a pixie trapped in a hedge, Jocelyn had been sending Clary to Magnus to have her memories and Sight (ability to see what mundanes cannot) blocked; hoping to keep her safely in the dark about her true self so she could live a normal life. Jocelyn knew when to come to Magnus because whenever Clary drew the angelic rune, it was a sign of her memories coming back. Magnus refuses to bring Clary's memories back, claiming it would be too difficult and dangerous, and they may slowly return anyway, now that she knows the truth and the spell has begun to fade. During the party, Simon ignores Isabelle's warnings and consumes a drink, which was spiked, and is kidnapped by vampires.
They attempt to rescue Simon from the vampire coven who reside in the abandoned Hotel Dumort. Before they go though, they enter a church to collect weapons, which can be taken from any church under its altar. They arrive at Hotel Dumort and rescue Simon but are cornered by vampires. In a fight for their lives, they are saved by werewolves, one of which Clary stabs. They escape and manage to rescue Simon and bring him back to the Institute. He then stays in a hospital bed for a while, whilst his wounds heal.
At the Institute, Clary and Alec confront each other in the hallway. Alec demands she return to her own world, fearing she is putting Jace in danger; Clary is more concerned that Alec is in love with Jace and why he won't reveal his feelings. Alec pins Clary against a wall and threatens her to keep his sexual orientation and affections secret, then, stunned at his own violent reaction, departs.
That night, the eve of Clary's 16th birthday, she and Jace go for a midnight walk in the Institute's Garden and end up sharing a passionate and heated kiss. They then go back to Clary's room, not realizing that Simon is in there looking for Clary. Whilst standing outside the door, Simon walks out on them kissing and Clary hurts Jace's feelings when trying to declare to Simon that it was just a kiss and nothing more. Jace walks away angrily, hurt. On returning to her room, they begin arguing ending in Simon declaring that he has been in love with Clary for 10 years, and only flirted with Isabelle in hopes of making Clary jealous.
Later, Clary draws in her sketchbook to calm herself about the night's events, and upon placing a cup onto her sketchbook discovers that she has put it into the paper. Knowing that her mother painted Madame Dorothea's tarot cards realizes where the Mortal Cup is. When the teens go to retrieve it, they are tricked and attacked by a demon that is possessing Madame Dorothea. On trying to fight it, Alec is gravely injured. Eventually, Simon saves them all, and they successfully bring the Mortal Cup to the Institute, where Magnus Bane manages to keep Alec from dying.
When Clary gives the Mortal Cup to Hodge, he reveals he's actually working for a man named Valentine Morgenstern, who was thought to be dead. Then Valentine enters through the portal and tries to make Clary drink his blood from the Cup. She slams it back into the card and Valentine gets really mad. She then disappears into the portal. Valentine then tells Hodge that he will Jace and Clary believe they are brother and sister, aware of the two's growing love for each other, to break them.
Clary ends up outside Luke's shop where he reveals himself as the werewolf Clary stabbed at the Hotel Dumort. Luke also tells Clary that what he said before was a lie to keep her and Jocelyn safe, that his true loyalty does lie with both of them. Luke and his werewolf pack raid the Institute whilst Valentine summons thousand of demons into the Institute. Isabelle and Clary accompanied by Luke and his pack, travel down into the lower parts of the Institute where they are surrounded by dozens of demons, Clary then draws a rune on her hand and stops time on the demons, they manage to escape.
Simon and Isabelle run off to close the portal through which the demons entered the Institute through. While they had a difficult time managing the portal on their own, Hodge arrived and helped them close the portal, killing Blackwell in the process.
Clary finds Jace and Valentine, who tells them that he is actually Jace's biological father and her biological father, making them siblings. Clary and Jace, who have realized they are in love, are shocked and horrified by this revelation, having the desired effect that Valentine wanted. Valentine forces Clary again to take the Cup out of the card but she refuses, causing Valentine to hurt her out of anger. Jace, angered by Valentine's cruelty, takes part in a one-on-one fight against Valentine, using swords that were locked in cabinets as weapons. During the fight, they knock the card with the Cup in it to Clary's side, who thinks of a way to save Jace when she notices he is losing. Clary threatens to drop the Cup into the portal just before Valentine is about to kill Jace with the sword on the Institute's statue of the Angel Raziel. Valentine, who wants the Cup badly, reaches into the portal for it but he can't touch it as he doesn't know where it is. Clary tells him that her true father would know where her deepest thoughts lie. She then gives him a replica of the Cup and kicks him into the portal. Both Jace and Clary believe he is gone for a moment before he reaches out to grab her from her back. Jace gives Clary his stele, who freezes the portal and Valentine's arms get stuck. He manages to break free and disappears, causing the portal shatters. It then begins to snow in the room and Jace and Clary share a look, taking in everything that has happened and that their realized affection for each other is forbidden.
Clary finds her mother in a coma caused by a potion, and takes her to a mundane hospital. Clary goes back to her apartment and uses her new power of creating runes to start tidying up the place when Jace walks in. He tells her that she should come back to the Institute, saying her gifts are needed, despite it being difficult to be around each other. Before he departs, he tells her that she is the bravest mundane he has ever met. His remark reminds her that she isn't a mundane, but a Shadowhunter leading her to catch up with him, accepting his offer to start properly training. The two get on his motorcycle and share an awkward moment when Clary has to put her arms around his waist, causing Jace to stare at her hands for a moment. They ponder over whether or not they may be siblings, although believing that Valentine likely lied, before they drive off.
- Lily Collins as Clary Fray
- Hope Fleury as Young Clary
- Jamie Campbell Bower as Jace Wayland
- Jemima West as Isabelle Lightwood
- Kevin Zegers as Alec Lightwood
- Robert Sheehan as Simon Lewis
- Godfrey Gao as Magnus Bane
- Aidan Turner as Luke Garroway
- Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine Morgenstern
- Lena Headey as Jocelyn Fray
- Robert Maillet as Samuel Blackwell
- Jared Harris as Hodge Starkweather
- Kevin Durand as Emil Pangborn
- CCH Pounder as Madame Dorothea
- Stephen R. Hart as Brother Jeremiah
- Chris Ratz as Eric Hillchurch
- Elyas M'Barek as The Vampire Lieutenant
- Chad Connell as Lambert
- Harry Van Gorkum as Alaric
- Jonathan Seinen as Raziel
- Lucy Delaat as Goth Bar Girl
- Alex Branton as Valentine's Loyalist/Shadowhunter
- Melantha Blackthorne as Dumort Vampire
- Bonnie Siu as Blue Mohawk Girl
On August 22, 2009, Cassandra Clare announced at a book signing in New York City that The Mortal Instruments would be adapted into a trilogy of films. Constantin Film partnered with Screen Gems and Unique Features for the adaptation, with plans to adapt City of Bones as the first film in a potential franchise, with the script written by Jessica Postigo.
Lily Collins was cast as Clary Fray as announced on December 10, 2010. On May 31, 2011, Jamie Campbell Bower's casting as Jace Wayland was announced, after an extensive search that included Alexander Ludwig, Douglas Booth, Ed Speleers, Lucas Till, Leebo Freeman, Xavier Samuel, Benjamin Stone, Max Irons, and Alex Pettyfer, with Alex actively pursued by the studio for his popularity among the readers for the role, until his team apparently made outrageous demands for his participation. Several more casting news were made in 2012, mostly by Cassandra Clare on her Tumblr page.
Scott Stewart was first tapped to direct the film, before he left, or was removed, from the project late in 2011. The film's production was also moved from Screen Gems to Sony Pictures some time in 2011. On March 16, 2012, Constantin Film and Unique Features announced that Harald Zwart will direct the film, with news that principal photography would begin on August 15 that year in Toronto. On April 3 the following year, its August 23, 2013 release date was announced. Filming ran from August to November 2012 in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, and New York City.
Initial reports claimed plans for a film trilogy based on the first three books, with the cast signed on for the sequels, as well as plans to film the next two films back to back. However, due to the film not meeting the expected success, the production of the sequel, The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes, which was supposed to start in 2013 was constantly delayed to give the movie more traction in the market, despite Constantin Film's desire to push the franchise. This was followed by a long period of silence that indicated that the project was ultimately scrapped, confirmed by news that the The Mortal Instruments adaptations were instead to be rebooted as a television series in 2014.
- Clary: Why can I see you when no one else can?
- Jace: You're not a mundane.
- Clary: Excuse me? What's a mundane?
- Jace: Someone from the human world.
- Clary: Well, if I'm not a human, then what am I?
- Clary: I don't know why I'm talking to you. You're a killer, a cold-blooded killer.
- Jace: As opposed to a peace-loving killer?
- Clary: I know what I saw.
- Clary: Is this the part where you start tearing off pieces of your shirt to bind my wounds?
- Jace: If you wanted me to take my clothes off, you should've just asked.
- Jace: Welcome to the City of Bones. This is where the Silent Brothers draw their power... from the bones and ashes of Shadowhunters.
- Clary: All of them are buried here?
- Jace: Yes. *points at a headstone* One day, that's going to be me.
- Magnus: Well, well, look here. I don't remember inviting any children of the Nephilim.
- Jace: Magnus Bane. We need to talk.
- Magnus: You know I don't like you guys, but I'll let you stay... but only because of the hot one.
- Jace: Thanks.
- Isabelle: Thank you.
- Magnus: What? I meant him. *points at Alec* The one with the blue eyes. And because of Clary.
- Alec: What is it about her?
- Jace: She's brave.
- Alec: We're Shadowhunters. We're all brave.
- Jace: She wasn't raised like us.. She's different.
- Alec: She's going to get us all killed.
- Jace: See, Bach discovered this and put it into a system... using a mathematical progression of tonal combinations. It allows us to expose demons.
- Clary: So Bach was a Shadowhunter?
- Jace: Yes.
- Clary: So Bach is to demons what garlic is to vampires?
- Simon: You invited him to bed?
- Jace: I know, it's ridiculous, isn't it? We would never have all fit.
- Clary: Look, I know you don't like him, but—
- Simon: Actually, I hate the guy.
- Clary: Why?
- Simon: I thought you were better than that.
- Clary: And what's that supposed to mean?
- Simon Lewis: I'm the one who's always been there for you, not him! I'm in love with you! And it's clear that you don't feel the same way.
- Jace: We agreed to do this together. We're a team.
- Isabelle: Ever since Clary got here, we haven't been a team.
- Main article: Category:Files for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
- For more videos, visit the gallery.
The DVD and Blu-ray of the movie, released on December 3, 2013, include several special features such as six deleted and extended scenes, the music video for "Almost is Never Enough" by Ariana Grande featuring Nathan Sykes, and two featurettes, with four additional ones exclusive to Blu-ray.
The deleted scenes are:
- Stunningly Attractive - Jace, Clary, and Simon riding the subway train
- Simon Asks About Demons - Isabelle answering Simon's questions in the Institute gallery
- Magnus' Party - a different version of the group's entrance into Magnus' party, which includes Simon showing interest in the stele and Cassandra Clare's cameo.
- You Came Back For Me - Simon telling Clary in the infirmary that the potion made him feel like a rat.
- Jace Confronts Valentine - an extended version of Jace and Valentine's confrontation at the Institute.
- Luke Tells Valentine the Truth - an extended version of Luke telling Clary their past, which includes a flashback of a pregnant Jocelyn with Valentine and the young Jonathan Morgenstern, and another of Valentine sending Luke into the forest to be attacked by werewolves, then of Jocelyn arriving to see the weakened Luke.
- Bringing Them to Life - the filmmakers and cast discuss the characters of film.
- Descendants of the Cup - takes a look at the stunts and the cast's transformation into Shadowhunters.
- Interactive Lineage Tracker (exclusive to Blu-ray) - allows users to learn more about the characters in the world of The Mortal Instruments.
- Deadly Attraction (exclusive to Blu-ray) - Lily and Jamie discuss their roles.
- Entering The Shadow World (exclusive to Blu-ray) - looks at the creation of the shadow world's extraordinary creatures.
- Into the Shadows: From Book to Screen - takes a look at the book's journey from page to screen.
- The Blu-ray Combo Pack from Target includes a bonus disc with an exclusive round-table session with the cast and an all-access interview with the author Cassandra Clare.
- City of Bones
- Shadowhunter's Guide
- The Official Illustrated Movie Companion
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (soundtrack)
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (game)
- Book to Movie Differences
- Reviews and Discussion on the wiki
- Official site (taken down)
- Sony Website (taken down)
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Facebook
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Twitter
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Instagram
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on Tumblr
- The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones at IMDb
- Clary Fray on Pinterest
- Mind of Simon Lewis on Tumblr
- The Shadow World Guide
- Madame Dorothea's Tarot Reading (taken down)
- Online Jewelry Store
- Amy Kaufman (August 22, 2013). "'Mortal Instruments' disappoints". Los Angeles Times.
- "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
- Timeline — TMI Source
- Screen Gems Positioning CITY OF BONES as the First Film in a MORTAL INSTRUMENTS Franchise | Collider
- Lily Collins to Star in MORTAL INSTRUMENTS | Collider
- Lily Collins picks up 'Mortal Instruments' | EW.com
- "Lily Collins has been set to star in the first installment of the Mortal Instruments book series which is being directed by Scott Charles Stewart for Screen Gems." Deadline
- 'Camelot's Jamie Campbell Bower Gets Lead in Screen Gems' 'The Mortal Instruments' | Deadline
- Jamie Campbell Bower Play Jace Wayland in THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS | Collider
- "The Mortal Instruments Casting Secrets" | Teen.com
- ‘The Mortal Instruments’ Begins Chase for its Jace | The Wrap
- Jamie Campbell Bower, Ed Speleers and Leebo Freeman Up for Role of Jace in THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS | Collider
- Alex Pettyfer Addresses the MORTAL INSTRUMENTS Rumors | Collider
- movie news roundup& Alex Pettyfer — Cassandra Clare on LiveJournal
- Drama Surrounds 'I Am Number Four' Star Alex Pettyfer | Hollywood Reporter
- LEGION/PRIEST DIRECTOR SCOTT STEWART TO HELM MORTAL INSTRUMENTS | JoBlo Movie Network
- Director Scott Stewart Talks PRIEST and MORTAL INSTRUMENTS at WonderCon | Collider
- Movie stuffs — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- "In addition, sister label Screen Gems has untethered itself from Mortal Instruments, the adaptation of the Cassandra Clare YA fantasy series." Hollywood Reporter
- Constantin Sets Lily Collins For Harald Zwart-Helmed 'Mortal Instruments' | Deadline
- Sony Sets Summer 2013 Release Date for 'The Mortal Instruments' | Screen Rant
- "The former 'Misfits' star also confirmed that he and his fellow cast mates are signed on to star in potential sequels to the movie," Robert Sheehan | York Press
- "Well, if they do make movies past City of Bones, they've discussed shooting them all at the same time (a la LOTR.)" Cassandra Clare on Twitter
- ‘CITY OF ASHES’ and ‘CITY OF GLASS’ will be filmed back-to-back if green-lit — TMI Source
- ‘Mortal Instruments: City Of Ashes’ Delayed | Deadline
- Future of ‘Mortal Instruments’ Sequel in Jeopardy (Exclusive) | The Wrap
- Constantin to Restart Production on 'Mortal Instruments' Sequel in 2014 | Hollywood Reporter
- Statement of Constantin Film's CEO Martin Moszkowicz on Facebook
- MIPCOM: 'The Mortal Instruments' to Return as TV Series | Hollywood Reporter