Lily Collins Talks ‘Mortal Instruments': Landing The Role, Casting Jace And More!

If you thought Lily Collins’ biggest achievement in 2011 would be starring alongside hunky Taylor Lautner in the action thriller “Abduction,” well, you were mistaken. The 21-year-old actress has this stellar accomplishment to add to her resume: being named one of MTV News’ 11 for ’11!

Lily is one of the fresh faces we’ve got our eye on in the coming year—and for good reason. In addition to “Abduction,” the “Blind Side” star will also appear in the supernatural “Priest” (slated for a May 13 release) starring Paul Bettany, Stephen Moyer and Cam Gigandet. And starting this spring, Lily will begin work on one of our most anticipated YA novel film adaptions—”City of Bones.” Lily stars as fiery-haired heroine Clary Fray in the first installment of Cassandra Clare’s “Mortal Instruments” series. MTV News’ Eric Ditzian talked with the rising star about fan support for “City of Bones,” how she landed the role and who she thinks should play love interest Jace Wayland (hint: Alex Pettyfer’s name came up!).

Though she’s still sharpening her acting teeth in Hollywood, Lily, surprisingly, didn’t have to audition for the role of Clary. “I had just done ’Priest,’ which is from Screen Gems and directed by Scott Stewart, and this project is being directed by Scott Stewart at Screen Gems. There are many of that character’s traits that I can also find in Clary,” she revealed. “I guess they felt passionate that they saw certain characteristics as well, and they felt confident and really believed in me. I’m still in awe.”

As lucky as she felt landing the potential blockbuster, Lily felt equally blessed with fan response to her casting. “When I found out I was cast, I found out that people were tweeting about me getting cast as their heroine. I know that I’m playing a character in a book that is very popular, but I forget that books have so many fans, that if they don’t agree with the casting, it could go terribly wrong. I was so grateful that all these people were tweeting like, ’Oh, we’re so excited. We totally see her as Clary and we can’t wait to see what she’ll do.’ I don’t know what I would have done if people responded negatively.”

But before the Shadowhunter world comes to life (Lily said filming should begin in April), producers must cast arguably the most bad-ass Nephilim of all: the dreamy Jace Wayland. While we’ve already made our plea to hire hottie Alex Pettyfer for the part, it seems Lily has some ideas of her own about the character. “Jace is an interesting one,” she said. “He’s incredibly charming. He’s savvy in that he knows he’s charming and he works that charm, and he knows he’s attractive and can work his way into any situation. But at the same time, he does have insecurities. A lot of actors may not want to show a side of themselves being insecure. That’s what Jace does, and I feel a lot of people can relate to him. A lot of guys do feel insecure, but don’t want to admit it. A lot of the fans have been tweeting that [they want] Alex Pettyfer.”

So does Lily agree that Alex would be a good fit for the role? “Yeah! He’s also going to have a great 2011. The fans of a series like this have such a strong opinion on who they feel would be great as a character, and I feel that’s very backed up because they know the characters in and out. I trust a lot of the fans in their opinions. I’ve heard Logan Lerman thrown out for Simon. I’ve also heard about actors I may never have heard of, because they’re more on the independent side. That brings a whole other thing, because an unknown doesn’t bring in a whole lot of background. Hey, I was an unknown not too long ago and I was like, ’Let me do it; I can prove it to you!'”

Read our entire interview with Lily Collins at MTV News and stay tuned to Hollywood Crush tomorrow as Lily reveals more about “City of Bones” and working with Taylor Lautner!

Are you excited to see Lily Collins in “City of Bones”? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!