'Mortal Instruments' EXCLUSIVE: Cassandra Clare Talks 'Interesting, Unexpected' Director Choice

Pre-production on the big-screen adaptation of Cassandra Clare's "Mortal Instruments" novel "City of Bones" has been about as straightforward as a lesson in Shadowhunter lineage (read: not very), but today, a sure sign of progress was announced. Namely, Constantin Film has hired a new director!

"Karate Kid" helmer Harald Zwart will take over duties from previous director Scott Stewart, who left to work on the television version of "Legion." Harald boasts an eclectic resume, which includes "The Pink Panther 2," "Agent Cody Banks" and "One Night at McCool's." Despite his lack of fantasy experience, author Cassie had nothing but glowing things to say about meeting with the director.

"Harald is awesome," Cassie told Hollywood Crush via email. "I flew to Los Angeles to meet with him and with [producer] Robert Kulzer and [screenwriter] Jessica Postigo. Harald has more energy than anyone I have ever met. He wound up not being able to join us till about 10 at night 'because of Vikings' (I think this was a commercial he was filming), but when he did show up he had every single question in the world about the story and the characters. We spent an hour talking about Portals and another hour on Valentine (he is a huge fan of Valentine—maybe I should worry).

"He was an interesting unexpected choice for director to me, and initially I was worried because I kept asking, 'Does he understand fantasy?' but talking to him really evened out those concerns. He got the magic, and he got the characters. There was even a moment where he was talking about Magnus and he said, 'And then Magnus meets this woman...' and Robert, Jessica and I all said : 'Boy.' And he said, 'What?' And we said 'Boy. Magnus is gay.' And he stared like we were crazy and said, 'I KNOW. I was only going to say he met this woman and she hired him to help him with her daughter! Of course Magnus is gay.' And he waved his arms and yelled 'Magnus is fabulous!' So I thought, 'I like you.'"

Production is scheduled to begin August 15, with shooting taking place in both Toronto and New York. But before Harald can yell "action," there's a lot of casting to be done—another major talking point of Cassie's meeting.

"We talked about actors for Jocelyn and Valentine and the other adults," she revealed. "I can't really say who was discussed; I am sure they would shoot me. But I did love the suggestions. And we talked about Simon. Everybody loves Lily Collins, and she has what's called 'meaningful consultation' regarding the casting of Jace and Simon. She already used it to advocate for Jamie Campbell Bower, who everyone agreed she had an amazing audition with. There is an actor she likes for Simon that a lot of my fans love, and I can't say who, though I do think his schedule might be a bit booked! There are other actors we discussed too, some really adorable guys. Lily has good taste, I think! It's fun stuff sitting around tossing around all these actors' names, but of course in the end it comes down to who is available when and how they test with Lily, especially with the shoot date coming up."

With so many decisions to be made regarding casting, location and more, Cassie is just happy to have input.

"It was a great meeting to have—I have always entirely expected to be completely left out of the film-making process, so it's been amazing to be included," she enthused. "I said that during dinner and the producer turned to me and said, 'I gave up my tickets to "The Hunger Games" premiere to be here! That's how important this is.' I was like: holy crap. That IS a big deal!"