The movie-making business is nothing if not an often-exasperating exercise in patience and perseverance. Case in point: The big-screen adaptation of Cassandra Clare's best-selling young-adult novel "City of Bones." Since being optioned back in 2010, the project has undergone a myriad of shake-ups and hand-offs, including the departure of director Scott Charles Stewart. But one constant has remained: star Lily Collins, who has had a soft spot for the project since the beginning.

"I love the stories. I love Clary because she's this heroine who's this normal girl, who finds out she has these powers," the actress told MTV News during a recent visit to the Toronto-based set. "The emotion is there. It's not just a CGI world. It's not just a translation of a book. It's more emotionally, character-based than just aesthetically beautiful."

Based on the first installment of a six-book series, "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" follows Brooklyn teen Clary Fray (Collins) as she uncovers her family's legacy amongst a race of half-human, half-angel warriors known as Shadowhunters. She teams with one such demon destroyer, the snarky yet dreamy Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower), to infiltrate the shadowy supernatural realm and rescue her kidnapped mother.

And the actress' dedication to the role of Clary and the long-gestating project hasn't gone unnoticed by her cast members.

"She's an absolute star and incredible, on-the-moment brilliant actor and consummate professional," said Robert Sheehan, who plays Clary's best friend Simon. "It's lovely to have someone like that for the really emotional, dramatic stuff. That's what really makes the film, first and foremost, a human story. Because if it's not that, it's not really relatable or interesting."

Bower also admitted to a few mesmerized moments courtesy of Collins.

"To get to watch Lily do something — that's really amazing," he said. "There have been times I've been in a scene with Lily, and she's doing something, and I just zone out, being like 'God, you're brilliant. Oh wait! I'm actually meant to be saying something.' I'm like, 'Oh, crikey! There's words at this point.' "

And, no surprise, Collins is ready for more.

"I love Clary. I love this series," she enthused. "I'm so ready. I'm so ready to be a Shadowhunter a little more since I've only gotten a taste of it in this film."

"The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" hits theaters August 23.

Check out everything we've got on "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones."