The Metro interviewed Jamie, talking about his new song, The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street and his upcoming film Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones
Jamie Campbell Bower has a face made for success. That’s certainly the view of the makers of The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, the first film of a hugely successful five-book teen franchise by American author Cassandra Clare.
This model-turned-singer/songwriter (as solo artist and frontman of The Darling Buds) and actor is one of a team of Shadowhunters, attempting to rid the world of demons.
‘Sort of half-human, half-angel,’ muses a thoroughly confident Campbell Bower, 24, swathed in an assortment of manly leather jewellery, and pulling off the battered trilby look with ethereal-faced ease.
‘The Shadowhunters are protectors of the real world,’ he adds.
Campbell Bower’s own world is on the verge of becoming unreal. He and his co-stars (including Lily Collins, recently revealed as his girlfriend; then, just as quickly, not) are on a global tour that leaves no promotional avenue unworked.
It takes in provincial US TV (hello, Philadelphia!), London bookstore appearances, potentially lucrative overseas markets (a Hong Kong premiere) and Twitter (he’s been busy).
Meanwhile, a YouTube clip of a very attractive, rosy-lipped Campbell Bower performing his own acoustic composition has amassed more than 86,000 views so far.
City Of Bones is yet to open but fans are already campaigning for him to contribute to the soundtrack of its sequel, The Mortal Instruments: City Of Ashes, which goes into production next month. High hopes indeed.
‘People have been talking recently about this impending success or the possibility that my life could change dramatically,’ he announces, his well-heeled Hampshire lilt half laugh, half cool as a cucumber.
‘It’s not that I don’t want that. I do want that, it’s just that I don’t really focus on it. The people I have grown up with since I was eight are still my closest friends. And if it does get crazy I can go to the countryside and be with my mum. Nobody knows where that is.’
He’s confident the paparazzi won’t sniff him out? ‘They really probably won’t!’
He can blame Collins a little for this impending state – and the likelihood that he will soon be boasting his own R-Patz-style abbreviated moniker.
‘Lily recommended me for the role of Jace in this film. I’d already been seen for it but she was already cast and said: “Bring him in, let’s read.”’
The pair had the requisite lightning-flash chemistry and started dating in July 2012 during filming.
Campbell Bower, who played small roles in both the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises, made his film debut in 2007’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street opposite Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter.
He got the role while still a student at Bedales, a progressive Hampshire boarding school.
‘I would sneak out from school really early in the morning so I didn’t set off the alarm, then go to work, come back at eight or nine and get into bed in my dorm. The other guys would say: “Oh man, the day was crap,” and I’d say: “I was just on a boat with Johnny Depp at Pinewood Studios.”
‘It was so annoying for them but it was incredible for me. I was so well looked after. When someone said: “You hit your mark,” I didn’t know what the f*** that meant but someone would always come up and tell me. It was a beautiful thing.’
He says this sweetly, without a modicum of triteness. He knows how fortunate he has been.
He has also starred as the young Earl of Oxford in Anonymous, as Rocker in Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, and King Arthur in the 2011 miniseries Camelot.
Campbell Bower’s family is not a theatrical one but the arts are in his blood. His mother worked in A&R for record companies, nurturing talent such as Sade. His father still works for Gibson Guitars and it was on assignment for them, aged 15, that Campbell Bower was spotted by a modelling scout.
‘I thought: “If someone thinks I am attractive enough, aesthetically pleasing enough to be a model, well sure, I will see what it’s about, and it’s easy money,”’ he says.
It was easy money for him but unfulfilling. Still, he’s reluctant to bite the hand that fed him, and also insists he did not scale any great professional heights in the field.
‘I think the pinnacle of my career might have been going to Paris to do a Christian Dior show, then ending up not working it,’ he says. ‘I think they fired a bunch of us because they didn’t like our look.’
He says after a couple of years, he ‘just stopped returning the calls’ – but not before his face (plus bottom, with its Bob Dylan tattoo) had appeared in Italian Vogue photographed by Bruce Weber.
Even if his face will always be part of his fortune, Campbell Bower still professes not to see what others do.
‘I still don’t think I have a “face”. I guess sometimes I think my face looks like a slapped arse. Everyone has got their own self-loathing thing that they don’t like about themselves. For me, it was always about my teeth, or my ears, so that has never really been part of my life. I guess I don’t really care. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It doesn’t matter, as long as it comes from within.’
Any other mantras he lives by?
‘I’ve always taken the attitude that I am going to live my life however I am going to live my life. If I want to go to the pub and have a drink, I’m going to go to the pub and have a drink. So do your thing, be yourself, and love that.’
The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones is out tomorrow.
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