Welcome back to Film Adaptation Friday, a series where I write about my ideal adaptations for some of my favourite books. Last time we talked about The Raven Cycle and today we’re talking The Infernal Devices.
I’ve wanted to do this trilogy since I started this series but I’ve been so nervous since it’s so well loved and I feel like people do have a lot of ideas about what this series should be. But I’m finally doing it now. Some news recently came out Constantin was developing this series as a TV show, that there was a pilot written and Cassandra Clare helped work on it. All this news coming out had me thinking about what I wanted from this series and I just had to get it all down! So this is that post. Lets get into it.
standard disclaimer: This series is just for fun and I obviously have no involvement in a film or anything like that. The casting will be totally just a dream cast situation and therefore not everything I wish will / could possibly happen. Just !! This isn’t gonna be That Deep okay. ALSO, A SPOILER WARNING FOR THE INFERNAL DEVICES. Though I do try to keep spoils to a minimum.
Format: TV Series. This is already being developed as a TV series and I think that is perfect. We saw City of Bones and Shadowhunters as adaptations of this series and I personally think Shadowhunters worked a lot better in terms of format and maintaining character arcs. Even when City of Bones came out everyone thought it should have been a TV show. Especially since TV shows have much larger budgets for SFX these days, I think a show would be much better. Especially since The Infernal Devices has a constant plot arc running over the three books rather than separate complications in each one like The Mortal Instruments.
Director & Distributor: Constantin is doing this and needless to say I’m worried since they’ve already messed this up TWICE. I think they always do the casting well, which gives me hope, but they always mess the storylines up. I know the new writer has read the books which does give me hope though. For this series, I want them to keep the focus on character they had in Shadowhunters. That was my favourite part of the show. I also hope the keep up making the adults a part of the series. The script needs to be way less corny though. So much of Shadowhunters, especially season one, was super cringey. Overall, The Infernal Devices has a much darker tone than The Mortal Instruments and a more dark aesthetic too so I hope the take that into account and lessen some of the “teen romance + monsters” line they took with The Mortal Instruments.
Poster: This is the poster I came up with for this series. I kinda took inspiration both from the books and also from the Shadowhunters/City of Bones movie poster. The books always have the character above the city so I kinda went with that in putting London & the Thames below and then Tessa above. But I tried to incorporate the font of Shadowhunters and the style they use which is much more close up face shots than the books.
Also, I made this much more darker like the books covers rather than the show ones because I think this is overall a darker series in tone and content. Plus it has that dank, grimy London aesthetic which just lends itself to that grey/black palette in film.
Tessa Gray → Astrid Bergès-Frisby
I think this is the most popular Tessa fancast but I LOVE IT. This is exactly how I imagined Tessa in the series and genuinely, Astrid looks just like the model on the cover of Clockwork Princess. Astrid is also, an actual actress, and I’ve seen her in Pirates of the Caribbean and I really feel she could pull off Tessa so well.
Will Herondale → Douglas Booth
Ever since I saw Great Expectations with Douglas Booth as Pip I can’t not see this. The period outfit got me. But I thought Douglas Booth has that real Generic Attractive look Will has, like the strong chin and soft hair kinda look. Also, if you’ve seen Great Expectations then you Know Douglas Booth can pull off that tortured man, but also humour that Will is all about
Jem Carstairs → Jonathan Ho
I really liked Jonathan Ho as Jem in Shadowhunters. Jonathan is Chinese like Jem, and I really liked how he played the role so far. Also, I’m literally all about universe continuity and it’d make me feel good knowing it’s the same actor/person in both timelines.
Jessamine Lovelace → Gabrielle Wilde
Gabrielle Wilde is such a perfect Jessamine. She looks exactly how I imagined her. She has such a soft looking face and a delicate, pretty look that is exactly how Jessamine is supposed to look. This is an extremely popular fancast but I literally cannot picture Jessamine any other way.
Charlotte Branwell → Jenna Coleman
I’ve never watched Doctor Who but I used to see gifs of Jenna Coleman on tumblr and think that she reminded me a lot of how I imagined Charlotte. When I watched her in Victoria I was set on Jenna ad Charlotte. I think she is so good at portraying characters who are both soft and hard which is what Charlotte is, and she looks just like I imagined Charlotte. Also she has the kind of young look Charlotte is supposed to have.
THINGS I’D LIKE TO SEE:
- A darker aesthetic: The Infernal Devices really has this grimy, dirty London aesthetic that kinda characterises the setting. Even though Will and Jem love London, it’s still depicted as being a little bit dark and dangerous. This actually fits in with London really well which is beautiful but .. kinda dirty and smoky. I’d love to see that reflected in the aesthetic. Most of this series is quite dark in tone, there’s lots of violence and events happening that are pretty creepy and weird, especially compared to TMI which is a bit lighter in tone. I think to reflect the sinister atmosphere having a darker aesthetic would really benefit this series.
- Setting porn: okay, maybe this is just a personal thing but something I love about this series is how much it made me fall in love with London. The setting is so important in this book and Victorian England is just one of those setting everybody loves. I want them to SHOWCASE IT. Seriously, I’ll take as many aesthetic London street shots and skyline shots and Thames river shots as they can give me. In all seriousness though, I do feel like the setting is so central to the characters and the London Institute is like, iconic, in the Shadowhunters world so they should showcase that.
- Good costuming: This is obviously a period piece and there is nothing worse than when the costuming doesn’t look good in a period piece. This is tricky because there has to be a good balance between period costumes and Shadowhunter outfits but getting that balance is so right in constructing the setting and aesthetic the book has, as this weird Victorian England/fantasy hybrid world.
- Excellent character writing: We all KNOW the best thing about this series is the characters. Their arcs are really important to this story and getting it right on screen will make or break this series. Will especially has such an important character arc and it needs to be done right otherwise everything falls apart. Jem and Will’s relationship needs to be properly communicated and the adaptation needs to invest in the time to explain and properly explore the depth of that relationship.
- Harry Shum Jr as Magnus Bane: Listen. Keeping with the continuity I just really would love to see Harry Shum Jr reprise his role as Magnus. First off, I think he played it perfect in Shadowhunters. He really nailed his mannerisms and conveyed his character so well. I can’t even see anyone else as Magnus now. But second of all, I think it’s just really cool to keep the same actors for the immortal characters. It really drives home the themes around immortality in both series, like how kind of sad it is all the world and the setting and the people change but you remain one constant.
- That Good Shit™ angst: Angst is the heart and the soul of this series, and it fuels me. I don’t want them to go too serious here that they miss out on keeping how kind of melodramatic it is at times? The character angst and especially Will’s inner turmoil is what I loved about this series and honestly what drove me to keep reading it because it’s just .. so bad it’s good? Absolutely fucking delicious. I can’t imagine this series or any adaptation of it existing without the ANGST.
THINGS I DON’T WANT:
- Extra bullshit drama: This series is DRAMATIC but I’m literally terrified they will add the wrong kinda drama to this series; that being, relationship drama. Look, this series hinges on the fact Will and Jem love eachother as much as they both love Tessa. I swear to god, if they add any annoying boy drama, the whole “postering male” trope, some “I hate Will/Jem because he’s into Tessa” drama I’m gonna riot. That completely negates the point of the love triangle and just destroys while it’s so good – that being that everyone involved is equally in love with everyone else.
- Bad special effects: This is something I HATED about the Shadowhunters show. The effects were so bad and made the series feel really, really cheesy. The villains and monsters in The Infernal Devices are genuinely creepy. The automatons freak me out for real and even though not as many monsters appear as in TMI the ones that do are much more scary, especially the one thats connected to Will. If they’re going to maintain the creepiness of the books and the sinister atmosphere they need to make sure the special effects aren’t too cheesy and ruin the mood.
- Ignoring the cast outside the main three: I am always wary of this with adaptations. Often they take the main characters and ignore everyone else. But everyone in this series is so important. If they don’t include Charlotte and Henry and Jessamine, and later Gideon and Gabriel and Cecily, it’s just not the same. The side characters inform the motivations of the main characters a lot and also just add so much to the series? But Shadowhunters did a really good job at incorporating the side characters so I just hope they can keep it up.
And that is everything I have to say on that today! Let me know your thoughts on this series and what an adaptation should look like below. I’m so jazzed this could become a real thing sometime soon and that Cassie Clare seems excited about it. I just hope it can live up to expectations and capture the essence of the series really well.
As usual, drop suggestions of what FAF you’d like to see next in the comments!
until next time!