Robert Sheeran: On to heaven we go!

Raymond de Asis Lo, L.A. Correspondent (The Philippine Star) - August 10, 2013 - 12:00am

“These are like interviews to get into heaven or something. I feel like I am dead and I’ve gone to purgatory. ‘Keep going in to the next room. The next room.’”

I have never heard someone describe the crazy roundtable interviews that stars and journalists go through during every Hollywood junket the way up-and-coming British actor Robert Sheeran described it when he was ushered in to our suite during the junket for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones two weeks ago held at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles.

Roundtable interviews are like a dance. The journalists are initially gathered in one room (usually where the buffet table is at). Then, everyone is told what suite they go to at a certain time. Inside the appointed room, they wait for the stars to come and join them for about half an hour of roundtable (it’s a round table, literally) interview. It goes on for the next two or three hours. If you are scheduled to have the cast, the writer, the producer and the director, you are destined to stay in the room for a good part of the day.

But it never gets boring. No roundtable interviews are ever the same. There will always be one question that will trigger the course of the conversation and you just pray you’ll find some opening to ask whatever questions you prepared. Sometimes, roundtables get contentious, too, but most often, journalists, this one included, get to discover another side of the stars that the public is not quite familiar with. Yet.

The junket for The Mortal Instruments, which Pioneer Films is distributing in the Philippines, offered that singular experience to this writer again. We had Lily Collins, Phil Collins’ daughter (she, sort of, hinted that she is not particularly fond of that introduction so I hope she doesn’t get to read this story), who is the female lead in the movie, her co-stars Jamie Campbell Bower and the abovementioned Robert.

I had a 10-minute one-on-one interview with Lily that will be featured in another story later. We also had the series’ author Cassandra Clare, who politely answered all the Twilight-related questions. Fans of Twilight will surely love this movie.

The curly-haired Robert was the last to join us that day. He had already been through four previous roundtables and was understandably tired. Fortunately, he still had his sense of humor with him.

“God’s looking over your shoulder now,” he playfully admonished us before he took his chair. “Be nice.”

“I think, the whole nature of the junket is about consistency and patience and I am a restless character by nature,” he explained after we asked how he was holding so far.

Robert portrays Simon in the movie. He is the nerdy, shy best friend who is secretly in love with Lily’s character Clary. It was quite obvious that the character he portrays in the movie is not quite similar to him in person. He has a naughty and playful streak in person that made our 20-plus minute interview quite interesting.

When asked what was his favorite question from the other roundtables, he quickly replied: “How big is your junk?”

We played along and asked him how he responded to it. “Well, it’s massive. It’s huge! No, I am hung like a hamster, very much.”

‘I want to stay simply Jamie Bower!’


Jokes about menstruation also came up when he was asked if he was squeamish about blood. In the next installment of the series, blood will play a big factor in his character’s arc.

But he allowed himself to be a bit serious when the topic veered to the love triangle in the movie that his character is involved in. “The ultimate love is someone you can actually endure spending your time with after a two-year period. It is someone you can actually spend time with and not learn to despise.”

“I moved country once for love,” he added. “The first and only car I ever bought was for a girl. It’s kind of mad. It was like a big surprise, a Christmas gift.”

He was 21 then. “We hate each other now,” he said.

Like Robert, Jamie is also British. But that is where the similarity between them ends. If Robert was expressive and playful, Jamie appeared more reserved but nevertheless sincere.

Unlike Robert, who admitted to have traded countries once for love, Jamie will never give up his beloved England for anything.

“London’s my home. England’s my home. My friends are there. I went to school with the same group of people when I was eight. They are not in the industry. I love them and they are the closest people to me and I don’t want to leave that.”

In The Mortal Instruments, Jamie portrays the mysterious Shadowhunter Jace who falls in love with Lily’s character Clary while trying to track an ancient Cup that holds the key to Clary’s mother’s disappearance.

Jamie had nothing but praises for his co-star Lily. “We had the most amazing time. We all became so close and we all became such a family and she is an amazing actress. I would sit there on the set sometimes and we’d be doing a scene and I just be, like, looking at her going, ‘Wow, you’re brilliant!’ and someone will go, ‘Cut! Jamie you’re meant to speak then!’ And I am, like, ‘Oh, sorry, I was just so engrossed in her performance.”

This is not the first time that Jamie is part of a movie that has the makings of another blockbuster movie franchise. He was in the cast of Twilight: Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows so he is aware (and a little bit nervous) about the possibility of The Mortal Instruments series breaking out similarly to how the other two did.

“We were aware when we got cast that obviously this is a series of books. Is it something we spoke about? Not particularly because we didn’t know if we were going to go back for No. 2 so you have to focus on the specific job that you are doing at the time. But I am stoked that we do get to go back and do No. 2. I am really starting to like that.”

They start filming the sequel soon.

“I saw the final cut yesterday and it’s sleek. I am super-happy! It’s nice. It’s a big deal! I am playing the male lead in a big studio film. This is huge deal for me and I am really happy with the outcome.”

And he is already having an early taste of how success breeds zealous and passionate fans as he experienced at a recent fan convention. “There’s a lot of ‘Will you kiss me?’” he shared. “I was like, ‘Hmm, no, but thank you. I don’t really know you. Maybe we go to dinner first and we’ll see what happens.’ Nothing too crazy.”

“It’s the nature of the beast. It’s the nature of this game. People will want to sell magazines. People want to write stories about you. Do I like it? Not really. But I am not stupid. I know that that’s going to happen.”

Both Robert and Jamie reside in London. “It’s only a 12-hour flight,” Jamie would tell this writer.

Asked if they are avoiding L.A. on purpose, Jamie had an answer that struck this writer most. He said, “Sometimes if you move, you have to sort of reinvent yourself and I don’t want to do that. I want to stay as Jamie. Jamie Bower, not Jamie Campbell Bower.”

Robert had a different take on my question but had the more memorable goodbye to our interview.

When he was done answering our “last” question, he playfully exclaimed, “Woohoo! Heaven, on we go!”

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones will open Aug. 21 in theaters.

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