While I enjoyed Constantine as a standalone movie, as an adaptation it was rather un-magical. So many elements had been changed (hey, lets get Keanu to play this hard British bastard, only he’s no longer British!) that for most ardent fans of the Hellblazer comics, it felt like a voodoo powered slap in the face. That’s all set to change with the newly planned TV show though.
We may have only recently learnt that the very British Matt Ryan (Criminal Minds) would be playing the titular, chain smoking modern day con man turned magic man, John Constantine, but it looks like work on the pilot episode is moving at a pretty fast clip, as writer/producer David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Man of Steel, Da Vinci’s Demons) explained in an interview with I Am Rogue.
“We start shooting next week. We only have four series regulars but we’ve cast them all now. I’m proud to say that Constantine is actually being played by a British guy. Matt Ryan and he is going to have blond hair.”
Right, so he’s an Englishman and he’s blonde. That’s two signature character traits in the bag. But about the rest of the character’s familiar affections? Will we see the chain smoking?
“That’s a tricky one on network TV. We’re negotiating right now. He will have his signature trench coat and skinny tie. I would say that the show clings more closely to the source material than the film did. Even though the film was interesting.”
In fact, it looks like the series isn’t just hewing closer to the original comic, but it’s also looking to introduce a whole lot more of that world and characters than the film ever did.
“Quite a few other characters from the comic books and possibly from the DC universe, should we move forward, will be showing up…..I think we would try to bring in some of the other occult figures.”
We already know that voodoo bad man Papa Midnite (played by Djimon Honsou in the movie) will play a significant part in the series’ story, and bringing in more of Hellblazer‘s world will certainly not hurt their cause with the fans. Just don’t expect that world to be ol’ Blighty, as it’s already been confirmed that the story has been transplanted from England to America, much like the movie did. Personally, I’m not too bothered by the location shift, as long as the characters stay true to their source.
Speaking of characters, Matt Ryan will be joined by Charles Halford (at least he’s not Shia LaBeouf) as his cab-driving man Friday, Chas; Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) as the show’s female lead, Liv, a daughter of one of Constantine’s late friends who is targeted by demons after discovering she has the ability to see the supernatural world, and Harold Perrineau (Lost) as Manny, an angel set to watch over Constantine and who’s not averse to a bit of body possession to get things done.
The pilot will be co-written by Goyer and The Mentalist‘s Daniel Cerrone, while Neil Marshall (The Descent, Game of Thrones) directs.
Here’s the original video of the interview.
Last Updated: March 11, 2014