COMIC-CON: Reeves, Hounsou & Lawrence on Constantine

Constantine stars Keanu Reeves and Djimon Hounsou, and director Francis Lawrence attended the San Diego Comic-Con a week ago to talk about the Warner Bros. “Hellblazer” comic book adaptation, opening February 11. The film tells the story of irreverent supernatural detective John Constantine (Reeves), who has literally been to hell and back. When Constantine teams up with skeptical policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister (also played by Weisz), their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Caught in a catastrophic series of otherworldy events, the two become inextricably involved and seek to find their own peace at whatever cost.

Lawrence says the production is “still working on post, the movie is pretty far along and have tested a couple of times and the tests were really good. Still have a lot of effects left to do. We haven’t hired a composer yet, but we’re working on that. But it’s in really good shape. It’s coming together really well and is getting a great response. Which is really exciting for me. It’s kind of a unique movie and it’s kind of different and I think people are really responding to that. That’s very exciting to see, that people are sort of feeling it and with it and get it! You know, you try and do something different I think you always worry that people might not understand it. I think they really do and I think they connect.”

Keanu had seen the clips that were put together for the event. “It looks really beautiful, it was really shot beautifully, Francis’ camera angles they get you inside of a scene and let you come out of a scene it feels very fresh and yet at the same time you’re really connected to the story telling of it. It’s not like there’s a quick cut for the camera there’s something fresh about it.”

Keanu’s approach on the character? Well, I ditched the accent! I really have to wait and see. I really loved the guy. I loved his anger, and I loved his rye sense of humor about the awfulness of the world. Having to deal with that day in and day out and what that’s turned him into. John is kind of like Midnight, they are kind of like warriors, in this world of sh*t and he’s trying to deal with it. I like him.”

Hounsou talked about his connection to the story, saying how “ironic it is that it is so close to my culture coming from Africa.”

Reeves says he read Dark Knight, Spider-Man, X-Men, and Wolverine comics growing up. “That was awesome stuff to me, the idea of a graphic novel to me when I was growing up was awesome.”

Constantine was based on the comic. “Dangerous Habits, there are little pieces from different things, there are pieces from Original Sin, the big through-line of this movie is Dangerous Habits,” says Francis.

Francis’ approach was never to shoot this like a comic book movie. “It has been done before, it was done very, very well with Tim Burton’s original Batman from then I don’t think anyone’s really sort of topped that. Everybody sort of built Gotham City, whether or not it’s called Gotham City. Everybody’s done all the angles and bright colors. What I wanted to do and what I’ve always loved about the comic was it was in reality and in real places. What I wanted to do was make it feel real. It seems to be working and it seems to be what people are responding to, it’s not all hyper real, it’s kind of rooted in a gritty reality.

He adds that there’s “plenty elements of horror. Plenty of scared, creepy throughout. It’s not a supernatural thriller, it’s not just a horror film, it’s not 4 kids in a van going off and getting chopped up by an ax murderer, it’s not just fantasy, it’s a weird blend of all these things. I think it really works.”

“Hellblazer has a small fan base but it has a very hardcore fan base. One thing is to build awareness for people who may not be aware of Hellblazer or that Constantine has something to do with Hellblazer. A lot of the Hellblazer fans are really hardcore and they’ve been tough on the movie and they’ve been tough on certain things and we wanted to show them that we have not made Van Helsing. I feel that the heart of the character is in this movie.”

Keanu was asked what this movie is about to him. “He’s fighting for his life. Honesty and redemption. Constantine committed suicide to get out of here. He can see things and has knowledge about the way the world works. That is distressing to him, he tried to get a way out, he committed suicide and now he’s trying to find his way into heaven, into the Lord’s grace and he’s trying to find his life, a better life. His struggle with his own nature, cause he’s not the nicest guy all the time, which is fun!”

Francis talked about what fans want and what he wants.”Number one, I don’t think we’ll make everybody happy there’s just no way to do it. When I first came on this movie, it was an interesting script and it was a really different script, it had an interesting tone and a different tone, it goes to weird places the story and that was interesting to me and it’s got all these great layers. You know what, just the fact that it’s not in England, that he doesn’t speak with an English accent, he’s not blonde that’s going to piss people off, it just is. Some people may not ever get over that. But I think that the heart of the character is there and I just want to make sure that gets conveyed.

Djimon added that “you sort of have to forget about that and worry about the story that you’re telling and hope that it does justice.” About his character, he says ” Midnight – all I can tell you is he’s very a Rico Swavve. Sort of a witch doctor, that’s pretty much the outlook of Midnight, yeah. He’s gone through so much with Constantine and dealt with some much for a long time, those guys are a great team.”

Lawrence was asked about the music in the film. “Mostly score, a few songs because there are a couple of scenes in a night club and somebody turns on a stereo at one point. But the rest is score, it’s dark it’s atmospheric.”

Source: Holly Wright