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Goyer: NBC’s ‘Constantine’ ‘Clings More Closely to the Source Material’


Work on NBC’s Constantine pilot is well under way, and according to writer/executive producer David S. Goyer, the television series will have much more in common with its comic-book roots than the Keanu Reeves film did.

In an interview with I Am Rogue, Goyer discussed the work on the pilot — which, by this point, will have begun filming — and teased a bit of what fans of the character can expect.

“He will have his signature trench coat and skinny tie. I would say that the show clings more closely to the sourse material then the film did. Even though the film was interesting,” he said. “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.”

As to whether Constantine will be sporting his signature cigarette, the executive producer said it was a “tricky” proposition for network television, but that the team was “negotiating.” Goyer also stated that one more actor — beyond star Matt Ryan and supporting actors Harold Perrineau, Charles Halford and Lucy Griffiths — has yet to be announced as a character from the comics.


  • Garry Boldwater

    Making Constantine a non-smoker is an even bigger change to the character than making him American was. This means the New-52 Constantine is an edgier, more faithful adaptation than what NBC is going to give us.

  • Dandru

    Not smoking is a bigger change than not being British?? LOL. Uh… no. No, it’s not. British politics, British history, British folklore and British traditions have always been a large part of Hellblazer’s storytelling. The cigarettes are just a character affectation, and only twice in the series history have they actually been anything more than window dressing: Constantine’s lung cancer, and when he smoked Swamp Thing.

  • Garry Boldwater

    Yes, and the drug use of Raoul Duke and Sherlock Holmes are just character affectations too, aren’t they? Constantine’s smoking & drinking serves the same character dynamic…

    What’s next? Will Spider-Jerusalem be a tea-totaling cleric? Will Preacher be a thoroughly un-blashemous man, perhaps like Rob Lowe’s character on ‘Parks & Rec’?

  • Derek Metaltron

    I would debate which of the supernatural DC types should ultimately appear in guest roles – Deadman, Etrigan and Zatanna would be cool, but Swamp Thing, Phantom Stranger and Doctor Fate might be considered a little out there, maybe.

  • ekrolo2

    So not 100% the comics=bad?

  • Garry Boldwater

    Hellblazer isn’t Power Pack, or even Jessica Jones. There are certain books of that period that were of the quality that they deserve faithful adaptations. Preacher, Sandman, Transmet, and the Delano and Ennis Hellblazer runs are good examples.

    Besides, haven’t we seen what happens when a studio says, “We’re gonna do OUR version of this Constantine character, because we know better”? Don’t get me wrong, both ‘Dexter’ and ‘True Blood’ didn’t even deserve attempts at faithful adaptations. They were just buying the name and concept. I don’t think the ‘our-own-version-of’ route would work with ‘Game of Thrones,’ tho…

  • ekrolo2

    Not with Game of Thrones because GoT is a singular story without any alternate versions, comics on the other hand are not. The whole point of them is new people coming on and keeping a character relevant by doing new stuff with them. This is basically an Elseworlds story on the small screen and should be treated as such.

  • Garry Boldwater

    I can’t wait for my Elseworld Lord of the Rings’ sequels. Those would rock.

    If you like your comics movies to be constant apologies for what they are, be my guest. Keanu’s Hellblazer and the first 2 FF movies are there to be enjoyed for all time, quite cheaply on, too. It’s so great we never got to see Galactus… really made FF2 gel together into something fresh. I mean, if anything we’ve been over-inundated with film versions of the Moore / Delano / Ennis version of Constantine, so it will be good to see a fresh take on those things. Maybe this non-smoking vegan Constantine with a loft in Williamsburg is just the fresh spin we need!

  • Garry Boldwater

    Isn’t this what del Toro’s ‘Dark Justice’ Constantine movie is going to be? Is DC really planning on maintaining multiple ongoing simultaneous versions of so many characters? TV shows of Green Arrow, Flash, Suicide Squad, Constantine, and also having those characters played by different actors in “separate universe” movies?

  • Garry Boldwater

    It would be great if somebody did a new Sherlock Holmes project, but instead of hard drugs, Sherlock is nutty for CUPCAKES! He needs CUPCAKES to solve crimes. I also hope that instead of whiskey, this new Constantine has a soft spot for kitten videos on YouTube. The gals will respond well to this new Johnny. Ladies, start your engines! The coffee served at the cafe’s in Constantine’s Bushwick neighborhood are pretty strong, too! Decadent afternoons with multiple lattes! Bad boy alert, ladies!

  • Emm

    And yet, still not pronouncing fucking Constantine properly.

  • Alex W

    Suicide Squad’s getting a show? When was that announced?

  • Tophman

    Garry probably means the Suicide Squad incarnation in this week’s Arrow episode (for all we know, this is another potential pilot for CW if it gets enough eyeballs and positive feedback).

  • Tophman

    I have to admit that although I’m quite against smokers/smoking in public, it would be a very different character if Constantine didn’t have a lit cig on his lip throwing off a ‘bugger off’ attitude when anyone calls him on it (& possibly using a little mystical mischief while he’s at it).

    As for who his mystical guest stars could be? DC has a lot of mystics to pull from… anywhere from popular characters like Zatanna, Dr Fate, Deadman, or Swamp Thing; to virtual unknowns like Madame Zanadu, Doctor Occult, Black Orchid, Kid Eternity, or Traci 13. Naturally, budget and ‘realism’ would come into play with any TV endeavor so I suppose time will tell.

    Regarding the cinematic universe? Well, although I’d love to see Del Toro’s take on Justice League Dark, I’m not holding my breath. Besides, DCE has made it clear that their cinematic universe is totally separate from their small screen counterparts so it’s no big if we see multiple incarnations of a particular character (though it could be confusing to the general public).

  • OneFlew

    I hate to say it, but i think you’re expecting too much from a network show. Censorship regulations are more strict for the major networks, which means they have limit violence and it’s up in the air as to whether or not smoking will be allowed. The only place we’d be getting a completely faithful adaptation would be a cable channel like FX or preferably HBO.

  • Garry Boldwater

    Obviously I know that the government control of content seen in broadcast makes this series a non-starter. I hope NBC will follow this up with a nice Holocaust drama that handles the ickiness that dead Jews create in some viewers, by simply presenting a Holocaust in which no Jews were killed. Jews didn’t get gas chambers, they got KITTENS!! Problem with uncomfortable viewers solved!

  • Bryy

    Did you seriously just compare a comic book to the Holocaust?

  • Bryy

    We get it, you think it’s superbad that something is changed for the television audience.

  • Garry Boldwater

    And we get it, you think the last attempt at Constantine was only guilty of not going far enough.

    I have no problem if they makes changes to The Walking Dead or Dexter or some other beach read basis for a TV series. I just don’t think Hellblazer falls into that category. In other words, this isn’t the same thing as making the Human Torch black, or making the Mandarin a british actor. I had no problem with those examples. A PG-rated Constantine who thinks smokers are icky and rude is in a category all its own.

  • Garry Boldwater

    I’m just thinking out of the box here, ways we can dress things up for network TV. I think a Vietnam War drama where America doesn’t lose the war would be popular in places like Kansas. And who says Moby Dick needs to end with the whale uncaught? Kind of a downer, ya know? 12 Years a Slave would have made more money if it would have had a few musical numbers, too. Heck, think of the numbers that ‘Homeland’ would get if they got rid of the icky terrorist aspect to the story?

  • Observer

    Your premise is wrong, just admit it, lol – his nationality is more central to his character than whether he smokes. (The smoking is quite important too but less so.) And I would rather they not change that but I’m still giving it a chance even if that’s the way they go.

    Also, looking at the thread, not winning any points just using the tactic of conflation over and over again. Comparing Constantine as a non-smoker to increasingly more exaggerated examples of absurdities does not make them the same thing. It only is what it is. It’s certainly not the kind of slippery slope you’re making it out to be: not the Holocaust, slavery, or Moby Dick. Especially considering how thoroughly ruined plenty of adaptations have been already – those floodgates are long open. I mean we live in a world where Jesse Eisenberg is going to be Luthor, and it’s considered pc to make the smartass/dumbass member of the FF a black guy instead of the genius Reed Richards. (which would have been a great way to make him possibly a less bland character)

    And though I prefer they not change the source material (almost universally), once in a while it works out. The revised film ending of Watchmen certainly worked better than the graphic novel would have on screen.

  • Garry Boldwater

    I certainly don’t view this is any sort of “slippery slope” that will lead to something like slavery or the Holocaust. In fact, I would say this story is quite unremarkable, because adaptations is are handled in this way more often than not. The Keanu Constantine and this new Goyer Constantine are kind of par for the course.

    In terms of changes to stories and characters – again, I am not taking an absolutist view on these things, even if it helps your debate strategy to continue to believe I am. You listed Watchman as an example of how the changes made the story better. I think the new Superman’s willingness to kill was an improvement. I’m hoping the new movie Batman will get rid of the “never use a gun” malarkey, too, because like the Superman no-killing thing, it is dated and unrealistic.

    I just have a soft spot for Hellblazer, and think it’s sad that not only will that version of the character never appear on screen, DC has made sure that version will never be published again. This TV show, the next movie attempt, and the New-52 version will be it. None of Constantine’s success is based on those versions of him. Same with the Keanu’s Constantine. Why Warner Brothers has such massive hostility for the version of the character that made him valuable is beyond me. Why they would even be interested in making movies out of a character they clearly think is garbage is beyond me. Goyer and DC would have better luck adapting a character or story they genuinely enjoy. Goyer has a serious chip on his shoulder about Moore and Delano’s work, because he seems to be on a constant mission to show us how he would have saved their work from mediocrity.

  •!/ David R. Schmitt

    NBC is currently putting out Hannibal and fan fave Grimm. network TV is learning that it doesn’t always have to be “family friendly,” this has a real chance to do well, fags or no fags (yes, I was referring to cigarettes). Maybe he’ll be smoking menthol’s and we can hear his colourful opinions on them. That should add to his acerbic nature. :)