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I Guess I Can't Argue With That

Looks Like NBC Found Its John Constantine

Oh my god, they cast an actual British actor. Progress! 

One of the biggest issues fans of the Vertigo Comics character John Constantine had with the 2005 Francis Lawrence adaptation was Keanu Reeves. Keanu Reeves as a general concept, but more specifically, him being American. Fans won’t have that argument with NBC’s Constantine series.

Reports are saying Welsh actor Matt Ryan is close to making a deal to play “Hellblazer” John Constantine. Here’s the latest description of the character from The Hollywood Reporter:

John is described as a working-class Londoner with deadpan humor who is a mysterious con man and occult detective
 haunted by the recent loss of a young girl’s soul. No stranger to the dark underworld that exists parallel to our own, Constantine has been studying the dark arts since he was a teenager. He’s taught himself spells, rituals, curses and conjuring, but the one person he most wishes to see — his mother, who died giving birth to him — remains out of reach, at least so far. When Liv, the daughter of a late friend, is targeted by demons, Constantine steps in to save her and the two form an alliance.

Ryan has had roles in Torchwood (“Meat”) as well as The Tudors (and an episode of History’s Vikings where he apparently played a peasant) but he’s best known for starring in Criminal Minds. He also recently did voice work and motion capture for Edward Kenway in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

Thoughts on the casting?

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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  • Adam Cross

    I really enjoyed Keanu Reeves in that movie, Peter Stormare even more so

  • Chris de la Rosa

    Dark hair never bothered me, and while there was a lot to Keanu Constantine I wasn’t happy with, I still appreciated the characterization in the movie, keeping the film in mind more as a reimagining than a faithful adaptation.

    As long as he’s a chain smoking Brit who’s snarky with celestial and infernal beings and gets women to slam the door in his face, I’m pretty good, actually.

  • Ray Burns

    But, does he look like Sting??

  • currentlyinto

    Aaawww. As a british hell blazer fan, I’m less excited about this than I should be. I just want to know when they’re going to give up trying to cast this and embrace the inevitable by taking on James Marsters.

    This bloke does not look grizzled enough for Constantine – I just keep wanting to ruffle his hair, pinch his cheek and call him Sonny.

  • Aeryl

    Edward Kenway is going to be Constantine? I’m there!

  • Hannele Kormano
  • aradia zavion

    “Londoner”? Not going with Liverpudlian, then?

  • Anonymous

    He can still dye his hair.

    The self learn dark magic makes me happy that he is a “wizard” and not just an exorcist … but it makes me afraid that they might cut the “constantine family tradition” of magic.

    But then again probably this is what he will learn when he find his dead mother

  • Anonymous

    Heresy! Constantine must be played by the actual musician Sting or it’s just not accurate. The series is ruined. RUINED.

  • Channelgirl

    Had to look up J.M. – not a Buffy fan (as yet). Have to concur!

  • Anonymous

    My only issue with the project is a main one: NBC. How can a network make a faithful adaptation of material that should be R rated? And can the action happen mostly in UK or will they pull an Elementary and move an essentially British character in US soil?

    I’m more confident in Penny Dreadful than I am in Constantine.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    They manage it with Hannibal, though that might be the exception that proves the rule.

  • AnnaB

    Not the most ideal portrayal of Constantine, but if not for the comparison to the comics, I enjoyed the movie, and Keanu (but only because I have a soft spot for him in general). The real winners for me in that film are Gabriel (Tilda Swinton) and Balthazar (Gavin Rossdale). But yah–did wish Keanu were blonder. And more British.

  • AnnaB

    Multiple upvotes for James Marsters. I don’t know what he looks right now, but I’m guessing he’s just gotten better with age, particularly to play Constantine.

  • Anonymous

    I googled some photos from the last few years and Marsters looks just about perfect for the role, I think. My first reaction to your post was “nah, too pretty”, but with a few more years on him he’d be great as Constantine (and damn, those cheekbones!).

  • Gordon Borland

    I have the awful feeling it’s going to take more from terrible New 52 Constantine over Hellblazer.

  • Anonymous

    I feel like he should look more mischievous and weathered, but hey- acting. I’m willing to give it a chance, especially after Hannibal.

  • Anonymous

    Deadpan humor. I’m in!

  • JosieLou

    Wait, wait, wait. Are you serious about James Marsters? I just assumed you were being sarcastic until people started replying to you. Do you think he does a good British accent? I’m genuinely curious. As a fellow Brit, I have never met another Brit who didn’t cringe at his accent, no matter how big of a Spike fan. Has it improved since Buffy or something?

  • Anonymous

    When I first heard Hugh Jackman got Wolverine, I had only seen pics of him, and I thought the same. Also “But he’s too tall. And skinny. And cute.”

    Then he owned the character, and I thought, “Wow, this guy was cast perfectly! But I’ll bet he’s a one-note wonder…a snarl and gruff voice, and that’s all he’ll ever be.”

    Then I saw him in Oklahoma! and my brain exploded.

    (I still have grave misgivings about Batfleck. But I’ve seen him in a heck of a lot of things.)

  • Laura Truxillo

    Still kinda sad that it’s not Paul Bettany, but then I knew it would never be Paul Bettany.

    Sounds interesting, though.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Paul Bettany is still my pick. Blonde, older, and he always looks as though someone drug him backward through a hedge and them kept him up for three consecutive nights. It works for Constantine.

  • Laine Glaistig

    As a Hellblazer fan, I had no problem with the movie of Constantine when viewed through these glasses: This movie is not about John Constantine, but his American cousing, Keanu Constantine. I mean the whole family is cursed, there’s no reason he might not have a cousin who’s a messed-up Hawaiin exorcist, right?

  • Gordon Borland

    I’m sad that most things aren’t Paul Bettany.

  • Anonymous

    Those were my exact words! A Liverpudlian and Londoner from Thatcher era Britain are pretty different (Though presumably it’ll be set in the now, not the 80s…)

  • Natalie Willoughby

    Me too! I’m playing that game right now (finally) and I really really love his voice.

  • Aeryl

    Vision is Paul Bettany!

  • Aeryl

    He’ll never be Ezio, but he’s nice enough!

  • Anonymous

    …I’ll be sure to mail blonde hair dye to the set.

  • currentlyinto

    Much to my shame, I’m not being sarcastic.. I’ll admit at first his accent made me cringe although I think he owned it by the end. I could never take David Tennant’s accent seriously but I don’t think many people share that opinion.

    It’s weird, cos in my head Constantine always had a slightly over-the-top accent. I don’t know if it’s because my family are cockneys but Sting’s accent never really did it for me and I quite liked JM’s accent by the time he got to Angel.

    Still, I liked the Paul Bettany suggestion or if we’re going proper cockney then would be happy with someone like Nick Moran. Just, you know, someone with a bit of ‘worked-over’ to them, not all pretty and sleek like Matt Ryan.

  • Ellestra

    Well, technically Keanu is British – he has citizenship through his mother just like he has US one through his father – which always amused me when people complain about it (even though I know they complain about his accent not nationality). And the movie was fun – you just have to forget it had anything to do with the comics.

  • currentlyinto

    It was actually seeing a picture of him about a year ago that made me think he’d be better now he’s older. I’m a bit irritated that Constantine appears to have Benjamin Button disease though – in the last of the hellblazers and the “Constantine” comics he looks like he’s just turned twenty. The world-weariness and cynicism didn’t work and he just looked teenaged and angsty.

  • Gordon Borland

    Now I wan’t to see Vision solve occult crimes in the 80′s.

  • JosieLou

    Fair play. I never saw Angel, but his accent definitely improved as Buffy went on so I can see it being decent by then. I agree he certainly looks more the part than Matt Ryan as well. I was hoping for someone a bit older too, but any Brit actor is an improvement over Keanu for me, ha ha.

  • Anonymous

    I’m much more concerned about the writing than the bloke playing John.

  • Allison Smith

    While I’d rather have HBO for this reason, the downside of this is that they’d insist on having Constantine spend most of his free time in strip clubs to meet the necessary T&A quota for cable dramas.

  • Allison Smith

    If the story is consistent with the comics, there are going to be a lot of flashbacks to his youth. It’s gotta be easier to grizzle-up a young actor than the reverse.

  • Anonymous

    I haven’t read the last few years. Can’t even tell now at which point I stopped, but I just stopped enjoying it, both the stories and the art.

  • Anonymous

    Touché. I think AMC would probably have been the best option. They could have paired the show with The Walking Dead.

  • AnnaB

    Well, I guess that said, I didn’t say he wasn’t British. I was just hoping he was *more* British. But I didn’t realize his mother was British.

  • lanika

    Not seeing it: TOTALLY seeing it: (Fuck yeah Paul…)

    They’re still too young but you could see Constantine reaching his forties with Paul Bettany. His family looks like him, we have seen demonic sons, long lost nephews and teen and early twenties John all around Vertigo.

    I like my John Constantine slightly weird and not full on pretty Hollywood boy… Matt Ryan lacks weirdo factor…

  • Rob Payne

    As long as he’s a chain smoking Brit who doesn’t quit smoking after he connives God and Satan into giving him brand new lungs, thereby meaning he never has to worry about lung cancer again and is snarky with celestial and infneral beings and gets women to slam the door in his face, I’m pretty good, too, actually.

    ETA: Apologies for the reply 9 days later. I just now saw this and am still bitter about that stupid ending. Hope your day is well!