15 years ago one of the coolest cult comic book movies was released with Francis Lawrence’s Constantine, which starred Keanu Reeves as the Hellblazer himself, John Constantine. Playing loose the with the source material, Constantine did something different with the infamous con man magician, and the result was a piece of cult entertainment that still entertains all these years later.
In a special panel discussion, director Francis Lawrence, star Keanu Reeves and producer Akiva Goldsman discussed the making of the film, and how they brought the Hellblazer to life.
This panel is a fascinating watch into the behind-the-scenes work that went into Constantine and you can check it out below:
Kicking off early the panel, Goldsman describes how the film was originally a star vehicle for actor Nicolas Cage with visionary director Tarsem Singh attached as the director, before the project fell through back in the late 1990s. It was then revitalized with Goldsman, who brought on Reeves and Lawrence and the three collaborators went to work.
Filmed in 2004, Lawrence states that he didn’t look to comic book movies at all when working on the film, and instead focused in on a tone inspired both my horror cinema, but more so by the visual language of film noir. The director cited films such as Blade Runner, The Maltese Falcon and The Third Man playing an integral part in the construction of the film and these influences definitely show through in the finished product.
Reeves was espeicially fond of the production and dished out plenty of respect to both his co-stars and the film’s crew and was integral to the film being shot in Los Angeles. This was a stipulation of his contract and anyone who watches the film, can feel the grainy, gritty Los Angeles vibe of the film which makes it such a compelling watch.
The panel also discussed the idea of a sequel, and while some pretty crazy ideas where kicked about, including Constantine having to investigate the death of a newly resurrected Christ figure, ultimately they couldn’t get a sequel going. However, recent talk of a Constantine film for HBO MAX has got people talking and Reeves himself has said that he’d be more than happy to return as the occult detective, so here’s hoping we see this come to pass.
Constantine remains one of those classic comic book cult films that I think everyone should watch and 15 years on it still holds true as one of the most visually striking and unique comic book cinematic experiences.