Panel host Jeff Connor had a problem — the main focus of the “Constanine” panel was supposed to be director Francis Lawrence, using a series of slides to show some of the thought processes that went into making the Vertigo adaptation, with actress Rachel Weisz (who said, “I’ve never been to Comicon before, so I’m very excited!”), Vertigo exec Karen Berger and creatives Tim Bradstreet and Brian Azzarello as backup. But unforeseen events took the main course out of this entree, and Connor worked hard to save the meal.
Berger related anecdotes about origins of this and that, saying that the comic book’s rendition of the character Chas was based on writer Jamie Delano, who was a cab driver at the time. Azzarello chimed in to say he was once an antique furniture restoration artist. She also emphasized how the original character was based on the visual appearance of pop singer Sting.
“I thought for a dark-haired American guy,” Azzarello said in response to a fan question, “Keanu did a great job. As a fan of the book, you should be really happy with this adaptation.”
“It was Constantine’s world, very true to the core,” Berger agreed.
Clips from the film were shown in between slides, and mostly Weisz and Connor went through the slides — from the film and the source comics — in sometimes excruciating detail, discussing why they thought Lawrence might have chosen them for this presentation.
When asked why she chose the project, Weisz admitted that the chance to play two parts was part of the reason, and that she visited a morgue as part of her research for the part. She also talked about the model of her character Isabelle, created by Stan Winston’s Creature Shop, saying, “To see myself dead in front of myself, was spooky. My dad came to visit that day, and I said “Dad,” to show him the dead meat. He didn’t like it.” Laughing, she finished, “I think it was stolen.”
She commented that the backstory of a former lover and co-worker was cut from the film but will be back on the DVD. When the suicide jump was pictured, Weisz said,”I wasn’t insured for that. I would have, if they let me. I like doing stunts.” Weisz also told a little girl who questioned her that her favorite scene was the devil appearing.
As for a sequel, Berger summed up the thoughts of everyone there: “I don’t really know. I haven’t heard anything.”
To close up, the panel was asked what their next projects were. Weisz outlined a number of non-genre films, and Bradstreet mentioned he’d be leaving “Hellblazer” after issue #215, as well a working on “Bad Planet” with “Punisher” actor Thomas Jane and creator Steve Niles. Azzarrello said he’s still focused on “100 Bullets” and a new creator-owned project called “Loveless” with Marcello Frusin, which features “shootin'” and “cussin'” prominently.