Following a screening of the full pilot of “Constantine” — set to air October 24 on NBC — the cast and crew of the DC Comics-based series stuck around the Comic-Con International 2014 panel to answer a few questions about bringing the DCU’s foremost occult master to the small screen. Executive producers Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer along with cast members Matt Ryan, Harold Perrineau and Charles Halford and incoming Zed Angelica Celaya are set to discuss all aspects of what makes John Constantine — and his series — tick.
Following a full screening of the pilot, the panel walked out for a very short Q&A session about everything the audience just saw. Goyer and Cerone discussed some creative changes of the pilot, with Goyer saying the edit time gave them opportunity to go back and make some changes. “We felt like Liv couldn’t go toe-to-toe with John,” said Goyer, wondering why they didn’t just by Zed in the first time.
Cerone said the pilot that leaked online actually had a different demon than the one in the Comic-Con screening. “David and I said, ‘You know what? We want this to be as compelling and real as possible. What better way to have John Constantine face a demon version of himself?” said Cerone.
Ryan said it was “really fun to play the demon John” — and Goyer said, “Come on, though — [Matt] is John Constantine.” According to Cerone, they first encountered Ryan when he was on stage with Jude Law in “Henry V.”
“A friend of mine is a huge comic book fan and for years he was telling me about John Constantine,” said Ryan. “He sat me down when I found out I was [auditioning] and said, ‘You have to do this, you have to do this.” Once he got the job, he really dived into the comic books.
Perrineau mentioned that Manny was created for the show, and he was excited to be on the ground floor of something new to the Constantine world. “We’re still learning more about him — I still don’t know everything about him,” he said. “It’s really exciting. We don’t know what kind of angel he is.”
According to the producers, Manny is a good way to get into Constantine’s head — and Ryan noted that there’s a “mutual respect” between the characters. “We think of each other as gunslingers,” said Perrineau, “waiting for the other to draw.”
Celaya hasn’t had the chance to be onscreen yet — but said she was excited to give a “little meat and bone to Zed” and play versus John Constantine. She filmed her first day yesterday and wrapped at 4 AM — then jumped on a plane to get to Comic-Con. Cerone said during Celaya’s screen test, she was “backing Matt up against the wall.”
“When something’s wrong, we say it, and when we don’t like something, we let you know!” said Celaya.
Halford, who plays Chaz — Constantine’s longest surviving friend — said that Chaz is the guy that “kicks [Constantine] into gear.”
Goyer announced that the composer for the series is Bear McCreery of “The Walking Dead” and “Agents of SHIELD” fame — he made a brief appearance onstage.
Goyer described the television series as “old school,” saying they were looking more toward “Hellblazer” rather than the New 52 version. “We’re not idiots. The best writers in the business have been writing Constantine for 25 years and we’re going to [take advantage of that],” he said. Cerone added that throughout the season, they’ll be introducing the rest of the Newcastle crew — including Papa Midnight. “Everything coming for Constantine, it’s all ahead of him,” he said.
“We have access to the occult corner of the DC Universe,” said Goyer. “Probably our first guy is in episode five or six. We just want to make sure it’s not guest-star of the week, and someone who works organically. I’m sure some of you saw the Doctor Fate helmet — that’s an indication of our intentions.”
With that, the short Q&A wrapped — but there’s still more coverage of “Constantine” to come.