According to this page, Keanu Reeves has been cast as John Constantine for the 2004 Hellblazer film. It’s pretty hard to imagine a less appropriate choice. Unless maybe you could somehow convince a movie exec to cram a flamboyantly gay black man into a rumpled raincoat and then cram a John Player into his mouth. But that guy would have to be pretty gay and pretty black.

This was a bad idea from the start. Just make the pain stop already.

…ugh. Yeah, Keanu’s a fantastic choice to play a character with a hard-won cynicism, razor sharp wit, and vicious disposition. Yes, I can just picture Keanu stepping out of a shadow, lighting up a silk cut, and saying “All right, squire?”


I like Rachel Weisz, but James Marsters would be absolutely perfect for Constantine. I thought Nic Cage was a piss-poor choice to play J.C. back in 2001, but the stink that Keanu brings to the project just makes me want to curl up in a fetal position and weep.

I guess Gary Oldman was too busy or somethin’.

Hell, Moore envisioned Sting when he wrote Constantine into Swamp Thing.

EDIT: Added Moore’s choice.

I’ve read the script. It’s not very encouraging. They did at least use one of the more popular comic stories, Dangerous Habits, and use it as the B-story for the movie, but it’s not done near as well as you would have hoped.


Why the fuck do they even bother with the license? This has absolutely nothing to do with the comic. It’s not like the Hellblazer name means anything to the general public. By the way, does the current script still have Constantine living in a van, driving around and solving supernatural crimes? No matter who gets the starring role, you know the movie’s going to be utter garbage with Scooby Doo contrivances like that.

We all know what Constantine will now say when he faces some hellish abomination.


I’d see any movie with Rachel Weisz.

— Alan


I don’t know if anyone else subscribes to Warren Ellis’ pissed ramblings, but this may interest you…

Anyway. And then I ended up drinking with Tilda Swinton. This was one of
those weird moments; she kept saying “serendipitous,” which is not a word I
would attempt after mixing that much whisky and beer. She’s just been
offered the part of the angel Gabriel in CONSTANTINE, the film of the
comics series HELLBLAZER, which I wrote for a year. So we had an hour of
discussing the character, the book, the selection of Keanu Reeves (which is
actually a big part of her interest. I’ve always said that Reeves is a
better actor than anyone gives him credit for – watch him carefully, and
you’ll see him deliberately creating a space for other actors to work in),
and the possibilities in the role in relationship to America today. She
said something I found fascinating: in an America where a president again
invokes the term Evil in public statements, there’s the potential to say
something very interesting in a major-studio film about Biblical good and
evil. To present the angel Gabriel as a figure of horror; there’s space to
say something that in the mainstream of American culture is certainly
subversive. She characterised Reeves as an intelligent, “spiritual” man,
and thinks there might be the possibility, with Reeves there, to do
something challenging.

This, by the way, is the answer to the almost-daily emails asking what I
think of Keanu Reeves cast as Constantine. First; the film is never going
to be the same as the comic. American or English, the film will succeed if
it’s true to the core of the man, because that’s what hooks people into the
book. Nicolas Cage, I maintain, would have made a good Constantine because
he can do the ravaged, shattered side of the man. I think Reeves is an
interesting choice because he can get at the other part of Constantine, the
part that demands social justice and exists in ethical turmoil. His
partner for the story is being played by Rachel Weisz, whom people seem to
have forgotten can act – she broke out of British television in the same
piece as Ewan McGregor, THE SCARLET AND THE BLACK. With Tilda Swinton as
Gabriel, this is all far from a bad proposition.


It is pretty hard to take the political postures of a comic book writer seriously when he both argues that Keanu Reeves is a fine choice for Constantine, then suggests that a Hellblazer film should basically be used as a vehicle to link George W. Bush with the Unholy Triumvirate.

Frankly, I’m sick of this pompous tee-heeing on the left about Bush’s completely blunt appraisals of the leaders of countries like Iran, Korea, and formerly Afghanistan and Iraq anyway. What’s the problem here? In North Korea, the state currently holds 200,000 political dissidents in giant deathcamps and 400,000 are believed to have died in those gulags. Here’s a choice quote from what I just linked: “U.S. News tracked down five former prisoners and guards who managed to defect to South Korea, and they describe a world of routine horror: beatings, crippling torture, hunger, slave-style labor, executions. Fetuses are said to be aborted by salt water injected into women’s wombs; if that fails, babies are strangled upon delivery.” This sort of stuff is all over the net. Saddam Hussein ran rape camps for the wives, daughters and children of political prisoners. Do people really have to apologize for stuff like this right at the gate by applying politically correct malapropisms to make themselves feel culturally tolerant, instead of just using a simple adjective to explain what it actually is? Calling these regimes “evil” isn’t Bush’s “slant”… this isn’t a conflict between Western cultures and the rest of the world… this is a frank description of some of the most sickening regimes on earth, and recognizing them as such is the first step in applying pressure on them (whether moral, financial, political or military) to change for the better, which all of us should want.

I’m also sick of it because people like Ennis titter any time Bush is so gauche as to label some rapist mass-murderers as evil, but all of Hollywood’s savvy political thinkers basically rose as one to tip their flute champagne glasses when the director of the new Harry Potter film referred to Bush as “a real life Voldemort”. I’ll let Lileks do the rest of my post for me:

Cuaron’s outspokenness is also new to the franchise. Does the evil wizard Voldemort still remind him of George W. Bush, as he said recently? “In combination with Saddam,” he says. “They both have selfish interests and are very much in love with power. Also, a disregard for the environment.”

That last fillip is priceless. It’s like Mick Jagger on stage pointing to the right half of the balcony - they all stand up and scream. Me! Me! He noticed Me!

Let’s review. Bush: supported legislation that wanted to open up an obscure distant corner of caribou country for oil production. The legislation failed; the drilling has not occurred.

Saddam: drained the entire southeastern marsh of his nation, diverted the water, ruined wetlands and the Ma’dan, the people who lived in that ecosystem. One could call it Ethnic Cleansing. One could even call it a Hate Crime.

Well, the water is flowing into the marshes again. Saddam flooded them to hamper the invasion. Yeah, that worked well, eh? Now the villagers are returning; now they’re fishing again.

Of course, this was not the objective of the war; hardly. But it’s happened. And it’s irrelevant to the finely-tuned political minds of our culture’s artists. If Bush had called Saddam “a real-life Voldemort” they’d have spit out their tea and laughed themselves silly - such simplistic Hollywood drivel; what else would you expect from an example of doltus Americanus?

But should a director of moving pictures call Bush a real-life Voldemort, and twin him with a fascist who gassed a village for research purposes - ah, there’s a canny lad. There’s a piercing mind.

Yeah, it’s absurd at the way some balk at labeling the horrifying leadership of some countries as evil, but call Bush a Nazi with glee. Where, exactly, is our Auschwitz? Because I can tell you where the ones in Iraq and North Korea are/were.

If you want to find crazy people on the left that call Bush a Nazi, I can go find some crazy people on the right that wish death on all gay people.

Do you know of any democratic congresspeople that have called Bush a Nazi? Do you know of any major left-wing editorialists or journalists that have called Bush a Nazi?

I just get irritated here when people think of the Big Monolithic Left and the Big MonolithicRight, because there’s none of that.

WTF, this is a movies forum.

Are those crazy people also crying out against the persecution of gay people over seas? This isn’t about crazies, this is about rhetorical hypocracy that excuses real, agregious facism in other parts of the world while espoucing hyperbolic idiocy about facism at home.

Take your fucking politics elsewhere. I swear you politics debaters just wait for a poor innocent thread to pounce upon. I once saw a desktop thread where someone posted their desktop, with some fighter planes as the background. Then someone responds to the thread with something like “Hope you enjoy your war, fucktard” (referring to Gulf War III).

Anyway, I saw this a while ago. I’m not sure they could have made a worse choice. They’re probably gonna fuck this one up big time.

Ragnar, I christing started the thread, and discussion about politics came up after someone linked the most well known writer of the comic book commenting on how the political climate really held potential for re-envisioning the Hellblazer mythos. So here we are.

Here’s a thought: why don’t you one-noted pussies shrinking in terror at the prospect of springing into the realm of three-dimensional thought confine your own posts to inane blatherings about the topic, uncontrasted in other way by outside topics, events or ideas? As opposed to thunk policing the rest of us? Because right now, it is a little as if the deaf community were allowed to wander around using electric drills on the ear canals of conversationalists, then slapping a moist sticker reading “Let your fingers do the talking!” on your forehead when they were done.

It’s just that when I’m in a thread about a cool comic, it sucks to have politics derail it. Because when politics derail a thread it usually doesn’t get back on track.

Sorry for trying to discuss the topic.

PS: I wasn’t really being too serious.

Well, Hellblazer has always been highly political and full of social commentary. Anyone remember the “demon yuppies from Hell” storyline?

I’m not sure which is funnier; Crypt blowing up and quoting Lileks in desperation or the guy getting upset about it.