Trench­coat Tele­vi­sion

Comic Heroes - - Feature -

Con­stan­tine’s showrun­ner Daniel Cerone on smok­ing, the su­per­nat­u­ral and tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from Swamp Thing Comic He­roes: What pe­riod of the char­ac­ter’s his­tory did you draw on for TV’s Con­stan­tine? Did you go back to the AlanMoore is­sues of Swamp Thing or Jamie De­lano’s run on Hell­blazer? Daniel Cerone: That’s a re­ally good ques­tion. Con­stan­tine is prob­a­bly one of the most chal­leng­ing comic book prop­er­ties to adapt be­cause my un­der­stand­ing is that Hell­blazer was the long­est-run­ning se­ries that was never reis­sued or renum­bered. I think it ran for some­thing like 25 years. The other thing that’s in­ter­est­ing about it and unique is that Con­stan­tine pretty much aged in real time. We met him in Swamp Thing when he was young, and then we kind of watched him grow older. That’s just some­thing that you don’t see hap­pen in comic books much. So in terms of choos­ing an ac­cess point for our TV se­ries, it was very daunt­ing. It was very chal­leng­ing. But we ba­si­cally went back to the be­gin­ning. We were all very in­spired by Alan Moore’s ini­tial in­tro­duc­tion of Con­stan­tine in Swamp Thing. Frankly we’re us­ing that as a ma­jor launch­ing point. We’re meet­ing Con­stan­tine at roughly the same point in his life as when he was in­tro­duced in Swamp Thing. CH: As far as de­vel­op­ing the char­ac­ter’s mythos, was any­thing in his his­tory fair game? DC: Yeah. We have both se­ri­alised sto­ry­telling and stand­alone sto­ries. If you re­mem­ber the orig­i­nal “Amer­i­can Gothic” arc in Swamp Thing, ba­si­cally the con­ceit there was that “The dark­ness is com­ing”. There was an un­known force stir­ring up su­per­nat­u­ral en­ti­ties and forc­ing dark things into the light. Su­per­nat­u­ral at­tacks are on the rise. Con­stan­tine es­sen­tially works with Swamp Thing to find out what that is. That ba­sic arc is what we’re look­ing at for our se­ries. So within the frame­work of Con­stan­tine in­ves­ti­gat­ing what kind of dark force is com­ing and what’s be­hind it, he is also try­ing to put out these sort of su­per­nat­u­ral brush­fires. And within those closed-end sto­ries, we’ve got 30 years of Con­stan­tine to draw on. CH: Con­stan­tine’s cig­a­rette habit is a big part of his char­ac­ter – at one point in his his­tory he had ter­mi­nal lung cancer. Will he smoke on the show? DC: On our TV show he’s a char­ac­ter who’s go­ing to smoke. Ob­vi­ously we fall into [Amer­i­can] Broad­cast Tele­vi­sion Stan­dards, so we can’t nec­es­sar­ily show him smok­ing. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t smoke. But we’re gonna try and let au­di­ences know that that’s who the char­ac­ter is. Now that might be a scene where we open with Con­stan­tine throw­ing a cig­a­rette on the ground and stub­bing it out with his foot. Or maybe we end a scene with Con­stan­tine light­ing up. Just be­cause we’re pro­hib­ited from ac­tu­ally show­ing him smok­ing doesn’t mean that we have to com­pletely neuter him. You just hope that the fans are gonna be un­der­stand­ing enough to know that that’s the re­al­ity of the mar­ket­place. So within the re­al­ity of that mar­ket­place, we’re gonna do ev­ery­thing we can to stay true to the core of the char­ac­ter. CH: Might we see any other su­per­nat­u­ral char­ac­ters from the DC/Ver­tigo uni­verse? DC: Yes, def­i­nitely. You’re gonna see that Con­stan­tine ends up in­her­it­ing this house that’s a repos­i­tory for many oc­cult and su­per­nat­u­ral items. One of them that we’ll clearly see in the pi­lot is Fate’s hel­met. We’re look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to meet char­ac­ters both in the Ver­tigo and DC uni­verses. The guid­ing force is that they have to feel or­ganic – but there will def­i­nitely be at least one sig­nif­i­cant DC char­ac­ter in our early episodes.

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