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Interview with Keanu Reeves, Djimon Hounsou and Francis Lawrence About "Constantine"
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Keanu Reeves stars in "Constantine."
Photo © Warner Bros. Pictures
 Related Resources

• "Constantine" Photos, Credits and Trailer
• Keanu Reeves Films and Photos

How do you walk the line between what fans want and what you want?
FRANCIS LAWRENCE: Number one, I don't think we'll make everybody happy. There's just no way to do it. You know, when I first came on this movie it was an interesting script, and it's a really different script. It has an interesting tone, a different tone. It goes to weird places, the story, and that was really interesting to me. And it's got all these great layers. You know what? It probably won't… Just the fact that it's not in England, that he doesn't speak with an English accent. That he's not blonde. I mean, that's going to piss people off – it just is. And some people may not ever get over that. But I think the heart of the character is there, and I just want to make sure that gets conveyed.

Did you feel any pressure from either the comic book or Internet community?
DJIMON HOUNSOU: You sort of have to forget about that and just worry about the story that you're telling, and where you are at in that story. And hope that it does it justice.

For those who aren't familiar with Midnite, can you describe him?
DJIMON HOUNSOU: Midnite – I can tell you he's a very Rico Suave-sort of witchdoctor, you know? I mean, that's pretty much the look of Midnite. I think he's gone through so much with Constantine and dealt with so much for a long time, those guys are a great team. Or at one time, they were a great team.

KEANU REEVES: He's also kind of like the midway person between Heaven and Hell. He deals in icons and he's a bit of a thief, isn't he?

DJIMON HOUNSOU: (Smiling) He's a businessman, let's just put it that way.

FRANCIS LAWRENCE: It's kind of nice, too, because there's sort of a noir structure to the story. Midnite's introduced and you don't know…You know that there's a history between the two, he's presented as somewhat scary. You don't know if these guys really trust each other or really like each other, so there's kind of a nice little dynamic to it.

Why the name change from “Hellblazer” to “Constantine?”
FRANCIS LAWRENCE: I think honestly it's because of “Hellraiser.” People, when you say “Hellblazer,” they say, “'Hellraiser,' the movie with Pinhead?” “No, no. 'Hellblazer's' this other graphic novel.” I think that was the biggest thing.

Is that a challenge then to attract the “Hellblazer” fans?
FRANCIS LAWRENCE: No, I think every single “Hellblazer” fan knows that this is a movie with John Constantine. I think they are all very aware.

KEANU REEVES: That's why there's so much security here today (laughing).

What kind of music will be in “Constantine?”
FRANCIS LAWRENCE: It's just mostly score. There's a couple spots in the movie where there's some songs. There's two, but it's really like because you're in a nightclub, somebody turns on a stereo at one point, but the rest is score and it's dark, atmospheric.

What rating are you going after?
FRANCIS LAWRENCE: The studio would like it to be PG-13. I don't know where it's going to land. The movie's scary. I mean, I don't know where it's going to land, just based on intensity. My preference would be that it's left in whatever form it stands in right now. So when the MPAA sees it, hopefully they won't make me cut it.

It's definitely not an NC-17 movie. There's not graphic sex, there's not graphic violence unless it's sort of against fantastic creatures and things. I don't have blood spurting everywhere. It's not a splatter movie in any way.

How's the chemistry between you and Rachel Weisz?
KEANU REEVES: I loved it. She's lovely, she's great. It was fun to work with her and to see her again. We had a good time.

Francis, you mentioned this has a noir feel. Are there any visual frames of reference?
FRANCIS LAWRENCE: I'll tell you, honestly, the reference… I'll give you a strange reference and I don't know if you can sort of connect it. But the gritty sort of realism I was talking about a lot in the beginning of the process, I was referencing the movie “Training Day.” Because we were shooting in LA and it's sort of this different side of LA you really don't see. It's a little more ethnic. It's more realistic LA, it's not just sort of the landmarks of LA. I sort of like that. The colors of that, the feeling of that, the textures of that, and I actually worked with the production designer from that film, as well. So if you want sort of a reference for look, you can go with that. The noir sort of comes more in the tone of the character and the structure of the story. The way Constantine obviously interacts and deals with people and the world around him.

Why the choice of LA?
FRANCIS LAWRENCE: First of all, again, it's sort of pulled from various things. There's pieces pulled from various graphic novels. You know, Constantine, in my eyes, has always been universal. He's in London, he's in America, there's pieces that happen in Africa. It's not just a story that takes place in London. And LA is also a very classically noir city.

Keanu, can you talk about the physicality of this role? In the “Matrix” movies you were in top shape, but this character is very sick and dying.
KEANU REEVES: Yeah. It was really fun to play. There's something fun about just breaking down. The character, I guess throughout the film, gets broken down, doesn't he literally?

FRANCIS LAWRENCE: Yeah, you got skinnier and skinnier and skinnier.

KEANU REEVES: No, I didn't.

DJIMON HOUNSOU: Yes, you did.

FRANCIS LAWRENCE: Yeah, you did.


FRANCIS LAWRENCE: We tried as much as we could to shoot in order because you got thinner and thinner and thinner.


FRANCIS LAWRENCE: Yeah, and we met literally the day before we started shooting – or the Friday before we started shooting – we met with this oncologist and he just gave us a lesson in lung cancer that oh my God you wouldn't believe. About people drowning in their own blood and this kind of stuff.

KEANU REEVES: That was our bon voyage.

What about the rumor Warners has approached you to direct “Logan's Run?”
FRANCIS LAWRENCE: That was a rumor.

So it's not true?

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”Constantine” Trailer, Credits and Movie News

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