Re-Casting John Constantine: Four Actors Who Could Do The Job

Here's a confession from myself to you, dear reader; John Constantine, the Hellblazer, the Laughing Magician, punk rock pup is my favourite DC 'hero' character.Yes, even ahead of Batman, Superman and generally any other marquee character to grace the pages of the publisher's heroes and rogues.

Why do I love him you may ask? Long (and retconned up the old dirt road) story short, he is the likeable unlikeable screwtape, a boozey ne'er do well born of blue collar, a conman with a plan, essentially, the necessary arsehole who you would want to be on your side in the middle of a supernatural maelstrom of balmy fuckery. Add to that a distinctively harsh psych jacket and a fondness for cheese and beef (know wot I mean, mate?) and you have an endlessly intriguing though not always pleasant character.

Disclaimer: I am well apprised and 100% amiable to current Constantine Matt Ryan (sexy, sexy Matt Ryan) to continue playing the character; cynical charm, emotional weight, grit and looks more than surpass his still noticeable Welsh accent, the man has it in the bag and thankfully he is returning once again to lend his pipes to the upcoming animated Constantine series. However, as with all of these cast lists, this is purely wishful thinking under the scenario of Mr. Ryan not donning the trench coat and Liverpudlian swagger. So, with that in mind, let's have some fun, luvvies.

I still love you. 

PS: Yes, I also thoroughly enjoyed 2004's film adaptation of Constantine with Keanu and yes, I will defend The One's performance, I found it to be quite satisfying, however varied from the traditional vision of the character.

1) Dan Stevens

Personally, I am of the belief that Dan Stevens could play anybody and anything from Hamlet to a broom. With his roots in the BBC to the cool-as-Greenland title role in cult classic in the making The Guest to what will now most certainly be his main break out role as Beast in the live-action Beauty and the Beast as well as the currently screening and wholesomely delicious series of Legion I know Stevens can do it and that is based on pure facts, not alternative ones.

Stevens has already demonstrated in no small capacity that he can not only tear the stuffing out of physical roles but has no qualms about exposing the vulnerabilities of his characters, no matter how outwardly tough they may appear. To play somebody as troubled as Constantine, it's not merely enough to strut around chain smoking like a chimney, a lot of what has made the character what he is are his sins, his trespasses and they continue to haunt him no matter what road he ventures down.

2) Guy Pearce

Look, we know how great an actor one of Australia's Sons is but he is not necessarily a blockbuster name and you know what? That's a brilliant thing. Like Mr. Stevens above, Mr. Pearce moves in mysterious ways but always manages to be luminous regardless of the assignments he takes. With a character who isn't quite as big in the stars as John Constantine, this quality is highly desirable because when one watches Guy Pearce, they don't say "I'm watching Guy Pearce", they are thinking "I'm watching the Marvel villain/drag queen/amnesiac/1950s detective etc.". He disappears into his avatars with seeming ease but strikes with both fists and given Constantine's comparative anonymity compared to the A-string of DC individuals, that is what the hell-raising Hellblazer requires.

Plus, I need to give him credit of being a brunette and rocking bleached blonde hair. Good job, Guy. Good job.

3) Daniel Craig

Right now, Mr. Craig is known as the current James Bond which is simultaneously a good and bad thing. Good in the sense he is recognized and respected for his tactile and emotional prowess as an actor, bad in the sense that right now it's really the only project he has got going which is completely unfair. Most people tend to forget that Daniel has steadily cut his teeth in lesser seen features, one of the most prominent being Layer Cake where he was Bond-esque at least in terms of fashion sense, but more of the criminal element than the heroic one. Given Johnny Constantine was a shyster prior to being picked up by the Justice League (a habit he still hasn't fully dropped much to the chagrin of his anti-capitalistic heroic brethren), Craig's fast talking, imposing vernacular can sway and intimidate in equal measure.

Now, in terms of those who have an issue Craig's age I have two items to address;


2) Comics are weird and have the driving desire to rearrange their characters and their circumstances into all types of wild situations such as alternative universes for example, so honestly, would it truly hurt the integrity of Constantine if we caught up with him as an older man? For instance, he would be wiser, more attuned to the darker arts of which he practises and have a deeper sense of fore and hindsight about his deeds of the past and the deeds he knows he will have to commit in the future. In short, a more seasoned, scarred John Constantine would be no less acceptable than a cocky younger buck equivalent. By the way, to those of you who are questioning as to whether or not he could sell John's bisexuality, I advise you check out the scene of which you see captured above in Skyfall when Craig's Bond smirkingly butts heads with Javier Bardem's baddie Silva. It may have well been a game but I feel Bond was fully prepared to swing that bat.

4) Idris Elba

Yes, another older stallion... aaaaaaand The Beast just fainted yet I can't find the bottle to blame him, but let us continue.

Mr. Elba is effortless in his coolness and wielding of street-wise authority that to not even consider the man for Constantine is as sacrilegious as buggering a unicorn. When faced with the attacks of his skin colour after being cast as Heimdall from Thor, Elba handled it with grace and held his handsome chin high. He was secure in the knowledge that he had what it took to portray such a larger than life and potentially melodramatically grandiose character yet still had the capacity to inject a certain humanity in what was essentially a smaller role in comparison to Hemsworth and Hiddleston. Not only that, I feel another reason why he struck me as a potential Hellblazer was due to his work on the amazing television series of Luther where he played a gritty detective chasing down a killer he both admired and reviled portrayed by Ruth Wilson. His character of DCI John Luther is thoroughly committed to his work which is both a blessing and a curse and is that not exactly how John views his incredible abilities as when not seeing them as a means to an end in terms of his own personal greed?

Constantine doesn't merely dabble in the dark arts, he is engulfed by them, every time he crosses the planes, he risks his very sanity and self. On top of that, he knows he is pretty much the only one who is suitable for such a task and begrudgingly, he does it, but not without letting those who persuade him to do it have an unfiltered piece of his mind.

Share on Google Plus

About The Popcorn Unicorn

Fallen Botticelli Angel/Elightened Eldritch/Lunatic Fringe
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment


  1. Before even reading this article, I had decided that Dan Stevens should be Constantine if the character were to be used in the DCEU, since Matt Ryan is Arrowverse's Constantine, and DC wants to keep the two universes separate. I hadn't even considered Guy Pearce, but that would actually be decent casting as well...


    I definitely cannot see either Daniel Craig or Idris Elba in the role, not because of their age or race, respectively, but because John Constantine was previously the singer for a punk band (Mucus Membrane) and I just can't see Daniel Craig or Idris Elba fronting a punk band. I also don't believe either could pull off the character's bisexuality.