This past Monday, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, wife of Richard Donner, told ComicBookMovie.com that an upcoming Constantine sequel was in the works but it hit some "bumps in the road." Keanu Reeves was reportedly still involved and the film in question was definitely a sequel, not a reboot. And now it may be slowly gearing back up again, slowly but surely like The Little Engine that Could.
With all due respect: oh hell no.
This news brings out the inner angry black woman in me (yes, every white jewish nerd has one) because, well, who wants a sequel to an adaptation that was quirky and maybe even visually striking thanks to director Frances Lawrence but just flat-out stillborn? Based on the comic book character created by Alan Moore and turned into a Vertigo comic book series by writer Jamie Delano, John Constantine is a striking, even unique character and he deserves a good movie adaptation. Constantine was not it.
What Constantine needs to be a better film is someone that does more than parse the comics, someone that understands that what makes John Constantine an exciting character is that he's a vindictive coward and paradoxically both a nasty and a charming S.O.B. If The Losers film adaptation is any indicaiton, adult-oriented comic adaptations will time-and-again fail to capture audiences because they're not treated as movies unto themselves but properties. Producers forget the fact that their stories are about characters and that the backbone of any memorable franchise is a good story and as a result, they put undue pressure on directors and writers to make a film that appeals to as side a marketing demographic as possible (Matt Zoller Seitz writes more about this at Salon). We don't need a sequel but a reboot.
That means no Keanu Reeves. C'mon, what part of John Constantine's personality does Keanu seem appropriate for? Even in Lawrence's film, which could have and even should have been its own entity, Reeves seemed out of place. What this adaptation needs is someone that can play a mouthy git with a yellow streak. I nominate Jason Statham, a hero that can pull off Constantine's blue-collar background, tough guy exterior and the sleazier, less admirable side to Constantine pretty well, too. Which is what makes Constantine a memorable character in the first place. Without that hard, character-driven core, aConstantine sequel, prequel, reboot, whatever is just a waste of time and money for everybody. Now if they were to pay me to write a treatment, I wouldn't exactly say no...