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On the Dark Side with Matt Ryan aka John Constantine | NYCC 2016


Fans are still crying to #SaveConstantine, and it looks like DC listened. As a result we have a new animated film, Justice League Dark, to look forward to. The best part? It stars Matt Ryan, returning to the role of John Constantine once again.

If you like your cape stories with a side of magic and mayhem, then chances are you’ve at least dabbled in DC’s Vertigo line. Since it’s induction in the 1980’s, it has homed flagship titles like Hellblazer, starring fan favourite John Constantine. Although the character has had a rocky time the last few years, the fandom for him is going strong. There was that Keanu Reeves movie in 2005. Then, in 2011, Hellblazer ended its run at issue #300. John was migrated into mainstream DC with the New 52 and now Rebirth, which was a rocky process. And when the character got the limelight with his own show on NBC, it got cancelled after a 13-episode run.

But nobody, least of all the producers at DC and Matt Ryan himself, want to give up on John. At New York Comic Con this weekend, we got to participate in a roundtable interview with Matt Ryan and a number of others from JLD’s production team, including Jason O’Mara (Batman from the DC animated film series). Read on to see GEEKPR0N pick their brains!

Matt Ryan at NYCC answering questions about Justice League Dark. (photo by GEEKPR0N)

Matt Ryan at NYCC answering questions about Justice League Dark. (photo by GEEKPR0N)

GEEKPR0N: What was your favourite scene to film as Constantine?

Matt Ryan: I’ve got three favourite episodes. There’s A Feast of Friends. Jonjo O’Neill (Gary Lester) is one of my best friends, and we were so lucky that we got that role. That scene at the end with us in the theatre — we can get that shit for free! It was great. That was one of my favourite scenes, the way he says “You bastard, John.” Then playing the demon as well, having the demon inside me for Episodes 8 and 9, that was fun, and exhausting. It’s a shame we didn’t get to do more from the comics, like with Swamp Thing. I’d like to do a naked scene, with the tree tattoo on my arse. (Editor’s note: Yes, this actually happened in Hellblazer. Don’t ask. Comics are weird.)

GP: How are you similar to John, or not similar?

Matt: I think our humour can be the same, very dry. But hopefully I’m not a bastard like him, I don’t think. I’d like to think I’m a lot nicer! I’m not blonde, though I enjoy being blonde. But you have to get your roots done every two weeks!

GP: What do you think the future of John’s character is?

Matt: I have no idea. I’d love to play him again. It was so great to do him in this medium, animation. Since I did Arrow, I’ve been working pretty steadily. I just finished shooting something else in London. If they want me back, I’d be up or it. He’s a great character, one of the best literary characters of the twentieth and twenty-first century. It’s fun.

The Justice League Dark team at NYCC. Left to Right:

The Justice League Dark team at NYCC. Left to Right: Jason O’Mara (Batman), Jay Olivia (director), Matt Ryan (Constantine), James Tucker (producer), Phil Bourassa (character designer). Photo by GEEKPR0N

GEEKPRON: Question for Jason O’Mara; there is a lot of Batman out there and a lot of different actors behind him, how do you make it yours?

Jason O’Mara: My Batman is very specific. This is the Batman who had that strange night with Talia Al Ghul, and unbeknownst to him they had a child. Now he has to get this rag-tag bunch of mediums to deal with demons. I love Kevin Conroy’s Batman, but I wouldn’t be able to play him! I love Ben Affleck’s Batman but he’s not my Batman. To the public, it’s all just Batman, but it’s personal for me. I could bring my own experiences to it as a father, which I think distinguishes my Batman. But he’s not a leader here, and he thinks the supernatural is rubbish, and isn’t afraid to let Constantine know that.

GEEKPR0N: It’s an interesting character bit for Batman because he’s the skeptic.

JOM: Which makes him the everyman, he’s people’s eyes and ears.

GEEKPR0N: It also presents something we don’t see very often, which is Batman being wrong.

JOM: Yeah, but I don’t think in this case he cares. He thinks “Whatever guys, just sort out the problem”. He’s more than happy to use science and gadgets whenever he can. He’s the bridge between the DC world we know and this new world that we’re starting to explore.

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Thanks very much to DC/Warner Bros. for letting these interviews happen. We can’t wait for Justice League Dark!