by Paul Montgomery
Every little thing he does is magic, or so the ensorcelled suits at Warner Bros. seem to believe. “Man of Steel” writer David S. Goyer’s already pounding away at a Batman-infused sequel, but that may be sidelined, if momentarily, by a case of Vertigo. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Goyer will partner with Daniel Cerone, executive producer of “The Mentalist,” to script a “Constantine” pilot for NBC television.
Conjured by scattered bones across a nicotine pentagram in the very image of Police-era Sting, street-wise sorcerer John Constantine first appeared in the pages of Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing.” He soon established his own haunts in Vertigo’s long-running “Hellblazer” series, stewarded by the likes of Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Denise Mina, Andy Diggle, Peter Milligan and more. In 2005, Keanu Reeves donned his demons (but not his brogue or blonde hair) in a film by Francis Lawrence.
Should NBC pick up the series, “Constantine” could represent a growing DC Entertainment conquest of non-cable television which also includes the CW’s “Arrow” and its planned “Flash” spinoff, as well as Fox’s Jim Gordon-centered “Gotham” series announced earlier this week.
Speaking of those DC Comics adaptations waiting in the wings, this could throw a wrench in Guillermo del Toro’s long-rumored “Justice League Dark” feature, a project said to include Constantine, Swamp Thing, Deadman, The Demon Etrigan and other grim champions of DC’s occult pantheon. The same problem currently plagues the simultaneously greenlit Flash TV series and film, and the jury remains out as to how these small screen developments will affect their big screen counterparts.
Though similar projects like “The Dresden Files” and ABC’s “Night Stalker” never caught on in past seasons, perhaps the more recent success of “Once Upon a Time” and other urban fantasies in the mainstream suggest it’s the perfect time to strike at a newly sizzling iron. More and more domestic audiences have also embraced similarly grave UK offerings like “Luther” and “Broadchurch.” Could a sly and haggard John Constantine, likely cast as a London expat trailing ashes stateside (to mirror his current iteration in the pages of DC Comics proper) enchant that same demographic?
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