This week after being treated to a special World Premiere screening of the amazing ‘Justice League Dark‘ film film from DC Animation, the filmmakers and cast treated the fans and press in attendance with a special panel to discuss the new film, and share their thoughts on the new characters and stories introduced in the film. In attendance were Matt Ryan (Constantine), Jason O’Mara (Batman), Nicholas Turturro (Deadman), Enrico Colantoni (Felix Faust), Ray Chase (Jason Blood/Etrigan), James Tucker (the Supervising Producer), Jay Oliva (the Director) and Phil Bourassa (the Character Designer). And to make things even more interesting, they even handed out prizes, with the 4 best questions of the night receiving a giant poster for the film signed by everyone on stage for the panel. Lamentably, I missed out on getting one of the posters, but the panel itself was fascinating, and the group shared a lot of great information about the making of the film.
Clearly, a lot of the impetus for doing the movie was to put Constantine front and center, and that became apparent while listening to the filmmakers. According to James Tucker, the supervising producer, they:
“…always wanted to do Constantine, even back in the ‘Justice League Unlimited’ days, now they finally could.”
Apparently back then the character was too tied up with rights issues for them to use him properly in animation, most likely because of how recent the ‘Constantine’ movie with Keanue Reaves was and how convoluted Hollywood rights with comic book movies has always been. When speaking about drawing the characters for ‘Justice League Dark’ as opposed to the regular JL members, character designer Phil Bourassa stated that:
“This cast gives you more room to play a more variety of things that work for them.”
When asked whether Constantine’s look came from the comics or from Matt Ryan’s look on the NBC show, Phil spoke on how the look for Constantine in ‘Justice League Dark’ was based on a number of sources, both the comics, and the other recent interpretations, though he did note that “Matt’s look [in the NBC series] was already faithful to the Constantine from the comic book,” which is most likely why the Constantine in this film looks so familiar to the look Matt sported as the character. At this point though, James spoke up in regards to one of the more iconic looks of the character, namely the cigarette he usually sports in the comics which did not make it into the film, and lamented that had they known in the beginning that ‘Justice League Dark’ was going to be an ‘R-Rated’ film they probably would have included that cigarette.
When asked about whether he enjoyed playing Constantine more in live-action or just doing the voice of the character, Matt Ryan seemed especially excited to see Constantine in the new medium, even joking that:
“Yeah, I think I look much better in animation….[It’s] Great to come back to do Constantine in this context and see him interact with characters we could never do in the live action show…”
When asked about the prep work he did to prepare for the movie, Ryan basically said that since he has not really stopped playing Constantine the past couple of years, a lot of his work was done, the only difficulty apparently being the new spells thrown at him. He basically said he took the “…DNA of the character he played before and brought that to this medium… a lot of that [work] was done before….Magic was tough, quite tough to get your mouth around all those words…they can be difficult, but they’re also fun.”
As for Batman’s quieter role in the film, voice-actor Jason O’Mara noted that the character:
“…was able to become an observer and become a barometer for how weird things were getting… be more quippy.”
Make sure to check out ‘Justice League Dark’ for yourself (it should be available digitally now, and available on Blu-Ray on February 7th), and share any thoughts you have on the film in the comments below!
Nick is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, who belongs to the privileged few who enjoyed the ending to ‘Lost.’ For more of Nick’s thoughts and articles, follow him on Twitter.