Exclusive: While at New York Comic Con this year Gotham TV Podcast were lucky enough to see the pilot of the other big DC show Constantine. The show premiered in the US on NBC on Friday the 24th of October and we sat down at a roundtable at New York Comic Con 2014 to discuss Constantine with Matt Ryan (John Constantine), Angélica Celaya (Zed) and show creator and executive producer David S. Goyer. The roundtable includes questions from other journalists present and our own questions to the cast and creator.
Our first interview was with John Constantine himself Matt Ryan who chatted with us about the challenges of fan expectations, playing the part of a Scouser (John Constantine is from Liverpool) and what’s been his scariest moment. You can listen to the podcast with all of the interviews we did at New York Comic Con 2014 with the cast of Gotham and Constantine or read on for the interview
Question – Playing John Constantine is a big job but as a character what drew you to this part?
Matt Ryan – The fact that he’s tormented, he’s guilt ridden he’s got all this dark shit going on and he’s someone that would flip the bird to the devil and do it with a smile and a wink. To play those two things is awesome. It’s so three dimensional and multifaceted. I still feel like I’m peeling back the layers of him and getting under his skin. We’re recording episode 9 and 10 and it’s getting deeper and deeper as we go and what’s great about a part like this is that you can keep going lower and lower there’s not going to be any end to it.
GTVP Question – How do you prepare to be a “petty dabbler of the dark arts” and more importantly as a Welshman how do you prepare to play a Scouser (A person from Liverpool where John Constantine is from in the comics)?
Matt Ryan – Interesting question, first of all reading the comics going to the source material, gleaning as much of that as possible and then reading a bunch of the Grimoriums you know magic books, watching a bunch of movies like the Exorcist and trying not to freak myself out too much. In terms of John being from Liverpool and being a Scouser, early on I wanted to get in touch with the DNA of the character and go for the essence of him rather than playing a voice and an accent. I talked to one of my best friends who’s from Liverpool about the accent but I wanted to get the essence of him and to do an accent that was accessible but wasn’t me. It wasn’t completely me and Welsh but also wasn’t a hard Scouse but was a Northern [English] accent. Something that’s going to be accessible and has that working class quality to it. That came about from me wanting to find out who the character was and I wanted to go for that rather than playing an accent.
Question – What is your characters relationship with Zed (Angelica Celaya’s character)?
Matt Ryan – It’s feisty. It’s really cool she’s someone that doesn’t take any of his shit and really gets in his face. They get on each others nerves they have this interesting sexual chemistry between them. They need each other and want to push each other away it’s a really interesting dynamic I think that they start to grow together as well. Where we’re at now they’re at a really interesting place it’s a really interesting chemistry they’ve got and it’s really fun to play.
Question – What was the scariest moment in your own life?
Matt Ryan – Probably doing this. Reading comics before I go to bed and then being in my apartment on my own, in a strange place alone hearing knocks in this strange apartment building in the middle of the night after a day shoot and shitting myself. That’s probably while I’ve done this cause you’re thinking about it all the time. I’m trying to keep reading the comics even though we’re working twelve to fifteen hours a day so I can keep that line to the source material and into the DNA so that it’s always there in the background. You do that before you go to sleep and you think of demons and stuff.
Question – When you do comic adaptations fans will judge you on every little thing you do. Does that ever come into your mind when you’re doing the role because this is such an iconic character?
Matt Ryan – Yeah, well it’s a lot of pressure isn’t it? It’s the fans that are the reason I’m here the reason the comics are loved so much and you want to do it justice. But I think at the same time, to make it your own, I think you have to be ballsy enough to go “Well OK this is what I’m doing” and hope that they like it and hope that my interpretation of it and the fact that I really like the comics and I’m trying to keep a line to that all the time and I’m hoping that will come across. But you can’t really think about it too much because it can get in the way. You want people to love something that they’ve spent a lot of time in their life reading because it’s something that they love.
No UK or Irish broadcaster has been announced for the show just yet but we’ll bring you news as soon as we hear it.