Comic Book Resources (US), July 23, 2004

Seagle Pens 'Constantine' Comics Adaptation

by Jonah Weiland

A look at Internet discussion forums will reveal that comic fans are of a mixed opinion on the upcoming "Constantine" film coming February 11th, 2004 from Warner Bros.. The film, starring Keanu Reeves as John Constantine, takes a few liberties with the character, yet most fans would say the first trailer looked promising. For "Constantine" completists, fans will want to pick up the official "Constantine" comics adaptation next year from DC/Vertigo by writer Steven T. Seagle, with art by comics veteran Ron Randall, as announced today during the Vertigo: Breaking Boundaries panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego.. CBR News spoke with Seagle to learn more about the series.

The belief of most comic fans is that the "Constantine" film has very little to nothing in common with the character seen in the monthly comic, something Seagle say is not entirely true.

"The mythos surrounding the movie is very much what you know from the comics," Seagle told CBR News last Tuesday. "While it's true that John is no longer blonde or British, he's very much the same man underneath it all. And many of the best bits from the best comics stories are in the movie as well."

Bringing a close to two hour film to comics is no easy task and adherence to the shooting script is a must for any film adaptation.

"This is a strict adaptation. There's not room to expand - quite the opposite. A movie to comics adaptation is all about what isn't making it rather than what is. It's a giant cutting process - tell the story in half the length. That does make for some interesting and cool eidting - I play out two scenes simultaneously that are more time-bound in the film. That kind of stuff works best in comics. But by and large, the two mirror each other well."

Seagle says the biggest challenge faced when adapting a film script to the printed comic page would have to be that need for strict adherence to the plot.

"Hollywood builds in a lot of quick little visual beats that would take a page to fully develop in a comic," continued Seagel. "The dialogue, I play fast and loose with. Because what someone can say quickly in a film needs its own panel in a comic. And things always read different than they sound, so I go more for how it reads on the page - still conversational, but more to the point."

With rumors flying the way they do on the Internet these days, film companies are extremely protective of film plot and story points. Seagle remained mum about the plot for "Constantine" and he's perfectly happy not revealing too much about the movie.

"Every script I've ever been sent from a pre-production film for any kind of project has had a non-disclosure agreement with it, so that's not some shocking thing," said Seagle. "I hate the way trailers for movies give away everything these days, so while I was told to keep it to myself, I would have anyway! What's the point of making a movie (or a comic) if everyone knows every single thing about it in advance? When I was working on my graphic novel 'It's A Bird...' for Vertigo, a lot of incorrect descriptions of it surfaced, and I just let them go - it helped keep some mystery for the book so that when people read it they could still be surprised.

Seagle is joined on the book by veteran artist Ron Randall.

"I worked with Ron on 'The Crusades' for Vertigo, he inked Kelley Jones. But Ron is a great artist in his own right and an ace for likenesses which is key for a movie adaptation."

The writer has some advice for those who're concerned about how Warners is handling the star of the "Hellblazer" comic in "Constantine."

"Keep an open mind. I was pleasantly surprised. No, it's not exactly the same as the comic book, but we've already got the comic book. This is something different, and as that, it definitely stands on its own.

"If people have any more Q's they can find me at the Man Of Action booth #3555 at Comicon!"

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