"Constantine" Press Conference in Rome (Italy), February 10, 2005


(Translated from Italian by keanugir76, translation edited by Anakin McFly)

Francis Lawrence, a director who until now has been popular for making the most innovative music videos, this time has taken a fragmented story from an underground comic and has made a movie out of it. It's an exciting film dealing with the world's deceiving nature and the difference between perception and appearance. In this project he involved Keanu Reeves, already an icon in this kind of movies.

I: Keanu Reeves, for you another movie among fantasy, future, devil and holy water. Why?

K.R.: I'm carried away by my instincts. There are several reasons why I always choose to play characters dealing with God, with the devil, with our inside, with our best and worst. Definitely I think they're very interesting and beautiful to play, as well as the reality in which they live and interact with.

I: Francis Lawrence, how would you define your movie?

F.L.: It can't be related to one style only. It's a mix of supernatural, noir and fantasy. As a director it wasn't hard for me to put all these things together. On the contrary it was more difficult to convince the studios that a story like this could work. You know, a product must be necessarily related to a genre in order to study it and foresee the audience's reactions. "Constantine" was a bit out of this process but luckily a lot of people believed in it.

I: Keanu, did you already know the comic "Hellblazer" which the movie is based on?

K.R.: I read the script even before reading the comics. I loved it immediately for its originality and I can say it was the same for its character, John Constantine. Then I read the comics to get acquainted with the plates and understand better Constantine's form, his personality, his attitudes. I worked a lot together with the director and the scriptwriter in order to merge better into the character, into his thoughts and feelings.

I: Mr. Lawrence, why is the protagonist called Constantine?

F.L.: Honestly I don't know why the writer chose the first Christian Emperor's name. However, surely there's a relation between the two. For instance, think about the 'fate's lance' which, according to history, was among Constantine's mother arrangements. All that we did was taking it from the comics.

I: Is it a movie about New Age?

F.L.: No, I don't think so. Surely the story is deep-rooted in Catholic theology, but my intention was to make a movie which could attract, in an universal way, also those who are out of it, which dealt with the theme of the balance, the difference and the polarity between good and evil, which could be interpreted not only from a Christian point of view, but also according to the specific personal beliefs of all those who see it. I just wanted to also insert into the Christian matrix the other more universal themes I've talked about.

I: What about a possible sequel?

F.L.: Well, it will depend on this episode's success. Indeed Constantine's adventures are many. The things which upset Constantine and which do provoke his reaction are so many that it's really impossible to select them.

I: Who are the other directors you were inspired by?

F.L.: I saw several movies to prepare myself, but concerning the general atmosphere I was inspired by Houston's "The Maltese Falcon" and Polansky's "Chinatown." As for the sensations the movie should evoke and its form, its exterior appearance and its location I went back to Training Day, which takes place in those suburbs of Los Angeles which are not usually visited by tourists. It manages perfectly to gather very specific features of the city, as for instance its ethnic part. I loved this substantial feature and I wanted to insert it in my movie.

I: Keanu, what satisfied you most about your interpretation?

K.R.: Well, I was very satisfied with Constantine's characterization. I participated very actively to the stratification of my character. Together with the director and the scriptwriter, we worked hard on what he could say or do and, to sum up, it was just my participation to the creative process which satisfied me most.

I: Do you believe in fate?

F.L.: I think that fate exists but I don't know if we actually have even only one small part of what is called free will and if we can really decide how our lives must be.

K.R.: I don't believe in fate in the sense of its classical meaning. I'd rather think that there are some forces which do influence our lives.

I: Why did you choose L.A. as a location?

F.L.: A statement about the similarity between traffic jams along the freeways in L.A. and hellish scenes would be taken from granted. The point is that the entities surrounding us can be found anywhere. It's not important where we are. It would be the same elsewhere in the world. But L.A. is my city, I love it and I know it. This is probably the reason why I choose it.

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Constantine , Articles Translated from Italian

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