Moviefone (US), February 17, 2005

Exclusive Constantine Live Chat

WBGreeter1: Welcome to the exclusive Constantine chat with guests Keanu Reeves and Francis Lawrence! To Ask a question, type it in the space above your chat window and press send.

WB: Welcome to the exclusive CONSTANTINE live chat with actor Keanu Reeves and director Francis Lawrence. The chat is about to begin. Start sending your questions now. Don't go away because at the end of the chat you will have a first look at a never-before-seen footage from the film and access to downloadable wallpapers and images.
Francis: Francis Lawrence, director of Constantine. Thanks to everyone who's listening and watching and typing - go ahead and ask whatever you'd like!

AskWB: Bigsullystyle-guest says: For the Director: What was the most difficult scene to shoot in the movie Constantine?
Francis: I think technically the most difficult was the scene where Rachel Weisz's character gets sucked through the walls of a building by an invisible force. That was tough because there were a lot of technicalities to figure out - what was PG, what was miniature, what sets and extensions had to be built. It was really technical.

AskWB: Mike says: Keanu: How difficult was it for you to play Constantine?
Keanu: Not at all - it was a real joy.

AskWB: Imma-guest says: to Keanu: how do you relate to supernatural matters?
Keanu: With wonder.

AskWB: DennisWeber-guest says: How many scenes had been shot in front of the bluescreen?
Francis: Wow - I don't think I counted, there are a fair number, but not overwhelming. We used a little green screen in the exorcism and in Hell, with both Keanu and Rachel. We used a fair amount of green screen towards the end in the climax of the film with Keanu. Most of the effects incorporate within the space we shot in, so we didn't have to use green screens all that often.

AskWB: Bigsullystyle-guest says: Any chance for sequels to Constantine?
Francis: I'd say that depends on whether anyone goes to see this film! I think Keanu and I both enjoyed making the movie a lot, so we'll all have to wait and see.

AskWB: DennisWeber-guest says: The movie has an unique look. How did you create this look for the movie?
Francis: It all started from me not wanting to make a movie that looked like all the other comic book movies. I wanted to set it in a reality which I thought would give it more impact and make the movie stand out on its own. All the ideas of how the film looks are born from that - location choice, color palette, and the way I shot it. There's also a noir influence in the way the film looks as well - it comes from the tone of the story and the character.

AskWB: MikeFrancis says: Is this your debut film? If so, was it challenging for you to make Constantine?
Francis: It is my debut film. It was challenging, but not because it was my first film; it was challenging because there are so many characters and ideas in the film and a complex plot so it was a lot to balance. It would have been complex for just about anybody.

AskWB: Inbal-guest says: Keanu, did you enjoy working with the young Shia Labeouf?
Keanu: Yes, he's a lovely person and a talented actor. Full of life.

AskWB: Imma-guest796 says: to Keanu: how do you define this movie? I mean, do you think it's a scary movie, a thriller or what?
Keanu: I'm not much one for definitions. We often describe it as hard-boiled, fantasy/horror/detective. I feel that the piece is quite original in its story and construction.
Francis: It's a hard story to try to pin down.
Keanu: Oh, and it's fun!

AskWB: princess-guest says: Mr. Reeves, I enjoy your character interpretations immensely. Were you able to shake off the character of Constantine easily after the film was completed, or was there some residual emotional baggage from playing the character that haunted you?
Keanu: No emotional baggage, but once in a while I got into the Constantinian attitude!

AskWB: Bruno-guest says: Why Constantine and not HellBlazer?
Francis: That scene happened before either Keanu or I was on board, and I think it's because it was too similar to the film HellRaiser. We didn't want there to be confusion.

AskWB: Travis-guest says: Now that you've had a taste of feature directing, will you still do Music videos?
Francis: Definitely! I still enjoy doing music videos. But features have always been where I wanted to go, so I think they will be my focus now. But it's always fun to do a music video, especially when you get to work with a great artist.

AskWB: Bruno-guest says: There is any other hero you are interested to play?
Keanu: Not right now. I'm not carrying an idea of a certain specific hero right now.

AskWB: Zzues-guest says: Do you fight the devil in this movie? That would kick ass if so, lol.
Francis: The devil is in the movie, yes. Whether or not Constantine fights him, I think people will have to wait and see the movie. And the movie kicks ass!

AskWB: tutta21-guest says: Keanu I'm big fan. what do you look for in when you are choosing scrip?
Keanu: I guess ultimately it's whether I respond to it. In whatever genre that it is, it's a story being told and the character I'm playing.

AskWB: SHH-guest says: I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and can't wait to see it again. What kind of box office will it need, you think, for a sequel to be considered?
Francis: I have no idea how those numbers work and what the formulas are to break even or make money. I'll just wait and see how excited the executives are when the numbers start coming in.
Keanu: ...or depressed...
Francis: Yeah, but I see the glass as half full.
Keanu: At least we have a glass!

AskWB: Bluegirl-guest says: Hi Keanu, it's Bluegirl again. Would you describe John Constantine's experience as a near-death experience? Also, do you see any parallels between Neo's "experience" and Constantine's?
Keanu: Hello Bluegirl! That's a good question. That's a big question. The answer to your first question is yes. The thing that comes to mind is simply that Neo was looking out to see the world, and the lines that he had "What is the Matrix?" Constantine, on the other hand, knows. But they are both similar in the sense that they are trying to discover their lives.

AskWB: Normala-guest says: What is Keanu's favorite all-time book?
Keanu: My favorite all-time book - I can't answer that question. There are a few, but I can't really choose one.

AskWB: Inbal-guest says: First of all, I just want to say, Keanu, that I absolutely love you. My question is: Was working with Francis Lawrence challenging?
Francis: Say yes! Give me a bad reputation!
Keanu: The guy's a nightmare! But he knows everything.

AskWB: Normala-guest says: What is Keanu's favorite scene in "Constantine?"
Keanu: Today I have two. The electric chair scene, and when Constantine looks up and asks for a little attention.
Francis: You like that scene today!

AskWB: Inbal-guest says: First of all I wanted to say, Keanu, that you are an amazing actor and that you're very loved in Israel. My question is; As a child, did you read a lot of comics?
Keanu: Thank you Inbal. As a young man, I collected for about five years. My favorite was probably Frank Miller's four part series about Wolverines.

AskWB: electrabrat-guest says: To Mr. Lawrence: I really enjoyed the movie, who were your biggest directorial influences?
Francis: I've got a lot of them, and these aren't specific to this movie specifically but to me. Francis Ford Coppola for Apocalypse Now and the Godfather films, the Coen brothers for Raising Arizona, and Hitchcock.
Keanu: Really? what part of Hitchcock do you like?
Francis: His precision. I did use a little Hitchcock in the movie - a little "Strangers on a Train" homage with you going in one direction, and she going in another direction. So you guys come together in your apartment for the first time. A collision course.

AskWB: st3v3n-guest says: both: In the trailer for Constantine, the song "frozen" by Celldweller is overheard. Have any of you heard them before?
Francis: Yeah, I had heard them before. That song was chosen by the international marketing team.

AskWB: MISTERMISCHIEF-guest says: Mr Lawrence, was it tougher to shoot a movie since its a lot longer than a music video?
Francis: No, I think the toughest thing to get used to is just the duration of the shoot. It's like running a marathon instead of running a 5K. It's not tougher though because you're living with it longer, and you get to prepare for it longer so you're really immersed in the project as opposed to only working on something for a few weeks, so it all balances out.

AskWB: ceres_666-guest says: Hello, there. I would like to ask a few questions. How did you prepare for the role as the main character? I heard you talked with an exorcist for preparation. So, what were the other ways?
Keanu: I had a brief meeting with an exorcist, and I was interested in how he physically performed one. I familiarized myself with the graphic novel and then just tried to think and feel and embody the role.

AskWB: selnow-guest says: Mr. Reeves, as a freelance stage actor here in Germany I want to ask you, if there were any characteristics in Constantine of yourself or did you bring him up totally from the comic book source?
Keanu: I referenced the comic book source for attitude re voice, and behavioral characteristics. After that, as you know, it's a little bit of this, and a little bit of that :-)

AskWB: Matt-guest says: Do you think that the geeky fanboys will get over the fact that Constantine in the movie is not Brittish or will they not eve give it a chance
Keanu: And what is best are the surprises.
Francis: It depends on how rabid the fans are. The hardest of the hard will never get over it, and the fans who can see an adaptation for an adaptation. I think will really enjoy it.

AskWB: tina-guest says: Keanu, I know you got your start in theatre. I absolutely love acting on stage myself. Which would you say is more fulfilling? Stage or Screen acting.
Keanu: In my experience, I think ultimately it has to do with the experience that goes beyond the plastic form. Obviously theater has the last word on stage. In film, there's editing, etc. But as an actor, I think the experience goes beyond borders.

AskWB: jjakslady-guest says: Did all the additional smoking (retakes, etc.) during filming bother you physically?
Keanu: Yes.
Francis: Whenever I was mad at Keanu, I insisted on doing a smoking scene!

AskWB: geneva-guest-2 says: Francis, Shia Labeouf is one of my favorite actors, can you describe his role in the film?
Francis: I would say that he's the civilian whose eyes we see the story through. He's the only one in the movie who isn't fully aware of how the world works, or doesn't have an extra ability of magic in some way or another. He's fascinated by the world and by John Constantine, and would love to be John Constantine. So he's just dying to help in any way possible.

AskWB: WakaiKaeru-guest says: Mr. Reeves, the roles that you choose seem very demanding physically. I am curious as to what your workouts are like.

cindybushnl-guest: [TO AskWB]: Keanu, I'm a huge fan of your films and of Rossdale's music, did you enjoy working with him and with you also being in a band what do you think of musicians crossing to acting and vice versa?

AskWB: Thank you, your question has been received and recorded.
Keanu: The intent is always about trying to realize the silhouette of the character and the physical demands. For Constantine my concern was having an angular sharp silhouette, and at the same time a fragility. Toward that end, I dieted and did basic weightlifting and exercising.

AskWB: Wes-guest says: A lot of your characters have had an underlying dark theme about them...can we expect more roles with these dark connotations, and whether we can or not, can you briefly describe some of your upcoming roles?
Keanu: A project that I recently worked on called "A Scanner Darkly" which is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Phillip K. Dick. This is something I very much look forward to.

AskWB: Darreninny says: is there any significance to the tattoos on Constantine's forearms.
Francis: Yes, they're used for magic.
Keanu: Do you want to be any more specific, Francis?
Francis: No, because they have to go see the movie to find out!

AskWB: firestar311-guest says: Keanu, I am currently a senior at Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts as a Drama major, and i wondered what made you want to become an actor?
Keanu: Joy.

AskWB: cindybushnl-guest says: Mr. Lawrence, was it your decision to cast Gavin Rossdale as Balthazar and do you know if there were other actors who auditioned for the role?
Francis: I do know there were other actors, including one who's now in the movie in a different part. Peter Stormare came in and met for that role originally. But the direction I ended up going in this film was really beautiful and vain, and Gavin sort of fit that part. He's not as vain in real life, obviously, but it was the casting director's idea originally to bring him in. And he was great. And then we cast Peter Stormare as a different character.

AskWB: PaigeRules says: Who could perform a better exorcism Father Merrin (The Exorcist) or Constantine? Explain why?
Francis: Constantine, definitely. He's an exorcism rock star!

AskWB: walkinclouds-guest says: Hi Keanu! and Francis! How was the scene done in which Rachel Weisz's character is pulled through multiple walls? Special effects only or was a dummy pulled through a real set? I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie.
Francis: It's a combination of different things. The first shot was Rachel and Keanu against green screen, and Rachel was strapped to a hydraulic sled. It was combined with a practical background that was ripped apart by cables, and then CG debris elements were added on top. Everything was done in similar fashion - a combination of Angela on a rig, part CG debris, part practical background. Except for one shot, which was a complete miniature with a miniature dummy of Rachel. And that's the shot of the cubicles being blown apart, coming toward camera.

AskWB: jasoninLA says: Considering the subject matter, did anything odd happen on the set as we heard it did on the set of the Exorcist?
Francis: No, we were really careful. I think everyone was a little worried about that, so we were all super cautious not to mess with anything heavy. And so far we've been able to avoid anything strange happening.

AskWB: JackieW-guest says: Of the Hellblazer stories you have read, which did you enjoy the most and why?
Francis: My favorite was Dangerous Habits, which this film is based on. It felt the most human to me and the most relatable.
Keanu: Ditto.

AskWB: Cris-guest says: What was the editing process like for Constantine? Was it heavily influential of your music video background or did you rely more on the editors choice for cuts?
Francis: No, it's neither really. Music videos and film are so different. Music videos are so tied to the song that the song always dictates the editorial style. Feature film making is really up to me and the screenplay what works best from scene to scene and throughout the whole piece. For the most part, I planned scenes to work in specific ways, and they still exist in that way on the screen now. Although the editor was very influential, and is very talented in picking takes and making those scenes work.

AskWB: SUNNY72 says: Were you worried at all about possible controversy, since the film deals with religious imagery?
Francis: Going in, I expected some controversy. I don't think any of us went in trying to offend. I also think we didn't go in trying not to offend. But I was expecting some, and instead, we got the opposite. The religious communities that have seen it so far seem to have embraced the film. Although they still may be offended at certain parts in the movie.

AskWB: JulianaYorio-guest says: To Keanu: What was it like filming a character that was in a constant struggle between his fate and belief?
Keanu: Fate and belief.. hmmmm... Constantine is trying to save his ass. And in doing so, comes to ambivalently understand.

AskWB: Genna-guest-2 says: Hi Keanu, I was wondering what music you are listening to these days? Do you like any new bands?
Keanu: Which new bands? I'm always on the lookout.

AskWB: LoriL-guest says: Francis: Would you please explain the process of collaboration between the director and cinematographer, especially in terms of how you get the 'pictures' from your head to his head to our eyes in the finished product. That leap of communication amazes me.
Francis: It's all about communication. I have an idea of what I want the film to look like, and I had to figure out the best way to communicate that to the cinematographer and also the production designer, which is pivotal to the film. Often I use visual references to communicate the kind of quality of light, colors, and textures that I'm looking for. And long discussions about blocking, framing, and composition. But Philippe Rousselot saw eye to eye from the very beginning. And the communication was very easy.

AskWB: MARRY-ME_KEANU-guest says: Is their gonna be a Comedy Movie on its way from you?
Keanu: So you never made HIM smoke. I have a comedic role of sorts in an upcoming film called Thumbsucker.

AskWB: Tina12312-guest says: Was it unnerving doing the scene with Rachel where you had to push her underwater?
Keanu: No. She and I had worked out a signal, and I only ignored it twice. I thought that that scene conveyed what it took, what it cost, to live the life that Constantine leads.

AskWB: Cris-guest says: Was the majority of the film storyboarded - and then shot on location with a precise time schedule? Or did you just feel the shots when you got onto set?
Francis: It depends on the scene. The whole film was not storyboarded. All the sequences with special effects were, and most of them went further and were pre-visualized into computer animation. For a scene with little or no special effects, typically I had an idea in my head of how it would be blocked and shot, and I would shot lift it the morning we shot the scene. But I wanted to make sure that the actors had enough freedom within specific guidelines to make the scene work in as natural and human a way as possible.
Keanu: God bless you Francis!

AskWB: Leilani-guest says: Do you both of you believe in the supernatural?
Francis: I like to believe there is some sort of magic in the world, but I don't know if it's really true.
Keanu: It's certainly more real than supermodels!
Francis: It's that magic that makes movies so great.

AskWB: Will-guest says: What are their reactions to the film being banned in Brunei?
Francis: It's banned in China as well! I wear that with a badge of honor, I'm sure. And with all the pirated copies I'm sure they'll all see it anyway - there was no security in any of those theaters in Asia. So all the people in Brunei and China will probably see it anyway, they just won't have to pay for it.
Keanu: Oh, but they will.

AskWB: Tina12312-guest says: For Keanu, how did you hook up with Anthrax to appear in their Safe House video? It was very cool by the way.
Keanu: Thank you.
Francis: It's his first step towards working with Britney Spears :-)
Keanu: Scott Ian and I through mutual friends have become friends.

AskWB: kingdaywalker-guest says: Francis, I remember reading something during the early stages of production that stated this movie would definitely be pg-13. I am thrilled it is not. Can you discuss how you were able to get away with this?
Francis: I wouldn't say it's getting away with it. We just went in to make the movie we wanted to make. The studio thought that the way we were approaching the movie would get a PG-13. When we were given the R, the studio thankfully supported the film and had us make no changes to it. But we always went in with the intention of making this movie.

AskWB: Loreja-guest says: I plan to see the movie tomorrow with friends, what one element or elements about the movie do you want fans to take special notice of?
Francis: I would say just how unique a movie this is. And how deep the movie runs. On the surface, it's fun and exciting, scary, funny, but down below are some real ideas, ideas about blurring the lines between good and evil, how we perceive good and evil, especially when it's wrapped in religious clothing.
Keanu: I think to let go of an expectation to be entertained in a traditional way. Which I hope you end up liking.

AskWB: WB says: Thank you both for a wonderful chat. Unfortunately, we are almost out of time. Do you have any parting words for us?
Francis: Thank you for taking part in this chat. We hope you all go see the film and enjoy it, and go see it numerous times. Thank you very much.
Keanu: Thank you for your time.

WB: Thank you for chatting with us.

Article Focus:



Constantine , Matrix, The , A Scanner Darkly , Thumbsucker , Safe Home

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