Ciak (Italy), February 2005


(Translated from Italian by keanugirl76)

After leaving The Matrix's cybernetic nightmares, Keanu Reeves turns into the wizard-detective Constantine in the movie by Francis Lawrence, to face more traditional demons and evil entities.

Taken from a famous comic, "it's a movie which could give life to a new cult," the actor says to Ciak. In theatres from February 25th and distributed by Warner.

Suddenly a glass is lowered to stop a spider's wanderings. Cigarette smoke is blown with cold cruelty in that small glass confinement and makes agony even more painful. "Welcome to my life," John Constantine whispers to that being which, like him, will live for a short time. And John's short life is marked by too many cigarettes, which have drawn a map of death in his lungs, and by an unwanted gift: the capacity to recognise angels and demons among people. Or better, partially heavenly or infernal creatures who are allowed to stay on earth and whisper to human beings words capable of saving them or upsetting their minds. Not bad for a dark introduction of a movie based as many others on a cult comic, in this case Hellblazer, and which, unlike most of them, has been able to draw skilfully both metropolitan and psychic disturbing courses, despite yelding to some scenes which by now can be considered obligatory.

"I've never seen any demons personally," reassures Keanu Reeves, the protagonist of Constantine and once again the involuntary "one" destined to save the world, "but we almost all have dark sides. You are with someone apparently harmless and suddenly you notice his evil potential. You might see a face changing, crossed for one moment by a cruel expression. On the contrary, on another face, unexpected good might reveal itself." Maybe it's just this that happens to Constantine, unsuccessful suicidal, when, in his daily earthly nightmare made of exorcisms and devilish attacks, he meets Angela (Rachel Weisz), a detective who asks him to help her to investigate her twin sister's mysterious suicide. The cynical Constantine, touched by the lady's sorrow, in order to help her will literally face a trip to hell and will even be able to avert Satan's son coming onto our poor planet.

The movie is directed by Francis Lawrence, a beginner with great experience in music videos. He succeeded the Indian Tarsem Singh when he - as far as it is said - realised that he couldn't shoot the movie with Nicolas Cage, who had been chosen by the producers at first. After Cage's refusal, some sulkiness was left by the original comic's fans, who wanted Constantine to be British and blond, just as he was created by the authors. But in the hotel in Los Angeles, sitting near his protagonist, Lawrence claims a less rigid citizenship for the character: "John has travelled anywhere, he was imprisoned in different parts of the world. Does his accent or his hair really matter? We wanted an actor who could show his heart. And he had to be terribly charismatic in order to charm the public because Constantine is not always so pleasant. Indeed he doesn't care about others' feelings, he just wants to complete his work." "Many movies are taken from comics," Reeves says "From Hell, Ghost World, Road To Perdition, had been narrated through sketches. Sometimes they are precise expectations, above all concerning titles like Batman, Daredevil or X-Men, anyway they're just starting points. A movie must find its course by itself. Constantine might be the beginning of a new cult," he kids. "Fantasy as a religion. Unfortunately it already exists: it's called Lord Of The Rings. I liked Constantine for its mix of genres: noir movie, supernatural thriller, horror. Also The Matrix can be meant in this way: shocking."

I: In the movie John descends to hell which is an exasperated version of Los Angeles, lighted up by frightening flashes. Are the soulless megametropolis, where people live imprisoned by traffic, the real damnation?

K.R.: Not necessarily, in every part of the world there're suburbs which are frightening hells as well. But also in another life maybe we'll be condemned to cover again our same motorways. Indeed in our lives there are recurrent topics. In spite of our efforts to change direction, they turn up again. As when you're starting a new love story and your ex-girlfriend calls you back.

I: What do you usually do to relax?

K.R.: When I don't ride my bike, I stay in my new house in Los Angeles and play my bass guitar. I don't play in my band any longer, but that's a long story. I enjoy playing on my own. Any kind of music. Also Britney Spears: a good pop song works always well. And my friends come to cook for me. I provide a fantastic pan set. It's the first thing I bought when I realised I couldn't live in hotels for the rest of my life.

I: Any project or role which you'd like to play in particular?

K.R.: I'm sorry I'm too old to play St. Francis, even though I've wished it all my life. Now I'm working for a movie version of Fame by Knut Hamsun, which deals with a very poor writer's delirium. It's a book written at the end of 19th century and I recommend it to everybody. Then I think it might be funny to play a musketeer or a cowboy. Well, definitely I should play in a western.


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Constantine , Matrix, The , Articles Translated from Italian

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