When it comes to John Constantine, Matt Ryan could very well have a bit of Michael Corleone in him in that every time he thinks he’s out, they pull him back in. Consider that the Welsh actor first brought DC’s master of the dark arts (a title even John admits is lofty at best) to life in the 2014-15 Constantine series on NBC. This was followed by an appearance on an episode of Arrow, his voicing the character in 2017’s animated film Justice League Dark, recurring on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, again voicing the character in the CW Seed animated series Constantine: City of Demons, and scheduled to become a series regular on Legends of Tomorrow if (really, when) it comes back for a fourth season.
“It’s strange,” he offers up in an exclusive interview, “but it’s also wonderful, you know? It’s like a gift that keeps on giving. Every time I think that it’s done, they keep on pulling me back in. I keep putting it to bed, and then it keeps on coming back.” See? Michael Corleone. “It’s just great to be able to play the character across these different mediums, across these different shows. And what’s great about this animated series, City of Demons, is it’s a real character-driven piece. It’s taken from the comic book All His Engines, or loosely adapted from that. But it’s a real character-driven piece and we get to see John and Chas’ friendship. It really delves into that, and the backstory of John as well.”
Interestingly, in terms of reprising the role, it was Legends that offered him his greatest challenge in terms of recapturing Constantine. “I’d just finished doing a play in London, and I was playing this Yorkshireman in pre-industrial Britain, and the accent was really, really thick. And it wasn’t so dissimilar to what I do with John, but it was proper Yorkshire, so it was a different kind of cadence. And when I started to work on the script for Legends, the character that I had just been playing was there, and I was, like, ‘Where’s John?’ So I had to go back and watch a little bit of the series and get my comics out, get all my notes out and such, and I spent, like, four or five days just trying to shed the other character and get back into John. And then — and I thought this was funny — every time I put the trench coat on, there’s just this swagger that comes with it, you know? And I can remember watching the TV show again to try and get into it. I’m, like, ‘What is that walk? How can you get back to that?’ It’s obviously from the comics, but he has a hell of a strut… Obviously, a lot of thought went into it.”
The real question about his inclusion as a part of the cast of Legends of Tomorrow is whether or not Constantine will have to change to be a part of them, or if they’re going to have to change to be a part of him.
“See, I think that’s the interesting thing about him being on that show,” he says, “because John is John wherever you put him. And I think, what is that guy now going to be like? ‘Cause John isn’t great at working in a team either, so it’ll be interesting to see how the dynamics between his interacting with all those different characters is going to play out. That’s one thing that really kind of excited me: How is he going to function with these group of misfits? But, again, what’s great about John is, John is John.”
Keep it locked to GEEK as we wait for official confirmation about the return of Legends of Tomorrow and Matt Ryan’s John Constantine in the coming weeks.
Images: Warner Bros