NBC finally debuts “Constantine,” its adaptation of the “Hellblazer” comics, tomorrow night in the United States. Matt Ryan takes on the role of John Constantine from the comics in an interpretation that’s expected to hew closer to the source material than the Keanu Reeves-led 2005 film adaptation.
For starters the look and accent are much more like the chain-smoking bisexual demon hunter from the comics, the personality is as well. But what about the smoking and the odd gay fling? Thirty years ago you could get away with the odd bit of smoking on broadcast TV whilst gay sex scenes were completely taboo.
These days the opposite is in effect, gay and bisexual characters with active sex lives aren’t a big deal but smoking is very much a no-no. Networks, especially the non-cable ones, are famous for NOT allowing characters to light up on their shows.
Yet it is a crucial part of this particular character. While the flings with men was only a very minor and ultimately throwaway part of the comic, John Constantine’s non-pole smoking has been a crucial aspect of the character from the beginning. In a new interview with CBR (via Cinema Blend), executive producer and developer Daniel Cerone says they will be showing the smoking and have had long discussions about what they can show:
“Is he chain-smoking? Absolutely. We’re limited by what we can show. We just hope comic book fans understand that. Instead of decrying the fact that they don’t see him with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth in every scene, we’re hoping they will actually give us credit for really trying to stay true to the character.”
Cerone isn’t in a rush to show the bisexual aspects of Constantine, though isn’t entirely ruling it out. More likely, it sounds like the series won’t focus on the character’s romantic life much let alone its more colorful aspects:
Could that exist in our universe? Sure. Look, we are following the course of the comic. I don’t mean this as a cop-out at all. The comic ran for a very long time, presenting a character and building out this character, who was different with many passions and conflicts and torments and tragedies. That’s what we’re hanging our stories on.”
Whatever they are doing, NBC likes it as they’ve already given the show an extended episode order even before the premiere’s ratings are in.