Jenna Coleman revealed that she only looked to one other portrayal of John Constantine while preparing for her role as Johanna Constantine in Netflix’s The Sandman.
Speaking to Popverse, Coleman sad that she only focused on Keanu Reeves’ 2005 film Constantine while studying for the part. “I just wanted to take this Joanna Constantine in this form and run with it,” she said, “It was so clear to me what to do off the page.” She also looked to the changes within the script itself. “This is Constantine who has risen through the ranks and is now the exorcist to the Queen,” she added.
The Other John Constantine
While Reeves was the first to portray the swaggering warlock in live-action, he has most recently been played by Matt Ryan. After starring in NBC’s Constantine for one season, the actor reprised the role in The CW’s Arrow as a guest star before eventually becoming a series regular on its sister series, Legends of Tomorrow. Ryan also voiced the antihero in various animated films, including Justice League Dark and Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.
Coleman will be playing a gender-swapped version of the character in the fantasy series. While Constantine himself has a small role in The Sandman comics, Coleman’s part is being expanded for the show. She will also play present-day Johanna’s ancestor, Lady Johanna Constantine, in flashbacks throughout the show’s first season.
Netflix’s The Sandman is based on the comic of the same name written by Neil Gaiman, who serves as showrunner along with David S. Goyer and Allan Heinberg. It tells the story of Dream, who, after being imprisoned for decades, must rebuild the Dreaming world and stop the nightmares that have since escaped from terrifying the Waking World. It stars Tom Sturridge as Morpheus / Dream, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer Morningstar, Boyd Holbrook as the Corinthian, Charles Dance as Sir Roderick Burgess, Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Mason Alexander Park as Desire and Donna Preston as Despair.
Directed by Francis Lawrence and written by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello, Constantine stars Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale, and Peter Stormare. The film grossed $230 million worldwide on a budget valued between $70 and $100 million. It received lackluster critical reviews but has become a cult classic over the last decade or so.