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CONSTANTINE

About The Production
Producer Lauren Shuler Donner was instrumental in helping John Constantine make his transition to the big screen from the pages of the DC Comics/Vertigo "Hellblazer” series of graphic novels. Shuler Donner, whose credits during her more than 20 years in the industry include the beloved Free Willy films, You've Got Mail and the international box-office phenomenon X-Men and X2, was captivated by the character's extraordinary circumstances and distinct attitude. She saw the property's dramatic potential as a feature film. "It was immensely appealing,” she says. "Intelligent, thrilling, a good story with an anti-hero at its core; the kind of movie in which the completely unexpected happens.” 

After successfully pitching the project to Warner Bros. Pictures, for which she has produced a number of high-profile films including the Oliver Stone drama Any Given Sunday and the critically acclaimed romantic comedy Dave, Shuler Donner focused on developing a script for Constantine with screenwriter Kevin Brodbin (The Mindhunters) and producer Michael Uslan. Uslan, with partner Benjamin Melniker, also a producer on Constantine, have a long-standing collaborative association with premiere genre publisher DC Comics through which they previously helped bring the blockbuster Batman film franchise to life. 

Brodbin, a huge fan of the source material (Vertigo's longest-running monthly series with over 200 issues and 15 graphic novels published) had long harbored a desire to write a script for the character and took the adaptation very seriously, emphasizing that, "the most important thing was to be true to Constantine's voice” – an essential point on which the filmmakers agreed, as did screenwriter Frank Cappello, who later joined the project and likewise drew heavily upon the character's origins for guidance. 

Based on the originality of the developing concept Shuler Donner presented, producer/writer Akiva Goldsman next joined the Constantine filmmaking team. A successful producer, Goldsman is equally renowned for his screenplays, among them The Client and A Beautiful Mind, which earned numerous honors including an Oscar, a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA nomination, so it's no surprise that it takes a strong story to capture his attention. "It's impossible for me to work on something unless it's fun as well as creatively and imaginatively engaging,” he admits. "Constantine presents an idea I've always found compelling and have wrestled with in my own work – that of the world behind the world, what might exist beyond what we can see.”

John Constantine's identity and his attitude are inseparable from his situation; as the circumstances of his life compel him, he forges ahead with a single focus. "What I love about this character is that there's an inevitability to his failure and yet he's willing to keep pushing and trying to figure out another way,” says Lorenzo di Bonaventura, for whom Constantine marks his debut as an independent producer following an impressive tenure as head of production at Warner Bros. Pictures. "It's not the kind of indomitable spirit that usually connotes a heroic venture; it's the indomitable spirit of a man who knows he's not going to win but plays as hard as he can anyway.”

"This is a man who walks both sides, light and dark,” Shuler Donner describes the complex title character. "He's not evil; the life he took, after all, was his own. But he's not all good either. Deep inside, I think he's just a guy who's had a very hard life and yet he's smart enough to have a sense of humor about it, which is one of the reasons we wanted Keanu Reeves because we knew he could pull that off. He can strike those balances and give us the sense of depth that defines Constantine.” 

"He's fighting the system,” adds Erwin Stoff, Constantine producer and Reeves' longtime professional collaborator. "John Constantine clearly doesn't want to go<

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