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Interview with Matt Ryan of Constantine

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I had the pleasure of talking to Matt Ryan who plays John Constantine on Constantine today. What follows is a quick round up of some of the questions, answers and spoilers. Ryan hails from Wales and has a long history of doing West End Theatre in London. A full transcript should follow in the next day or two. Q = question and MR = Matt Ryan.

Q: Was there one thing that you latched onto to help you develop the character?

MR: The history, the backstory. And within those, the flashbacks helped and the relationship with his family, his sister and the Newcastle crew.

Q: How did you work on John’s accent?

MR: He’s from Liverpool but also lived in London quite a bit. I didn’t want anything exactly like my own accent. I worked on a London accent for a while and then went with a more Northern accent. I wanted something working class and gritty. I didn’t want it to be all about his accent though. So I made it a more subtle nod to the Liverpudlian accent but made it more accessible for network television.

Q: Which of the storylines scare you the most?

MR: The Dangerous Habits story is my favorite and the one I find scariest. It’s about lung cancer and is a very human storyline. It was the first I read. I had about two and a half weeks to prep for the pilot. I couldn’t read all of the stories beforehand.

Q: What can you tell us about the Zed, Manny, and Chase stories coming?

MR: Chase is John’s oldest and closest friend. He provides a logic to John. John is a demon addict and Chase grounds him and is good in a fight. John and Manny are like two gunslingers. The need each other but there’s conflict there. They don’t want to be in each other’s company, but they have to be. There is a really interesting dynamic that will develop there. It takes a shift, but I can’t say more… Zed. She gets in his face and won’t take his shit. Her ability is very useful to John. There’s a chemistry between them which could develop. She’s very mysterious. They are both reluctant to reveal their pasts to each other.

Q: Did you have any hesitation taking the part, knowing that there was this established fan base? Who would you like to see appear in the show?
MR: After doing my research, I just thought this would be a great character to play. It’s iconic and that could make you nervous or you can see it as a challenge. I try to stay true to the DNA of the character. I’m busy with the day to day filming, so I don’t feel the pressure.
You will see the Newcastle Crew – Gary Lester, Anne Marie Flynn. I want to see Satan, the first of the fallen, but it will take a while for us to get there.

Q: Dr Fate’s mask was in the Pilot. Are there plans or are you looking forward to more DC characters? Are there plans for any crossovers?

MR: The Millhouse contained lots of easter eggs, including Pandora’s box, and the Dr Fate mask. You saw Jim Corrigan already and his character became a cult figure in the DC universe. You’ll also see Papa Midnight and Judas. The episodes are self-contained but the characters help to root the episodes and each character brings out different sides to John.
Aside: Ryan said he didn’t know if there would be crossovers with other DC universe shows – such as Arrow. He hasn’t heard anything to that effect.

Q: What sets Constantine apart?

MR: It’s down to John’s character. He’s a working class, anti-hero. It’s also the relationships. He’s not a superhero and that sets him apart.

Q: How do you get into character?

MR: It depends on the scene or on the day. I like to listen to classical music for the darker stuff. I also listen to punk rock. I may switch it up – I have very diverse musical tastes. I use music and the comics for motivation. There’s always a physicality to him, especially in the comics.

Be sure to come back for the full transcript to read about the casting and auditioning process that Matt went through and what he wanted to be for a brief time before he decided to become an actor!

About the Author - Lisa Macklem
I do interviews and write articles for the site in addition to reviewing a number of shows, including Supernatural, Arrow, Agents of Shield, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Forever, Defiance, Bitten, Glee, and a few others! Highlights of this past year include covering San Diego Comic Con as press and a set visit to Bitten. When I'm not writing about television shows, I'm often writing about entertainment and media law in my capacity as a legal scholar. I also work in theatre when the opportunity arises. I'm an avid runner and rider, currently training in dressage.

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