David S. Goyer Says ‘Constantine’ Smoking is Under Negotiation

Published 1 year ago by

Constantine cigarette cake David S. Goyer Says Constantine Smoking is Under Negotiation

Many characters from the DC universe are making their way to television screens in shows like The Flash, Gotham and the already-established Arrow, and one character who’s getting his own show is John Constantine of the Hellblazer comics. With a script penned by Daniel Cerone (The Mentalist), Constantine has been ordered to pilot by NBC and is about to begin production.

While some changes are to be expected when adapting a comic book for the screen, Constantine’s smoking habit has been fairly integral to both the character’s image and even to the plot of the series. Both an arc of the comic book and the storyline of the 2005 movie adaptation were based around John Constantine contracting terminal lung cancer as a result of his filthy habit (and trying to cheat his way out of death, of course).

With that in mind, the Hellblazer comics could well be considered a cautionary tale against smoking, but it’s probably difficult to make such an argument to network TV executives who frown upon having characters smoke too much on-screen. In an interview with I Am Rogue, story writer and executive producer David S. Goyer admitted that the battle to have Constantine light up is still ongoing:

“That’s a tricky one on network TV. We’re negotiating right now. He will have his signature trench coat and skinny tie. I would say that the show clings more closely to the sourse material then the film did. Even though the film was interesting.”

Goyer emphasized the fact that Constantine will be played by a British actor, Matt Ryan (who recently voiced pirate protagonist Edward Kenway in Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag), and that he will have blond hair in the show. Goyer also said that other characters from the DC universe will show up if the series gets a full season order, but that the characters will mainly be “occult figures,” such as Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Swamp Thing and Constantine’s demonic enemies Nergal and Rosacarnis.

John Constantine with gun David S. Goyer Says Constantine Smoking is Under Negotiation

When asked if Constantine will be an effects-heavy show, Goyer replied, “Yes, very,” and cited pilot director Neil Marshall’s experience creating scares in horror movies like The Descent and Dog Soldiers. He also teased that another character from the comic books will be announced soon, though some of the edge has been taken off the suspense by the fact that a recent report pointed to this character being Papa Midnite.

Constantine will have four series regulars (if it goes beyond the pilot, that is), all of whom have now been announced. Charles Halford (True Detective) will play Constantine’s much put-upon friend/cab driver Chas Chandler. Lucy Griffiths (True Blood) will play Liv, who Goyer describes as “an amalgam of characters.” Finally, Harold Perrineau (Lost) will play Manny, an angel whose job it is to keep an eye on Constantine. It’s lucky Constantine doesn’t have a habit of misbehaving or anything.


The Constantine pilot begins shooting in a week, and is expected to air on NBC in 2014/2015.

Source: I Am Rogue

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. What? You can’t show people smoking on TV now? If people are stupid enough to repeat what they see on the screen, it’s their fault.

    • My sentiment exactly. Also, if they should do a faithful version of Hellblazer showing a guy smoking should be the least of their worries.

  2. Definitely saw this coming.

  3. Jeeze…I hate cigarette smoke but even I know that John Constantine not smoking is like Don Draper not smoking. It IS his character. This is why I sometimes wish these properties would move away from networks in order to keep their balls. But this isn’t even balls. This is just a ridiculous thing to take away by the network. They’d probably take away Tony Stark drinking.

    • Um…Not sure if you were being sarcastic, but Tony Stark’s drinking problems were taken away by Marvel/Disney.

      • What version of IM2 did you watch?

        Yes they didn’t go down the ‘devil in a bottle’ rabbit hole, but it was not taken away. Plus IM2 was used as a plot device for The Avengers.

        • There is no version of IM2 that depicts Tony Stark as an alcoholic by any stretch of the imagination. He got drunk at one party.

    • Yeah, sorry bud. The first time you see Tony Stark in Iron Man 1…you don’t see him completely. All you see is his hand holding a glass of Scotch. He and Rhodey get drunk on their flight to Afghanistan on his jet. Yensin brings up how drunk he was when they first met. And Tony is plastered at his house party in Iron Man 2 and at the New Years party in Iron Man 3. Hell, he offers a drink to Loki in Avengers. Marvel didn’t take it away.

      • They didn’t take away Stark’s drinking but they never got deep into how bad being an alcholic can be like in the Ironman comics. Originally I believe, IM3 was gonna have Tony Drinking a lot but instead they replaced it with panic attacks.

      • New Years Eve party? what “New Years Eve” party, the ending of the film was on Christmas Day.

        Stark did have “drinks” in the new film…. but it was wine and cheese.

        • The opening scene in Iron Man 3 takes place at a hotel on New Years day. Does anyone remember those films?

      • Showing someone having a drink is not what we are talking about here. Tony Stark is an alcoholic. In no version of any Ironman film from 1 to 3 is Tony Stark depicted as such. He is shown drinking in casual settings (parties, sake on a plane, celebrating the sale of his new missiles).

  4. So stupid – more, “we know what’s best for you” from the PC society and government.

    Smoking is a nasty, dirty disgusting habit – however I believe it’s your right to do so if you want.

    Here’s a shocking idea – how about parents parent instead of letting TV babysit their kids and then maybe you won’t have to worry about cigs on TV being an influence.

    • I HATE it when tv takes off things like smoking because society thinks its a “bad habit” but the idea that some douche bag parents not let their kids watch a show because of smoking is ludicrous in an of itself too. What u think just because one or two kids get inspired to smoke from a show we all have to worry about their well being by taking away our artistic freedom. And when u mention about parents “parenting” their kids, these are the same nut jobs who go out of their way to try and “parent” network television. Did u also know nbc has the BALLS to take away constantine bisexuality just because some crucifix sucking douchbags will think its a sin. WELL F@@@ THEM. This is why i HATE GOD and all these conservative pundits or even these over worrying healthnuts trying to force their idiotic and stupid beliefs on television. This is why censorship should be a guide. I think is horrible the act that the police can LEGALLY force a minor out of an R-rated film cause the government, founded mind you on separation of church and state thinks that kids shouldnt be shown such material since we all know public school is the most WHOLESOME place to be raised.

  5. Make him smoke E-cigs
    Or be like edited anime and just replace the cigarette with a candy sucker.

  6. And it’s ironic that NBC has Hannibal – which shows a serial killer eating people and very and graphic violent content. But yet, a comic book character smoking is a big no-no?

    • Amazing. I saw Hannibal last week where a man glued to a pile of naked corpses tore off chunks of his own flesh to escape, jumped off a cliff and smashed his skull 40 minutes before Hannibal cooked and ate another guys leg…yet smoking cigarettes on television is disturbing. SMH. This show belongs on HBO anyway. Rust Cohl smoked a pack an episode on True Detective.

      • Yup. Complete insanity.

    • It is a matter of what is likely to be emulated. Gruesome serial killer – probably not. Smoking, yes.

      In either case it can be argued if a person is going to do it, then they are going to do it regardless but ultimately if a teen sees Constantine smoking and thinks that looks cool then it could increase the possibility of taking it up.

      • Over the last 40 years or so, smoking has been relegated to almost ZERO marketing mediums (adult oriented magazines I believe are the only place you can still find cigarette ads). They can’t show commercials, and smoking has been all but eliminated from most TV shows. It has been banned in public places, restaurants, and pretty much anywhere where someone might see or smell you smoking. Yet, somehow, the number of people smoking has not seen any significant declination, and the number of teenagers smoking has not had any significant decrease. So, obviously, these people are clueless as to the reasons people smoke.

  7. Bring on Zatanna or GTFO

  8. If NBC can’t handle Constantine’s smoking, then NBC has no business ordering the series. Let the grown ups take shot at it.

  9. In case no one noticed there is a difference between cable and public channels. I can’t think of one habitual smoker on a Fox, CBS, NBC or ABC show. Plus, how many Hellblazer fans are out there and how many people will tune into the show if it looks great? Sorry fanboys, you aren’t the number one priority (as much as we wish we are).

    • I know the Sherlock Holmes in Elementary is trying to kick his smoking habit and constantly chewing gum to help matters but whether that airs on one of the networks you mentioned, I have no idea (it airs on Sky Living here, same channel as Dracula, The Blacklist and Hannibal).

  10. Well it may be true that his smokimg is a big part of the character, if you are going to let someone be beaten, torturered, and have discussions of rape and murder on nbc…then stfu and let the man have a smoke.

    Peopleare gonna complain, but if they put the show on round 10 it would be better to allow him be who he is.

  11. I’ve read that smoking has decreased among adult males but increased among woman. Woman apparently would rather smoke to keep their weight down than be healthy. Of course they’d rather ruin their feet with high heels destroy their hair with chemicals and tear up their crotch with bikini waxing so that’s pretty much par for the course.

    • Women not woman. You spelling police types chill.

    • Well who wants fat women with hairy crotches? I say light em up!

  12. If it’s on NBC this will fail… Why did they not take this to HBO or other premium cable network?

    Another character getting picked apart because network TV viewers are morons. really? no smoking? What’s next Aquaman in the desert? Or how about Rudolph with no red nose? If you agree to put on a show you gotta be ready to show the character properly.

  14. So, John won’t get lung cancer from his habitual smoking habit then?

    I guess it says something when the Keanu Reeves version smoked like a chimney and they changed so much about the character but something closer to the original can’t even reach for them.

    I hope this changes because I’d love to see John interrupt a demon’s monologue so he can light one up and smoke during an incredibly tense scene.

  15. Just Say No Kids!

  16. Smoking for Constantine is integral to several story-lines in Hellblazer, some big ones involving hell itself. I wonder if they know that.

  17. You guys are really all surprised at this?? Are you all just now being introduced to liberal Hollywood? ESPECIALLY NBC. Jesus people educate yourselves…

  18. I bet his house and clothes smell awful.

  19. Have him constantly sucking on lollipop and suffers from diabetes then. His magic can melt the candy and turn it into demon-burning acid.


  20. Definetly not a smoker over here. But to take an icconic trade mark of an established character seems pitty to me. Its like having the “cigarette soking man”. X-files. Chewing bubblegum. Very annoying . But hey if Heisenberg can cook, why couldnt constantine smoke 😉

  21. It’s funny that smoking is controversial, but beheading, knifing, shooting, drug od-ing, etc… are all okay for TV. Society is losing it’s collective IQ with each new sunrise of the PC-empire that we call Western Civilization. Pathetic!

  22. It’s due to all the laws about no smoking in business places and restaurants. It would be really hard for him to legally smoke nowadays.

  23. Actually, Johnny can very well get away with smoking anywhere he pleases. He can surf the synchronicity wave, no less (look it up on some wiki)and has made people see, feel and smell things that weren’t there, or not notice him at all. More often than not, at that. Also, he’s about the most talented con man you’ll ever see: he can smoothtalk himself out of rules and laws in such a fashion you’ll find it insulting.
    I am very afraid of what the’yre going to do to Constantine. This character needs some things kept: scouse accent, dubious hygiene most of the time, chain smoking, his evil accursed raincoat (yes, it has a bad mojo, it even killed some people when John wasn’t wearing it) and his taste for lager and martini-gin. These things, along with his way too sharp tongue, *make* him be John Constantine. Oh and the dirty habit of being a daredevil magus.
    Let’s see: The Nergal character *might* show up? He’s essential to the entire storyline of Hellblazer. If John won’t smoke, he won’t get cancer, which is also a very important part of his story. It links him both to angelic and demonic main figures. If he doesn’t drink, he won’t even cross the devil, which is *also* absolutely essential. I can’t even imagine why Zatanna, that out-of-nowhere angel Manny or Papa Midnite would be more essential to the sow than Nergal. The only essential character aside from John that is confirmed so far is Chas Chandler and I painfully suspect that they kept him only as a comic relief.
    I really, really want a Hellblazer show and the actor chosen for it looks really great in the coat. Still, I fear lots of bad thing will happen, which are totally unrelated to John’s hex antics.

  24. Here’s a substitute for John smoking, Nicotine Patches.

    • This is not about making substitutions. The story only works IF JOHN SMOKES.
      Read the comics and you will understand. If you’ve read the comics and still
      don’t get why his chain-smoking is vital to the plot, then I am afraid nobody
      can help you at all. Also, nico-patches are for people who are trying to quit
      smoking. You have to smoke before you decide to quit smoking. In this world
      of ours, causes precede consequences. The whole matter here is not about making
      lousy concessions about how much poison runs in John’s bloodstream. It’s about
      how the disease got him in a position to trick the First of the Fallen and his
      two bro’s.

  25. Thank God! Now if I could only watch Hannibal without them showing all the gory cannibalism stuff…….

    • Derek Wait a century and Hannibal is a veganist 😉

  26. So, the bottom line now is : We show horror – extreme violence – rape – murder and what not . BUT a cigarette is so dangerous we cannot show it on television . IMHO every show that has no smokers in it – is on forehand self censorship. Every artist be it a director or a painter is free in expression . There are smokers in the world so a show without them is nonsense and fiction. And the worst is this : Shows with smokers are under fire cause “Big Tobacco”is paying them get a life BTW Constantine not smoking is just the joke of the century