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.

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