CCI Day 2: Keanu Reeves, Djimon Hounsou, Karen Berger and Francis Lawrence talk "Constantine"

Sat, July 24th, 2004 at 12:00am PDT

TV/Film
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

It was more than the smell of sulfur in the air, as Warner Brothers Pictures screened eighteen minutes of the upcoming film "Constantine" for a capacity crowd in the San Diego Convention Center's massive hall "H."

A wide range of action was visible in the clips shown, including the lead character punching a demon during a exorcism, hopping in a used electric chair for a ride to hell and blasting demons with a crucifix-enhanced shotgun. With a slick visual style, the movie evidenced a dry sense of humor with some interesting visual surprises from director Francis Lawrence.

After the lights came back up, out walked Lawrence, Vertigo's head honcho Karen Berger, African-born actor Djimon Hounsou and actor Keanu Reeves, heralded by squeals and cheers from fans. Much of what they said echoed coverage that the Comic Reel has provided, including the discussion of how Keanu got into character.

Some new information was revealed at the panel. Berger implied that the title had been changed from "Hellblazer" to "Constantine" to avoid comparisons to the Clive Barker film "Hellraiser." The film will also delve deeply into issues of Christian lore and arcana, including the story of the legendary Spear of Destiny (purported to have pierced the right side of Jesus Christ while he was being crucified). Berger said, "The movie feels right ... staying true to the essence of Constantine."

Most of the questions were for Keanu Reeves, wearing a scruffy beard and smiling a great deal. One enthusiastic fan even brought him an early birthday present, getting a hug in the process. Finally, Hounsou caught a question (about his Academy Award-nominated turn in "In America") which allowed him to talk positively about his experience on the movie.

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