Constantine Special Report: Djimon Hounsou as Papa Midnite

Fri, February 11th, 2005 at 12:00am PST

TV/Film
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

Despite the insistent sunlight, it was a chilly morning as Warner Brothers pictures took over at least three floors of the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills to host the freaks and geeks of the media, covering "Hellblazer," the big screen Vertigo adaptation. This afforded the Comic Reel a chance to sit in on roundtables with many of the cast and makers of the film. The following is part three of the summary of that wild day of pork-laden craft services and overpowering air conditioning.

DJIMON HOUNSOU

Hounsou was very circumspect and conservative with his words as he spoke to reporters, but he did talk about enjoying the role. "It was fun," he told reporters. "You can obviously tell that Papa Midnite was fun. He has a great sense of business, I guess. His neutrality may be just another way, the same way god looks at things and let's the devil co-exist. You have to allow the balance of things to take its own course."

"But this is one movie you don't wanna research," Hounsou continued. "I don't really wanna see hell, see anybody perform any exorcism. I relate to his witchcraft, that's where I draw the experiences that have to do with my traditions in Africa. Seeing people do spiritual, tribal ceremonies. Everything was a plus, to make you respond to the elements of your character. It really did hit home. It reflects a lot on what we do here on earth, how we deal with one another. The purest hell that I can talk about is the negative mind, the greed of people. That's really, that's hell."

Hounsou hasn't let the acclaim that's followed him change his method on set. "I do like direction, because my POV is not necessarily the best POV, and can never be the only POV of things." With a laugh, he added, "That's Papa Midnite talking, a politician. You have to rely on the great vision of the director who's totally removed from the performance."

Like many of the other actors, Hounsou had praise for his co-star Keanu Reeves. "How anal he is about work, he works hard at his craft. Looking at the dedication, and looking at his body of work, the guy's very serious about it."

He was reluctant to discuss his own personal beliefs and politics, dodging questions about his charitable contributions or personal life, but came off as a very bright, cautious individual who's enjoying his time in the spotlight.

 
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