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Ghost Canyon

Keanu Reeves   ('Constantine') Keanu Reeves ('Constantine')
' After the fizzer of a "Batman" panel and some decent trailers, Warners turned it all around with their "Constantine" presentation. One of the convention's true highlights, the studio presented a whopping 18 minutes of footage from the Keanu Reeves-led supernatural film adaptation of the comic "Hellblazer" and followed it up with a panel including Reeves, Djimon Hounsou and Director Francis Lawrence. The footage itself was great, a montage of key scenes throughout the film and included both a lot of effects and some quite interestingly shot scenes - the film looks like it'll take a lot of people by surprise in regards to how dark and occult-ish it feels. The most recurring thing was Keanu Reeves who smoked like a chimney in almost every scene (incl. one right after he's told he's got severe lung cancer). There were appearances from winged hell demons, a demonic mouth trying to literally tear itself out of the body of a possessed girl, scary dead guys screaming at a young version of John on a bus, a trip to a volcanic Hell version of LA populated by demons, a CG demon made of bugs and worms, the discovery of the Spear of Longinus, brief appearances of Tilda Swinton, Hounsou and Rachel Weisz in character, and more. Like "Batman" though, the Q&A public panel afterwards was far less revealing than the press conference. Speaking with the press, Lawrence (who is definitely NOT on "Logan's Run") confirmed the movie is still in post right now, that a few test screenings so far have been very good, the visual effects are still being worked on (there's around 420 shots total) and they're currently seeking a composer for the score. Lawrence calls the film "unique and kind of different" and that's what people are responding too right now. Keanu has seen some shorts of the final product and calls it "beautiful" and praises the way Lawrence has shot the film with a rich and "fractured" visual flair. Keanu loved the anger and sense of humour of the character and how he tries to deal with it - struggling with his own nature in order to try and find a better life. The character has to break down throughout the film and the actor got skinnier as the shoot went on. Hounsou was pulled in a lot by the Occult aspect of the film and how it tied into the stories he heard as a kid. The story is mostly based on the Hellblazer storyline "Dangerous Habits" although it includes pieces from other stories like "Original Sin". Thus, there's "sort of a noir aspect to the story". The name change to "Constantine" is to avoid title confusion with the "Hellraiser" movie series. The score will be dark and atmospheric but will feature at least two songs (one in a nightclub). Ratings wise the studio would like it to be PG-13 but Lawrence doesn't know where it's going to land due to the intensity. He loves the "form it is in right now" and hopes the MPAA won't make him cut it. Lawrence's approach was NOT to shoot this like a comic book movie - "It was done very very well in Tim Burton's original Batman and from then I don't think anybody's topped that. Everybody's sort of built Gotham City again whether it's called Gotham City or not, everybody's done all the dutch angles and bright colours. What I wanted to do, and what I always loved about the comic was that it was kind of rooted in reality and in real places, what I wanted to do is really make it feel real and that's what people are responding too - it's not super stylised, it's kind of rooted in a gritty reality". He did that a lot by shooting in South Central and avoiding many of the 'landmark' areas of Los Angeles. There's plenty of scares and it's creepy throughout it seems - and yet it's not a genre specific movie that's either horror or fantasy. In terms of responding to fan concerns, he admits the "Hellblazer" fanbase is small but hardcore so the film was designed to increase awareness to newbies but appeal to long term fans. The presentation in fact was to show to the fans, who've been tough on the movie, that "we've not made "Van Helsing", it's not a straight up pop movie and the heart of the character is in there". He admits they can't make everybody happy and just the fact they have changed him to a black haired American will piss people off, but he hopes to have gotten the heart and soul of the comic across.

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