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Keanu's Constantine regrets

Actor would have liked a second shot at the DC comics occult detective

Keanu Reeves has voiced his disappointment at not getting a second chance to play John Constantine.

Reeves took the role of DC's occult detective in 2005's 'Constantine' for director Francis Lawrence ('I Am Legend'). However, while the film wasn't exactly a flop - grossing almost $231 million worldwide off a $100 million budget - no sequels ensued.

[DC announce John Constantine TV series]

The subject came up in an interview with Vanity Fair, in promotion of his latest film (and directorial debut) 'Man of Tai Chi.' Naturally the subject of the long-mooted third 'Bill & Ted' movie came up, which Reeves reiterated he is "absolutely" still on board for; which led to the question of whether there were any other roles from his career he would want to revisit.

Reeves said, "I would like to have played John Constantine again. I liked playing that character and there seemed to be a way to continue that. That's the only one that comes to mind."

Of course, there are a great many fans of the character - myself included, to be frank - who wish he'd never taken the role in the first place.

Created by esteemed writer Alan Moore with artists Stephen Bissette and John Totleben in 1985, the John Constantine of the comics was far removed from the character portrayed by Reeves in the movie - not least because he's blonde-haired and British.

Introduced as a supporting character in 'Swamp Thing,' he was popular enough to get his own title, 'Hellblazer,' in the DC/Vertigo imprint (titles geared toward mature readers). He currently appears in two DC comics, 'Constantine' and 'Justice League Dark.'

There are also potentially two new screen representations of the character in the offing: a 'Constantine' TV series, and a 'Justice League Dark' movie from director Guillermo del Toro.

[Del Toro: no conflict between Justice League Dark movie and Constantine TV series]

Personally, having enjoyed the John Constantine of the comics, I felt the movie utterly failed to capture the character. To an extent I can accept his Americanisation - not all fans may agree, but I don't feel the character is necessarily defined by his nationality. But there is no question in my mind that Keanu Reeves was completely, utterly miscast.

Contrary to what some might think, I don't consider Reeves a bad actor - it's just that his range is fairly limited. His turn as the dim-witted metalhead Ted in the 'Bill and Ted' films is hilarious, and he did fine work as the unknowing, softly-spoken Neo in 'The Matrix.'

However, he was a complete fish out of water as the street-smart, tough-talking, hard-drinking tortured soul Constantine, and his performance was but one of the movie's many problems.

[John Constantine creators not paid for upcoming TV series]

I wouldn't yet hazard a guess as to who might wind up taking the role in either the TV series or the 'Justice League Dark' movie, but I strongly suspect they'll go for someone considerably closer to the comic book model (Guillermo del Toro, for one, has insisted his Constantine will be blonde and British).

We might also note that the 'Hellblazer' storyline 'Dangerous Habits' - on which the 2005 'Constantine' movie was based - was written by Garth Ennis, subsequent creator of 'Preacher,' another DC/Vertigo comic which we have learned this week is also set for a small screen adaptation, with Seth Rogen producing.

Were you happy with Keanu Reeves' take on John Constantine? Would you have liked to see him play the role again, or are you happy it was a one-and-done? Let us know in the comments.

Ben Bussey is an editor of horror website Brutal As Hell, and holds an MA in Cult Film & TV from Brunel University. He thinks the ideal choice for Constantine in 2005 would have been Daniel Craig - but it doesn't seem likely we'll see him in the role now.

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