When it comes to comicbook adaptations, there are countless potential pitfalls to be avoided. You have to find a lead who looks and sounds the part, but can still act. You need to be faithful to the original, without getting bogged down in continuity. Most important of all - you need to turn something that means the world to a lot of people, and make it into something that both they and a whole new audience can enjoy.
Constantine, NBC's upcoming adaptation of DC's legendary Hellblazer series, is so far heading in very much the right direction. In Matt Ryan, they've somehow found a man who not only looks like John Constantine, but is actually British (though, in fairness, a lot more Welsh than the original character). Better yet, if Matt Ryan's recent interview with IGN is anything to go by, they're also heading in a suitably faithful direction with the show itself.
As Ryan puts it: "we're trying to stay as close to the source material as possible and really do the comics justice. So, hopefully, we can do that."
The show is also, he suggests, very much taking it's tone from the comics:
"I think as with the source material, there's so much to draw from in terms of the character and the balance of humor and wit and dark and gritty. It's great, because John has this kind of real sarcastic, ironic British wit. It's funny, but at the same time it's serious and dark and gritty. It's got it all, I think."
Which, he reveals, has had a fringe benefit:
"your research is reading comic books. That's not a bad job, right?...That's just the most amazing thing...there's just so much source material to glean from. I've read about 100 of them now, so I've got a way to go."
The hiring of Neil Marshall for the pilot (whose work Game of Thrones fans will see in the upcoming penultimate episode of season 4) is also a key to the adaptation proving successful - and faithful - argues Ryan:
"The Descent, Dog Soldiers, those films, I've loved for years, and the tones of those. As soon as I knew that he was part of the team, I was thrilled. For this kind of thing, you really do need someone with that vision to get that kind of tone right."
So. Casting - check. Faithfulness - check. Enjoyable? We'll just have to wait till October to find out.
[Constantine](series:1128475) is due to premiere October 24 on NBC.
What do you guys think? How does Constantine look like stacking up against the comics (and the Keanu film version)?