If you try and look for a picture of John Constantine, the chances are you're going to find one in which he's got a cigarette hanging out his mouth. However, it seems that in his new upcoming NBC series, Constantine has kicked the habit.
In an interview with Collider, [Game of Thrones](movie:817617) director Neil Marshall, who has helmed the pilot of [Constantine](movie:874314), explained the rules regarding Constantine and the inhalation of nicotine. When asked if Matt Ryan's John Constantine would be allowed to smoke in the series, he explained:
No we’re not. It’s the one thing, a compromise I guess. On network it’s the one thing you can’t smoke on network. That’s one of his character traits. We’re working around that. We’re trying to get aspects of it in there as much as possible. We’ll see.
What a drag! Earlier this year we heard that producer David S. Goyer was in negotiations to see if Constantine could get special dispensation from this rather strict NBC rule, however it seems the answer was still no. Perhaps they can adjust the story to work around this issue, or suggest he's smoking off screen. However, from the sounds of things, whatever their plan is, it wasn't part of their original concept. Indeed, in the publicity picture below, you can see some cigarette smoke rising behind him, suggesting it's still somewhat involved in the presentation of the character:
However, Marshall revealed that Constantine wouldn't entirely be a watered down affair which is designed purely not to corrupt or frighten Little Jimmy. He continued:
Hannibal is on NBC, and that’s pretty dark and disturbing. Whatever the regulations are, you can be as dark and disturbing as you want and we’re going to go in that direction. The intention is to be as dark and scary as possible with the show. And that was our whole kind of plan going in, to make it scary. So we’re going to explore all kinds of things. But the smoking is very frustrating. Who knows where it will go; where the story will go; where the character will go? There’s still lots of options.
Unfortunately, this fact only really stands to highlight the hypocrisy which permeates modern film and television censorship. So Constantine will be able to run around and inflict violence on others but he isn't allowed to have a smoke - a character trait that has been established in the source material? Furthermore, in the comics, Constantine suffers from lung cancer, therefore illustrating that smoking isn't just something that 'makes you look cool' but is a life-choice which can lead to detrimental health conditions.
I suppose NBC's ban on smoking does have good intentions, but I'm not entirely sure if, firstly, it's an effective means of reducing smoking, and secondly, that it's good for the health of creative mediums.
What do you think? Should Constantine be able to smoke, or is it right NBC have banned it?
Should Constantine be able to smoke in the NBC series?