Comic nerds are fickle. If our beloved books aren’t adapted word for word, and line for line, then what is the point? Get ready for a freakout folks, because one of the comic book world’s most unrepentant chain smokers is going cold turkey for his new NBC series. Yes, when Constantine premieres this fall, he will be nicotine free.
In an interview with director Neil Marshall, Collider asked whether or not John Constantine, the occult-expert/sorcerer/rogue who’s the central character of the series, will be constantly lighting up smokes on the show as he does in the comic. Sadly, Marshall says that he will not. Fans are likely and understandably upset by this. Someone took a minor detail about this fan favorite character and changed it. Sadly, the politics of being a drama series on a major broadcast network are a little bigger than whether or not John Constantine gets to light up his “sin sticks.”
Special interests groups have been pushing hard against the use of cigarettes in TV shows and movies, at least not without the same kind of warning you get for sex, violence and language, and as one of the five major broadcast networks, NBC is a pretty big target. That may be an argument for why Constantine would have been a better show for cable, and it’s worth pointing out that one of the things that the Francis Lawrence Constantine movie got right in 2005 was the characters two-pack a day habit, but a network like NBC is not going to pick a fight with a powerful lobby for Constantine.
What’s the big deal? It’s not like Constantine gets his super natural powers from smoking, so why should it matter? Well, it’s a vice for him, a weakness, a character flaw. This is a guy that has seen some real serious apocalyptic type $#!%, the stress of it all gets to him. He needs a relief mechanism and smoking is that great stress reliever. Heck, if you want to turn that into a parable about the evils of smoking, you can even follow one of the subplots of the Constantine where his smoking has led to untreatable lung cancer and his eventual death. Upon death, he’s going to Hell, not for his smoking, but for his youthful suicide tempt. Still, if anti-smoking protestors want to read that as smoking will send you to Hell, more power to them.
Personally though, I think if the success of Constantine is riding on whether or not the main character smokes, then hopes are already pretty dim for this adaptation. I understand, it’s part of the character, and maybe showrunner Daniel Cerone will work in a detail about him quitting, sort of like Constantine at the end of the movie Constantine, but really, if the rest of the show works, and Matt Ryan‘s portrayal of Constantine’s other quirks is as spot on as it’s looked so far, maybe we won’t even notice.
Constantine premieres this fall on NBC.
Source: Screen Rant