Back in 2014, UK actor Matt Ryan landed a role of a lifetime with NBC's Constantine, though it didn't appear that way when the mystical drama got cancelled. After joining the Arrowverse, though, Ryan has remained locked into the John Constantine role, which he has reprised across both live-action and animation, in both TV shows and animated features. But what about the upcoming Justice League Dark drama that's heading to HBO Max?
Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like Justice League Dark's executive producers J.J. Abrams and Ben Stephenson have been proactive about reaching out to Matt Ryan about taking on the John Constantine role that will presumably be a major part of the streaming comic book series. Still, the actor is throwing his trench coat in the ring to be considered for the part, as bolstered by his background in stage theatre. Here how he put it to Den of Geek:
I’m a theater actor, you know? That’s where I spent most of my life. I always say to them, ‘Just get me in the room.’ And then if they don’t want me for the role that’s their choice. But I would be very disappointed if a project like that went ahead without even sitting down and seeing what I could do with the material.
Exactly! Even if the producer team behind the upcoming Justice League Dark series had plans to move forward with a new actor playing John Constantine, allowing Matt Ryan to make an impassioned plea would be due diligence. For a quick rundown, Ryan's occultist has appeared in his self-titled series, Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman, The Flash, and the animated Constantine: City of Demons web series, which was pulled together as a feature-length DVD release. Ryan also starred in the Justice League Dark animated film and its 2020 Apokolips War sequel.
Clearly, no one is as familiar with portraying John Constantine as Matt Ryan is, and it's likely that no one ever will be. (Sorry, Keanu Reeves.) And Ryan is perfectly fine with flipping character elements to match the project he's in, and adjusting his performances, so long as it all stays true to the material. Here's what else he had to say about it:
Even though the material is different and I know that I’m gonna have to adhere to the material in my head, I have to stay in that world of John Constantine and all of those comics that I love. So even though I have to dance to these different tunes, that’s what I want to think about, and that’s what I fell in love with. Whatever happens, John Constantine is a great character.
Obviously if the Justice League Dark TV show lands a do-no-wrong A-list actor to take on John Constantine's chain-smoking ways, fans probably won't suffer. But that issue wouldn't even need to be risk-assessed if Matt Ryan could automatically be confirmed to take on the role. No big deal, right?
To be sure, nothing has technically been confirmed for HBO's Justice League Dark, so John Constantine might not even be a major part of the show, even though that's pretty unlikely. Similarly, Swamp Thing's presence in the new project is somewhat questionable, given the existence of DC Universe's short-lived TV show last year. But it's hard to conceive of a Justice League Dark team without either of them front and center, just as it's hard to think about Constantine without picturing Matt Ryan's frosty hair and stubble.
This early in the development process, it's not clear at all when Justice League Dark might make its debut on HBO Max – assuming it doesn't shift back to being a theatrical feature – but you can be sure that casting news will be keeping fans busy over the coming months. Similarly, the streaming service's Green Lantern and Strange Adventures shows will also be making waves as Hollywood gets settled again.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates, and keep current with our Summer 2020 TV schedule to see when all the big new and returning shows will pop up.