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Matt Ryan Tells Us 5 Things About NBC’S Constantine

By on November 14, 2014

Pictured: Matt Ryan as John Constantine -- (Photo by: Tina Rowden/NBC)

Want to know a little more about Matt Ryan, star of NBC’s supernatural comic book adaptation Constantine?

Then you’re in luck because we’ve got 5 things to share from our call with Matt last week. Find out which comic book character Matt would most like to see on the show, why a beard almost cost him the role, Matt’s take on John’s unique relationship with Zed and more.


1. On the Source Material

There’s so much source material which is a great thing actually. It’s a great thing when you create a character because you start from scratch and you kind of build it from the ground up. But with this you have such amazing source material that you can keep on going back to that and keep on finding new things. So many amazing writers have written him and they all have their own little takes on him so it’s great to have the opportunity to have so much material in terms of viewing and keep on going back to.


2. On How a Beard Almost Cost Him the Role

I was doing Henry V in London in the West End with Jude Law and the Michael Grandage Company. I had really long hair and a big bushy beard. And I can remember my agent calling me and saying “Look, they really, really like you but they can’t really see past the beard, you know?”

And I was like “Well, you know, I’m in the middle of a play. There’s not really much I can do about that.” I think they couldn’t see past my beard. So I think everyone went back to the drawing board and started looking again.

And then they came back about a kind of week or so later and said “Look,  we still really like you and we want you to re-tape.” So re-taped again. I ended up doing about six audition tapes or something. Eventually the play ended. It ended on a Saturday night when I would have had the wrap party of the play and I jumped on a plane first thing in the morning, and flew over. I think it was a holiday in America on that day so all of the hair salons were shut.

So I had to have a friend of mine come over and cut my hair. And then the next day I went in and tested. It was quite a ride to be honest with you. It’s definitely the longest kind of audition process I’d been through. And it was such a thrill then when I actually got the job, you know?


3. On Finding the Perfect Accent For John Constantine

Because John’s originally from Liverpool and thenhe’d been in London a lot  – and it’s a comic book – it was kind of up for grabs, you know? And so I talked to a lot of the guys about it.

I thought that the main thing that was important was for me to kind of try and get the essence of John rather than kind of playing an accent, you know? But then I didn’t want to do something that was exactly the same as my accent.

I just wanted to kind of make a kind of sort of nod to him really. So I worked on doing this with a London accent for a while. And there was something that just wasn’t sitting right with it. And then I started playing around with a kind of a Northern accent — a British Northern accent– which is a lot stronger than the one that I’m actually doing now. And it kind of felt right because it felt like working class and kind of gritty and it was in the right ballpark.

But at the same time, I didn’t want to just spend so much time playing an accent and making him all about an accent, so what I decided to do was just concentrate on the essence of the character and then kind of give the subtle nod.

So I changed certain vowel sounds. So it’s kind of a Northern accent based on some of the Liverpudlian sounds but obviously it’s not a strong Liverpudlian accent. I don’t think that that would be very accessible for a network show on television. But, you know, I’d like to think that there’s a subtle nod in there to where John comes from.

I’m from Wales but my accent isn’t exactly very strong Welsh anymore because I’ve traveled so much. So I left Wales when I was 19. And John left Liverpool when he was younger as well. So I kind of took that balance of if he’d left somewhere when he was younger, then he’s traveled and kind of – yeah, so I just added a subtle nod of Northern.


4. On What Comic book Character  Matt Would Like to See on the Show

We do get to see a bunch of the Newcastle crew. We meet Gary Lester, we meet Ann-Marie Flynn. But I would most like to see Satan, to be honest. The first of the fallen! But I think that would take a while for us to even try to get there. But he’s probably the biggest one, right?


5. On John’s Chemistry with Zed

Zed is – she’s a feisty one, let me tell you. She’s great because she’s someone who gets in John’s face, doesn’t take any of his shit. She’s not afraid to smack someone in the face when it comes down to it. And she also has this unique ability. It’s very useful for John.

So they need each other as much as the other. But at the same time, you know, there’s a chemistry between them which could develop into something more. She’s mysterious. She has a mysterious background.

And what’s interesting about these two characters is they work together on some level but then they’re both reluctant to reveal each other’s past to one another. So, you know, there’s a constantly kind of looking out of the corner of each eye with each other which is really interesting.

And then there’s the kind of sexual chemistry between them as well which leads to a really kind of fun place between the two of them. And that relationship throughout the series will kind of develop in a very interesting way, I must say.

Constantine continues Fridays (10-11 p.m. ET) on NBC.

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