For anyone who saw Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, a film called Justice League Dark probably sounds like a natural follow-up. But the lack of moping or angst (check out that exclusive clip above), combined with the fact that this is an R-rated animated film, means that the audience is in for a good time.
Bringing together two factions of the DC Universe — superheroes and supernatural beings — things kick off with the League investigating unnatural happenings around the world. Then Batman is contacted by Deadman, who leads him to John Constantine, who, in turn involves such beings as Zatanna, the Demon and Swamp Thing.
Voicing the role of Constantine is Matt Ryan, who played the character in the recent live-action series and has just been announced in the part for the CW Seed's upcoming animated webseries. Empire sat down with Ryan (currently starring on ITV's The Halcyon) to talk Constantine.
Not to go all Michael Corleone on you, but with Constantine, is it that every time you think you’re out, they pull you back in?
It's funny, isn't it? Doing Arrow was great, seeing how he interacts with Oliver and all the characters there, and then to get to explore him in this medium as well is a lot of fun. I love the character. It's probably my most favorite character that I play, and there's still so much there to explore with him; so much going on, so much depth to him. And darkness, and wit, and all those things. It’s what made it great to get in the booth and try him on again.
Would you say that Constantine, or your interpretation of him, has changed between the series, the appearance on Arrow and, now, Justice League Dark?
I think that the TV universe is a little bit different from the others. Basically we're just trying to bring what I knew of him, and the voice, and just play him in this context, having him interact with Batman and Zatanna, or Deadman and Swamp Thing. All these relationships which we didn't get to explore on the TV show was really fun to do, but also in animation he can shoot bolts, and the magic is different. So it is a different universe and he's slightly different in that context, but still the same guy underneath. The DNA of the character is still there — the wisecracking "magician" who reluctantly does what he does.
If they ever wanted to resurrect this character in a live action series, would you be interested or has that ship sailed?
When we got to the end of the first season, I felt like there was a little bit of unfinished business there. I feel like there were so many gaps in the character which we could have explored, and so many different storylines. He's a character I hold very close to my heart, so I would not be against exploring it in another context at all, to be honest with you. It's something that I quite enjoy doing.
I just finished doing the 1940s drama The Halcyon, playing an American broadcast journalist who was loosely based on Edward R. Murrow. Before that I was doing a play based in the 18th Century. It's great to be able to do those other things, but then there's this amazing trench coat-wearing, blond, arrogant guy who I always get pulled back in as to play. It won't seem to go away. And it's great to know that the fans, when he's such an iconic character, have accepted me in the role and lent so much support to me and to the TV show as well.
Constantine stands at the center of Justice League Dark in a lot of ways. What is his journey in this film?
What's interesting is that he doesn't want to get involved. There's lots of bad things happening all over the world and Batman and the Justice League decide that they have to call in someone who knows how to deal with all this stuff. Constantine is thrust upon them from other forces and they have to seek him out. They do so and he reluctantly becomes part of the team with old friends like Zatanna, and all these people who he has various relationships with. He's the one that knows the most about the archaic world and this one. He leads in that he guides the rest of the team to figuring out what's going on, and getting to the root of the problem. It’s an interesting journey.
Justice League Dark is available for digital download on 24 January, and on Blu-ray 7 February.