A new rumor not only claims to confirm J.J. Abrams is working on a Constantine series for HBO Max but also indicates the direction he’s going with the character.
From The Illuminerdi, we learn that Abrams and the streaming service could be looking for a black, indigenous, or person of color to play Liverpool’s number 1 wizard.
“The production is currently searching for an actor for the lead role, with the hopes of casting a BIPOC actor in their late 20’s, similar to a young Riz Ahmed,” says the report.
They make it clear Riz Ahmed (Venom) is the type which casting agents are looking for and the actor hasn’t really been approached. He is a Brit, though, so he fits the mold in that sense.
Warner Bros.’s record of race swapping typically white parts continues if this Constantine twist comes to pass.
Most notably, they’ve done it with Martian Manhunter and are moving forward with a race-bent Hawkman in Black Adam. Of course, you can bend the rules with those characters; one is a shape-shifting Martian and the other an eternally reincarnating spirit.
In Martian Manhunter’s case he did originally take the form of a white man when he revealed his shapeshifting powers back in Detective Comics #225.
In other cases, they’ll flip a character’s ethnicity without explanation as they did Manchester Black, another English one, on Supergirl.
To get inside Abrams’ head, he may be thinking in terms of Keanu Reeves and the 2005 movie. Reeves is of mixed background and not exactly English, though he attempted the accent in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. His history as Constantine could have given the Bad Robot boss the inspiration to stretch the sorcerer’s look and lineage a little bit.
Keep in mind this story isn’t fully substantiated and should be regarded as a rumor. However, Illuminerdi’s track record of accuracy that includes spot-on scoops about Judomaster appearing in Peacemaker and Cyclone being recast as a woman of color plays its favor.
Illuminerdi also says HBO Max’s Constantine will be darker than past interpretations, concentrating on horror over religion, and production has no start date.
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