Interview with Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer of "Constantine" on NBC - Primetime Article From The TV MegaSite
 

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By Suzanne

Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer

Interview with Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer of "Constantine" on NBC 11/12/14

Sometimes, I guess I put in my mouth in these interviews... in my head, I think the question is asking one thing, but then when it comes out, the people hearing it think I'm asking something else. This is what happened with this interview. I wasn't suggesting that their show was derivative or had been done before (which is how it sounds like they thought I meant it). I was more thinking, how do you keep the material fresh, when it's coming from the comic book, and these other shows, like "Supernatural" and "Grimm" have probably already taken ideas from that same comic book? But, oh, well... you'll see how it went. I felt bad that they thought I was slamming their show because I really do enjoy the show! It gets better every week.

NBC UNIVERSAL
Moderator: Akiva Griffith
November 12, 2014
5:06 pm CT

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by.

Welcome to the Constantine Press and Media Conference Call with Daniel Cerone and David S. Goyer.

During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode.

Afterwards, we will conduct a question-and-answer session.

At that time, if you have a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone.

If at any time during the conference you need to reach an operator, please press star 0.

As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, Wednesday, November 12th 2014.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Akiva Griffith.

Please go ahead, sir.

Akiva Griffith: Thank you and thanks, everyone, for dialing in today as we are joined by our executive producer, Daniel Cerone, who also serves as show runner, and David S. Goyer here to talk about Constantine. We have a new episode, “Feast of Friends,” airing this Friday at 10:00 pm on NBC.

I’ll now turn it back over to (William) to start the Q&A. Thank you.

Operator: Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, if you would like to register a question, please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone. You will hear a three-tone prompt to acknowledge your request.

If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw your registration, please press the 1 followed by the 3.

If you are using a speakerphone, please lift your handset before entering your request.

And our first question comes from the line of Joshua Maloni with Niagara Frontier Publications.

Please go ahead with your question.

Joshua Maloni: Hey, guys. Thanks for your time today.

((Crosstalk))

Joshua Maloni: Thank you. David, let me ask you. Obviously, you have no shortage of significant projects that you’re working on. What made this the right time and the right platform to be involved in telling the story?

David S. Goyer: Was this for - was that for David or Daniel?

Joshua Maloni: David.

Man: David.

David S. Goyer: Oh. Well, I - the genesis of the project is that I had a meeting with Warner Bros. Television. This is sort of right after “Man of Steel” had come out and they asked the - if I would be interested in doing a television show based on a DC property. And so we just started having, you know, a general conversation about which one made most sense.

In the first character, I asked about John Constantine. I’ve always been a huge fan. I was reading Swamp Thing when he was introduced. And, in fact, I have a letter printed in one of the early issues that he was introduced as a fan, I think when I was in high school or something like that.

And there were some sort of legal things to sort out initially and then we start talking about other characters. But eventually Constantine became free and I was really excited.

And the reason for why is the right time, I’ve done, obviously, in “The Dark Knight” film from Superman, you know, sort of kind of the (unintelligible). But one of the reasons why I always like John Constantine is he didn’t have superpowers, he didn’t have a costume, and he always use the kind of sun (unintelligible) at those characters. So it was refreshing for me to tell a story about an antihero as opposed to a hero and he is someone who was really damaged and I just feel like he’s one of the great characters of sort of modern literature and, I don’t know, it was a different change of pace, you know?

That’s all I have.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Henry Hanks with CNN.com.

Please go ahead with your question.

Henry Hanks: Hey, guys. Great talking to you today.

Man: Thank you, Henry.

Man: Thanks.

Henry Hanks: And yes, I’m really enjoying the show so far. So what can you tell us as far as how far are we going to go into the Constantine/Methos early on? Are you going to introduce a lot of familiar stuff in the comics? Obviously, we’ve seen Papa Midnite. And are there going to be more things like that?

Daniel Cerone: This is Daniel.

We’re digging as deeply into the Constantine/Methos as we possibly can. I mean, in fact, it really is inspiring much of our storytelling. I mean, the episode that is airing this Friday, which we’re extremely excited about, “Feast of Friends” is the title. And that’s a story that’s literally ripped from the pages of “Hellblazer.” It is the first story...

((Crosstalk))

Daniel Cerone: First issue from the “Hellblazer” issue and, you know, it brings back Gary Lester, who is one of the - John’s friend from Newcastle. And it’s just - it’s a fantastic story that translated so well to screen and I would urge anybody who’s listening to this to try to watch it before Friday and get people talking about it because it is - seriously, it’s our show at its pinnacle and it just sort of really kind of set a bar of everything that we hope this show can be and can do.

But in a broader sense, look, over the course of the season, we’re breaking up 17 right now. And we have a fantastic ride ahead. Before the end of the season, you’re going to meet and get to know every one of John’s friends from Newcastle that were involved in the sort of faithful exorcism of Astra that, you know, led to the torment - external torment of John’s soul.

And so you’re going to meet them all. I mean, look, Papa Midnite, I think, we have now in four episodes. Jim Corrigan comes back for a couple of more. I’m reading an outline right now for Episode, what is it, 16 that includes Terence Thirteen with...

David S. Goyer: With Dr. Thirteen from, you know...

Daniel Cerone: Right.

David S. Goyer: ...Felix Faust. Felix Faust...

Daniel Cerone: We have Felix Faust. Yes. So we’re really trying to - you know, look, we have this incredible source material. And, you know, we want to honor it and dig as deeply into it as we possibly can and, at the same time, look, we’re a weekly network show and we have weekly stories. And we’re trying to present the best of both worlds in terms of ongoing mythology, you know, with the Hellblazer and DC world but wrapped around weekly stories the viewers can hook into.

David S. Goyer: And I would add one other thing, too, which is, you know, we read the responses to various episodes. And I think we have three episodes so far and some people - I know that people seemed to really like the last episode that introduced Papa Midnite and - but some people said “Okay, so now we know what the formula is going to be week after week and we still haven’t heard much more about the rising darkness or Newcastle well.” Well, you’re about to with the fourth episode.

And we think that sort of the right time to do it, we’re not a fully serialized show. We’re kind of a hybrid between standalone and serialize. And we’re going to start introducing, you know, kind of more back story elements, you know, every few episodes or so.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Craig Byrne with KSiteTV.

Please go ahead with your question.

Craig Byrne: Hello. Thanks for speaking with us.

Man: Sure.

Craig Byrne: I was actually curious. Are we going to be getting any more episodes that might focus on Chas and his back story at some point?

David S. Goyer: Yes.

Daniel Cerone: Yes. We - Chas is an interesting character because, you know, in terms of - when David and I developed the show and sat down to figure out what characters do we want in a continuing basis. On one hand, Chas was a natural because he’s sort of the most constant companion and long living companion. Maybe the only living companion of John Constantine’s. And - but really he’s not much more than - he’s like the muscle and he’s the driver, you know? Been a cab driver and, you know, John didn’t drive a lot. I don’t think he drives at all in the comic book.

And so, you know, we want to include Chas and he is definitely the strong, silent type, very laconic kind of character we wanted to roll out slowly.

But there - and I know there’s been a couple of issues where they dig in his back story but there’s not a lot there. So we’ve really enjoyed Chas. We’ve really enjoyed opening him up. We will open him up deeper, Episode 10. You know, we came up with this idea, this notion because Chas is, you know, the comic don’t make a...

David S. Goyer: They’ll reveal why.

Daniel Cerone: I’m not going to - I don’t want - no spoilers, promise. But...

David S. Goyer: Right.

Daniel Cerone: ...let’s put it this way. In the pilot episode, you see that Chas comes back to life. For some reason, people started translating that to the idea that he’s mortal. We promise you he is not a mortal. There’s...

David S. Goyer: He’s not mortal.

Daniel Cerone: ...very good reason that he’s coming back to life and the only spoiler I will give is that, you know, those lives are not Internet. And we do have an episode that involves flashbacks where we basically tell that story and we get to know more about Chas, we can meet Renee and his daughter, Renee’s wife, ex-wife or they’re separated right now and his daughter and we kind of dig into that story and figure out what makes Chas tick.

David S. Goyer: And I would add to that that I - I think when, you know, even when the first 13 episodes are down, people will be surprised at how much kind of background we filled in on various characters and even in terms of the relationship with John and Manny and Zed’s back story and it’s not just taste of the week.

Operator: Our next comes from the line of Rebecca Murray with Showbiz Junkies.

Please go ahead with your question.

Rebecca Murray: Good afternoon. Okay, so for the first episode, I really like Lucy’s character Liv. I was really into her. So how difficult of a decision was it for you guys to not carry on with her story and is there a possibility that she’ll ever pop up again?

Daniel Cerone: Go ahead.

David S. Goyer: You know, honestly, it really wasn’t that difficult. I mean, it became apparent to us and, look, we’re glad you like her. I think she did a fantastic job. But I think that the character wasn’t - was flawed in its conception. And, you know, we’re - obviously we’re to blame for that. She was the only major character in the pilot that wasn’t from the comic books and sometimes you make these concessions when you’re trying to get a show off and running and, you know, one of the benefits of doing a pilot is you’ve got this initial downtime after the pilot before you’re, you know, filming again in which you can think about retooling some aspects. And once we saw the character in action and we started breaking, you know, Episodes 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, we felt like we were just running into a lot of dead ends. And that’s when we decided to go back to the source material and talking about character Zed and I will say I feel like that the vast majority of the audience seems to have felt that the Zed character was a better match for John and seems to have supported our decision.

Do you want to add to that, Daniel?

Daniel Cerone: Yes. Look, in terms of, you know, David and I received a lovely e-mail from Lucy Griffith, the actress who played Liv, right before we aired and, you know, in terms of whether she’ll be back, look, she’s part of the foundation of the show. I mean the millhouse in which John is crashing and full of, you know, all kinds of magical antiquities, you know...

((Crosstalk))

Daniel Cerone: Yes, that’s her father’s place. So, you know, listen, as we dig deeper into the season, as we start talking about possible arc for next season, there’s - I would say there’s an opening there. Whether it’s an opening we’ll step through or not, it would have to be organic, it would have to feel right and not feel like a device. But if there’s an organic reason to bring her back into the story, we’d love to.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Stephanie Piche with MingleMediaTV.com.

Please go ahead with your question.

Stephanie Piche: Hi, guys. Love the show.

Daniel Cerone: Thanks, Stephanie.

Stephanie Piche: My question - sure. My question is, how does the fan base help you develop the storylines you want to produce?

((Crosstalk))

David S. Goyer: Well, I mean, it’s interesting. I’ve - this is David speaking. I’ve adopted quite a few comic book properties now. And it’s a - it’s tricky because I think you have to be really attentive to the fan base.

What we talk about is - but at the same time - I mean, I’m (unintelligible) Steve Jobs. You can’t give the market what they say they want. You want to give them something that they haven’t even thought of. If you give them exactly what they want, they become disappointed by the same token.

The way that we’ve always tried to measure it is that, you know, we’ve tried to dip in with the fans and be aware of what are the issues that are most important to them, what are the core concepts that are most important, with the characters what are the most important. But we, also cognizant of the fact that if the show is going to flourish and broaden its audience, we need to be able to respond to an audience greater than just the core comic book fans. And so it needs to work for both audiences.

Go ahead, Daniel.

Daniel Cerone: Yes, no, no, well finish.

David S. Goyer: No, I was just going to say...

Daniel Cerone: You know, I was going to - yes, finish.

David S. Goyer: No, go. You go.

Daniel Cerone: No, I didn’t have anything on that. I was going to answer my half of the question. But go for it. Finish your thought.

No, I was going to - and I know I speak for David in this, too. I mean, one of the nicest things about us - I mean, rephrase that. David and I came out this as fans of the show.

David S. Goyer: Yes.

Daniel Cerone: I mean, that’s really the bottom line, like, we were - we fell in love...

((Crosstalk))

David S. Goyer: We weren’t new to the character.

Daniel Cerone: Not at all. We fell in love with all the things about John Constantine that the fans did. And - or at least based on what I’ve read of the fans. But look, you know, we needed that smartass, wisecracking, like, just, you know, gallows humor, scruffy blonde-haired, trench coat-wearing, cigarette-smoking breath, you know, with a fatalistic attitude and this, you know, deeply humanist point of view for reasons that he doesn’t even understand. I mean, we like that character. That was someone that just appealed to us. So we’re going to be true to that no matter what.

And then when you start - and we wanted to stay true to the world and the characters. And then you take that foundation and you have to figure out, “Okay, how can we pour that into a show that can last and sustain itself on a weekly basis” and NBC had certain desires for the show. They wanted stories that were told every week. So as David mentioned before, this is a bit of a hybrid. I mean, for us, it was “Okay, how do we figure out how to both, you know, as fans, tell the story we want to tell about the evolution of this character and his relationships, you know, as well as, you know, some closed-end stories to broaden out the fan base?” So yes. I mean, we came out of it as fans.

David S. Goyer: And I’ll give you - to build on what Daniel said, I mean, because we were fans of the character, when we first met with NBC, we said “Look, you know, we know that the counter movie is out there and it wasn’t British and he didn’t have blonde hair” and I think that that movie had a lot of great attributes but because we had fallen in love with the John Constantine as depicted in the comic books, it was our mission, you know, to try to bring to life the character that as accurately reflected the character we had fallen in love with as possible. So when NBC says “Well, does he have to be British? Does he have to wear skinny tie in a trench coat? Does he have to be blonde? Does he have to smoke?” we said “Yes.” And they said “Why?” And we said “Because that’s the character we fell in love with.”

So in that regard...

Daniel Cerone: And I’ll say there every step of the way, they did ask those questions, too, like, they were very open and accepting and loving and they wanted to embrace the fans, too, but at a certain point, like when it came to casting, Matt Ryan does not have blonde hair. And initially, they’re like “Do we really need to lighten his hair” and we’re like “Yes we do.” They got the first draft of the script and they saw sort of all of the kind of British euphemisms and colloquialisms written into his dialog and they’re like “That might be off-putting. Does he really need to be British?” And we...

David S. Goyer: We said “Yes.”

Daniel Cerone: ...he does. So at every step of the way, we fought for that. And to their credit, they were very open and they understood our passion and I believe the fans’ passion for the character.

David S. Goyer: But, you know, to put a bow on it, how does the fans, you know, how does the hopes and desires back burn to it, it’s important because we were fans of the character and have been fans of the character for decades ourselves. So we were really determined to try to bring to life, you know, a version of Constantine that was accurate.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Kimberly Roots with TVLine.

Please go ahead with your question.

Kimberly Roots: Hey, guys. Thanks for your time today.

Man: Hi, Kimberly.

Kimberly Roots: I was struck by this, especially in the first episode, but as it had gone on as well, how scary Constantine is as a drama. And I was wondering if there’s anything NBC had asked you to tone down or change in what you showed so far.

David S. Goyer: Not really.

Daniel Cerone: Yes. I got the same. And they - it’s funny, Kimberly, because they pushed us not so much anymore now that we kind of understand - and, look, you know, I was a show runner the first two seasons of “Dexter.” David has done, you know, a ton of, you know, feature films where, you know, pretty much anything goes.

But we’ve also done network shows over years and we’ve kind of self-censored ourselves in the beginning. And, you know, at every step of the way from the network be it in the outline phase of the scripts or the cuts that the network were seeing they’re like “Go further,” like “Push it further” like they - I don’t - I’m not sure what changed the network landscape.

David S. Goyer: Yes, I don’t...

Daniel Cerone: The day...

David S. Goyer: I don’t know if I could think of any instance in which they said “Tone it down.”

Daniel Cerone: Yes, there wasn’t one. They have pushed us to go bigger. They have pushed us to go darker. They pushed us to go scarier. There’s constantly - if I had a broader note down to one, it would be “Just make this as big and scary as possible,” like, that’s what they want to see. So it’s been really framed for us. I mean, look, we have to do what we do with them but budgetary limitations and capabilities. But no, they have not censored us at all.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Courtney Vaudreuil with OH SO GRAY.

Please go ahead with your question.

Courtney Vaudreuil: Hi. Thanks for talking with us.

Man: Sure.

Courtney Vaudreuil: So for Constantine kind of along the lines of what you’ve been discussing a little bit, he’s not like Arrow, he’s not like The Flash, he’s kind of a different kind of hero/antihero. So how does that factor into your writing and the portrayal of this character in order to still make people want to root for him? How do you make your antihero the hero?

David S. Goyer: Well, this is David speaking, first of all, I would say, I mean, there are heroes and there are antiheroes. And they’re both a lot of fun to write. But in some ways, writing antiheroes, antiheroes are more fun to write for because they’re not bound by the same moral code that the heroes are.

And in some ways, antiheroes are more human because most of us have variables. Most of us are imperfect. And, you know, he’s doing what he’s doing for fundamentally noble reasons but he doesn’t really have a code of conduct.

I do think that audiences also like antiheroes. I mean, if you look at House, if you look at Luthor, if you look at Sherlock, I would categorize these characters more properly antiheroes than heroes. They can be fun. And different and it’s - they’re not operational. You don’t - you know, people want to be them and people want to be Superman. I don’t think people want to be Constantine because he’s kind of a miserable thought. But he’s also fun. And it’s fun to - you know, it’s a reverence and it’s just a different way to go.

Daniel Cerone: A lot of characters that are out there are doing what they do because it’s their job or because I have a badge or because I have a calling. As David said, you know, Constantine is doing the right thing but he’s doing it for totally humanist reasons, you know? It’s one of those fascinating aspects of the character to me is if you ask him why he’s out there, you know, helping humanity, I’m not even sure he can tell you.

David S. Goyer: Yes.

Daniel Cerone: You know, is he doing it because he wants to save lives? Is he doing it because, frankly, chasing demons is a bit of a fix for him and he’s just challenging for the next kill? Is he doing it, as he said early in his career, for the women and to get laid? Is he doing it to, you know, because it’s kind of self-empowerment? You know, it’s just never really clear.

And what’s great about him is I don’t even think he’s clear. But yet, he keeps doing it and he keeps fighting this fight. And yes, as David said, one of the funest things is that there’s no code of conduct that he operates by. He’s doing the good things that all the cops and lawyers and whatever kind of other heroes are out there doing. But there’s no checks and balances for him. And that’s where he often gets into trouble.

And that - I think when you ask what makes him relatable, I think that’s it because he’s his own, you know, he has a self-sense to himself and he frequently goes over the line and he frequently makes bad calls and, you know, the fact that Constantine, if you - anyone who gets close to Constantine dies. I mean, that has proven itself true, you know, for years in the comic books. And, look, in our - very early in our series, you’re going to see that, too, where he makes the hard calls and he loses friends over it, sometimes literally.

And so that’s kind of his curse and it makes him, hopefully - hopefully, that’s what makes him - it’s easy to vote for him.

David S. Goyer: I would also add that I think that these things are cyclical and I think that they come in waves and maybe it’s a common - a broader commentary on where we are in society right now. But the television landscape right now is, you know, it’s flourishing with the really flawed characters.

And for whatever reason, audiences are responding and fascinated by these flawed characters. And it’s not so much - I think if you look at the television landscape now, you know, it used to be that there were a lot of - the black cats were the black cats and white cats were the white cats and it was very clear who is who but there are a lot of shades of grey right now and that seems to be kind of, you know, what’s happening with the right guys, you know, in terms of the role.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Robert Samo with FanboyNation.

Please go ahead with your question.

Robert Samo: Good afternoon, gentlemen.

Man: Hi, Robert.

Man: Hi.

Robert Samo: I was interested in finding out how much of the Pre-52 influenced the series as well as the Post-52 and how difficult is it to ride that line of horror and suspense without crossing over to get the censors on your case?

David S. Goyer: I would say as the sort of the resident comic book nerd, I would say that the show is almost exclusively influenced by the Pre-52, you know - the Hellblazer comics, you know? If for no other reason then Hellblazer ran for 300 issues and the new Constantine is - I know it’s less than 20. I’m not quite sure where they’re at now, 15, 16. They’re just not the body of work that exists in terms of what we’re influenced by.

So without question, and I know this is really inside baseball, but the show is primarily influenced by and inspired by the Pre-52...

Daniel Cerone: Yes. If I can jump in on that part, David is completely right. I don’t think we’ve - other than, you know, we do look over - I mean, look, we have the whole sort of Constantine cannon at our disposal in terms of storytelling. We do look to the newer issues, you know, to see if there’s interesting story ideas for us or stories that we can use or adopt.

But, look, the Web described what we’re doing on the show as, you know, Constantine is this amazing mythology. And there’s this amazing character and, you know, it’s just like this fantastic car that we’ve been given the keys to, to take it for a spin and we’re doing that on network television. And, you know, the writers of the new 52 Constantine, they’re doing the same thing as we are. They’re basically rebooting the franchise. We’re rebooting for television. They’re doing it for sort of a new generation of, you know, of comic book readers.

So we’re kind of charged with the same task, you know, in terms of taking what was there, the foundation of what was there and, you know, just try to honor it and do the best that we can with it for our medium.

So yes, it’s all as cool. I mean, you know, one of the most fascinating things about Constantine to me is that it was the longest-running comic book series. According to my understanding of any imprint of any comic book publisher that was never in its 30-year run, it was never rebooted, it was never renumbered, it was never reissued, you know. It just stayed in continuous publication as a guy who can - who aged on the page, you know, in real-time. And I just think that makes him such a unique character.

And what we’re doing on our show is we’re going back to beginning. We’re basically meeting roughly the same time that you met him in Hellblazer in the very first issue. So our timeline, you know, when people are like “Wow,” you know, in terms of the cancer story and all the great arcs that he has, you know, we just hope and pray that this show has legs because we’ll get to him like we love those arcs, dangerous habits and all the arcs that everybody else is excited about, we’re excited about. And what’s great is that we’re choosing an entry point where the character is young and all those adventures are ahead of him and we hope to dramatize as many of them as we possibly can.

What is the second half of that question, David? I don’t remember.

David S. Goyer: Oh, network censorship or not - how was it - it’s not network censorship, per se, but it’s - I think has it been a challenge to sort of ride the line between, I guess, broadcast standards and coming up with something that’s scary and suspenseful. Right?

Daniel Cerone: Yes, but, look, we could give you, you know, if you read the network’s standards that we get, it’s like “Can we please not hear him urinating? It’s okay to urinate on screen but as long as we don’t hear it.” Or there’s a shot where Zed is like painting this young guy and he’s nude - like a nude model and it’s like “He can be nude but can we see him from the sides so we don’t see his butt crack because it’s like - it’s okay he’s nude but we just - we can’t see the crack.” So it’s - those are the kind of - those are the censorships...

David S. Goyer: It’s not too bad. Yes.

Daniel Cerone: No, it’s not at all. It’s not at all.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite.

Please go ahead with your question.

Suzanne Lanoue: Good afternoon. I was wondering since there are other shows where someone hunting demons like “Grimm” and “Supernatural,” do you do things - is there anything that you do to make sure that you’re not inadvertently copying them or do you have someone watching for that kind of thing or just do your own thing and hope for the best?

David S. Goyer: Well, first of all, let me just say that, you know, taking nothing away from those shows, I think what’s fundamentally different about our show versus like “Oh, well, just show people the Supernatural” is the John Constantine character. He’s amazing character.

And with all due respect to those shows, he was around a lot long - a lot earlier than they were. And I know there’s, you know, some people have said “Oh, this is the character on Supernatural” that Constantine is like that character was influenced by Constantine, not the other way around. And he’s been around for 25, 30 years.

So I think once people see a few more episodes under their belt, particularly the episode that’s going to air Friday night, I don’t think - it’s a very, very, very different show than those shows. And I also think there’s room for all of that.

Daniel Cerone: I will say this, though, as a storyteller, you can’t pay attention to what other people are doing on similar shows. I think that’s where you get into trouble, frankly, because if it’s in your head, “Oh, they did this creature” or “They did this scare” or “They did this sort of legend or mythology.”

You know, then you start comparing yourself and, look, we’re just trying to channel the character John Constantine as clearly as we can. I mean, funny, one of the first shows that I came in on as a young writer was “Charmed” and I spent, like, the first four years of my career on “Charmed.” You know, we’re doing this on “Charmed” before they’re doing on “Supernatural.” “Supernatural,” you know, “X-Files” is doing it before us. “Buffy” was in the middle of it all. You know, all you can do is trust your characters, you know. That’s, hopefully, what people are tuned in to every week and, you know, within that framework, we try and tailor, you know, we might do a vampire story or a zombie story. In fact, look, we’re doing - you know, there’s elements of a zombie coming up for us but look at filtered to the world of Papa Midnite. So it’s voodoo zombie. It’s more old school, you know, raise and assault and, you know, bring in, you know, recently-deceased humans back. It’s not the sort of zombie - apocalyptic zombie virus that we’re all accustomed to.

So, you know, we’re always going to spin it through our filter and - but you can’t worry about what other people are doing and really tell good stories. I don’t think.

Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Erin Conrad with ThreeIfBySpace.net.

Please go ahead with your question.

Erin Conrad: Hi. Thank you for talking with us today.

Daniel Cerone: Sure.

Erin Conrad: I love Constantine. I’ve been really enjoying it. But I was not familiar with it. I had never heard of it before the show. So obviously...

Daniel Cerone: Great.

Erin Conrad: ...I’m not, you know, one of your comic book fans...

Daniel Cerone: That’s good, though.

((Crosstalk))

Erin Conrad: You know, looking at you’ve got the devils, you know, section of the Web site and that kind of thing, what are you doing to really help the non-comic book fans, how could they best get into the show because you’ve got to have - and you talked about this a little bit before, you’ve got to have that contingent in order to make this show a success on the network.

David S. Goyer: Sure. Sure.

Daniel Cerone: Yes. Look, I actually think in the whole wide spectrum. I actually feel like we’re tipping closer to creating the show for the non-fan and the fan, truthfully, because there isn’t a single episode or story we tell where we’re just not seeing down to tell a coherent story and every week introduce a danger and characters that you can relate to and care for and, at the same time, you know, we’re trying to spin out this, you know, the central character of John Constantine as someone who is fully of aches and pain and guilt and torment and is going about doing something because he feels personally compel to do it.

I feel like everything we’ve served and talked about this phone call is, you know, it is a little inside baseball. I mean, for anybody who knows of this, you don’t have to know of the character Papa Midnite. You don’t have to know about The Newcastle Crew. You don’t have to know about Felix Faust or the Doctor Fate Helmet or any of these elements that we’re using to enjoy the show. I mean, every week, we’re just trying to tell the most sort of honest and accessible and humanistic stories that we possibly can.

But there’s an added layer on top of that for the comic book fan where if you know the world, if you know John Constantine, if you know Hellblazer, if you know some of the iconic images and people on the DC world, it’s value added. It’ll provide that much more entertainment and fun hopefully.

David S. Goyer: And I would say one more thing, like, let’s talk about, for instance, the introduction of Jim Corrigan, who’s a character the comic book fans will know. You know, the working rule of thumb that we’ve gone by is, you know, as fans, it’s exciting for us to introduce a character like that and we know it will be to the comic book fans but...

((Crosstalk))

Daniel Cerone: Tell Erin who he is for some...

((Crosstalk))

David S. Goyer: I will in a second. He becomes another DC character called The Spectre as supernatural figure ultimately. But the point is it’s fun for us as fans to say “Hey, let’s get this character in there.” But we don’t want to do it just as a stunt cast and we won’t do it unless it’s organic to the story and we can introduce the character in a way that people who never read the comics will understand who he is and won’t be lost without his back story.

So we have to make sure that every time we introduce a character or a plot element like that, we can do it in a way that stays true to the source material but doesn’t alienate the broader audience and they feel like they’re missing out or they don’t understand the story because they haven’t read the comic books.

Daniel Cerone: And, you know, Jim Corrigan is a great case study. I mean, if I can sort of present for an instant, like, how the Jim Corrigan character came into being on our show, for Episode - it’s Episode - it’s called “Danse Vaudou.” It airs not this Friday but a week from Friday. We did an episode where we’re like all right, we want to do - let’s start it with urban legends. And like, look, there’s a perfect example. Everybody does their urban legends or like “Let’s sort of do just” - but we’re not going to call them urban legend. Let’s just do - let’s just bring some urban legends to life and let’s do serve a thematic urban legend episode.

And we basically decided to do three of them. One was like the vanishing hitchhiker. One was the slit-mouthed woman. That’s like the woman who carries a surgical mask in Japan. And the third was - what’s that third character? There’s the hitchhiker, the woman - oh, it was the golden - what is it, the golden - it’s the golden paw. What is it? The monkey’s paw basically...

David S. Goyer: Yes, yes.

Daniel Cerone: Somebody’s loved one comes back.

So we decided to have three ghost stories and all based loosely on those urban legends. And they all end up being ghosts that are brought to life by Papa Midnite unknowingly because of the rising darkness. So within the context of the episode, we realized we needed to cap character. There is a cap that, you know, was coming across various dead bodies that were connected to his ghost. And so we’re like, “All right, we’re going to expose a police officer to the supernatural world here.” And so right away we’re like “All right, is there anyone in the DC world that we can plug into that could, you know, sort of” - again, it’s a value added. Kill two birds with one stone and we thought “Well, Jim Corrigan is this cop, very much like Constantine, kind of takes the law in his own hands, you know, really hard charging, will do anything, you know, for the arrest and he ultimately is killed and comes back as The Spectre character.” We’re like “What if we meet him now as a cop. He can come into this case. He can see those” - you know, we’re sort of seeing like a bit of the origin story of Jim Corrigan where he sees the supernatural world open to him for the first time.

And so, you know, A, we’re introducing Jim Corrigan; B, we’re giving John Constantine a friend of the force for future episodes, and that’s just sort of how that happened. But it came from very organic story, different place. It wasn’t about servicing DC fans. It was literally about just trying to tell a good story.

Operator: Our final question comes from the line of Derek O’Neill with Gotham TV Podcast.

Please go ahead with your question.

Derek O’Neill: Hey, guys, thanks for...

((Crosstalk))

Derek O’Neill: Just another one of the characters for the show really for me so far is the music. Can you have...

((Crosstalk))

Derek O’Neill: ...talk about working with Bear McCreary about the inclusion of kind of tech specialist in the funk music so far?

David S. Goyer: I’ll - this is David. I’ll start. I mean, Bear - this is the third time I’ve collaborated with Bear. Most recently, he does the score for my other show, “Da Vinci’s Demons.” He actually won the Emmy last year for it.

And so as soon as Constantine, the pilot was going, I think I just said to everyone Bear is doing it. There’s no - there’s not going to be a conversation. He’s doing it.

Bear is also a huge, huge Hellblazer fan. And one of the things that’s great about Bear is he’s incredibly versatile. I mean, his score for “Walking Dead” is nothing like his score for this. There’s nothing like a score for “Battlestars,” nothing like “Da Vinci’s Demons.”

We also used, which is unusual, a full orchestra on the show. A lot of people just go with sense and, you know, might have one or two instruments. We have a full orchestra.

And if you want to handle the funk thing, Daniel, it’s sort of part and partial. That speaks to a character when John Constantine was introducing the AAP. He was part of that funk scene. He used to be part of a funk band, which we referenced in the last...

((Crosstalk))

David S. Goyer: ...episode and we thought even though it’s bit anachronistic, it would be fun to still utilize a lot of that funk music whenever we’re using, you know, source pieces.

Daniel Cerone: But, you know, look, here’s the deal. I mean, John Constantine was funk. I mean, it’s as simple as that. I mean, he’s - you know, it just so that ecstatic just so embody his, you know, that of rebellious ecstatic, free-thinking completely embodies who John Constantine is and, look, I have a 13-year-old daughter who just - that’s all she listens to is funk. So, I mean, I don’t think, you know, I don’t even think it’s throwback really. I think it’s just, you know, it’s such a part of sort of culturally now, you know, the music scene and there’s so many shoots of it. I just think it’s, you know, so to bring that into the show as a flavor just felt like a really honest thing to do.

Like David said, look, when John left home in the comics in his timeline, I think he went straight into the London, you know, underground funk scene and yes, that’s all long gone but that doesn’t mean that, you know, as a character, that can’t be a music and that can’t be his musical style because it just feels honest to who he is. And for us, it’s a lot of fun to try to find cuts that we can use for the show.

I think that’s it. Is that it?

David S. Goyer: Yes.

Akiva Griffith: Yes. Thank you, everyone, for joining the call today. A transcript will be available tomorrow for you all to use for your stories. And again...

Daniel Cerone: And again, thank you, you guys. Just really...

Man: Yes.

Daniel Cerone: ...really appreciate you guys being here and I just encourage you to hit up Akiva...

((Crosstalk))

Daniel Cerone: Get your cuts of the show like Friday and next Friday because really...

Akiva Griffith: Watch this Friday’s show. This Friday’s an amazing episode.

Daniel Cerone: Yes. I mean, listen, it sounds like a lot - most of the people on this call are fans of the material and truly, like, Friday is the closest thing that will, you know, if you want to see the comic book on screen, like, that’s happening Friday night. So we’re pretty psyched about it.

David S. Goyer: Cool. And thank you.

Akiva Griffith: Thanks, everyone.

Daniel Cerone: Thank you.

Akiva Griffith: Thank you, Daniel and David.

Daniel Cerone: Okay. Bye.

Akiva Griffith: All right. Bye, guys.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude the conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your line.

END

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