With the success of series Arrow and Sleepy Hollow (Fox) The Walking Dead (AMC) and Agents of SHIELD (ABC), it is no surprise that NBC wants to jump on the band wagon and reintroduce John Constantine to the viewing public. There is a renewed interest in comic books to provide the basis for new TV and movies. The supernatural elements would certainly also attract viewers who are watching The Vampire Diaries, Grimm and American Horror Story. What I am anxious to see is which direction they will take the character. Are we going to be seeing the Vertigo Hellblazer or more of the New 52 John Constantine? Obviously, the audience appeal will be a bit broader if they can find someone who can fight demons but also looks equally appealing with his shirt off which seems to be the current formula. This time around, I don't believe that Keanu Reeves will be on anyone's shortlist.
I have a few suggestions on actors that I believe could offer something to this John Constantine. Although there are certainly some prominent English actors that I would love to see jump into the role (Tom Hiddleston or any of the most recent Dr. Who leads), I have doubts that they would be willing to commit to a television series across the pond. I do believe that some of these offerings would be excited to jump into the starring role the namesake for this TV endeavor.
The Safe Choice
James Marsters is a veteran of a variety of science fiction and fantasy series (Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Torchwood) and already has the acting chops to slide into the character. As Spike, he often had a cigarette hanging from his lips as he delivered his biting lines. He has an extremely convincing accent as well. Also, he brings with him a ravenous fan following as evidenced by anyone who attends his events at conventions.
The Clean Cut Choice
Justin Hartley has already proven himself as a television action hero. As Oliver Queen/Green Arrow on Smallville, he developed the role from guest star to co-star over the last several seasons in a very convincing manner. He has the look that would match Stephen Amell's Arrow and satisfy those fans who still believe the starring role in the CW series should have been his. He has been around the block with super heroes, also starring in the failed pilot of Aquaman. My concern would be that he may be too wholesome in appearance and attitude to play Constantine. Can anyone believe that he drinks and smokes like a fiend? His Constantine might be more likely to visit the gym over a corner pub. However, he did have some dark moments during his tenure on Smallville, and he could prove me wrong. He might be up for leaving Revenge to take on title role.
The BBC Choice
Russell Tovey may not necessarily have the physical appearance of John Constantine as portrayed in the comics, but I think he could fill the role perfectly if given a chance. His portrayal could bring a much more "tortured soul" flavor to the lead role that he demonstrated so well as George Sands in the BBC's original, Being Human. I think he could deliver the supernatural lingo with sincerity as well a bring a bit of light-hearted jocularity with his comedic skills.
The Wild Choice
Dominic Monaghan is a seasoned TV serial actor (Lost) who is obviously at home in the supernatural after his breakout role as Merry in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. He could meet the physical demands of an action star that I suspect will be necessary in this new series. I think he could easily fall into the role of a foul-mouthed cynical magic wielder while also portraying the moral struggles of Constantine with just a wee bit of crazy in his eyes, a true Hellblazer.
The Aussie Choice
Jai Courtney has established himself as an action star both on the small and big screen. I think his strength as John Constantine would lean a little more toward the modern, New 52 version. He has proven he can hold his own sharing the screen with such legends as Tom Cruise and Bruce Willis. Also, he has already worn the tussled, golden locks of the comic book Constantine during his run on Spartacus for Showtime. And at least in this series, he could wear pants, no loin cloth required.
The Classic Choice
Iain Glen is probably most recognized for his role in the Resident Evil movies and more recently HBO's Game of Thrones. On the latter, he is the trusted advisor, Ser Jorah Mormont, to the displaced Queen Daenerys. Honestly, when I picture John Constantine, Iain Glen is what he looks like. I think Constantine should be a bit more worn-down and mature but still physically imposing enough to beat a demon half to death while he mystifies the damsel in distress. A little age and experience would bring an authenticity to the character and his cynicism. And although he is scheduled to appear in the next season of GoT, the high body count on that series could certainly open him up for availability in the title role.
It will be exciting to watch this series develop over the next several months and I hope it makes it to the screen. I always worry despite all the initial buzz, Constantine might go the way of the Wonder Woman series. This list is just my humble suggestions for a few choice actors who could fill the role and take it in a myriad of directions. I doubt I have much influence on the casting directors at NBC but I look forward following the story as Constantine gets closer to production.