HELLBLAZER - The Making Of A John Constantine Fan Film

John Constantine and Hellblazer are both in the news thanks to the pilot that NBC is producing. Filmmaker Harry Locke IV has beaten them to the punch, however, with this fan film, which he goes behind the scenes on in this excerpt from a "making of" piece.

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By EdGross - 2/6/2014
by Harry Locke IV

Hellblazer, my fan film based off the DC Comics/Vertigo series of the same name, was birthed from frustration.

I spent the majority of 2013 working exhaustively on a pitch for an episodic series rooted in the Batman universe called Gotham. The concept focused on the home of the Dark Knight viewed through the eyes of its citizens' greatest threat, themselves. The treatment landed me a writing agent, attracted an experienced show runner, and offered first taste of the maddening frenzy that composes “pitching season.” But before we could even step foot on the Warner Bros. lot, the Bruno Heller-led project of the same title was announced with a straight-to-series order, leaving my vision effectively defunct.

Defeated but not completely lost, I returned to working on original creations, and began studying mature graphic novels as reference material. My journey led me from the usual suspects (i.e. anything and everything by Frank Miller and Alan Moore) to Vertigo Comic’s seminal body of work: Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan, Garth Ennis’ Preacher, and the all-star team of writers that produced Hellblazer.



My initial introduction to John Constantine came by way of the often frowned upon 2005 filmed interpretation, Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves. Up until late last year, I could never understand the condemnation that film received from the fan community. It was not until I began delving into the runs authored by Neil Gaiman and Jamie Delano that I began to understand their frustration. Lost in a sea of slick aesthetics and usual luster that comes with a blockbuster production, was the aura of dark bravado and conniving bastardry that has made the adventures of John Constantine such a provocative read for the past 25 years. The issues produced by writer Andy Diggle galvanized me to experiment with what could be accomplished with the character in a Post-Christopher Nolan/Post-Avengers world. Where Constantine served as an interpretation of the series aimed to appeal to a larger demographic, I viewed Hellblazer as an adaptation of the work oriented to offering fans of the series a more faithful representation of the dark magician.

Slate

PRE-PRODUCTION

In his writing debut on the series, Andy Diggle, author of Hellblazer #230 – “In at the Deep End (Part 1)" - does a fantastic job laying out all things great about John Constantine. The plot finds John handcuffed to a post in the River Thames by an opportunistic mobster looking to make a name for himself. As the tide quickly rises around him, we see John’s skills of manipulation at play as he gambles for his life. Translating this epic, London-based scenario, to a low-budget shoot in Los Angeles presented the first difficulty in taking Hellblazer from concept to concrete.

TheGarage

I began toying with ways of stripping down the issue to its core. John is faced with a villain, Webb, who has an almost fetishistic interest in murdering his victims in water. Fortunately, I had just worked on a short film using a large water tank to submerge a girl for some pretty wild dream sequences. The director was generous enough to loan me the tank for the shoot, and the next obstacle came in finding a place to house it. I had been in contact with the location manager in charge of the same house used for the pilot of American Horror Story, a gorgeous historical mansion with a basement cellar that looked like something straight out of Saw. Perfect I thought, until I was slapped with a quote of $4750/day and a $12,500 security deposit. I wanted to give Webb an environment that looked as if it would be a location that could wind up in a Hellblazer story, while also being a practical torture chamber that fit into the film’s total budget of less than $1,000. The solution ended up being much less expensive, my garage. With the location locked, I had successfully convinced myself that the project was doable, and began moving on to the exciting phase of casting.

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24 Comments
jimoakley666 - 2/6/2014, 6:39 AM
"Translating this epic, London-based scenario, to a low-budget shoot in Los Angeles..."

Instantly fuk off!
jimoakley666 - 2/6/2014, 6:40 AM
No interest in an Americanised John Constantine at all. Fuk that.
SWelch - 2/6/2014, 7:00 AM
This was a 1000 times better than the 2005 fiasco with Keanu Reeves. One of the best fan made films I have seen in a long time.
SuperPickle - 2/6/2014, 7:11 AM
The fan film isn't Americanized, despite it being filmed in LA. Both actors have accents and it's plainly set in London.

And moreover, it's pretty damn good. My only issue with it is during the climactic moments, the sound effects drown out the dialogue. Well acted, well filmed. Keeps pretty true to the Hellblazer comics in ways the Reeves movie didn't.

I find it humorous that so many people who read these articles merely scan over them or don't bother watching the videos. Then they develop an extreme opinion on them, not even knowing what they're talking about. lol
Franshu - 2/6/2014, 7:16 AM
@jimoakley666
why don't you watch the short film before bashing it, jackass?
jimoakley666 - 2/6/2014, 7:17 AM
What the hell is going on with Constantine's accent in that? Sounds like an American trying to sound British to me.
jimoakley666 - 2/6/2014, 7:18 AM
@Franshu - I did you silly kunt.
jimoakley666 - 2/6/2014, 7:25 AM
@SuperPickle - I find it funny how many pricks make assumption when they don't have a fuking clue.
DrunkenNukem - 2/6/2014, 7:48 AM
You guys bitch about a FAN MAN CONSTANTINE MOVIE....i like it...

You think making a movie is easy???...you think fan made movies are easy?? without budget from studios??

im just wasting my time with you..

SuperPickle - 2/6/2014, 7:49 AM
I said the actors had accents, not that they were perfect. The VAST majority of audiences don't know the subtle differences. But it was way better than a lot of American actors' attempts.

Based on your initial comment, you didn't watch it. In fact, seeing as you're an instantly judgmental prick about the whole thing, I have no desire to be accommodating to your bullshit.

You didn't watch the [frick]ing video until you were called out on it, that much is obvious based on your bullshit first comment and then your bullshit [foo foo]y little [frick]ing attitude afterward.

So enlighten us, you humorless little prick, and tell us what is so "AmericaniZed" about the film? It's set in London, the actors have English accents (however bad they may be), and it's obviously based on the comic, which was quite English. ESPECIALLY if you compare it to the Keanu Reeves movie.

If you want legit English actors and a completely English production, then do you have problems with Cavill, Bale, and Oldman playing Americans? What about Andrew Lincoln and his AWFUL Georgia accent on "Walking Dead?" And how about the entire cast of the Thor movies? Should we get real Asgardians to play Thor, Loki, Odin, and Frigga?

Or are you just a small-minded, xenophobic dipshit who likes to start fights online? Regular little keyboard thug ain't you?
jimoakley666 - 2/6/2014, 8:14 AM
@SuperPickle - I did watch it. A few times. Puzzling over the john accent. The other guy's in fine. Sounds British whether he actually is or not.

And what is with the "AmericaniZed" ? It's spelt with an 's' in English.

Who says it's set in London? It state nowhere, including in the film, that it's set in London. They mention tower bridge. That's all.

I have no problem with actors providing a regional accent other than their own if they can do it. This guy cannot.

I've never seen Walking Dead so I can't comment on Andrew Lincoln's accent. But how is you calling that piss poor any different to me pointing out how piss poor THIS guy's is? Somebody's playing the double standard game, I think?

I like getting into fights everywhere. It's fun. I prefer punching people, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

I don't know what you think Xenophobia is, but you're not really indicating that you have a grasp on it. I've not shown any kind of Xenophobic tendencies other than not wanting another 'Californication' of a character and book close to my heart / geographic location. I'm sure it's how you yourself would feel if they remade 'My Little Pony' as a South African racing movie.

And last but not least. There is no such thing as "Real Asgardians". You silly bastard.
jimoakley666 - 2/6/2014, 8:14 AM
@DukeNukem - Then fuk off.
SWelch - 2/6/2014, 9:10 AM
@jimoakley666 the film may not be perfect but at least looking at it they tried their best to make an entertaining film and by all counts they succeeded.

And I just don't see why you have to be so offensive in your remarks9as well as few others were). If you can't talk about this in a polite manner then you really need to shut up. All you had to do is politely say what you didn't like in a positive way.

Or better yet here is a quote from Kevin Smith:

"Remember: It costs you nothing to encourage an artist and the potential benefits are staggering. A pat on the back to an artist now could one day result in your favorite film, or the cartoon you love to get stoned watching, or the song that saves your life. Discourage an artist you get absolutely nothing in return, ever."
SWelch - 2/6/2014, 9:11 AM
This site really need a edit function to fix typos.
r1g0r - 2/6/2014, 9:59 AM
nah.

like MOST here, he just wants to bitch and get his voice heard.

remember:
winning an online argument is similar to winning the special olympics.
you're just the most talented brain-damaged person in the room.
jimoakley666 - 2/6/2014, 10:15 AM
@SWelch - In all honesty, I've just had a crappy day. But telling someone the "shut up" isn't exactly polite either, is it? So, own advice n' all.

@r1g0r - Hey, if I wanted to hear your opinion I'd have farted.
SWelch - 2/6/2014, 10:23 AM
@jimoakley666 Your right I shouldn't have told you to "shut up" but having a crappy day also isn't an excuse for you comments. I guess we should both learn from this.
OliverSage - 2/6/2014, 10:33 AM
I saw this on Vimeo, where the sound has been improved. There's actually an annotation about it on the start of the Youtube. But yeah, this is f'n awesome for a fan film done less than $1,000. The visuals, the tone, the performances, and directing, are all stellar. We'll be lucky if we get anything remotely close to this accurate on the NBC show. Good job to the cast and crew!
rabid - 2/6/2014, 10:53 AM
I remember this conversation. Wasn't JC tied to a post in the Thames River? Hellblazer 230.
rabid - 2/6/2014, 10:55 AM
Very well done.
OliverSage - 2/6/2014, 11:33 AM
I like the fact that jimoakley666 is trolling, and his image is in fact that of a troll. I can only imagine what he looks like in real life.
TheHero - 2/6/2014, 4:19 PM
This was frecking awesome. And seeing how you had only a budget of $1,000 is really inspiring. Let's hope Goyer and them are taking notes.
MightyZeus - 2/6/2014, 5:29 PM
Great stuff Ed.
Sorry to see the comment section is being spoiled by an ignorant troll.
I actually love John Constantine. I even like the Constantine movie which had Keanu Reeves in it but i understand the backlash among fans towards the movie.

I look forward to the fan film. I think it's amazing with how much effort went into the production and i think it's great. I have a great respect for fan films.
jimoakley666 - 2/8/2014, 11:57 PM
@SWelch - You know what, you're right. Some people (see below) make it hard though, bud.

@OliverSage - How was I trolling? I was commenting on the fact that I want to see John Constantine played by a British actor because I'm sick of Americanisation seeping into EVERY damned story. Is it too much to ask that a British guy enjoy a story about a British character? I was having a conversation about the fan film.
And the image is player 2 Blanka. Robin Hood.

@MightyZeus - "Ignorant"? Yeah, you are a bit. Try watching the fan film, doofus. It's at the top of the page.

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