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Everything posted by ethan

  1. ...though, i haven't been able to read the rest of the article, so maybe they DO explain more on J.C.'s real character there. <{POST_SNAPBACK}> Unfortunately, I have to take full credit for the word "battle," I just didn't think I had the space to explain much about his adrenaline junkie/conman character. The point I wanted to slip past the editor is that there is a big difference between this Bible Belt friendly lapsed Catholic seeking redemption storyline and his dislike of all higher powers in the comic. And while, many people say the casting of Keanu or putting the action in LA weren't the main issues, I can only speak for myself when I say I never got past that. For those who couldn't open the link... Hollywood makeovers can horrify comic book fans Ethan Sacks Columbia News Service Feb. 19, 2005 12:00 AM NEW YORK -- Henry Goldman of Helena, Mont., couldn't wait for Warner Brothers' horror-action film "Constantine" to open this month at his local movie theater. Goldman, a fan of "Hellblazer," the comic book series the film is based upon, flew to California and managed to sneak into a preview. He was horrified all right, but not the way the movie's director, Francis Lawrence, intended. "My expectations were thrown right into the toilet in the first 10 minutes of the film," Goldman said. "What went though my mind was the sad realization that the people who made the movie had no idea what the comic book was really about." advertisement With the recent success of movies like "Spider-Man 2," which grossed $783 million in worldwide ticket sales last year, comic book, sci-fi and fantasy materials have become hot franchises for Hollywood studios. Fans waited for years for mainstream acknowledgment of their tastes and a chance to see their beloved characters on a movie screen. Many were surprised and upset, however, when they saw what could happen when their heroes got a Hollywood makeover. Michael Uslan, a producer of "Constantine" and a lifelong comic book fan, said changes made to the character for movie audiences were merely cosmetic. He noted the overwhelmingly positive audience reaction last summer when 18 minutes of the film were shown at San Diego ComicCon, the largest annual comic convention in the country. "Anybody who's been a fan of the comic books and anyone who has never read one of the comic books in his life will relate to this character, will find this character to be absolutely fascinating and colorful and different," Uslan said. Yet after plot details from "Constantine" circulated on the Internet, many "Hellblazer" fans vented their outrage on Web site message boards and at local comic book shops. Particularly vexing to loyalists were the number of changes made to the original source material. In the comic series, John Constantine resembles the rock star Sting. He is blonde, lives in London and swears exclusively in British slang. In the film, the title role is played by the instantly recognizable American actor Keanu Reeves, and the action takes place in Los Angeles. The Constantine seen in the comic books battles angels and devils, but the Constantine on screen is a lapsed Catholic who seeks forgiveness from God. "Warner Brothers isn't doing us fans a favor by making this movie. We didn't ask for it," said Esteli Padilla Munoz, a 24-year-old fan from Chile who regularly posts on a "Hellblazer" message board. "It doesn't make much sense to make a movie adaptation of a comic that not many people have heard of," Munoz added. "It doesn't make much sense either to change the source material so much it's hardly recognizable to fans." Uslan has witnessed fan backlash before as the producer of the "Batman" movies. Fans grumbled when word leaked out that director Tim Burton had chosen the not-very-muscular actor Michael Keaton to play the superhero. When they finally watched the movie, many of those same fans accepted the choice. But that isn't always the case. There was mild outrage that the movie version of Spider-Man spun his webs out of his wrists instead of the "web-shooters" gadget he's known for in the comics. Then there was the heavily criticized American "Godzilla," which looked nothing like the classic Japanese monster and didn't breathe fire. Warner Brothers, parent company of DC Comics, which publishes "Hellblazer," has made efforts to court the comic's fan base. Veteran screenwriter Frank Cappello said he was given past issues for reference to help rework the script to match the tone of the comic series. The studio also sent exclusive photos to a fan in Dublin, Ireland, who runs a popular Internet message board. "The producers of Constantine certainly seem to be trying with the inclusion of a number of original comic book story elements," said Jamie Delano, the original writer of "Hellblazer." "Or at least -- a cynic might mutter, he said, that " -- the producers are "trying to pay enough lip service to fandom's sensibilities that they don't maim the project at birth with poisonous word-of-mouth across the Internet." Producers claim they would like to have fans onboard, but it's apparent they need a much broader audience. For "Constantine" to be a box office hit, it will take more than 500,000 moviegoers to buy tickets, far more than the estimated 15,000 American comic book fans who buy "Hellblazer" each month, Uslan said. "The pressure on a film like 'Constantine' to appease its core audience is not as great as for better-known characters," said Paul Degarabedian, president of Exhibitor Relations, a box office tracking group. "It's not like 'Spider-Man' or 'Batman,' where the core fans are a tremendous part of the audience." Studios also are known to demand a recognizable star when developing a big-budget special effects movie. Reeves may not physically resemble the comic book character, but as an actor he "is even bigger internationally than he is domestically" at a time when overseas markets count for 60 to 80 percent of a film's revenue, said Jeff Ulmer, author of "The Ulmer Scale," a system that rates Hollywood star power. So if comic fans are going to see their favorite characters on screen at all, they may have to get used to barely recognizing them. "Comic fans are generally cynical," said Nick Purpura, manager of Jim Hanley's Universe, a comic store in Manhattan. "A lot of customers like to complain more than anything--but they'll go to the movie anyway."
  2. Thanks. It won't make a bit of difference, though. But I don't think there will be a "Constantine 2" unless the box office numbers hold for a few weeks. Casting Keanu costs money. Besides, not even non-Hellblazer fans want to spend money watching him chew gum for a whole movie.
  3. All, Thanks to everyone for emailing in for my article. I wish I could have run more quotes and named more fans, especially the host, John, whose name got bumped off for some reason. It ran in at least one paper, the Arizona Republic, but it may have run in a few smaller papers too. http://www.azcentral.com/ent/pop/articles/...makeover19.html The editor tried desperately to make it less about just comics and more about fantasy and sci-fi, too, but otherwise I have to take full blame for how it came out. Thanks again, Ethan
  4. I'm a writer for the New York Daily News (it's a newspaper for those of you from Cardiff) -- and also a longtime Hellblazer reader -- working on an article on how much (or how little) Hollywood caters to the original fans when they mine comic books for movies. It's pegged to "Constantine," so I was hoping a few of you would email me back with your thoughts on the subject. Having seen the movie, and how much it deviated from the comic books (Chaz is played by the star of Disney's "Holes!"), I want to know: As fans, are you enthusiastic about a multi-million dollar pic being made out of your favorite comic book? Do you have a sense of satisfaction that your good tastes have been vindicated or do you wish Hellblazer would have remained the secret treasure of a select and worthy few? Do you forgive the changes that are made in an effort to make it more accessible to mainstream audiences. My email address is esacks@web.nydailynews.com Any response is appreciated. Please include your full name, the city, state (or country) where you're from, your age, your occupation and how long you've been reading Hellblazer. (whatever quote is used needs to be attributed or the paper won't use it.) Thanks, Ethan Sacks P.S. I'll post a link to the article when it's done.
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