NBC's 'Constantine' Casts New Female Lead, Producers Talk Smoking, Bisexuality and DC Characters

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NBC's forthcoming DC-adapted 'Constantine' series surprised us all this past week with the revelation that 'True Blood' star Lucy Griffiths would be written out as the female lead, but the biggest surprises are yet to come. Find out who's been cast as the new female lead "Zed," which of John Constantine's comic habits won't make it to TV, and what future DC characters might pop up over the course of the first season!

Speaking on the DC-adapted drama from the TCA press tour panel, producers of NBC's 'Constantine' revealed that telenovela star Angelica Celaya has been cast in the comic character role of Constantine's right hand woman Zed, replacing Lucy Griffiths' Liv with only a single scene from the pilot reshot to explain Liv's departure. When asked about the decision to drop Liv's character, producers explained that they found the role too "reactive" and wide-eyed, ultimately unable to play off and match wits with Constantine the way they'd intended to show over the first season.

As for changes to the source material itself, producers David Goyer and Daniel Cerone courted minor controversy in answering questions of the comic character's bisexuality, which likely won't end up incorporated into NBC's adaptation. This drew a particular bit of fire, pun intended, as Constantine's infamous smoking habit would at least be alluded to, if not shown directly onscreen for broadcast standards. Said Cerone of the alterations:

[Smoking is] a question you probably should ask the network afterward, but they’re beholden to broadcast standards. So we get it. We know the universe that we’re existing within and, trust me, we heard pitches from all different camps — ‘Let’s give him a patch’ or ‘he eats a lot of gum.’

It’s like, look, he’s a smoker. We’re on network television, so we’re limited to what we can do and what we can show. But within that framework we’re going to be very honest to the character...I believe Constantine has a very healthy sex life, we’re not going to see that on TV either.

At the very least, fans of the series have plenty of character possibilities to look forward to from the "whole occult world" of DC, as the pilot alone shows the helmet of DC sorcerer Doctor Fate, something included at DC boss Geoff Johns behest. Additionally, Cerone told IGN that they'd played with the possibility of introducing DC's "The Spectre," specifically his early human identity of police officer Jim Corrigan, as the fifth episode required a cop character made aware of the supernatural. For the moment at least, the character's use has not been confirmed.

Liv notwithstanding, here’s how NBC describes 'Constantine''s premise:

Based on the wildly popular comic book series “Hellblazer” from DC Comics, seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine (Matt Ryan, “Criminal Minds”) specializes in giving hell… hell. Armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and his wickedly naughty wit, he fights the good fight — or at least he did. With his soul already damned to hell, he’s decided to leave his do-gooder life behind, but when demons target Liv (Lucy Griffiths, “True Blood”), the daughter of one of Constantine’s oldest friends, he’s reluctantly thrust back into the fray – and he’ll do whatever it takes to save her.

Before long, it’s revealed that Liv’s “second sight” — an ability to see the worlds behind our world and predict supernatural occurrences — is a threat to a mysterious new evil that’s rising in the shadows. Now it’s not just Liv who needs protection; the angels are starting to get worried too. So, together, Constantine and Liv must use her power and his skills to travel the country, find the demons that threaten our world and send them back where they belong. After that, who knows… maybe there’s hope for him and his soul after all.

The cast also includes Harold Perrineau and Charles Halford. Writer Daniel Cerone (“The Mentalist,” “Dexter”) serves as executive producer with David S. Goyer (“Man of Steel,” “The Dark Knight Rises”). “Constantine” is produced from Bonanza Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. The show is based upon characters published by DC Entertainment.

Well, what do you think? Will NBC's 'Constantine' get off to a rocky start by being so selective with comic traits and characters? What do you think we'll learn from the pilot premiere at Comic-Con 2014? Watch the trailer again below, and tell us what you want to see from the 'Constantine' TV series, premiering October 24 on NBC!

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