It sounds like Constantine 2 with Keanu Reeves will be much more brutal than the original. Released in 2005 by director Francis Lawrence, Constantine was developed as a PG-13 movie, meaning there were deliberate efforts made to pull back on the violence and other R-rated aspects to appease the MPAA. However, the film was ultimately given an R-rating anyway, though Lawrence still feels that it should’ve been PG-13.
In any case, lessons were learned, and Lawrence wants to push that rating to its limit this time with the upcoming sequel. Speaking with TheWrap, the director recalled how frustrated he felt by limiting himself with the original movie only for it to be R-rated in the end anyway. Pursuing that rating from the start would give Lawrence the creative freedom he desires to really go all out with what a Constantine movie can be capable of.
“One of the biggest things for me about the first one was we followed, per Warner Bros., the rules to make a PG-13 movie in terms of violence, blood, language, sexuality. But the ratings board gave us a hard R based on their the gray zone of intensity. And my big, big regret was that we have an R-rated movie that’s really a PG-13 movie. And if I was going to have to go have an R, I would have really made an R-rated movie. I would have made it much scarier and much more violent and I would have really made an R-rated movie.”
On what he’d do differently this time, Lawrence added:
“The idea is this time, at least for me, is to really go at it and make a real R-rated Constantine which is, I think, what people always wanted originally, not the PG-13 version that just happens to get an R.”
An R-Rating Doesn’t Mean Less Laughs
Going for that hard R-rating may mean more violence, but it doesn’t mean less laughs. Lawrence also said what he hopes to add in the sequel as well would be more comedic moments compared to the original. Looking at the source material, Lawrence feels that Constantine can be just as funny at times as he is violent, and that’s something that could be further explored in Constantine 2.
“I think John Constantine is a funny character in a darkly comic kind of way and I would want to definitely add more of that sarcastic, cynical sense of humor to the story.”
At this time, however, the screenplay has yet to be written. Lawrence says he’s spoken with Keanu Reeves about many possible ideas that they could take the sequel, but before putting anything to paper, they’d been waiting on the official greenlight to get started on the project. Now that this has happened, a screenplay should be coming soon once Lawrence gets a bit of time to focus on the story. His newest movie, Slumberland, is soon releasing on Netflix, while he also just wrapped filming on the big-budget movie prequel The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.