Neil Marshall has one of the best track records around. He's only directed four feature films in his career, but every single one of them is a gem of its genre (and many even think The Descent is one of the best horror movies ever made). However, since 2010's Centurion, Marshall has been attached to a number of feature films that have yet to get off the ground, so instead he's been directing TV-show episodes. He was the man who delivered the "Blackwater" episode of Game of Thrones, which is one of the most cinematic hours of television that has ever graced the small screen. He also recently directed the pilot for Starz' pirate series Black Sails, and now news has come that he's landed another crucial pilot gig: Constantine.
If you're not a comics reader, but you're wondering "Why do I know that name?" it's because Keanu Reeves once starred in a big-screen adaptation nearly a decade ago. That version, directed by Francis Lawrence, is okay on its own, but was actually a bit of a departure from the source material. It was what you'd expect from a
PG-13 R comic book movie about a detective who specializes in the supernatural and whose sidekick is played by Shia LaBeouf. The real comic is much grittier, with John Constantine himself being more cynical and angry than what ended up in the movie, so it's certainly ripe for another adaptation.
Will Marshall be able to deliver that kind of a series on network television? Actually, he may very well be able to. If we were talking about a show on CBS or ABC we'd be very doubtful (we've all seen how generic Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become), but NBC has a pretty decent track record of its own when it comes to fostering edgier, more adult dramas in late prime-time slots, with its poster child for this being Hannibal. So if the network lets Neil Marshall match what director David Slade was able to get away with in his Hannibal pilot, comics fans may have something to truly look forward to down the line.
Of course, so much of Constantine's success will hinge on who is actually playing the titular character, and we don't know who that will be just yet. If I had to pick anyone, I'd actually toss out Game of Thrones' own Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. He's very good at playing a likable a-hole, and he's already been involved with two good shows that should have actually lasted longer than they did (New Amsterdam and Virtuality), so he's due for another shot at his own series.
Oh, and if you'd like to see what Neil Marshall can bring to the pilot table, you can watch the first episode of Black Sails online for free. Check it out:
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