CONSTANTINE - Q&A with Tilda Swinton
Tell us a bit about Gabriel.
Gabriel, the angel Gabriel. God's right hand, the bouncer of the club and it's a very short list. The list of the people who get into heaven are those who are faithful which means those who have a belief but no proof of anything and Constantine comes to Gabriel to ask if he can get in and I regretfully and very lovingly tell him there's no way.
Is there a bit of an attraction between Gabriel and Constantine? Did I detect a bit of flirting?
Without giving too much away we get to see two sides to Gabriel - which was more fun for you?
Two sides...interesting, it all feels one to me because Gabriel's really good, he really believes that he's good and really believes that he's doing the right thing but the fact is that in order to get as many souls into heaven he has to kind of trick things a little to make sure that people are really, really, really needy for heaven and so he fixes things. But I think he's always the same. He just goes insane, that's all. Maybe he always was, I don't know.
You're better known for more intimate productions. What appealed to you about a big studio movie like CONSTANTINE?
There were kind of four elements really. One very important element was Mr. Francis Lawrence, our director who I think is a really exceptional man and it's really exciting to make his first film with him because I know what eyes he's got and I was really interested to see what he was going to do with this material. And then there of course is the land and universe of Hellblazer which was bought to my attention around about the time I was asked to be in the film and one Mr. Keanu Reeves with whom I'd just worked (on THUMBSUCKER) didn't make the project dis-attractive. And then just something about the idea of a really cool blockbuster film that talks about good and evil for not only people who make policy decisions but also the kids at a time when everyone seems to be talking about good and evil very seriously and asking us to make decisions about hat we think good and evil are.
Gabriel is portrayed as rather androgynous. Would you say Gabriel is more of a he or a she?
Well the angel Gabriel, as the Book of Daniel said, is in the shape of a man. It doesn't say he is a man, just says looks like one and I quite often get given a male frisk when I go through the X-ray at airports so I was up for that. And anyway it's not my idea that I'm impersonating Gabriel, it's entirely Francis Lawrence's so you'll have to blame him for that.
So has the experience opened your eyes to the comic book universe? Are you a convert?
Only to the world of Hellblazer. And I'm gently curious to keep exploring but I'm happy there.
In the comics, Constantine is blond, he's from Liverpool - would you have liked to stay more faithful to the source material?
Well I think there's a really honourable tradition in the comic book world where different illustrators can illustrate the same story so who knows, maybe another Constantine will look different.
Which would have been the more apt representation of hell on Earth - LA or Liverpool?
Aha - that's unfair.
Ok, do you think LA is a fair place to represent hell on Earth?
I think so, yes.
The film has some rather intense religious tones - did any of the script perhaps conflict with any personally held beliefs?
Well it's a big fable, a big old fairy tale really so I wasn't really examining my own beliefs when we came to film, no.
You mentioned Francis Lawrence earlier. For a first film, it's exceptional.
Quite exceptional. I think to bring the kind of intensity that he does to all his short films, commercials and extraordinary music videos, which are so short, is one talent. To spread that out over ninety minutes and keep us pumping along with him really quite extraordinary.
If the film gets a good reception would you be happy to come back for a sequel?
Are you already signed up?
Ummmm...(squirms and laughs)
I'll take that as a yes then. This isn't the last time we'll see you all in white this year - can you tell us how Narnia is going?
Narnia's shaping up, Narnia's nearly cooked. Narnia part one.
You say part one. Again, will there be a franchise?
Well you know they're (the studio bosses) are just waiting to see what the numbers are to actually green light a sequel. CS Lewis wrote several of those books and they do preface The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by calling it The Chronicles Of Narnia so there's expectation there. My character is only in one other though.
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