Movie Picture

Wirework, drowning and more on the set of Constantine

Keanu Reeves is back in action with Constantine, the film of the Hellblazer comic book. As a supernatural detective who exorcizes demons and fights for humanity in the battle between heaven and hell, Reeves found himself in several intense physical situations.

"When Constantine gets punched by the demon and he goes flying backwards, I got to do that [myself]," Reeves said. "Chad Stahelski, a man I've worked with through The Matrix on stunts, he was helping me coordinate it. He's my double. He was just like, 'When you land, taco.' I said, 'What do you mean?' He goes, 'Relax, don't fight it.' So when I launched, I almost went out of frame. I don't know if you see the film again, I almost go out of frame because I pushed off really. And I'm glad he gave me that information because I was just like [woosh]. I mean, there was some wirework. I did that roll in the street when the car is coming, dove and stuff like that, but it's all pretty basic things. It wasn't like a triple side kick or a wire deal. But it was fun. I like fake fights and doing all that kind of stuff."

Perhaps the most intense scene is when Reeves has to hold costar Rachel Weisz under the water in a bathtub. Trying to help her character see hell, Reeves had to perform that scene for real.

"It was a challenge for Rachel. I just got to sit outside the tub and hold her down. But she's a fighter. She's a strong girl. Rachel had to do the heavy lifting in that. We shot the scene, we reshot the scene, we continued to shoot the scene. It was another angle. I mean, she was in the water all day. And I was just there to support her and help her which was great."

Weisz recalled, "That was quite scary. That wasn't CGI. That was me under the bath and the water being held down. The director wanted it to look as real as possible so he told Keanu, in front of me, 'Don't go easy on her.' So it was scary. I mean, I had a signal which I think was tap him on the arm, but it was very hard for him to tell because I was thrashing about so much what was tapping and what was thrashing. I think he just knew when it was enough and I had to come. After like a minute and a half, no one's doing too well without breathing."

Weisz got her share of wirework action as well. "There was the scene where I get dragged through the building. They rigged a special machine. It was a chair on a kind of track that was about four times as long as this room. And they pulled the lever on the chair and I was seat belted in but [whoosh] I was whipped back incredibly fast and your body jerked back. And that was pretty terrifying. And then they painted in the office blocks afterwards."

Shia LaBeouf, who plays Constantine's sidekick Chas, was thrilled to perform his own stuntwork. "That's all me," he said. "All that stuff was 100% me. In fact there was no stunt guy for me. I feel like if you're going to do a stunt and you're in the movie and it's your last day, I'm 18. I'm not going to get permanently injured by hitting a foam wall, why not? It was cool and I had fun and I got to mess with the Matrix stunt guys which was a dream for me. It's funny because they did it on the last day, very smart move."

Of course, there were some movie tricks keeping LaBeouf from getting too banged up. "They had a foam ceiling and it was rubber tile, all of the tile on the floor. The only thing that was tile was when you see a cracked tile when my head hits the tile, that was actual tile but again, last day. It was all safe. It was like pre-cracked and everything so it was done the best way it could have been. I got slightly bruised on my face because of the speed and velocity that I was hitting that foam wall. They call it a tug mallet or a tug... I forget what it's called but it's a wire controlled by a computer. They input a speed and press start and you go from zero to thirty miles per hour in a second, hit a wall, fall and your good. I had on a full body suit and had a cord from my chest up and I had padding on my back. So the cord would go through the ceiling and I would fly up against the ceiling and they would drop me and that was it."

Gavin Rossdale, who plays Satan's agent Balthazar, had to do a fight scene with full on demon makeup. "I had to be there at 4AM, and that's when you might be getting in from a session in music," Rossdale said. "And it was 4 1𔊪 hours but first of all I couldn't complain because I had a team of people around me doing it. But there was something about it that really helped because it really constricted my face because they basically put it on one side of my face and there was something about the constriction of that, wearing a suit and the heat from a suit because I'm not used to wearing, literally being straddled by John Constantine and the gravity of John Constantine , that really helped. That claustrophobic [feeling], I just thought that was so helpful because what's so interesting about the character Balthazar is that he feels infallible, he is infallible, he is the guy who hands out the pain to people so the idea that I could be under a situation where suddenly I become a victim is crazy. I'm to decide who is victimized, so there's are moments in there, without giving away the film to people who haven't seen it yet, where the tables are turned and it was really powerful to me and it really helped."

Djimon Hounsou plays Papa Midnight, a neutral figure in the war between heaven and hell. But when Constantine gets desperate, he physically imposes on Midnight to take a side. "You do get carried away in hurting people," Hounsou said. "I mean, I've hurt people and I've hurt myself as well in the process in so many movies that I've done so far. Constantine, no. Hopefully I didn't hurt Keanu with my powers. No, I didn't hurt him. I just burned his $200 shirt, but I didn't hurt him."

Constantine opens February 18.

{/news/0/.phpid=6735|Part 1: The Stunts of Constantine

{/news/0/.phpid=6736|Part 2: Ping Pong on the Set of Constantine

{/news/0/.phpid=6750|Part 3: Religion in Constantine