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‘Constantine’: Producers Talk Casting Zed, Bisexuality and Smoking

Latina actress Angélica Celaya has been cast in “Constantine” as comic book character Zed, the NBC show’s executive producers confirmed at the Television Critics Assn. summer press tour Sunday.

Celaya’s Zed will replace Liv (Lucy Griffiths) as the female lead of the show following the pilot.

In the comics, Mary “Zed” Martin is an artist who becomes John Constantine’s lover and joins his fight against the forces of darkness.

“Constantine” hails from David S. Goyer, Neil Marshall and Daniel Cerone. Matt Ryan stars as the titular hero, Harold Perrineau Jr. and Charles Halford co-star.

On Griffiths’ exit, Cerone said, “Pilots are great because they’re a bit of a litmus test, we get to figure out what works and what doesn’t … Liv is a great character, she’s wide-eyed, she’s reactive, [but] we felt a bit hamstrung by her, frankly.” Liv was a character invented specifically for the show, whereas Zed has a history with Constantine in the comics canon.

In terms of how closely the show will hew to the Hellblazer comics on which it is based, the producers promised to be loyal to the source material, particularly in regards to the character’s smoking habit.

“He is a smoker in the show, we’re not shying away from it, but we’re not glorifying it,” Goyer said, after it was pointed out that the character is only seen stubbing out a cigarette in the pilot.

“[NBC] are beholden to broadcast standards too,” Cerone noted. “We know the universe that we’re existing within — we heard plenty of pitches like ‘let’s give him a patch or have him chew a lot of gum,'” but the producers decided that seeing him stubbing out a cigarette was more authentic to the character.

One aspect of John Constantine’s character that seemingly won’t be explored is his bisexuality, which has been mentioned in a number of comics since Hellblazer debuted, most notably in Brian Azzarello’s 2002 run, “Ashes & Dust in the City of Angels.”

“There are no immediate plans” to explore Constantine’s bisexuality, Goyer told critics at TCA, since that was just one interpretation of the character from Constantine’s 30-year history.

Comics fans can expect plenty of DC easter eggs in the pilot and sprinkled throughout the series (including the possible introduction of other DC Comics characters), something Warner Bros. has demonstrated to great effect through “Arrow” on The CW.

Goyer admitted that he considers Constantine to be “one of the best characters in modern literature,” and that he was Goyer’s first choice when offered a DC Comics property to adapt. “The thing I loved about Constantine was that he was a smartass in a world of superheroes and demons… a working class bloke with a wicked sense of humor,” Goyer said.

Celaya is represented by Innovative and DePaz Management‎.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Zed’s name as Zedd.

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