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Matt Ryan Talks Broadway with Keira Knightley, Constantine’s Return on ‘Arrow’

Matt Ryan’s got a busy couple of weeks ahead of him. Tonight the actor opens in the Roundabout Theater Company’s Broadway production of “Therese Raquin,” in which he stars opposite Keira Knightley, and then he’ll show up in the Nov. 4 episode of CW series “Arrow” — reprising the role of the occult detective he played on NBC’s “Constantine.” With a couple of films (including “Away” with Juno Temple and Timothy Spall) also on the way, Ryan, back on Broadway after playing Horatio to Jude Law’s “Hamlet” in 2009, sat down in his dressing room for a chat.

There is a lot of water on that stage, and it’s not just decorative. You and Keira and co-star Gabriel Ebert throw yourselves into it at one point.

As you can hear, I’ve got a little bit of a chesty cold, and Keira’s got a cough as well. It’s all that going and in out of the water, I think. The temperature is lovely now — it’s like a bath — but there were a couple of shows when they were trying to figure out the temperature, and it was really cold. We go in, we get out, they wrap us in towels backstage and we run up and do a quick change, and then we’re straight back down onstage again. It’s pretty cool, though. We’re on a rowboat in the middle of Manhattan.

Are you liking living in New York?

I love the city. I like to have a little walk in Washington Square Park, get a bit of nature in. And there’s a great bar near where I’m living. But I’m looking forward to really exploring, once the show’s open. Do you know this restaurant Rolf’s, where it’s literally like you’re inside a Christmas tree? I’m definitely bringing my family there when they visit.

Next week your episode of “Arrow” airs. Did you have to adjust your character, John Constantine, to fit him into the world of a show on another network?

There are certain things he’s doing, like picking up a sword and fighting with it, that are slightly different. And there was a period of adjustment as well, when I first put on the trenchcoat again. The first take I thought, “What am I doing?” But after a while it was like, “Ah, there he is. There’s the posture. There’s the physicality of him.” What’s great about that episode is that John comes into this “Arrow” world, and everyone doesn’t believe, or doesn’t know about, these occult worlds beyond ours, and John’s just like, “Look, this is the way sh— is.” And he’s an arrogant bastard as well, so everyone’s a bit thrown off by him.

Have you gotten a taste of comics fandom?

It’s crazy. They’ve been some of the most amazing fans. Even now they’re hashtagging #BringBackConstantine. It’s a shame we weren’t able to find a home for the show. Those cult fans, they’re hardcore, you know. I love them. They’re so loyal. Just putting the trenchcoast on for “Arrow,” it did kind of sadden me a little bit. There are 300 issues of that comic book, and there are so many great stories to tell. We were just getting started, man.

What’s next for you after “Therese Raquin”? Do you think of theater as an important element of your career?

I always want to do theater. That’s where I trained. It’s my first love. But then, I did three years at the Royal Shakespeare Company and I remember thinking, “Okay, I’ve got to do a little film and television now.” And me and Joseph [Morgan, the star of CW series “The Originals,” who’s Ryan’s best friend], we have a production company and we’ve done some writing. We have a few things stashed away. The first script we wrote was this 17th century epic about smuggling through the UK. The script was 150 pages. There’s like three movies in there, but that’s something we’ll come back to.

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