Warner Bros. Animation is set to release their next animated instalment on May 3, with Matt Ryan once again reprising his role of Constantine in DC Showcase: Constantine – The House of Mystery. The new short follows the next steps of the demon hunter and master of the occult following the events of Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, while also collecting shorts Blue Beetle, Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth! and The Losers.
We recently spoke to DC Showcase: Constantie – The House of Mystery and DC Showcase: Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth! director Matt Peters, who’s previously directed Warner Bros’ animated projects Injustice, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War and Lego DC Batman: Family Matters, on the upcoming Constantine focused short. We discuss the inspiration behind the project, how it felt to almost give Constantine an epilogue after the events of Apokolips War and his next project.
How far into working on Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, did the gears start turning for Constantine – The House of Mystery?
MP: Actually, it was pretty much I think when we finished and we started our next projects when all of a sudden, Rick (Morales) came and approached me and he said, like, “hey, guess what? Want to work on a mystery project?” And it was with John Constantine, again, for a House of Mystery history short, and I was like, wow, really! And so I thought they were going to do something different and unique. It was a tale like kind of tack on to Apokolips War – I was like, oh, this is great. It was a great opportunity to put an epilogue on that movie.
How did you and Ernie decide which characters to include in The House of Mystery?
MP: I think Ernie and Rick were the ones who really kind of worked on that. They sat down and pounded out the script that was going to focus on mostly John Constantine. He was like the driving force. And it kind of ended up kind of, I think, growing out of that, but you got to talk to Rick and Ernie (Altbacker) about that, they really hammered out the story more than more than anything else.
So Constantine is such a fascinating character with like, just so many layers, what was it like delving into his psyche in this?
MP: It was really fun, because I was just saying that that when I was working Apokolips, I co directed that with Christina Sotta, and the two of us, you know, it was a movie that we basically decided what we would do is divide and conquer. She focused on the Raven sequences because that was a character that she really loved and identified with and I’m a huge Superman fan, so Superman and everything else that kind of fell by the wayside, I got divided between the two of us so I couldn’t really explore too much with John Constantine in that movie because there were scenes that Soto was doing, there were scenes and we were both kind of centering our focus on on our individual characters. So we as soon as this opportunity came it was kind of a chance for me to really kind of nail down and focus primarily on Constantine alone and and like you said, he’s a fascinating character and it was great to just kind of see what his life was like, what his thinking is like, the characters in his world and it was just a fun opportunity to delve into that.
Definitely especially after obviously Apokolips war which was such an intense and emotional conclusion as well. Was it good continuing that following that experience?
MP: It was because I felt that James I think really closed the door on his universe and you summed up perfectly, I think with Apokolips war it was ikind of nice to have a small epilogue to be able to add just one little element of – I don’t know if you would call it a happy ending, but it’s a different kind of ending for the team than what you see in Apokolips War.
Definitely, yeah. And what was it like working with Matt Ryan again? Did you did you have a chance to engage with him at all?
MP: Most of the time with him we were brought in, we get to listen to him to make sure that he’s hitting that detail. And basically, it’s like we’re essentially the first audience we get to watch what a fantastic job he does. And he approaches the character with like so much love. And you can tell he really likes playing the character, you can see he really likes getting involved and we just feel lucky to be in the room honestly, to just watch him perform.
Can I briefly ask about the score as well by Robert J. Crowl. It’s such a brilliant hark back to Justice League Dark and there’s some real like Halloween vibes in it as well. What was it like seeing the score come together with the visuals in the final edit?
MP: That’s always the cherry on top whenever we actually to get the score like put on and it’s just like the music that he did. Like you said it’s got that little sprinkle of Halloween. And, you know, I wish I got the chance to talk to him more, but at that point, I think I was already put on another project when we started talking about music, so for me, it’s like I get the movie almost like an audience member at that point when when the film is finished. It’s animated, and when it’s brought to me they add the wonderful music. It’s just like, oh my god, are you kidding me? You just nailed it. So, yeah, I get to work on these movies, which is a great thing, but you still end up being a fanboy of whose stuff you get a chance to work on!
So what drew you to directing DC’s Kamandi: The Last Man on Earth?
MP: Oh, that was great. As soon as Rick pitched me the idea of doing Kamandi and what he wanted to kind of give it that 1970s style. He worked super hardwith the animation team to hammer that style out and it really is fantastic. I take my hat off to Rick more than anything because I really think that was the the catalyst for why that just looks so different and fun. It was really a lot of work by their heavy lifting.
Can you tell us anything about the upcoming Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse crossover?
MP: I’ll just say that it was a great opportunity. It was James executive producing again, and working with Katie was phenomenal. I learned so much from her. She’s an unbelievably talented artist. And on the production, we had a great cast we have tonnes of fun and it was just a great opportunity for me because you know, I’m used to doing or I was doing, you know, the more serious films, so it was fun to kind of just let loose and have a little fun for a change!
DC Showcase: Constantine – The House of Mystery arrives on Digital & Blu-ray on May 3.