December 30, 2003
Anger at sex change for angel Gabriel

SHE has made a reputation for herself by making unusual career choices, but Tilda Swinton is getting ready for what could be her biggest challenge yet – playing the Archangel Gabriel, in a blockbuster comic-book adaptation with Matrix star Keanu Reeves.

Gabriel, who foretold the birth of Christ and revealed the Koran to Muhammad, is traditionally represented as male. But while Swinton's casting could offend Christians, Jews and Muslims alike, it is the fans of the cult Hellblazer comics who seem most outraged by the planned sex change.

The comic-book stories, about a modern sorcerer who has literally been to hell and back, are regarded by their fans as the holy grail of adult comic-book fiction. Gabriel, who is depicted as male in the stories, becomes the arch-enemy of protagonist John Constantine, after Constantine engineers his expulsion from Heaven.

But fans have been outraged by the casting of the Fettes-educated daughter of the Lord Lieutenant of Berwickshire in the film version, which is entitled Constantine.

Hellblazer was created in 1985 by the comic-book writer Alan Moore, whose work is in huge demand with film-makers. In the comics, Constantine is a blond, working-class Liverpudlian and ex-punk-rocker.

The film-makers infuriated fans by making the character American to accommodate Reeves. He teams up with a policewoman, played by Rachel Weisz, to investigate the apparent suicide of her twin, and introduces her to a hinterland of demons and angels in modern Los Angeles.

"I can't understand why they are not casting a man for the role," said one fan on an internet movie database forum. "It seems to me that none of the Warner Bros execs have even bothered to read the comic."

Publicist Paulette Osorio said: "In the script the Archangel Gabriel was not specified as a man or woman but more of an androgynous character."


constantine | from inside the mind of krix at December 30, 2003 10:45 PM .

Tilda Swinton was cast quite some time ago. Why are they complaining about it now ? Does your secret Internet boyfriend know anything about this krix ?

Posted by: Zen on December 31, 2003 06:05 AM

Did anybody see Orlando? If so then you know that Tilda is perfect casting if they maintain the character is to be androgynous (sp?).

Posted by: Tyler on December 31, 2003 06:24 AM

I saw Orlando - Tilda is perfect indeed. Tthe Constantine fans need to get over themselves. Save the whining for AFTER they see the film if need be. I recall that lunatic Anne Rice eating a lot of crow after Interview ... Would that some learned from that.

Posted by: opcit on December 31, 2003 06:52 AM

I sympathize with the ragers. When any of my favorite literature is brought to the screen, I brood for years if they screw it up. And I didn't think Interview With the Vampire went well at all. Tom Cruise was a great Lestat (which shouldn't have been surprising considering the personality match. Okay, so he's not a blond. Whoopee.)

But Brad Pitt made a pasty, lugubrious Louis. That part should have gone to Johnny Depp and there's nothing else to be said about it. Bad casting is fatal. It cannot be overcome.

And I can't stand Tilda Swinton. She's one of those champagne socialists who despises anyone who earns money rather than inherits it, as she has. Smug little hypocrite.

Posted by: Bethanie on December 31, 2003 07:16 AM

Gosh, Bethanie, she speaks so highly of you. ;)

Seriously, I have not seen Tilda in anything besides her bit part in Adaptation, but from what I hear she's quite the actor. This rather unconventional approach to the Gabriel character piques my interest as to what other creative choices are being made in the making of Constantine.

Posted by: krix on December 31, 2003 10:13 AM

Yeah, Tilda and I go way back. Tell her I want my fly-swatter returned. No, but really, I saw her in Orlando and sure, she's a good enough actor, I just don't like what I've heard of her in interviews.

I suppose it doesn't matter, really... but such things affect my view of a person. One of the reasons I like our boy so much is that he seems to be such a decent fellow in actuality. I never thought he was beautiful till I started getting a sense of his personality. Then... thud.

Posted by: Bethanie on December 31, 2003 11:11 AM

Let the movie speak for itself...

Posted by: Keanuette on December 31, 2003 12:37 PM

Actually, this is one of the few casting choices everyone seems to be happy about. Can't find the site which supposedly has the complaints on it so I'll assume that the journo made them up in order to angle the story a little.

Secret internet what now?

Posted by: James on January 1, 2004 03:12 AM
What's on your mind?.....
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