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SYFY WIRE Constantine

What Do Constantine and The Hunger Games Have in Common?

Before he orchestrated havoc in Panem, director Francis Lawrence had already put Keanu Reeves through Hell.

By Benjamin Bullard

Even though we’re stuck in second-movie limbo awaiting word that Constantine might someday move forward with a long-awaited sequel, at least we can always stream the original demon-dashing flick starring Keanu Reeves (watch it here on Peacock!) to absolve our wavering faith.

Released in 2005 to a decent box office but mixed response from critics, Constantine has since become the supernatural source behind a growing cult following. That momentum, in turn, has only heightened expectations that Reeves and other creative players from the original film — including director Francis Lawrence and actor Peter Stormare (Lucifer) can perform a minor miracle and come together under a studio green light that reunites the core Constantine cast and sends them back for a encore journey into Hell.

Francis Lawrence: The creative tie that binds Constantine and The Hunger Games

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As cool as Constantine is, though, fans these days likely know Lawrence less for helming that movie and more for his ongoing creative connection to The Hunger Games, where he’s directed every single entry to date in the five-film saga except for the 2012 original (which was helmed by Seabiscuit and Ocean’s 8 directing veteran, Gary Ross).

But Constantine still holds a place of prominence in Lawrence’s larger filmography — and not just because it comes with a heavy dose of his by-now trademarked eye candy (like Lucifer’s devilishly dashing late-movie descent from above as John Constantine’s own personal deus ex machina). Though Constantine arrived fully formed and with with the big-budget backing of a major Hollywood studio, the movie marked Lawrence’s very first point of entry into what’s since blossomed into a well-established A-list directing career.

Where else have you seen Lawrence’s stylish stuff besides Constantine and The Hunger Games? Well, after putting Reeves through purgatory in his directorial debut, Lawrence stayed with sci-fi to direct Will Smith in I Am Legend (2007), before hitting the genre reset switch (after a quiet four-year pause) to direct Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in the 2011 romantic drama Water for Elephants.

Things got super-busy not long after that, as Lawrence squadded up with Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence (who bears no relation to the director, despite their shared last name) to guide The Hunger Games franchise. Beginning with 2013’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and continuing right on through with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Parts 1 & 2 (2014 and 2015), Lawrence has remained behind the reins of author Suzanne Collins’ smashingly successful dark sci-fi and fantasy series, including his directing turn — minus JLaw and Hutcherson this time around — of the more recent The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023).

In between, Lawrence has somehow managed to find time to helm a pair of standalone movies that don’t even have The Hunger Games anywhere to be found in their titles. He reteamed with Jennifer Lawrence to direct the racy 2018 spy thriller Red Sparrow, and corralled an eclectic cast (including Fast X star Jason Momoa as a weird and wily goat creature) in the 2022 kids’ fantasy movie Slumberland.

Don’t expect Lawrence to stray too far, though, from his main blockbuster gig in Panem. Collins already is reportedly at work on a fifth new novel in The Hunger Games series (titled Sunrise on the Reaping), with a resulting film — to be directed by Lawrence — tentatively expected to arrive in theaters in the autumn of 2026.

Altogether, the upcoming Hunger Games movie also would mark Lawrence’s fifth turn in the franchise’s director’s chair. But you don’t have to wait until 2026 to see why he’s such a natural (or perhaps supernatural) creative fit for all things fantasy and sci-fi.

Catch Keanu Reeves as the devil’s worst nightmare in Lawrence’s directorial debut in Constantine, streaming on Peacock here.