In a new interview with The Wrap, director Francis Lawrence says he’s aiming for a hard-R rating on his recently-announced Constantine sequel (which, yes, will be bringing back Keanu Reeves as the titular detective of the dark arts), as he’s been regretting the punches pulled by the original ever since it was released.

Why? Says Lawrence:

“One of the biggest things for me about the first one was we followed, per Warner Bros., the rules to make a PG-13 movie in terms of violence, blood, language, sexuality. But the ratings board gave us a hard R based on their the gray zone of intensity. And my big, big regret was that we have an R-rated movie that’s really a PG-13 movie. And if I was going to have to go have an R, I would have really made an R-rated movie. I would have made it much scarier and much more violent and I would have really made an R-rated movie.”

“The idea is this time, at least for me, is to really go at it and make a real R-rated Constantine which is, I think, what people always wanted originally, not the PG-13 version that just happens to get an R.”

And, as it turns out, more scares and more violence aren’t the only adjustments Lawrence wants made to the formula this time around: he also wants John Constantine to be a bit more … John Constantine-y this time around:

“I think John Constantine is a funny character in a darkly comic kind of way and I would want to definitely add more of that sarcastic, cynical sense of humor to the story.”

So, a darker, scarier, more violent, snarkier Constantine movie? Yeah, we can get behind that. We can especially get behind it during an era where Troma vet James Gunn is overseeing the DC slate for the foreseeable future. Here’s hoping that screenwriter Akiva Goldsman can work Lawrence’s complete wishlist into the shooting script!

Nothing further to report on Constantine 2 at this time, but every time we hear about it we get more and more excited. Stay tuned for further breathless updates as they roll in. Oh, and in the meantime? Maybe rewatch the original Constantine, if you’ve not done that in a while. Holds up a lot better than you might think!

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