Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù has said that he wasn’t cast to play John Constantine in the cancelled HBO Max series.
The actor, best known for starring in Gangs Of London, was rumoured to have been cast as the DC character in a planned series, which was set to be developed by J.J. Abrams production company Bad Robot.
- READ MORE: Ṣọpẹ́ Dìrísù: “Nobody would be talking about me for Bond if Gangs Of London was terrible”
As reported by Variety last month, the series was however shelved by HBO Max following their merger with Warner Bros. Discovery. Instead, the company are moving forward with a sequel to the 2005 film Constantine, with Keanu Reeves set to reprise his role.
Following the cancellation, Dìrísù, whose involvement was never announced, tweeted a picture of Reeves in the role, writing: “Give ‘em Hell, King.”
— Ṣọpẹ́ (@sopedirisu) September 16, 2022
Speaking to NME, Dìrísù clarified that he was never actually going to play Constantine in the series – but he was attached in some capacity.
“I don’t know what my NDA (non-disclosure agreement) says, so I don’t know what I can and cannot say,” the actor said. “But I was never going to play that role.
“I don’t know why people thought I was going to. It was to the point where [so many people thought] I was going to [play him] it made me think, ‘Oh maybe I am!’”
Despite not officially being cast, Dìrísù said that he needed therapy because of the racist abuse he received online amid the rumours of his involvement.
“It took a lot of self-control and I had to talk to therapists and talk to family and friends and partners. It was just, ‘This thing’s making me really upset’. It changed little by little.”
He added: “I had to mute the keyword ‘Constantine’ on Twitter and Instagram. It took a lot of self-control for me to not react and respond to a lot of nonsense that was out there about the role and about my participation in it.”
Dìrísù is set to reprise his role as Elliot Finch in the second season of Gangs Of London, alongside Paapa Essiedu, Pippa Bennett-Warner and Michelle Fairley.
Gangs Of London season two will be available on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW from October 20.