Rachel Weisz Put Her Faith In Keanu Reeves For One Of Constantine's Most Intense Scenes

With the announcement that we're finally getting a "Constantine" sequel, there's no better time to revisit the original 2005 film. We follow John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a suicide survivor who is destined for Hell once he dies for good. He hunts demons out of guilt rather than out of the goodness of his heart, but that all gets shaken up upon meeting Detective Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz). Angela is investigating the death of her identical twin sister, and Constantine steps in to help. What starts off as a simple investigation turns into a supernatural conspiracy of Biblical proportions.

While Francis Lawrence's "Constantine" was initially received poorly, it has been reappraised in the 17 years since its release. The special effects still hold up, the film's noir visual tones help it stand out amongst a sea of comic book adaptations, and then there are the memorable performances. Yes, Keanu Reeves's SoCal accent might grate a little if you remember the comic character's Liverpool background. But he goes hard, much like the rest of the cast.

In particular, Reeves' scenes with Weisz are among the highlights of "Constantine." This is partly thanks to the chemistry they have onscreen, but there's one incredibly intense scene that highlights not only how committed the both of them are in their performances, but also the level of trust they had in one another that things wouldn't be taken too far. One mistake could have had things ending badly.

'It was scary'

Of all the scenes Keanu Reeves and Rachel Weisz had together, there is one that stands out as the most terrifying for Weisz: the scene in which Constantine drowns Angela to re-awaken her powers. It's subtle at first. We watch as Angela is submerged under water, with a close-up shot of her face. It isn't until she needs to breathe that the panic starts to heighten. Quick shots back and forth between Constantine's face through the water and Angela's heightening fear and increased flailing ramp up tension further, creating an intense viewing experience.

The fear we see onscreen is genuine, which makes sense considering what they had to do to get the shots. As Weisz shared with Tribune, the line between acting and reality collided in the shooting of this scene:

"It was scary, it was really scary. Keanu was holding me down by the neck, I was thrashing about in the bath, and I guess there's a moment where you're not acting anymore. You're thinking, 'I really gotta get out of this bath, otherwise I'm going to die.'"

The two did have a signal in case things got out of hand but, as Weisz shared, the signal had a flaw: how would they be able to differentiate between the three taps they had agreed upon versus her panicked thrashing? Fortunately, the two were in tune with each other enough for Weisz to trust that Reeves would know enough was enough.

Helping by drowning

The scene was clearly a challenge for Weisz as there was the literal matter of life and death she had to grapple with if things went awry. But was the scene difficult for Reeves as well? Not so much. During his discussion with IGN, he further broke down the technical side of shooting it:

"Rachel had to do the heavy lifting in that. We shot the scene, we re-shot the scene, we continued to shoot the scene. It was another angle. I mean, she really had to like, you know, she was in the water all day. And I was just there to support her and help her which was great."

Having to essentially drown over and over and over again is not something any of us would wish on even our worst enemy, yet Weisz had to do it for an entire day. While Reeves may dismiss his importance here, providing support and security for Weisz in shooting the scene repeatedly is worth its weight in gold. Having a scene partner that you can trust enough with your life is no small feat. 

With rewatches of "Constantine" (which many of us will do ahead of the sequel), the knowledge of what Weisz was going through internally adds an extra layer to what we witness. But at least with a scene partner like Reeves, she was in the best hands.