One of the newest members of the “Hellboy Universe” is also relatively new to film, but despite having few movies in her resume, the beautiful Anna Walton was cast by Guillermo del Toro in the key role as Princess Nuala in his sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army. The exotic British actress certainly will capture the attention of fantasy fans, as we learned while talking to her about what went into playing an elven princess, and we also learned a few tidbits about her role in Simon Hunter’s upcoming The Mutant Chronicles.
Superhero Hype!: Did you know what you were getting into when you signed on to “Hellboy II”?
Anna Walton: No, in all honesty, no, I really didn’t. I don’t think you could ever be prepared for what goes into making a film like this, but, it hasn’t been unpleasant, although I was going to have a prosthetic face on and I was quite pleased to get rid of that. I don’t have that anymore. (laughter)
SHH!: What do you have now?
Walton: Now I just haveâ€¦did [Luke Goss] tell you what his make-up looked like? Well, we look as close as we can be but mine is just sprayed paint, white and we have the same, sort of, long white wig.
SHH!: An ethereal lookâ€¦
Walton: Well, that’s what I’m thinking, etherealâ€¦I’m the pure one and he’s the dark one.
SHH!: What language does your character speak?
Walton: I think, well, the language that we use is more Gaelic, it’s not used today, it’s like ancient Gaelicâ€¦derived from very, very ancient Gaelic.
SHH!: Did you have a dialogue coach?
Walton: Yes we did, for the Gaelic, yeah. It was quite extraordinary. It’s a bit like learning gobbledy-goo, because you can’t reallyâ€¦ it’s not like learning Spanish, this is likeâ€¦gobbledy-goo. (laughing)
SHH!: Has Guillermo had to say, “Try that again, it didn’t sound real”?
Walton: No, and really it’s because he doesn’t know what we are saying. (laughter) No, it’s more of a rhythm thing as long as you sound like you’ve got the right tone.
SHH!: What do you think you did in the audition that impressed Guillermo so much that you got the role?
Walton: It would have to be that I was 8 1⁄2 months pregnant. (laughter) I think, all joking aside, being pregnant gives you an energy which makes you very calm and in touch with yourself and very, very happy with who you are. I do think that maybe that brought something to it because I think it gives you a grounded-ness, and an absolute purpose, you know what you’re meant to be doing, and I think she has that, Princess Nuala. She knows exactly what her purpose is, unwavering and I think that’s rare, very rare, knowing what you are here for 100%.
SHH!: I have never heard of someone so far along in their pregnancy getting a role like this.
Walton: I had to really push for it. Jeremy initially gave me the tip and then he found out about the pregnancy and sort of brushed me aside. I got him on the phone and said, “but I know I’m not going to be pregnant when the filming starts, so I can read for it.” And then I knew that Guillermo was going to be in town so I was like, “please can I just come and meet you.” And I just had a real connection to the character and just knew that I could do it and that I understood her. I think it’s important when you read a script like that to really push for it. You just know.
SHH!: When did you have your baby?
Walton: April the 7th. He was 3 weeks when I came to shoot. Yeah, it was quite a thing, but we were fine. He’s a very happy little boy, and Guillermo is very much a family man, you know. He likes that; it’s important to him. We might be making a very big film, but family is incredibly important to him. And his little girls are on set.
SHH!: When did you first meet Luke and can you say something about your relationship? He has suggested that there’s some sort of incestuous side to the relationship between the prince and princess.
Walton: It’s interesting because when we first met, we were doing a costume fitting and on that day we both said to each other, “Well, what do you think?” We both felt very strongly that it was kind of suggested in the script, whether intentionally or not I don’t know, but we both picked up on the incestuousness from him to me, not from her to him. He can’t differentiate between this sexual feeling and protection and the way I see them is that they’re almost the same person. He’s the dark side and she’s the light side and they’re pulled apart and pulled back together again, and she’s trying to get away because she knows there is something she has to do. He can’t let that go and they can’t really do anything without each other so it’s a really interesting thing.
SHH!: So your performances actually feed into each other?
Walton: Definitely. Yeah, we watch each other a lot and we talk a lotâ€¦and we knew how we got to this pointâ€¦because they are, sort of, the opposite of each other. That fact that they look similar is almost enough because I think that they have to have their own identity because they are different, he’s so much more tortured and hallowed.
SHH!: Hellboy is such a male-driven universe, and you and Selma are the only women. Have you two bonded at all?
Walton: Oh yes, we’ve bonded as actors but we don’t have much on-screen bonding.
SHH!: Are there any other women in this one?
Walton: Nope, just me. (laughter)
SHH!: Can you talk to us about the relationship Nuala has with Abe Sabien? You’re his love interest?
Walton: Yeah, well I can’t say too much, but it’s very lovely for Abe actually. He has a lot more going on in this one and it’s really that they find each other, well, he kind of finds her and he’s the one that really finds her and helps her get away from her brother and he’s a protector. I think they see something in each other similar, they are both slightly lost souls and they understand each other. She doesn’t dip into his tank for any hanky-panky (laughing) soâ€¦
SHH!: How is it working with Doug as Abe?
Walton: He’s great, he’s wonderful.
SHH!: And he also plays the Angel of Deathâ€¦
Walton: Yeah and the Chamberlain. I mean, this man is incredible. I don’t know how he does it. Having tried my prosthetic face for all of a week and then luckily, not having to use it, I have the utmost admiration for him and Brian Steele and for Ron (Perlman). I mean to work in those kind of conditions it’s extraordinary. It’s long hours and they can hardly breathe, they can hardly eat. He doesn’t really drink any water because then he would have to go to the loo and he doesn’t want to go to the loo because it takes about 1⁄2 an hour to go.
SHH!: There are so many wonderful sets in the movie. Do you have a favorite one?
Walton: That’s really hard because there is so much and there are so many bits that are so different. Like the Troll Market, that’s probably one of my favorite bits, you don’t have to act. It’s just thereâ€¦you’re in this other world and you’re given so much by the set.
SHH!: Can you talk to us a bit about working with Guillermo?
Walton: I was a big fanâ€¦I actually had never thought I would be so seduced by this genre, graphic novels, and I got so lucky with Guillermo, for him to bring me into this type of world. His imagination, it’s like going back to being a little girl and embracing your imagination. We lose it as we get older. You forget about seeing new worlds in your head and imagining things and he gets you back in contact with that. And you’re inspired by seeing him working and how he creates his vision and he’s so incredibly involved in every aspect of filmmaking, nothing passes him by. He’s got a great work ethic and so it’s very inspiring.
SHH!: Do you still have to ask a lot about the backstory?
Walton: I came with a very clear idea in my head and what I thought [Princess Nuala] was and I think we just agreed on things. The script was just written so well it’s very clear to everyone where we were going and who these people were. There were a few things about the background, like, for example, their abilityâ€¦when one of them gets injured the other one does too and you have to work that out. He’s always directing you and reminding you what is going on. Very, very actively involved.
SHH!: Do you remember what you thought of her going in and has anything changed?
Walton: Something I felt from her and something that hasn’t changed is her sense of purpose. She feels very strongly about what she has to do in the film, and then her absolute connection and love for the Earth and what we are given. That’s what she’s here to protect. I connected with that which I knew was very important for her. Her relationship with her brother, and how he is almost a part of her but she has to break away and will do whatever it takes to stop him from achieving what he wants to achieve which is the mass destruction of mankind. So those are the fundamental things that were very clear in the script.
SHH!: How does she compare to your role in “The Mutant Chronicles”? Is that a smaller role?
Walton: It’s a similar size role actually, but my part is a mutant and she’s taken an oath of silence but she’s there a lot, and everyone is getting killed off along the way.
SHH!: How does that production compare in scale to “Hellboy”?
Walton: It’s smaller, similar but smaller. Working on a much smaller budget but it’s amazing what they’ve done with the small budget. And it’s another film that there is so much passion behind and sometimes I think, when you don’t have that much money, everyone is working because they love it and they believe in it and there’s really no money to be wasted or thrown around haphazardly, it’s a very passionate film to work on.
SHH!: Do you have any idea when it will be coming out?
Walton: I think in April in the UK.
SHH!: So you’ve fallen into these two genre films projects in a row nowâ€¦
Walton: I know. I always thought theater was what I was going to be doing, but I believe in the scripts I’ve been given and I love the characters and that’s all that really matters to me and the director that you’re working with. I’ve been incredible lucky in that sense, I’ve loved every second of it.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army opens on July 11.
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Source: Edward Douglas