While we’re running a bit late with our report on the creature shop from our visit to the Budapest set of Guilermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army, we do have a brief interview with the man who plays many of those creatures, similar to his role in del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, Mr. Doug Jones.
In the first movie, he just played Hellboy’s friend and “co-worker” Abe Sapien, but this time, he’s taken on a bunch of other bizarre characters, and when we talked to him, he had been hanging from a heavy cable for hours as he enacted a scene as the “Angel of Death” and he was still in that costume and make-up, including a mask with no eye holes, when we spoke to him on the set. And yet, he was still as amicable and cheerful as ever. No wonder he has a reputation among his fellow cast and crew as being one of the nicest guys in showbiz!
Superhero Hype!: How well can you see in this suit?
Doug Jones: He’s got this thing with eyes, Guillermo, I don’t know, he refuses to let me see when I’m on film. I’ve stumbled around many a set. I’m looking out through the cracks, there’s a crack running this way and a crack that way, those are my main ones and I have some holes in here, too. I have better vision in this than the other two, because I’m also playing Chamberlain. Have you gone to the creature shop yet? Anyway, Chamberlain is a very tall-headed thing with two eyes at the top that are mechanical, so I’m left to look through a hole or two. Of course, Abe is the usual tomfoolery of looking through those tears ducts and when the goggles are on, they fog up, so I stumble around a bit.
SHH!: Exactly how long have you been hanging here on this cable?
Jones: This is day three. We were on stand-by the first day it filmed, that happens a lot. You can see the wires holding up the wings, the wings are about 40 lbs. we decided, and it may not sound like much, but when you have it concentrated on one spot on your back it helps to have that wire, otherwise I would become grumpy boy.
SHH!: Is taking on three characters overwhelming?
Jones: Oh, my God, yes. (laughing) I had no idea how much I was taking onâ€¦”Three characters? Sure, it’s for Guillermo.” But Abe Sapien is much bigger and much better this time in this movie. He’s been an absolute treat for me to play this time. He’s written with so many different colors and levels and there’s a love interest, it’s such a yummy thing to chew on. And his buddy time with Hellboy is more concrete and his brother/sister time with Liz is even better. I’m written into almost every scene as Abe and then add to that these other two charactersâ€¦I just don’t get a day off.
SHH!: Are there scenes between Abe and any of the other characters you play?
Jones: This one we have a close call. My photo double was standing outside that keyhole there in the Abe makeup so they could get both of us in the same shot at the same time, but that’s a trick.
SHH: What is Abe’s story this time around?
Jones: In the absence of Professor Broome, this time I think Abe has stepped up as a, I wouldn’t say leader, but he is the brains, the intellect of the team. Even Jeffrey (Tambor), Agent Manning, comes to Abe to complain about Hellboy. He’s become that character, in the absence of a dad, Abe has sort of stepped up. But he is still very much a younger brother to Hellboy, because Hellboy is protective. He knows the ways of the world and Abe is kind of innocent. The difference with the storyline this time is the love interest thing. Abe never had love before, so there’s this adolescent sort of thing going on. It was so fun to revisit that time in my life because I’m way past it now. To rediscover what it was like to fall in love that first time and the stupid decisions you make and how you just become obsessed with that one focus. Your choices and your decision-making may not be completely sound. You’ll see Abe go through a process with that.
SHH!: And it will be your voice this time doing Abe.
Jones: I did “Blood and Iron” and “Sword of Storms” (the two “Hellboy” animated films) and had a lot of fun with that and basically I’m not changing. I’m using the same voice I did on the first film before it was voiced over. I’m not trying to sound like David Hyde Pierce, that would get confusing, “I’m trying to sound like David Hyde Pierce, sounding like me. What?” David and I weren’t that far apart from each other’s performance anyway. If you go on the “Hellboy” website there’s a video on there of me greeting you and that’s pretty much what he sounds like.
SHH!: How’s your relationship with Ron been now that you’re working together again on this sequel?
Jones: I just love Ron. Ron and I are closer now than we’ve ever been and even though I’ve played in a lot of fantasy and comic book films, I told him my greatest honor was to be his sidekick. Off-camera we’re very much like Abe and Hellboy. In fact, at the beginning of the film he said that he thought that Abe and Hellboy were very much like Doug and Ron, and he wanted a line written into the film somewhere, with Hellboy looking at Abe and saying, “I don’t know if I’ll ever know what it’s like to be as good as you.” That’s what he said and it was very humbling. What have I done to make this man think I’m an angel? He’s grumpy Ron and we wouldn’t want him to change for a minute. He thinks I’m too nice. He tells me so all of the time. He says, “Quit being so nice. You’re making me look like an *sshole.”
SHH!: What was the thinking behind making the Angel of Death a woman?
Jones: Yeah, a woman with me in it. (laughs) I think the androgyny of it though is delicious. I don’t know if angels even have aâ€¦ I do believe there are such things as angels. Do they have a sex? I don’t know. The script refers to the angel as a her and that’s what I do. I think she has feminine qualities, but she’s not totally a woman either. And that’s okay. I like characters that keep you guessing.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army opens on July 11, but look for our full interview with Guillermo del Toro and the promised report on the creatures of Hellboy II very soon. The first part of our set visit, featuring interviews with Selma Blair, Luke Goss and Anna Walton, is available here.
Source: Edward Douglas