Sometimes, things get away from us and that was certainly the case with this series of interviews Superhero Hype! did with the three primary male cast of Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming Hellboy II: The Golden Army at this year’s New York Comic-Con almost two months ago. During a special red carpet set up before their presentation, we talked with Ron Perlman, Hellboy himself, and Doug Jones, who portrays Abe Sapien and a variety of characters and creatures in the film.
This was our second chance to chat with Luke Goss after speaking to him on-set–you can read that interview here–as well as with Jones, but it was this writer’s very first chance to meet and talk to Ron Perlman after having been a fan for many years.
Perlman of course played Hellboy in Guillermo del Toro’s previous movie, but he also had a key role in Blade II and del Toro’s early film Cronos, way back in 1993! He and the other two guys had a lot of great things to say about Guillermo and the new movie.
Superhero Hype!: You’ve been working with Guillermo for a long time and he’s done amazing things for your career giving you roles in his movies like “Blade II” and “Hellboy.”
Ron Perlman: This is all true.
SHH!: Can you talk about your relationship with him, how you first met and how it’s evolved?
Perlman: It’s something I don’t want to overstate because it’s a gift from God. I mean, I regard this as some otherworldly, amazing stroke of good fortune, and if I talk about it too much or belabor it too much, I feel like I’m in danger of making it go away. The minute we met, we knew that however many movies we did or didn’t do together, we dug each other, and without the benefit of bloodlines, we were going to be like brothers. Whether we are working together or not, there’s this wonderful friendship that’s the dearest part of the whole thing to me. If you can believe there’s something more dear than getting to play Hellboy in two movies.
SHH!: When you used to be on “Beauty and the Beast,” you used to be in make-up every day. How does it feel having to do another movie where you have to go through that whole process every day.
Perlman: Well, I’m not nearly as young or eager or ambitious as I was when I was doing all those other heavy-duty make-up roles decades ago, so now, the only way I can get my ya-yas up to go through that process, it has to be a character with the gravitas of Hellboy and for a filmmaker like Guillermo. Otherwise, I just can’t do it anymore. I’m too tired, I’m too cranky, I’m too curmudgeony.
SHH!: Most people who see this movie will presumably have seen the first movie, but some people won’t have. What would you like them to leave this movie with as far as Hellboy’s character arc?
Perlman: Well, first and foremost, I just hope they have the time of their life watching the movie, because whatever else it is, it’s meant to entertain and meant to have somebody be someplace for two hours and not think about the rest of the sh*t that we live in, of which sometimes there’s even too much to process. But you get so much more in any Guillermo del Toro movie and I could stand here for two hours just addressing the other levels that are being harkened too along the way. Mostly, I’d like people to say, “Man, I really, really liked the first movie but the second one rocks!” That’s what I like.
SHH!: Do you know what you’re doing next? I saw “The Last Winter” which was great. Are you going to do more independent films?
Perlman: I have a couple things more I’m working with Larry Fessenden on. I did a movie where I acted with him, a movie he produced about graverobbers called “I Sell the Dead,” and we got a couple other things we’re developing together. I’m doing a movie called “Bunraku” in a few weeks with Demi Moore, Josh Hartnett and Woody Harrelson, very cool script.. post-apocalypticâ€¦
SHH!: Is that set in Japan?
Perlman: There are Japanese elements to the film but we’re shooting it in Eastern Europe.
Few people will dispute that Doug Jones is one of the nicest, warmest and most gracious people working in the business and he also continues a long-running association with del Toro with Hellboy II, in which he plays Abe Sapien, the Angel of Death and other creatures. It was great talking to him about the experience of making the sequel, but also on finally getting out of the creature make-up and embrace his own face. It was also great to talk to him in a more relaxed environmentâ€¦ if you can believe that a red carpet at New York Comic-Con might be more relaxed than a movie set.
SHH!: Last time I saw you, you were all dressed up and hanging from the ceiling.
Doug Jones: You came to the set, of course.
SHH!: Nice to see you dressed a little more normal for these interviews.
Jones: Thank you.
SHH!: How was the experience doing your third movie with Guillermo?
Jones: Well, it was probably the most exhausted, spent, drained, I’ve ever been after a film shoot and yet the most fulfilling and realized I’ve ever felt as an actor, so Doug the person was gone but Doug the actor was quite blossomed. He gave me so much to do in this movie. He expanded the role of Ape Sapien so much, and gave me layers to play, and more on-screen buddy time with Hellboy and with Liz Sherman. We had that family relationship feeling moreso, and this love interest that awakens his old adolescent emotional thing in him, so yeah, it was so much more for me to chew on this time and more fulfilling as an actor.
SHH!: Obviously, a lot of people seeing this movie will have seen the first movie, but some won’t. What would you like the latter to get out of their first introduction to Abe Sapien?
Jones: What I hope they get out of it is the same thing I hope they get out of all the Hellboy characters, Hellboy himself and Abe Sapien especially, and Liz Sherman, that we’re all these freaks of nature. Hopefully, we reflect–as we were written and intended to be written–the human condition or elements of the human condition. We all feel like we’re a freak in some way. Everyone on this planet feels like we don’t fit in always in every room, and that’s okay. We have choices to make along the way. We all have a past and we all have issues and we just happen to wear our issues on our face. We can’t go out in public, because we look like freaks, and it’s a very visual way of helping an audience work out their own personal issues. That’s what I feel like and I hope we can all take that away, that yes, we’re all freaks, but that’s okay. Everyone’s a freak, so as Abe Sapien said in the first “Hellboy” movie, “All us freaks have is each other.” So let’s stand together and lock arms. Instead of pointing at each other and laughing, let’s lock elbows and say, “Let’s take on the world, all of us freaks, what do you say?”
SHH!: We’ve seen you in so many movies wearing crazy make-up and costumes. Are we any closer to seeing you doing some roles just looking like yourself?
Jones: We are indeed. I’m about to do a film called “Legion,” being put out by Sony Pictures and Screen Gems, and I will be playing a cameo in that movie, which will be my own face, before I start morphing into something else. It will be like a face moment on film where the geek fanboys will get to say “Ah, that’s him!” Then after that, in July for a month, I’m going back to the Midwest to film an indie film called “My Name is Jerry” in which I play the role of Jerry, an average, middle-age, white guy who’s going through a mid-life crisis, and waking up in his boring mundane lifeless self, and needing a reason to reinvent himself. This is a great storyline for me, and it’s kind of a dream role for me, to take on a human being character, without rubber on my face, and it’s a lead role that was written just for me. It wasn’t written for a handsome guy with a jawline and pectorals, it was written for skinny, goofy white Doug.
SHH!: Was that a person you knew who wrote this?
Jones: It was a film student from years ago that I did his thesis project for, a short film. He graduated, went back to the Midwest, wrote a feature film script just for me, and now we’re about three years later and he finally got financing through my university, Ball State University, so between Ball State University and independent financers, we’re making this happen. The script has been through many rewrites and it’s actually something that brought a tear to my eye, and it’s such a great story and a wonderful character for me to really chew on. That’s going to be a lot of Dougie Jones face time.
SHH!: That’s great that we’ll finally see your face on camera.
Jones: Well, over the years, I’ve guest-starred on lots of TV shows and done small things like in “Mystery Men” I was Pencilhead. I basically had a hat on, that was it. My face has shown up. I’ve done like over 100 commercials now, so I’ve been out there, but in things that are more forgettable. My more memorable stuff happens to be with rubber on my faceâ€¦ unfortunately.
SHH!: What about your working relationship with Guillermo? Do you hope to continue that and do you think he’ll always have a place for you in his movies?
Jones: I hope so. I hope that if my dying day is on a set of a Guillermo del Toro movie that will be okay. That’s how I want to goâ€¦ I think.
SHH!: I know that you probably have no further information on the “Silver Surfer” movie, but I talked to Laurence Fishburne who provided your voice. Have you ever met him and how do you feel about maybe having to go back to that thing where you’re playing the body of a character, but not the voice?
Jones: Look, Laurence Fishburne is a wonderful actor. I love watching him in anything he does, so I have nothing but good feelings about him, however, no actor wants to see any part of their performance replaced or taken away, and after I had done all of that for the Silver Surfer, to watch the film with another voice coming out of the Silver Surfer that wasn’t me, it was jolting, no matter who it was. But it’s okay. I’m coping andâ€¦
SHH!: It was sort of the same thing with Abe Sapien in the first “Hellboy” movie though, and I’m sure Guillermo and others regretted that now.
Jones: Yeah… whatever they feel is up to them. I just hope that the fans will resonate with all of me in “Hellboy II” like the visual and the vocal performance, I hope I live up to their expectations and their hopes.
Lastly, we have Luke Goss, the newest member to the “Hellboy” mythos but also another returnee to the world of Guillermo del Toro, having played one of the bad guys in “Blade II,” back even before the first “Hellboy” movie. Since we just did a fairly extensive interview not too long ago, we didn’t have too many new questions but he did talk a little bit about his role in the upcoming video game movie Tekken.
SHH!: Last time we spoke, you were in the middle of shooting. Now you’re done presumably. How did it go and was it everything you expected?
Luke Goss: Yeah, absolutely. I think anybody in this room has an understanding of this movie and what it’s about and obviously, Guillermo del Toro, this evolutionary stage of his career has been so wonderful and also thankfully celebrated, by not only us lot, but the other lot. It’s a nice time to be a part of his story. Like I said before, when you do a Guillermo del Toro movie, when you read the script, you already know you’re going to see that script and more when it’s finished. That’s exactly what’s happened. It’s quite spectacular.
SHH!: You’re all over the trailer, too, although I’m not sure if anyone here will recognize you.
Goss: What do you think? You think I hate it? I’m very happy. When I saw it, I was like, “It’ll be nice to be in it” so when I was in it fairly heavily, I was thinking, “Okay, I’m not going to tell anybody. I’m going to keep my mouth shut so they don’t change it.”
SHH!: Have you been recognized yet with all that make-up on?
Goss: I don’t care about that kind of stuff. What I do care about is that the fans who’ve seen the trailer so far seem to like the way he looks and the way he moves. That’s all I give a sh*t about really. If they’re digging it so far, then that’s the important thing. Being recognized in the street, I don’t care about thatâ€¦
SHH!: What about here at Comic-Con?
Goss: Maybe they’ll have an idea here, but right now, who knows? As long as they like the character, then I’m happy about that.
SHH!: I don’t want to spoil anything, but do you think we’ll see your character again if there’s another “Hellboy” movie?
Goss: I’m the bad guy, so I think the outcome might be relatively obvious, but I can’t say.
SHH!: What else do you have coming up?
Goss: I just finished “Tekken,” I play Steve Fox in that, and I also did the new Cadillac spot for the Hybrid Escalade.
SHH!: Was all your martial arts training helpful for appearing in “Tekken”?
Goss: Well I play Steve Fox later in his career, so yes, I do fight in it and I did use a couple of the skills, I did, but I wasn’t one of the main fighters, but there’s kind of a cool fight in the movie, for sure.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army opens on Friday, July 11. Be sure to check out the updated official website!
Source: Edward Douglas